Tuesday, 10 December 2019

MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND


If you're anything like me, Christmas isn't Christmas without the Muppets. They've disappeared from public life of late, thanks to an ill-conceived Office-inspired television show that killed any goodwill the modern cinematic outings may have earned. In the mid-90s, however, Jim Henson's loveable creations could do no wrong, and that included the 1996 re-telling of the Robert Lewis Stevenson's quintessential pirate tale. And 'cos we're the Collection Chamber, Muppet Treasure Island (1996, Activision) inevitably saw a computer game tie-in!

Released in the same year as the film, Muppet Treasure Island is a simple adventure for children packed to the brim with puns, skits and genuinely funny jokes that anyone can enjoy. Commendably, there's little that's been repurposed from the film, with any promotional clips saved as bonuses for completing the game. Most of the cast return, including Billy Connely as Billy Bones, Tim Curry as Long John Silver, Kermit the Frog as Captain Smollett and the rest of the Muppet troupe. That's quite the cast and each admirably ham it up whenever they're on screen.

Stevenson the parrot acts as your guide (left) 
as well and your inventory and menu (right)

You play as Jim Hawkins, replacing the young Kevin Bishop in the lead role. You view the world in the first-person where characters address you directly, involving you in what is otherwise a fairly passive game. It plays very much like an animated storybook in that you can click on various items on the screen to see some funny or cute moments play out. Be it smashing crockery, trying on costumes or tickling hanging skeletons, the humour hits much more than they miss.

New to the story is Stevenson the parrot, a character that doesn't really appear in the film. His function here is similar to that of Gonzo and Rizzo in the movie - to bridge the gap between the real world and the Muppet one. Gonzo and Rizzo narrate the movie's story to camera while Stevenson is the in-game help. He'll tell you how to play the game and give you hints if you're stuck (as if you'll ever need him). Either way, the character is fully realised and has every right to co-exist with every one of the other Muppets.

The puzzles are simple, yet zany. Throw pies at unwanted customers (left) 
or find a good use for Gonzo's hook nose (right)

But if you wanna have a goal and follow the story, there are a few puzzles strewn in over the various chapters and locations. Beginning in the tavern, you hunt for a key to unlock a chest that contains the treasure map. This key is randomly placed on each playthrough, though be aware that that's not the only object you'll need to collect here. There are four stone decals to find throughout the game that represent the four points on the compass. Once you reach the titular island, these are necessary to progress and eventually find the treasure.

Anyway, before we get to there we'll first need a pirate crew, so it's off to Portsmouth! Here we can earn money by throwing rotten tomatoes at passers-by, dress in whatever silly costume you want and meet Squire Trelawney (played with hilarious ineptitude by Fozzie Bear). He'll hire a ship called the Hispaniola and along with a newly hired crew, you're off on your adventure!

The game also features a music player (left) and a print studio (right). Both are lacklustre.
Printing is no longer functions and the fun songs from the film are not included. Boo.

After all that, you're stuck with all of the chores. You'll need to load up the lifeboat using Gonzo's hook nose, practice shooting the cannon and make a cherry pie with the peg-legged chef known as Long John Silver. None of this will stump even the youngest of players which is a little disappointing, but there is an optional game of Mahjong on the Captain's desk. It's still simplified and easy but there is more to it than most other puzzles in the game. At least the perfect puns and presentation more than make up for it.

By the time you get to Treasure Island, which will take no more than an hour even if you're hunting all the jokes and easter eggs, you'll come to realise that the 'game' parts of Muppet Treasure Island don't really matter. It's the Muppets themselves. Their cross-generational unoffensive humour will leave you in stitches no matter your age and that in and of itself makes this game a must-play.



To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox running Microsoft Windows 3.1 to get the game working on modern systems. Manual included. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 922 Mb.  Install Size:1.50 Gb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ

Download


Muppet Treasure Island (the game) is © Activision
Muppet Treasure Island (the movie) is © Jim Henson Productions & Walt Disney Pictures
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me


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6 comments:

  1. Yay, it's here! Thank you so much, Biff!! I couldn't ask for a nicer nostalgic surprise to put me in a holiday spirit.

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  2. Lovely. Seeing this does put me in a Christmassy mood.

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  3. Amazing work! I loved this movie growing up, and I had no idea that there was ever a game tie-in. Your work is appreciated!!

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  4. Hey,
    Thank you so much
    Can you do any of the following next?

    Hunter Hunted
    Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen
    CyberGladiators

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  5. Welp, just wanted to say this site is amazing. I found it by googling Dark Earth. You're doing amazing work.

    Now I'll be an ass and make a request. Have you heard of the 2005 stealth action game Chameleon? Its European only I believe. Seems really interesting and probably enjoyable. Just wondering if that's something you could take a look at. Thanks for your time.

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  6. Hello. I kept my old childhood discs and finally got a computer that could run these. However, it crashes when I switch over to the second disc. Anyone have that issue, and know how to fix it?

    ReplyDelete