Retrospective: Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge

Look behind you etc.

Guybrush Threepwood does not have an American accent. He just doesn't. He has a cool British accent. Case closed. The more LucasArts attempt to cut and paste the 'official' vocals of Dominic Armato over Threepwood's voicebox, the further they are straying from the vital template that exists inside my head. In the days before CD-ROM, I forged this character's voice in the more central parts of my brain, and ever since its creators have done their utmost to undermine it. The same goes for Stan the used ship/coffin salesman. Stan doesn't sound like that in my head either, and his voice should accentuate more whenever his hands point directly upwards.

How can they keep on getting it wrong? What's more, and I'm fuming now, when you load up the latest special edition release of Monkey Island 2, not only is the newest LucasArts logo shown (the new one!) but they don't roll the old credits with the cute dancing monkeys! Can you believe it? If my MP wasn't Nicholas Soames, and unlikely to care much about such a vital issue, I'd almost certainly be writing a strongly worded letter to him.

Getting rational though, in every other way the redux version of Monkey Island 2 is wonderful. It's also notably more wonderful than the Special Edition of Monkey Island 1, in which you couldn't help feel that the new graphical gauze that had been fitted over the pixels of old was ill-fitted and somewhat stilted.

What's more, when played on the PC the game's controls were fiddly, Guybrush often felt like he wasn't grounded in the scenes he stuttered across and, to be honest, his character model looked like a perpetual startled ape - albeit not one of three-headed persuasion. I didn't like it, and grumpily stuck to the classic look - like the future-hating stick-in-the-mud I clearly am.

This time is different. LucasArts, with this Special Edition, you are really spoiling us. Slicker menu screens, more animated and imaginative treatments of the elderly scenery, a radial selecto-action function for the mouse... Perhaps the success of the last release convinced The House that George Built to pour in a little extra voodoo love potion, or perhaps they just had more time.

Whatever, this is a better tribute to the best point-and-click adventure sequence of recorded history. It even features the likes of MI2 development starlets Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman chatting over scenes in an easily accessed developers' commentary - providing fascinating material for anyone who has lived with an affection for clicking and pointing for the past decade or so.

The first 20 minutes of the Special Edition, featuring Pirates of Low Moral Fiber. And American Spellings.

So much, so new. This is the Sunday Retro Supplement so let's get down to brass tacks: we shouldn't technically be discussing any PC game that hasn't been given life by a boot disc and an autoexec.bat.

Monkey Island 2 was the tale of newly qualified pirate Guybrush Threepwood and his search for the treasure of Big Whoop, featuring the reanimation of arch-villain LeChuck and re-wooing of Governor Elaine Marley along the way. Arguably the first game was punctuated by more memorable comic moments (the stump, the mountain-side tumble, the yak-lips, the underwater sequence, the swordfighting) but LeChuck's Revenge was bigger, had better puzzles, more engaging characters and a hugely brave and expertly choreographed surprise ending.

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