I finished The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition. Wow. There's some negative things in this update, but it's mostly really really good!
The first negative thing I noticed was the reworked interface. It's not fun having to click through verb icons and then again through inventory icons, especially when you have to combine two items in the inventory together and have to reopen the inventory again to do it. This is simplified by memorizing the keyboard shortcuts for the verbs, which made it a whole lot less frustrating for me, but I would have preferred complete point-and-click. Our setup requires you to have the keyboard on your lap, so I usually put the keyboard up on the computer and just use the mouse or joystick in games.
The most frustrating bit was that the clickable areas usually didn't match up with the arrow, especially in the word selections in menus and in dialog trees. Again, the frustration was lessened by the ability to use the keyboard to choose the options (like using the d-pad on the SegaCD version). I'm glad they included alternative solutions that made the shortcomings more bearable, but hopefully the next Special Edition will have these shortcomings fixed so the band-aid solutions won't be needed.
These two short comings are way outweighed in my opinion by the art! I was looking at The Secret of Monkey Island with the rose colored glasses of nostalgia all these years. I used to think that the art hadn't aged to the point of being unbearable by new gamers, but after seeing the new art...
It looks so nice! They really did a great job of making the new high definition art keep the spirit of the old art. The cartoon characters are great, and with the exception of Guybrush's hair (I knew I wouldn't like it, but I hoped I'd get used to it. I still didn't after the game was over. The closeups were particularly bad) all of the characters are on-spot with their original counterparts.
I really liked the voice acting. It's great hearing Dominic Armato say the words I've read so many times over the years. He did a really great job. His delivery is great. I especially liked how the wrong answers in insult sword fighting had different voice acting than the right answers, making Guybrush sound unsure when he said them. That added a whole new dimension to insult sword fighting, and wasn't something I expected with the Special Edition.
The live instruments sound great. I really prefer this version of the songs, and I really liked the PC CD version songs a lot already. The background sounds in the Scumm Bar, on the ghost ship, and when there is no music was a nice touch.
I have to say that even with the control issues, I won't go back to the old Monkey Island except when I get an Xbox 360 again and play the achievement that requires you to play the classic version.
I can't wait for more special editions from LucasArts!