In the fifth and final episode of Tales of Monkey Island, developer Telltale Games raises some uncomfortable questions about pirates, zombies, religion and life after death. Also potentially necrophilia.
The story starts off with Guybrush klepto-ing his way out of his own grave ("What's all this dirt doing here? Maybe I'll just hang on to some..."). How he got there is covered in the previous four episodes, which we won't spoil for you here. After passing by a Grog vending machine and some other promising-looking puzzle pieces, he encounters the Boatman — that infamous character out of legend who ferries the dead on to whatever awaits them.
In Guybrush's case, this is Crossroads — where Pirates go to die or be half-dead. With a Shred of Life in his pocket and a thin hope that he can get back to his body to be reunited with his wife Elaine, our hero goes on questing in Crossroads essentially the same way he did when he was alive.
Things don't get interesting 'til Guybrush actually discovers the way to return to his body. The demo master behind our tiny sample of Episode 5 didn't reveal how this comes about exactly (something to do with a locket) — but rather jumped ahead to a point in time when Guybrush's ghost was able to communicate to some buddies about why his corpse was being used as a dartboard. Strangely, the pirates were glad to see Guybrush in his corporeal form, but when he somehow got back into his own body, they freaked out and attacked him.
Clearly, this whole life after death thing is more complicated than zombie movies have led us to believe. If Guybrush being back in his body doesn't make his body undead, does that make him a standard zombie or some other iteration of undead? And where does this put his relationship with Elaine because pirates probably have laws about necrophilia.
Our demo ended with one final attempt to repossess Guybrush's body — which landed us in jail this time — where Guybrush got kicked out of his corpse after spending too long in the land of the living. Because the game was in its early days of development, there were no fight scenes to see. But we were told to expect a "good, classic boss fight" at the end of Episode 5.
As for the future of series, Telltale isn't telling. They do intend on releasing the full box copy for PC relatively soon after Episode 5 goes live and they said we can expect that we'll "be hearing from" Telltale "very soon" about their next big project. Also, they did say they were "committed to getting as many things on as many platforms as possible" in response to a question about an Xbox Live release for Tales of Monkey episodes. But again, nothing definite.
And for all you Wii fans out there still waiting for 1) a box copy of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People and 2) a release date on the WiiWare version of Episode 5, Telltale says 1) blame Nintendo and 2) it'll be out whenever Nintendo approves it.
Tales of Monkey Island Episode 5: Rise of the Pirate God is out for PC December 8.