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Tales Of Monkey Island I went into playing the Sony PlayStation 3 version of Tales of Monkey Island from Telltale Games with a cocky, I-can-solve-anything attitude, but as it turns out, Tales is devilishly difficult.  So much so that I was stumped by the very first major puzzle in "Chapter 1: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal".  Here's the situation: mighty pirate Guybrush Threepwood must use an enchanted cutlass to thwart nemesis LeChuck, but the cutlass must be spritzed with root beer in order to be, y'know, enchanted.  Root beer is available, but Guybrush botches an opportunity and ends up with a shattered bottle.  Where else can one find fizzy root beer on a pirate ship?  No where, of course.  I knew I'd have to improvise, so I tried my luck soaking the cutlass in a barrel of grog.  No dice.  Poking around the ship led me to a way to make the grog fizzy.  I patted myself on the back for solving the first puzzle in the game until I realized that my solution didn't work.  Searching the ship didn't turn up anything else seemingly useful, while talking to the ship's two other occupants offered no helpful clues.  So what was the trick?  After being stumped for a while, I turned to a Tales guide to discover that I had to take a piece of a root off of a plant growing on the deck and drop that into the fizzy grog, turning it into root grog.

It was a bad omen that I needed to resort to a walkthrough to move forward right at the start of the game, and then sure enough I was stumped by the next major puzzle which invoked the puzzling "Lost Woods" maze convention.  I had a treasure map that was intended to lead me through the forest in search of a buried rare action figure, and according to the map I needed to start my journey at a well.  I found the well and spent a while wandering through the forest as guided by the map, but never found the treasure.  After an hour or so, I turned back to the walkthrough and learned that I was meant to use the map on the well itself, not merely start at it.  Had I done that, my repeated trips around the path would have led somewhere useful instead of in circles.  Digging up the treasure revealed that the action figure in question was not rare, but instead quite common.  I would have to disguise it as its rare counterpart.  Once again after more walking back and forth and trying wrong potential solutions, I checked back with the guide and learned the correct answer (long story short, it involved a barrel of ink and a bar fight).

Tales Of Monkey Island This pattern repeated time and again, puzzle after puzzle, and eventually I realized I had not solved a single challenge myself.  Not only that, I'd started relying on the guide full time to lead me point by point through the game as if playing on autopilot.  That was my final clue that as much as I wanted to enjoy Tales, it just was not for me.  My thought processes apparently don't operate on the bizarre out-of-the-box level needed to solve the puzzles, and that has really surprised me since I've enjoyed Telltale's other LucasArts adventure game revival, the equally bizarre Sam & Max, and have been able to solve around 90% of its puzzles in a timely manner without brain-cramping agony.  So, unfortunately, I won't be completing Tales of Monkey Island.  The spirit is willing, but the brain is embarrassingly weak.