Tales of Monkey Island - Chapter 2: The Siege of Spinner Cay Review

By Patrick Klepek - Posted Aug 24, 2009

Guybrush Threepwood is back. Er, again. Telltale Games and LucasArts have launched the second episode in Tales of Monkey Island, The Siege of Spinner Cay, and there's good news to report. The second installment acknowledges and (mostly) fixes the annoying issues from the first outing, manages to surprise with new twists on age-old adventure genre conventions and most importantly, it's really damn funny.

The Pros
  • Just as funny as the first episode
  • Ditches most archaic adventure game conventions
  • The puzzles are juuuuuust right
The Cons
  • Reused character and environmental graphics
  • Getting lost in the jungle again
  • It's another month until the next episode

Guybrush Threepwood is back. Er, again. Telltale Games and LucasArts have launched the second episode in Tales of Monkey Island, The Siege of Spinner Cay, and there's good news to report. The second installment acknowledges and (mostly) fixes the annoying issues from the first outing, manages to surprise with new twists on age-old adventure genre conventions and most importantly, it's really damn funny.

Tales of Monkey Island: Siege of Spinner Cay

More of the Same...In a Good Way


As with Telltale's other episodic series, from a gameplay perspective, the second episode in Tales of Monkey Island doesn't try to do much different. That's a good thing; the first episode was fantastic. The Siege of Spinner Cay builds upon the strengths -- the irreverent humor, modernization of adventure game puzzle logic -- and chips away at the weaknesses -- the still-lingering bits of archaic adventure game puzzle logic. Plus, rather than playing it safe with Monkey Island story clichés, The Siege of Spinner Cay provides some refreshing character development for the whole cast which I won't spoil here.

Such reinventions of Monkey Island lore allowed for one of my favorite jokes in the series, which can happily be described without spoiling the fun of it. (But if you want to remain in the clear, skip ahead.) Guybrush must actually train someone on how to play an adventure game. Imagine a friend has never played an adventure game before and has no idea what it means to "look," "use," or "combine" items. You have to explain this process to someone and walk them through the idea of adventure game logic. It's very meta.

This is an advertisement - This story continues below



More of the Same...In a Bad Way

Unfortunately, because The Siege of Spinner Cay is the second part of an episodic Monkey Island, there are reused graphics. Remember the jungle area from Launch of the Screaming Narwhal? It's baaaaack! Telltale has repurposed the jungle graphics onto another jungle area here, which wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't just as confusing the second time around. There's little rhyme or reason to navigating the jungle, resulting in constant runarounds trying to figure out where to go. Many character models have been reused, too, with altered skins. I got over it.

Tales of Monkey Island: Siege of Spinner Cay

The Countdown Begins Anew

It feels like The Siege of Spinner Cay is over just as soon as it begins, though. The adventure seemed shorter than Launch of the Screaming Narwhal, but it's hard to tell if that's accurate, given I spent so much time in the first episode marveling at the return of Guybrush Threepwood. Such giddiness is largely lost once reality has set in and it's apparent our intrepid pirate hero is here to stay. I'm okay with that. The Siege of Spinner Cay has some real brain teasers -- and don't look at hints, they're solvable! -- and like a good LucasArts adventure game of old, it's genuinely funny. I even laughed out loud!

Bring on the third episode.