Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
Being a fan of the Monkey Island series, I couldn't resist writing a review for the fourth title.
Escape From Monkey Island, being the fourth in the Monkey Island series, is also the first title of the series which uses a 3D game engine. This not only adds some modern look to the age-old series, but also makes it look darn good. Now you can admire Guybrush in all dimensions!
This title, however doesn't seem to retain the humour of the previous titles, which is ironic. For, the entire game seems to be just one running joke. A lot of the old gags are here: Carla and Otis, Insult Swordfighting, shameless stabs at other game series (Monkey Combat?!?), ample Star Wars references and so on. In a way, this shows how this is still a Monkey Island title, but it also prevents it from reaching the same level as them. Wierd.
As is custom (I think) with the Monkey Islands, there is one minigame at the core of this game: Monkey Combat. In this, you use strings of monkey insults in order to change battle stances to one that your opponent's stance loses to. Don't worry, you'll get used to the idea once you get into practise.
You'll also get used to the sound. All the sound effects, while all natural and appropriately placed for a Monkey Island title, become second nature really fast. Which is good, as the sound is supposed to be that way in the first place.
Being an adventure game, there needs to be a mention of the puzzles used in the game. Although most of them are understandable (i.e. use the duck on the guy who is afraid of ducks), some are very abstract. In order to get the prosthetic skin from the prosthesis guy (I know, disgusting) you need to give him three names in order to get his story to the right conclusion, These names are written on the bottom of a manhole cover which you pry up. This makes no sense as the story seems to change direction depending on the names used. However, it all becomes clear when you realise that that now open manhole is where you place the skin in order to bounce on it in order to get into the bank. Like I said, abstract. I should mention that if you get all the prosthetic pieces from the man, by using every combination of words possible , you can combine them in order to create a hideous abomination thing. Again, very disturbing.
This brings me to the humour of the game. The constant running gags in this one are best for fans of the series, but somehow doesn't seem to be as good as in previous titles. There is other humour in the game, such as the StarBuccaneers shop and Planet Threepwood, but the majority of the humour is running gags.
So, to evaluate, I would suggest that fans of the series get this title immediately, but I would also advise newcomers to the humour of Monkey Island may wish to look elsewhere first.