Tales of Monkey Island: Lair of the Leviathan (WiiWare) Review
The Tales of Monkey Island episodes have been a breath of fresh air. With bright and colourful locations, funny characters and writing, developer Telltale has been very good at keeping the Monkey Island feeling throughout with these titles.
The first episode of the series started off great and the second one followed it up well. This third one, Lair of the Leviathan, lets the new series hit its stride. It takes place directly after the last episode, after surviving the siege of Spinner Cay and heading out on the Screaming Narhawl to find the La Esponja Grande. After a brief recap of the story from the Voodoo Lady, the game starts off inside the giant Manatee that swallowed them up at the conclusion of the last episode. They aren’t alone though, with missing explorer Coronado De Cava and his crew stuck in the manatee as well.
Working with De Cava, Guybrush sets out to help fix the Manatee’s sense of direction which has messed up due to the poor animal’s missing cochlea. Who removed it you ask? Well the rest of De Cava’s crew, who are hanging around in the stomach of the Manatee, leave De Cava with the impression that they are dead. You see, they like it down there and form their own brotherhood. De Cava’s harebrained scheme to rebuild the Manatee’s cochlea has not only caused him to go a bit wacky, but also to spend way too much time down there. However, De Cava is committed as he wants the La Esponja Grande.
De Cava and his stereotypical crew are welcome new characters, but none of them are really memorable except for ’Santino’, well, at least not at the start. You see, Lair of the Leviathan contains a returning character from the previous Monkey Island games. By now, if you’ve been following the games at all, then the returning character is a calcified demonic skull Murray. Found in a treasure chest in the Manatee, Murray not only plays a key role in the events of the game, but also provides even more humour. All those years at the bottom of the gut of the manatee haven’t spoiled his thirst for taking over the world and crushing mortals. Morgan le Flay, with whom Guybrush must work with this time around, has a larger part in the game as a whole and it’s great too see her get more fleshed out. Tricking her into doing a ’mission’ is a quite amusing. Winslow has minor development this time around but his case of the pox is getting worse.
This episode also has the least new locations as opposed to the previous games. You’ll be stuck in the Manatee for a while and after that you’ve got two other locations; that’s it. That being said, there’s lots to see and do in these few locations, and the set decoration as it were is really vibrant for the most part. However, with the limited number of locations, you will need to traverse back and forth between the two places you have to go to. There isn’t a lot of travel distance so to speak, but you will have to go from A-to-B and B-to-A over and over again; it’s a little grating. The best part is definitely the inside of the Manatee’s gut, which is outfitted like a party with fairy lights and party hats. The foulness that is drinking the Manatee’s fluid and the guy liking it is not to be missed. Everything in the levels is used for something, so if you’re stuck, you don’t have to wander around for hours looking for things.
The puzzles this time around are varied and you’ll need to be paying close attention to most of them as the solutions aren’t simple. If you do what I did and accidently skipped over some dialogue, you’ll miss that pun, hint or clue in a sentence that may be the key to solving your puzzle. There are also a few puzzles that you’ll find you spend a while on and the answer is right in front of you.
The game’s length, like the others, is about 4-5 hours depending of course on how well and quickly you can solve puzzles and speak in Manatee. Once the game is done, like the episodes before it, you’re unlikely to come back unless you want to relive the episode’s story. There is also a fair amount of affection for Guybrush from Morgan; this isn’t a problem in this episode but the hapless Guybrush can’t see this, and it may cause some problems in a later episode. Pirate Love Triangle, here we come.
I felt a little disappointed with the last episode of this series, none of the new characters were that memorable and the puzzles were not as fun as the first. Lair of the Leviathan is a better example of what these games are about, with better puzzles and humour in the game. Though the new characters are mostly forgettable, the return of a favourite for the majority of the game is a huge pull. Be sure to hang around for the credits, they are hilarious.