As a gamer who started playing computer games in the days of DOS, I remember the time when the fun-factor of a game was the most important part. You couldn’t take a mediocre game and make it sell with awe-inspiring graphics. Your game just had to be really fun to play.
LucasArts did an amazing job with their adventure games. They had good stories, interesting puzzles, and often some pretty funny writing. As far funny writing goes, Monkey Island took the cake. You played as Guybrush Threepwood, a wannabe pirate who ends up trying to save the Governor from the Ghost Pirate LeChuck. Sword fights are won by out-insulting your opponent (“You fight like a dairy farmer!”) and conversations are directed using dialog choices (“Look behind you! A three-headed monkey!”).
Xbox Live Arcade has been making a habit of re-releasing older games from different platforms (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is one of my favorites) nearly as is. However, The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition is an overhauled version of the original. The graphics have been redone, voices added to replace the original text, and the original music has been spectacularly redone, creating a modern experience for this classic game.
Users familiar with the original SCUMM system will have no problem getting around the newer interface: use the D-Pad to select your action (push, pull, pick up, use, etc.) and move the left stick to move the cursor around the screen. For added throw-back action, press the Back button to revert to the original graphics, music, and interface.
Overall, the game is great and worth the 800 Space Bucks Microsoft charges.