Dominic Armato continues to kill my childhood (XBLM version)
Do old school adventure games deserve the imminent come back being promised by Lucas Arts? Definitely, but unfortunately The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition is probably not the best poster child for this comeback. This new version updates the original with new animation and music but fails to deliver with its voice acting.
The problems begin with the lead character Gybrush Threepwood, voiced by Dominic Armato. If you have been a fan of his work in the other recent monkey island installments then you will most likely be pleased, but if you are like me and think that Armato sounds like a 7th grade kid who would get his ass handed to him by a girl let alone another pirate, then you will curse Lucas Arts and wish they would be shut down again, forever. Armato is simply unable to deliver the optimistic naivety that characterized Threepwood in the early Monkey Island games. Rather he goes for an air of insightful sarcasm that just never works. This guy needs to be sacked as there is nothing funny about him.
There are other problems as well, Gov. Elaine doesn't sound very seductive, Stan the used ship salesman is awful, and the swordmaster is a bit lackluster as well. While some of the occasional pirates are decently voiced just as you'd expect a typical post-piratesofthecarribean-mania pirate to be, it fails to really bring you in. Ultimately though, blame must fall on Armato who continues to be pathetic.
The sad part is that Monkey Island has some great jokes, but no one has hired talent to tell them. It's all too bland. In an interview for a God of War II documentary, Terrence Carson (who voices the character Kratos) observed that while traditional acting emphasizes realism and context, video game acting is best when its over the top and exhuberant. I think Armato should take this advice to heart, or just learn to be funnier, or something.
Furthermore, the stooges in charge of this redo have continued the awful decision to draw Threepwood as a stick figure pansy when he was originally depicted not as a particularly buff guy, but still as someone who could physically handle himself. In this new version there needs to be a fourth challenge, eat a steak sandwich. All this has a profound impact on the game, as the main character looks and sounds like a complete dweeb.
If you've played monkey island 4 or 5 and enjoyed them then you'll like this one too. However, if you played the original monkey island a long time ago and enjoyed it but have not kept up with the series, you may be disapointed to learn that Dominic Armato is Killing Your Childhood