My favorite is the verbs interface as done in Day of the Tentacle. It is similar to Monkey Island 2 and Indy 4, but with two little tweaks:
- Left click in the inventory defaults to “use”, while right click usually defaults to “look at”.
- The cursor shows a picture of the object you are about to “use”.
Second place are pie menus (aka. coin interface) like in Curse of Monkey Island, Full Throttle. It should have a constant set of verbs though, which is the case in the classic SCUMM adventures.
It is not the case with the pie menus of the special edition interface of Monkey Island 2 and Day of the Tentacle, which only shows the verbs for which scripts exists, simplifying the game in a way not intended by the original design.
Any other interface either requires unnecessarily more clicks or are too simple (not counting the typing interface of course). What were they thinking?
Later SCI games are actually a hybrid, as you can either cycle verbs like in Sam & Max, or you can just click on the verb icons, similar to the verbs in old LucasArts interfaces.
And Larry 7 has another unusual hybrid, combining a popup menu interface with a typing interface.
I also like the inventory in Deponia, which you can open/close with the mouse wheel.
If I were about to design an adventure game, it would have a pie menu with a constant set of verbs. Hotspot names would appear at the cursor. Clicking on “use with” would automatically open the inventory. You could either click the object and move to the verb while holding the button (Amiga style), or click object and then the verb.
Btw. pie menus are usable with mouse, touch screen and game controller equally well, which certainly would be a consideration for a modern game.