Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail
First posted on 18 February 1998. Last updated on 08 April 2011.
|More virgins than one can handle, eh?|
|So this is what a witch looks like!|
|Parlez vous français?|
|Beware of the Black Knight!|
|Check out this guy's beard!|
In the game Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail, your goal is quite obvious—collect the Holy Grail! There are a couple of ways to accomplish this task. You can either select the "Collect the Grail" option from the first screen and the game is over immediately or you can choose to go for it and find your way through a whole bunch of Monty Python silliness. I guess the latter choice should be yours if you do not want to be left with the feeling that you have just wasted a good amount of money buying this game. Even if you have picked the latter option, you still have to count on the amount of time you may end up "wasting" (as a compliment) with this game!
The game plot is very much based on the story from the classic Python movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. After filling out a 125 question registration form, you are to stroll through 9 scenes from the movie and assume the role of King Arthur with one goal in mind—to find the Holy Grail. Of course, as the legendary king you are assisted on your quest by the Knights of the Round Table. There are Lancelot the brave, Galahad the pure, and Bevedere the wise. Along the way you face the killer rabbit, the black knight, the virgins, the witch, and many familiar characters. In each scene you have to collect a number of completely useless items as well as at least one essential one. Be prepared to end up with lots of coconuts and gold coins! Most of the time you have to click around madly in order to find the correct hotspot that hides the needed item. Wherever you click on screen, something almost always happens—some funny sounds may be played, a clip from the movie may be shown, some animations with original voiceovers may pop up. At times you may have to perform some other actions first or return to the scene later to get what you are looking for (assuming you know what you are looking for). Once you fill up your inventory, you have to determine which items are useful and which are not.
Most of the times by using the correct item on the correct spot, you are rewarded with a cut scene from the movie. Other times you must try to get rid of the unwanted items. Some creativity is needed in these cases. Only after you succeed can you cross the Bridge of Death and prepare to see the "King Brian the Wild" scene. This scene is originally shot for the movie but is cut out from the final release of the film. Too bloody? Too silly? You do not have to believe everything that is in the manual. In the end, if you manage to work your way through all the silliness, the Holy Grail shall be yours!
Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail is developed by 7th Level which is also the developer of Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. The project is co-produced by Eric Idle who is one of the original Pythons. His creative inputs are both seen and heard throughout the game. The game interface is truly pythonesque. Each scene is a faithful recreation of a famous scene from the movie. One may even swear that Terry Gilliam must have something to do with it! The graphics are done in the style of Monty Python which uses cardboard cutouts of figures that are then animated on screen. Photoshop is used for both the creation and touchup of the animations. There are approximately 20 video clips taken from the movie. This game is filled with all kinds of Monty Python animations. Strangest things fly around on screen. Clicking on the characters' clothing, buildings, and even vegetations triggers the most unexpected comments or events. Apart from these animated sprites, you meet members of the original movie cast with such realism that you may think they have been cut right out of the film and placed into the game.
In addition to the need of "collecting everything and using everything somewhere else", there is also a strategy component to the gameplay. To pass through the land of Camelot, you must play 5 different strategy games—Spank the Virgin, Catch the Cow, Drop Dead, Burn the Witch, and Knights in Kombat. These mini games are variants of well known strategy games such as Tetris, Follow the Leader, and Whack a Mole. Clues are provided to you the first time you trigger some events when playing these mini games. Characters you meet in the game may help you with your quest. Most of the time, however, they only add to your confusion. Once you finish the game, you can use the central map to return to all the previous spots and try to find the missed sound bits, animations, and items that you have not discovered before. All these extras together can either get on your nerves like nothing else or make you laugh until you drop from your chair!
This game is a must have for all Monty Python fans who want to relive moments from the movie. The graphics and animations are great. The voiceovers and sound effects are perfect. The amount of sound bits fitted into this game is astounding! You can click on the same hotspot many times and keep hearing different responses from one of the Pythons. The quality of the movie snippets is well preserved in this game, even in only 256 colors. All the strategy games are funny adaptations of familiar classics. There are quite a few number of hidden Easter Eggs, adding a treasure hunt feel to the game Have you found the hidden game? How about that invitation to the Oral Sex Society? The amount of silliness is overwhelming! Despite the whimsical theme, there is still a plot in this game—albeit a vague one but still Monty Python. The game interface is very clear and intuitive. You can never die in the game as you always get another chance to replay a scene.
The adventure part of the game is rather short. You can finish the game in only 5-6 hours. On the other hand, the game can be rather long if you want to see everything and find all there is in the game. After you finish this game for the first time, do not even think you have seen it all. I still find new things in this game even after playing it through many times. The only real disappointment for me in this game is the small size of the video snippets. Of course, size and quality are nearly always inversely proportional to each other, so I guess the game designers have to make a choice between them. A few minor faults that are inherent in all adventure games are also present in this title. First is the linearity of the game, in that you have to do certain things in a particular scene before you can proceed to the next one. I fail to see why you cannot explore elsewhere if you are stuck and return later to retry. While there is a cheat code that makes the game completely nonlinear, this limitation should not exist in the first place. Second is the lack of a highlighting cursor. This omission makes finding hotspots very hard. You are forced to go through a tedious process of clicking around on screen until you get lucky. Although this clicking frenzy may get you a barrel of laughs from the triggered responses, the part where you have to get rid of your excess inventory may be too much of a chore. For this part, you have to remove the items one by one. If you have 12 coconuts and 7 knights among a whole lot of other items, the process can becomes very tedious. Last is the somewhat murky game plot. You are only told what your final goal should be. The links between the different scenes and your final goal are far less than clear. If you have never seen the movie, it can be a real challenge to figure out what to do in each scene and how the actions contribute to your quest.
Just like the film on which this game is based, Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail is a great adventure that should not be missed. I love Monty Python and this game is exactly what I expect from a Monty Python game. The hilarious cartoons, the silly sound bits, the stupid conversations, and the addictive mini-games are all here! This title is originally published by 7th Level. The publisher is changed to Panasonic Interactive Media in January 1998. Overall, 7th Level has done a great job in packing the Monty Python style of comedy into this adventure title. If you are a Monty Python fan, Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail is just the one for you.