#178 The Secret of Monkey Island

Posted: 20th August 2014 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

357th played so far

The_Secret_of_Monkey_Island_artworkGenre: Adventure
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 1990
Developer: Lucasfilm Games
Publisher: LucasArts

Woo! Monkey Island! Maniac Mansion, our last Lucasarts game, wasn’t as much of a success, but I love Monkey Island and have fond memories of the swordfighting in this game being quoted at each other in school (it made sense to us). Not just that, we got the demo of this game (on a floppy disk!) at one point and played it so often at home, trying to get through it. I could swear I remember that piece of the game so much better than the full version I eventually learned.

I missed playing this, and I’m happy it can go back into occasional rotation now it doesn’t have the blog worry attached to it anymore.

Our Thoughts

It has been a while since we last finished a (non-trivial) game before writing it up for the blog, but this time (encouraged by Peter’s love for it once we started playing) we completed it in two nights.

The Secret of Monkey Island is the first Lucasarts adventure game that really uses the humour in their games that we know from previous games such as Grim Fandango and Sam & Max Hit The RoadI believe there are bits of it in earlier games, but here is where a lot of the more serious plot is thrown overboard in favour of having fun.

It starts simple – our hero, Guybrush Threepwood, arrives on the main village of Melee Island, determined to become a pirate(!) While doing so he falls in love, meets the evil sheriff and eventually travels to the titular Monkey Island to save the governor of the island. The first act of the game really just makes a standard ‘finish the checklist’ plot out of this, having you succeed at the three pirating skills – sword fighting, treasure hunting and thievery, with the second act having more of a narrative in it. The way this is set up is typically fun and charming, while simultaneously tying different threads together. This, as much, happens for the different puzzles, with elements from different sections interacting enough that each follows another.

Although there are some adventure game longshots in how to finish the game, a lot of the puzzles are pretty clear. To add to that, the enhanced edition (which we played because I got it as a strangely appropriate Christmas present) has a hint mode. As lame as it sounds to use it (although the hints are vague enough that you work most of it out yourself, and I didn’t use it until the second act), it really is just a good way to avoid walkthroughs when you get as impatient as I am…

This was an amazing game, going back to when I was playing it first twenty years ago, but holding up even now. It was just brilliant for me to get back to this.

Final Thoughts

Aside from the mild annoyance of the second-hand boat salesman and his magical moving chequered shirt (he really did become tiresome after having to haggle with him for the umpteenth time) this is a truly charming point and click adventure.

We will probably be covering the sequel to this game at some point very soon (released only a year later which kinda speaks to how much longer the production time for games has become when compared to the early nineties) so I look forward to seeing where the story of Guybrush Threepwood takes us.

  1. […] a while. As a Lucasarts game, it should be something I’d want to play after the likes of The Secret of Monkey Island or Sam & Max Hit the Road. It’s got a more serious bend and otherwise is unconventional […]

  2. […] for outright failure. The game is constructed so you can’t really miss any clues – the Monkey Island method – and the bits where you can go wrong (with the judge’s patience) are generous […]

  3. […] is really hard to think of just one game that stood out in the last 50 to mark as the best one. The Secret of Monkey Island was a bizarre and fun point-and-click adventure which we managed to finish in one sitting. So too […]

  4. […] honestly surprising to me that it’s been nearly a year since we played The Secret of Monkey Island – we really enjoyed it and breezed through it, helped with me remembering half the […]