Monkey Island 2 is one of the greatest games of all time: if there were a canon for video games, it would definitely be in it. Day of the Tentacle, Broken Sword and Grim Fandango might have all come out afterwards, but Monkey Island 2 is probably most people's - especially those who were actively playing them at the time - last great adventure game.
Following in the footsteps of last year's critically (and commercially, presumably) successful re-mastering of the original, LucasArts has given LeChuck's Revenge its own special edition. The main feature, like before, is the addition of high-resolution artwork and dialogue from the staple Monkey Island cast. Weighing in at almost a gigabyte on the consoles (and a few hundred megs for the iPhone version), it's certainly an easier prospect than swapping between 11 floppy discs and dealing with the fiddly (but charming) copy protection system.
The artwork is far more palatable this time around, opting for a chunkier Guybrush (far more apt, if you ask me), vastly superior animations and a better use of colour, which is a far more appropriate fit for the colourful environments of the game. While all of the environments are lovingly updated, it's still Booty Island - a luscious green and deliriously bright town where every day is Mardi Gras - that both sums up the brighter spirit of Monkey Island 2 and stands out as the game's aesthetic highlight.
When you get (re)acquainted with the puzzles, something you might notice - I certainly did - is just how much variety you have with your inventory. If you look at a contemporary adventure game, such as something from Telltale, you'll probably find yourself juggling far less items and, therefore, far fewer possible outcomes to each puzzle. More inventory choice makes Monkey Island 2 a more complex adventure, and subsequently a more frustrating game when you find yourself stuck.
Nothing in Monkey Island 2 is random, but most puzzles manage to create the illusion of seeming like they are. There's a firm logic behind the game, but for a good part of it (especially if you've never played it before) you'll be scrambling to work out the proper logic when you only know half the solution. That's a trapping of the genre, of course, but it can feel oddly difficult and a little bit out of place when played alongside contemporary games.
But nobody is buying Monkey Island 2 and expecting a contemporary game, and as a specific example of one particular (now mostly dead, sadly) genre it effortlessly shows off the best it ever had to offer. Split over four lengthy chapters, Monkey Island 2 offers a wonderful challenge and an inventive set of solutions. I cleared most of the first chapter on pure instinct, but the other three-quarters was more taxing than it had any right to be for someone who's cleared the game countless times already. I've not played it for a good few years, admittedly, but Monkey Island 2 is no pushover.
Which means you'll be investing a sizeable chunk of time searching for magnificent piratey treasure Big Whoop, which Guybrush initially seeks out so he's got a new story to tell around the campfire but eventually scrambles to locate because it's the only thing which can protect him from un-undead zombie pirate (and long-time nemesis) LeChuck. It's daft, funny and impeccably well timed. If you've never played it before, expect to devote a few evenings to see the game through to its conclusion.