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DF Game Club: Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge (With Ron Gilbert!)

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I missed this but caught up on the stream. Thank you for saving and posting the chat log as well!

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Ahh damn it, I missed both this and the one with Moriarty! :( I really hope Mr. Gilbert will be there for the second session!

I don't check twitter often, is there a newsletter for the DFGC? It would help me a lot.

As Syd says, we currently only do Twitter (@DFGameClub) and Steam (HCITDFAPBG) announcements.

If you don't have a Twitter account, you should still be able to subscribe to an RSS feed of tweets, but Twitter are planning to retire that feature at some stage.

We're toying with additional ways to keep people up to speed with Game Club stuff, but a newsletter feels like a bit more work than we can afford at the moment. I feel like an iCal feed of events would probably end up having more value? Definitely keen to hear ideas and get feedback. That sort of stuff is probably better off being discussed in the Game Club planning thread though :D

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Hope everybody's been enjoying playing Monkey 2 during the week.

I've popped a draft of the rating system we're considering using for Game Club over in the planning thread if anybody wants to give feedback. Looking forward to tomorrow's session!

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Another great session! Thanks heaps to Syd for streaming and Ron for joining us!

Today's stream archive) and (chat log) are up in the first post!

For anybody who's finished the game, feel free to post a rating using the rating system we've been putting together :)

Don't forget to finish up with the game over the coming week in preparation for next week's final session!

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I had yet another enjoyable Saturday night with the Game Club. Thanks to Ron, Syd, and Cheese. ^^

Since you asked for it, here are my ratings for MI2 (the old-school talky version):

Story: 10 (because of the coherency and because I can take my time to figure things out without there being any rush)

Usability: 9 (because I like my point and click games being pointy and clicky)

Gameplay: 8 (because pixel hunting is easier when there are fewer pixels on the screen to hunt through and because most puzzles just make sense)

Assets: 8 (I don't agree with all voice actors used but the music brings the points up higher)

Impact: 10 (did you expect anything else for my all-time favourite game?)

Completed: Yes

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Oh yay, our first rating thingy :D

I got word from Ron this morning that he'll be joining us for our last session.

I have no idea how many times I've played this game, but it still has as much charm and awesomeness as it did first time I played it :D

Update: I just got word from Ron that he won't be able to make it to this week's session due to something unexpected coming up at the last minute. He did say thanks and that that past two sessions were a lot of fun.

We'll still be going ahead with today's session as planned though.

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Story: 10, Usability: 10, Gameplay: 10, Assets: 10, Impact: 10

Best game ever.

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I wasn't able to watch the stream of the game today, but was part of the discussion, kinda. I've played Monkey Island 2 before several times, and here's my rating, Cheese style:

The world and environment is top-notch, I'd say the flashback style worked pretty well (and was extended and then misused nicely :D), and I didn't have much problem with the pacing either. The comedy and writing was also top-notch. Having a chat with Cheese on IRC made me realise perhaps that there wasn't much character developement IN the game, but if you take it as a continuation of Monkey Island 1, having played that, it goes interesting and enjoyable places. Oh...and of course, that ending :D.

So I'd give story 9.

I find it a bit difficult to judge usability, because the game used a boilerplate verb-list adventure game GUI of that time. It worked well, it was definitely an improvement on what came before it, and I personally even prefer it to the later verbcoin system. People consider the simple 2-button system even MORE of an improvement over the verb-list system, but I'm not sure how much I'd have appreciated it used here. I personally can't think of how they could've improved it, and I don't think the Special Edition did.

So I'd give Usability 8, but I acknowledge my bias as an adventure gamer grown from that time, being an extension of the text adventure systems.

The Gameplay is also a bit hard, considering that again, it was pretty standard for adventure games of the time. The fact that it rewarded exploration and investigation rather than killing you for it made it an easy-going game to play (not that constant-deaths of other games are a negative point against them, though...different styles for different games, I guess). The difficult version was admittedly too difficult for me, I finished it on easy, and completed difficult years later with the advent of the internet, but I suppose that is the purpose of difficult settings :D.

So with nothing special (at least compared to its other points), but nothing bad either, I'd rate Gameplay at 7.

Now the "Assets". Incredible aesthetic, art style worked perfectly, music was some of the best ever in video games if you ask me.

This is the easiest for me to rate: 10

Finally, the impact. We're still talking about how incredible it is, almost 25 years on, so it definitely had an impact. While I consider many of the additions of the Special Edition sub-par, the fact that it was made is testament to its impact. You could play the game today, and I'd say it'd still hold up for the most part. Considered the best adventure game ever by many, including Jonathanfrisby :D. Heck, if I mentioned a list of my favourite games, MI2 would definitely be up there. Replayable at least once, although I'm not sure if I count that as a measure of impact. The "assets" and "story" definitely combined to make it incredibly immersive.

So again, I'd rate impact at 9.

So that totals to...43. But only with me purposely rating myself down in areas I could. Definitely one of the bests. And possible THE best adventure game, in my opinion.

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Oh no, I missed today's stream! At least I caught it last week.

I'm too lazy to write detailed thoughts, so here are my ratings:

story - 9

usability- 8

gameplay - 8

impact - 9

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Thanks to everybody who showed up today, and big thanks to Ron for joining us for the first two sessions!

Today's stream archive and chat log are up in the first post! We've also got a post up for next week's games: Gravity Bone and Thirty Flights of Loving.

There was some good and interesting discussion this week! Here's my review thingy!

Story: 9

For a second time, Monkey Island draws us into a rich and solidly developed romanticised, but quirky pirate world. MI2's tone is a bit darker, and manages to maintain a sense of tension very well through the entire game for an adventure game with significant non-linear stretches and LucasArts' no-deaths-or-dead-ends philosophy. The sequel sports more colourful characters and establishes the recurrence of Stan, the Voodoo Lady and Elaine.

This game also has darker overtones not seen outside of Telltale's titles, with Guybrush's quest to find a new, less-boring story quickly becoming a race to find the only thing that could save his life from LeChuck's encroaching revenge. Monkey Island 2 also features some of the player's/Guybrush's most awful acts torwards other characters within the Monkey Island world. On Scabb Island alone, you steal Wally's vision, defile two burials, intentionally get a cook fired, kidnap one pet, let another loose, saw off a disabled person's prosthetic leg, not to mention using a Voodoo Doll on Largo and boring Bart and Fink to death.

I know it's trendy to express frustration or confusion at the ending, but when I first played it in the 90s, I didn't feel disappointed or unfulfilled, so I can't really deduct points for that. Interestingly, Guybrush himself does not seem to progress much as a character (with the game prompting players to not take the ending at face value, anything that happens during it is likewise thrown into question).

Usability: 8

Whilst the game suffers (is "suffers" the right word? I don't mind it myself) from a degree of pixel hunting, and many claim that the cultural specificity of the Monkey Wrench puzzle (which again, I didn't have any problems with - I didn't know or care that it was a "monkey wrench" when I first played through), it does have a nice variety of item and dialogues puzzles, with little required tedium ([/i]learning Herman's philosophy lesson is optional[/i]). Double click fast travel, automation of repetitive tasks (climbing the tree on Booty Island), trimmed down verb list, and convenient teleportation to obvious destinations as the plot required, all show thoughtful progression in user experience from the first Monkey Island game. Also, I don't care what anybody says, the "what is this" password puzzle is brilliant.

Gameplay: 10

The original Monkey Island 2 had an easy mode, which removed a number of puzzles. I recall this actually made the game more difficult for me on replays because I found I was always spending time trying to work out how to get the bucket. All things considered, I'd porbably label MI2 the most difficult game in the Monkey Island franchise, though definitely still approachable by adventure newcomers.

Monkey 2 does away with the insult swordfighting mechanic, leaving no "grinding" type quest/puzzle activities (both the back alley casino and the spitting competition require Guybrush knowingly "cheating" rather than actively working through to achieve something). As mentioned above, Monkey Island's variety of puzzles is broad and diverse, with challenging moments paced well amongst more obvious requirements and very infrequently getting in the way of the story itself progressing. In particular, the dialogue puzzle when first encountering Elaine, chasing the Marley mansion chef, the catacombs in LeChuck's fortress, and all the lovely spitting stand out as new and innovative.

Assets: 9

Whilst Monkey Island 2's stunning visuals are definitely the most immediately noticeable highlight of the game's assets, the impact and atmosphere made possible through MI2's super fancy audio engine iMuse and Michael Z. Land's fabulous score is breathtaking (whether it's the original game's or the special edition's music). Compared to the first game, Monkey Island 2 has a huge number of environments, each with its own theme and beautiful background art. Animation of the game is well presented and comedic where appropriate, and the skeleton dream sequence blew my mind when I first played. Small touches such as Guybrush leaning down when entering trap doors, and his oh-so-graceful entrance into The Bloody Lip's kitchen also add an additional layer of polish.

The voices included in the special edition release of the game are well cast and acted, but as someone who grew up with the non-talkie version, I can see that many of the lines lose their pacing and punch in the transition (this is no disrespect to any of the actors who worked on the game, just recognition that in places, it feels obvious that the dialogue was written without the intention of it being voiced).

Impact: 10

Whilst Ron (coyly?) maintains that he can't understand why people are still talking about a 22 year old game, it's clear that the Monkey Island2: LeChuck's Revenge has something at its core that captures, compels and draws people back, and still sees it finding new fans every day. For some, adventure games aren't very replayable as the solutions of puzzles are known on subsequent playthroughs, but to me, Monkey Island 2's massive dialogue and intricate environments almost always give me something new to laugh or marvel at every time I play.

The combination of fantastic art, iMuse's "seamless" transitions and the game's fantastic score, solid pacing, engaging puzzles and ever mounting tension make Monkey 2 perhaps one of the most immersive titles in the franchise, and never fails to evoke a sense of adventure and excitement in me.

I try to play through this game once a year, and rank it among my favourites :D

Overall: 46/50

Completed:Yes

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