The Flu has got nothing on the Pox!
Last time we caught up with Guybrush Threepwood, he had just barely made his escape off Floatsam Island aboard the Screaming Narwhal and he was already in another pickle, when a concealed figure suddenly attacked and the episode ended. Siege of Spinner Cay picks up right after that, with us getting to meet the pirate hunter hired to hunt down Guybrush and obtain his diseased hand. You do remember how he got into that mess, right? The evil, undead pirate captain LeChuck was yet again scheming to capture Guybrush's poor wife, Elaine, and after a weak attempt at an anti-voodoo spell, Guybrush reversed LeChuck's curse and ended up getting himself infected, giving conscious life to one of his hands.
[image1]Guybrush and crew soon dock at Spinner Cay, a remote port where he believes Elaine and LeChuck landed after their run in at the beginning of Chapter One. And what do you know, he's actually right, though sooner than he's able to reconcile with his plunder bunny, Guybrush gets tangled up in the local troubles. A diseased pirate captain is holding the island hostage in exchange for the fabled cure for the Pox, La Esponja Grande. According to the island's mer-people chief, by collecting three animal idols, Guybrush can be granted access to the marvelous sponge.
Spinner Cay plays exactly like its predecessor. Similarly to Telltale's previous series, Wallace and Gromit, you are given direct control of your character, relying on your mouse (or Wii-mote if you are playing the Wiiware version) for navigation. As with any adventure game worth its salt, Tales of Monkey Island challenges you to gather various objects and use them in puzzles, by combining them or using a certain item at the correct spot.
There isn't nearly as much memorizing or pattern recognition this time around, as the puzzles are extremely cut and dry without much need to backtrack. This makes The Siege of Spinner Cay a breeze to play through - even too easy at spots - making it as one of the least challenging Telltale episodes. That's not to say this isn't worth playing... far from it. Chapter Two carries the same brand of humor and witty dialogue we've come to expect from the Canadian developer, even making references to past Monkey Island games at times, for the old time players.
[image2]It's safe to say that both versions of the game are about equal in terms of quality. In the short period between the releases of the Tales of Monkey Island chapters, Telltale added an alternative payment option for PC players which allows them to obtain individual episodes through Amazon.com instead of having to buy the entire season. The Wiiware port now benefits from a bigger font size (one of my chief complaints with the last episode), an improved presentation, and better performance with less stuttering and lockups, a feat considering the file size restrictions Nintendo forces on Wiiware developers.
No matter which platform you pick, you'll get a very colorful game, with a much more varied cast of characters in comparison to Launch of the Screaming Narwhal. There are still repeated base character types, but since we're starting to see the pirates infected with the Pox, there are more enemy variants. We also get a larger main cast who sticks around for the entire episode, including LeChuck and Elaine, who both were briefly shown last time.
Even if The Siege of Spinner Cay lives on to be remembered as one of the easier games of the Telltale episodic catalog, it's a worthwhile three hours of entertainment. The humor is excellently well-written, and the setup to Chapter Three is more than enough to make up for the stale beginning of the Tales of Monkey Island series. If you haven't taken the plunge into the new Monkey Island, now is a good time to do it.