|System: Wii (WiiWare), PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Telltale Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Telltale Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 30, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Released in monthly episodic chunks that weave an overarching plot riddled with zombie pirate voodoo monkey ninja adventure game ridiculousness, Tales of Monkey Island is a fun and often hilarious rollercoaster ride of a series. The mishap-filled adventure of Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirate continues to captivate us as it builds towards what will hopefully be an explosive conclusion. The last crazy chapter, which saw the swashbuckling hero stuck inside the meaty, bile-dripping innards of a behemoth manatee that was in search of some hot mating action, was an especially tough act to follow.
Chapter 4: The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood brings the story back around and ties together the adventure with a mixture of both expected and unexpected plot twists. Having grown accustomed to a steady stream of humor and cleverness found in past episodes, the laugh-out-loud moments don't seem to appear quite as frequently in this latest chapter, and it takes longer for the momentum to build. The good news is things eventually do pick up and the insanity that unfolds in the final moments of this stretch of the journey is worth muscling through to the end. You can expect the forthcoming last episode will be one worth waiting for.
Before you launch back into the adventure, the Voodoo Lady gives a helpful narrative recap of what happened thus far. After recently surviving spelunking through a giant manatee, finally recovering La Esponja Grande, disinfecting himself from the zombifying voodoo pox, and heading off to find and de-pox his wife Elaine, Guybrush finds himself betrayed by his pirate-hunting companion Morgan LeFlay. He's bound and dragged back to Flotsam Island where the demented Marquis De Singe plans to experiment on him to further his twisted agenda. But before the loony doc can get a scalpel on him, Guybrush is voodoo summoned to the courthouse to answer to a laundry list of crimes.
Choosing to represent himself in the decidedly one-sided trial, Guybrush must conduct his own investigation on the island and clear his name before he can resume his quest to reverse the voodoo pox curse he accidentally spread across the Caribbean. He's been accused of burning a pirate maiden's leg with fiery nacho hot sauce from the local dive bar, literally scaring another pirate's beloved cat stiff, and stealing the X that marks some spot. Oh yes, and there's that little issue of infecting the entire pirate population in the region with the voodoo zombie pox. Unfortunately, the sentence for each crime is death, death, and more death.
Guybrush's legal troubles easily consume much of the first half of the chapter. The fraudulent salesman Stan from earlier Monkey Island games returns in his fetching, giant sombrero and Technicolor plaid suit. His attempts at prosecuting Guybrush are pitiful at best, and his scheme to cash in on the latest "Trial of the Century-y-y-y-y-y!" by selling action figures, t-shirts, and pins is laughable. Once you are able to steal some momentary freedom, you'll wind up exploring Flotsam's familiar harbor area for sneaky ways to influence your case and disprove your supposed guilt. Expect to encounter a lot of the similar kinds of item hunting and dialogue-based puzzles found in earlier chapters. Chatting up the locals, scouring hotspots, and figuring out what random widget needs to be used where is still a big part of the gameplay. Fortunately, the series' items and the way you'll use them always tends to be on the weirder side.
A lot has changed in town since the first chapter. Quite a few other pirates in town have come down with the pox, and there's a lot more trouble brewing than meets the eye. A series of surprising developments between a few key characters are placed at regular intervals throughout this portion of the story, and this more than anything will keep you pushing onward through the slower-paced sections early on.