Developed by : Telltale games
ESRB Rating: pending
Available on: PC, Wii
Single Player
pros: funny adventure, likable characters
cons: short game play, crude humor

System Requirements:
Operating system: Windows XP / Vista
Processor: 2.0 GHz + (3 GHz Pentium 4 or equivalent rec.)
Memory: 512MB (1GB rec.)
Sound: DirectX 8.1 sound device
Video: 64MB DirectX 8.1-compliant video card (128MB rec.)
DirectX®: Version 9.0c or better

Thanks to Tell Tale Games for giving us this game to review!

I have heard good things about the Monkey Island series from Lucas Arts, but I have never played them. Tales of Monkey Island is a new series from Tell Tale Games. This new five chapter series features the same characters and witty humor that have made the predecessor a cult classic. The price tag for the complete series is a reasonable $35. As of this review the first two chapters are available with a new chapter being released every month.

Since I have not played this series before, I\'m not completely familiar with the characters and don\'t know which ones are new versus cameos. With that said, let\'s get on with the story. Launch of the Screaming Narwhal begins with the likable main character/pirate Guybrush Threepwood sailing his ship in search of his kidnapped wife Elaine. The zombie pirate LeChuck is holding her captive on his ship. When Guybrush and LeChuck come face to face, instead of destroying LeChuck, Guybrush turns him into a human and absorbs some of the zombie mojo into his Left hand which now has a mind of its own. To make matters worse, Guybrush gets blown off the ship and is stranded on Flotsom Island with no ship, no wife and horrible winds that strand every pirate that comes near. Guybrush has to find a way to get off of the island, get his wife back, and his hand back to normal too.

This is an adventure style game where you have to examine your surroundings, grab and manipulate objects, talk to people, and solve some tricky puzzles. To move around you use your standard WASD keys and the mouse is used for everything else. There\'s two main areas on this island: the town area, and the jungle. I like how they made areas you already visited in the jungle accessible with a single click after you visit them; it sure beats having to remember your way through the jungle mazes.

When you arrive on the island there\'s a reporter for the Keelhauler Gazette that wants to get some stories of you doing piratey things like finding treasure, capturing a ship, and starting a bar fight. If you can give him some juicy stories, he\'ll get you in touch with his lead who may be able to help you get off of the island. You\'ll also meet Crimpdigit a glass blowing pirate that makes unicorns and vowels. If you ask for a vowel he\'ll give you a U-tube...get it?

The humor is pretty funny in this game and Guybrush has some witty remarks. There\'s a pirate named D\'oro and Guybrush asks if he can call him D\'oro the explorer. Some of the humor and sexual innuendos push the envelope, and you have to think twice to understand what they really said/meant. For example, there was a point in the game where Guybrush says "Holy Ship!" and my kids happened to be standing by computer. So be warned, this may not be a suitable game to play in front of kids. Other appropriateness issues include cartoon violence, voodoo magic and references to wind gods (in a funny way of course).

My kids were charmed by this game\'s colorful world and cartoon like feel. There\'s a lot of detail and you can usually spot which objects you can take or manipulate in some fashion. The user interface is pretty easy to navigate and the inventory management system is easy to use. Sometimes getting Guybrush to move in the proper direction was a little awkward but nothing show stopping.

Some of the puzzles are easy to solve and there are some tricky ones too. Fortunately there\'s a handy walkthough on gamefaqs.com that got me out of a couple of stumpers. Overall, the game play is rather short; I was able to beat this chapter in a few sittings. With all five chapters, you\'ll definitely get your money\'s worth though.

The voice acting is top notch and the background music is fitting too. The sound effects are pretty good, but there are some noises from The Marquis De Singe towards the end that could be considered sexual if taken out of context. I don\'t want to be specific since it would be revealing spoilers. Overall though this game is well polished and will not disappoint.

For adventure gamers that love funny adventure games be sure to check out this series. It looks pretty promising and you\'ll get a few laughs for sure. The humor may be a bit off key at times, so please take that into consideration. There\'s a demo available if you want to give it a try before buying it. If you\'ve beaten the game and are looking for more to do you can play the treasure hunt mode and get some unlockables such as desktop wallpapers and more.

Game Play: 17/20
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 8/10
Stability: 5/5
Controls/Interface: 4/5

Game Play Score: 43/50
Appropriateness Score: 37/50

-2 non deadly violence
-1.5 for crude language
-2 for sexual jokes
-3 voodoo references
-2.5 gross humor

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Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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