Monkey Island 2 Special Edition is a 2010 remake of MI2, the sequel to Secret of Monkey Island. It's a point-and-click adventure game, the ones that would want players to tear hair out. Classic and all. You can switch between remake and original mode on the fly, so you can always beat the game in original mode, if you aren't interested in Special Edition part much. Well, almost, as easy mode was removed from the game.
Monkey Island 2 is quite an excellent sequel. It kept the charm of the first game and improved on it. Main hero grew and got himself a little beard, trying to look like handsome pirate. Moved on with his life, telling everybody of that one time he defeated Le Chuck. The graphics are as beatifully drawn as ever, even if backgrounds weren't cleaned well from pixel artifacts from scanning.
Not only that, but this time around the music adds another layer of amaziness, playing nice melody in each scene, unlike the first game which used soundtrack sparcely. Game used iMuse for soundtrack, which means that it has more complex transition between music and other such manipulation, which, well, in all honesty is not so noticeable outside of the first location in the game. I am not sure which Sound Card style the original uses in this version, but two things: it's not SoundBlaster and it sounds fantastical. Maybe Adlib. Not sure exactly.
As far gameplay, it's the Monkey Island sequel, alright. You get to talk with interesting characters. You will get to choose your own reply in dialogue a lot of times, even though it's never impacts the outcome. Hey, it's cool to choose your own way of saying "I'll be back!". The game is quite linear, as expected, though you can often chooce on your own which line of puzzles you was to beat first, walking around all the locations. Sword'fighting' is gone completely.
And puzzles here are as big of ridiculous nonsense as you could get. The situations and puzzles tend to be quite comedical, but as said, they aren't exactly always good. There is few good ones, and many would make you say "oh, that's clever" after solving. Yes, some of puzzles may appear as clever, but no way that you may figure or make sense before solving them, which is shame, most often because of you have to do something random or it just would have never made sense doing in real life. Using monkey as a wrench because of "monkey-wrench" pun? Clever, kinda, but nonsense.
Quite a shame that most adventure games tend to prefer comedy over common sense. Kinda what killed the whole genre in the end.
The game is divided into four chapters. The first chapter is set on a single island, as you try to drive criminal person related to Le Chuck away off island, all while ruining everybody's else life. In the second chapter, you get two more islands to explore, so you get to ruin more lifes and get to get even more hopelessly lost, trying to search for 4 map pieces, because developers putted puzzles all over the islands. Thr third chapter picks up the pace (and has awesome music for trap) and the last chapter... well, remember how in the first Monkey Island the last chapter was all about kicking butt? In this one your own butt gets kicked with same awesomeness. Quite panic-y and unique experience for adventure game.
And sure thing, about Special Edition itself, which is supposed to improve on MI2 experience. Almost, as it removed "Monkey 2 Lite" mode, easy difficulty of sorts, which is supposed to have less puzzles. They probably decided that the new hints system does the job of helping new players just fine, and it does. As well as ability to highlight objects on screen.
Special Edition feels much more refined and complete than Special Edition of the first Monkey Island. You can still easily switch on a fly between remake and original mode. The new interface is not painful like and goes well with mouse. As usual, improved graphics were added, with cleaned up background art and character art that not everybody may dig. Le Chuck looks weird in this one, like pre-rendered model, with way too smooth walking animation with choppier talking animation. Voice acting was added, with music getting improved as well, which not everybody may like too.
And sure thing there is some new stuff in, as it now got Steam achievements, for people who can actually pass the first puzzles. New developers commentary mode which can be activated in some scenes to listen to. Not too much of it, it looks like they were recording developers as they were replaying the game and then inserted some of their comments into the scenes. There aren't too many of them either, it feels as if some of the more interesting moments were ignored out. But otherwise, jolly. And you get to unlock concept arts too.
And you can play original version with voice acting too, if you feel like it. Though it seemed that disabling voice acting completely would make dialogues go too fast, so just lowering voice volume to zero is more recommended.
So yes, excellent remake of a excellent adventure game, as long as nonsense puzzles is what you enjoy. Or you can just abuse hints system and enjoy comedy.