Tales of Monkey Island – Slipcase Editions

Tales of Monkey Island – the fifth installment of the Monkey Island series – was released by Telltale Games in 2009, for PC, Macintosh and PlayStation 3, as a collection of five chapters. Individual episodes were available digitally (in some countries, such as Russia, also on individual CDs). The full collection eventually became available on a single DVD, as well as through various digital channels. There isn’t a lot of variance between the releases as far as the main content goes (other than localization). Some differences exist in presentation and extras.

United States (Slipcase)

This version comes in a white cardboard slipcase with artwork by Steve Purcell, and cutouts for the main characters on the back (though I doubt many would choose to destroy the nice slipcase to make paper dolls). Inside there is a standard DVD keep case (different artwork on the front), hosting the game disc and a simple two-page manual booklet. The disc is a hybrid DVD with both PC and Macintosh partitions. Each game chapter can be installed and played separately. In addition to the game(s), there is a concept art gallery, wallpapers and avatars, as well as trailers, commentary videos, and fan-made “I wonder what happens…” videos. All content can be accessed via the autorun launcher. The disc is DRM-free.

This release was originally offered as a pre-order special, but eventually made it to general retail (I believe plain keep case copies were also distributed). Later it was included in the US Deluxe Edition. My copy is one of those later prints, judging by the file timestamps on the disc.

European Releases

Somewhat after the original releases (I believe around 2010), translated versions became available in France and Germany. As far as I understand, the German release included both the translated and original English narration, whereas the French release may have been French-only. The packaging was redesigned somewhat, and the Steve Purcell artwork was now used both on the slipcase and on the DVD case. It appears that only the PC version is included – the Macintosh one may have not been translated. The French packaging mentions the art galleries and videos, so I assume all content is there. The German case does not mention the videos explicitly. I do not own copies of either of these, so I cannot tell for sure.

UK/Australia (Slipcase)

In the UK and Australia, the game had been available digitally from the start, but only made it to retail in 2011 as Tales of Monkey Island: Premium Edition. Not sure what makes it “Premium” (in fact it is not even marked as such on the packaging). The slipcase is slightly more fancy than the US variant and includes a front flap complete with a Velcro button to keep it shut. The case artwork is also different and the merchandise ad was removed from the rear manual cover. The ESRB rating stamps were replaced everywhere with PEGI/PG stamps.

The games themselves are the same English versions (in fact, the files on my discs are binary identical). Extra artwork is included in the Goodies directory, but all videos (trailers, commentary and fan-made) have been removed. This is unfortunate, and it is not like they added anything to take advantage of the saved space. It clearly was not a simple slip of mind, because both the back cover and launcher were updated to exclude them. Maybe it had to do with licensing issues for certain content?

Like the US release, this one is also a PC/Mac hybrid and is also DRM-free. This slipcase version was included in the UK Collector’s Edition, released around the same time.

Russia (Slipcase)

The Russian translation was produced by Buka (Бука) – a major game distributor and localizer in Russia and neighboring countries. The individual chapters were distributed in Russia on jewel-cased CDs starting from late 2010. In 2011 all 5 episodes were released on a single DVD, which was part of Buka‘s “Premium Games” series of game bundles. All shared a common design scheme: a plastic slipcase with some artwork/text applied to it directly, and additional artwork on the inner keep case, visible through transparent sections of the slipcase. It is interesting, but the slipcase can get bent at the edges and is not always flush around the keep case. Each “Premium Games” bundle also included a stereoscopic card the same size as the keep case, with the same image (in this case – Guybrush and Elaine). It looks blurry on photos, but quite nice in real life. The card is actually a sticker, but I suppose most collectors would choose to save it rather than apply it.

All extra content (artwork and videos) from the US release is included, which is a nice bonus. None of it has been translated, though, and it is not available through the launcher – you must browse the disc manually to access it. A physical manual is also missing, but the relevant information is present in a ReadMe.txt installed to the game directory. Unfortunately, the DVD is protected by StarForce DRM, which makes backup copies a bit tricky. On the upside, it is StarForce 5.70, which is compatible with modern Windows. The DVD is PC-only (no Mac partition).


If you are a fan of the Monkey Island series, and want to add physical copies to your collection, then any of these are good. Being DRM-free (other than the Russian version) is excellent. Between the English releases, the main games and artwork gallery are the same, but the US version holds an edge due to the additional videos, which were dropped in the UK/Australia edition.

If you just want the games, then the GOG version is a better deal most of the time, as it is often on sale, includes all the extra goodies, and has the French and German translations built-in. The Russian translation, however, is not included in the GOG package, so the “Premium Games” bundle is probably the best way to go for that edition.

For serious collectors, there are, of course, the Deluxe Edition (US) and Collector’s Edition (UK). They come in a fancy cardboard chest and contain some additional merchandise. I personally could not justify the extra cost that complete copies command on the second-hand market. The US bundle will again be slightly preferable between the two, as it inherits the same extra content advantage of the slipcase release.


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