The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition Impressions: Fall in Love All Over Again

There's something very important you need to know about The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition: It may look new, but the classic, the original you love is always just a button push away.

The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition is coming to the PC and Xbox Live with high-definition, hand-drawn graphics presented in 1080i and a new easier to use interface. But the original point and click adventure classic will always be running in the background.

At any time in the game you can press a button and Monkey Island will immediately switch over to the original, pixelated version running on the SCUMM engine.

While the game itself holds up nicely to the test of time, the biggest draw for me will be the ability to hot-swap between original and reimagined versions of the game. Every single scene has been upgraded, with new backdrops, new animations and that great hand drawn look. It's hard to resist the temptation to pop back and forth between both versions to see what the developers have done to each and every scene.

The game remains mostly faithful to the original, though the new controller configuration makes it a bit easier to get through the game. One trigger lets you pull down a verb list, another lets you access your inventory. Special Edition also adds a new three-level hint system, the final level of which is a bright yellow arrow showing players where to go next.

And the developers haven't forgotten about the many hardcore fans of the original. The game is now voice acted by the cast of The Curse of Monkey Island and the developers managed to put a key figure deleted from the original back in the game.

Spiffy, the dog at the Scumm Bar, showed up on the back of the original box, but had to be cut from the actual game due to space. Now he's back, though mostly as decoration.

Another neat touch: The loading icon for the game is the picture of a floppy disc.