This had new designers, a radically different art style, and voice acting for the first time. And since the original creator, Ron Gilbert, had left LucasArts, the new team had to come up with their own take on the series. Which was all a bit worrying to the fans, especially as the new guys would have to resolve Monkey Island 2's now famous mindfuck of an ending, which I'm going to spoil for you after the next picture. You have been warned.
Curse of Monkey Island skips the theme parks and explanations for now and instead jumps ahead to show Guybrush lost at sea in a bumper car. At least I think this is meant to be Guybrush, he's looking a little different this time.
|The Secret of Monkey Island (MS-DOS)|
I still think it's a bloody shame this cover was replaced by new art for the special edition. Wait, what game am I meant to be talking about again?
Cue the Monkey Island theme! Here, listen to it yourself on youtube while you read if you want.
This whole scene has far better animation than I was expecting, but I'm not entirely sold on her voice acting to be honest. I imagined the character being more deadpan.
LeChuck has had a bit of a thing for Elaine since the start of the series, and now Guybrush is out of way there's nothing to stop him from turning her into his undead bride. Little does he know Guybrush has escaped his mindfuck trap (somehow) and has found his way here (accidentally)!
Oh wait, he's just noticed him floating by in a bumper car.
The game uses a mouse driven point and click interface like the earlier games in the series, but this time holding the left mouse button over an object brings up this verb coin, letting me pick up/use it, examine it, or talk to/eat/etc. it.
|The Secret of Monkey Island (Amiga)|
Damn, you can really see how far graphics had come in six years. Little pixel people to proper cartoon characters.
Fortunately Guybrush can be a real bastard, so this shouldn't take long.
Using the ramrod pole to hook the floating arm revealed that it was still holding a sword. Hey, that gives me an idea: if I cut the cannon restraint rope and fire the cannon, it'll blast through the door giving me an escape route!
I was stuck here forever basically clicking every object I had on every other object until I solved it through sheer persistence. Turns out that the trick was to use the diamond ring on the porthole to cut a hole in the glass and flood the ship. Honestly, I doubt that would have ever occurred to me, which isn't a great sign.
I suppose now I have to search this island for some sort of voodoo anti-curse.
She just offered to show Guybrush pictures of her kids in case you're wondering about my current set of dialogue responses. This is a good example of a 'you have no choice' set of choices that actually works without feeling like a cheat. Of course whatever I pick he just says "perhaps later", he's not that much of a bastard.
SOME VOODOO CHAT LATER.
So I guess I need to look for a ship dealership then?
My plan was to put something on the comb that freaks him out somehow, but I've searched this whole island twice over and all I've found is a pair of helium balloons, a pin, leaflets, a skeleton arm, a gross jawbreaker, a bag of wooden nickels, and an ember on a stick. Solving this is going to drive me nuts.
ENDLESS TEDIOUS WANDERING AROUND LATER.
Anyway, I've found some head lice (ew) so it turns out I was definitely on the right track, I just didn't have the right pieces yet.
Captain Blondebeard here runs a restaurant specialising in chicken meals, but he claims to be terrorised by a horrific monster seeking vengeance for his treatment of poultry...
Clearly I must save the poor ex-pirate from this demon bird to earn his undying thanks and get him onto my crew.
They responded by ganging up on me, covering me with tar and feathers, then kicking me off the ship into shark infested waters. I think I can blame this one on poor planning and prep.
SOME PUZZLES LATER.
In case you're wondering, yeah GameFAQs actually was around when this game came out. I know I was surprised to find that out.
The best puzzles are the ones you realise were totally obvious in hindsight, and this is the opposite of that for me.
With a great deal of trial and error I eventually figured out the solution, and it involved a bucket of ice water, towel whipping, and a bottle of cooking oil. But I'm still calling bullshit on this puzzle. Feel free to leave a comment telling me I'm dumb if you disagree.
But while LeChuck was celebrating, poor Guybrush ended up getting his hard earned map stolen by a certain vengeful and now very bald pirate captain. Funny how manipulating everyone for his own ends eventually bit Guybrush in the ass.
This minigame lets me steer the ship around with one mouse button, and fire cannons with the other. The trick is to bullseye the other guy a few times without letting him turn his broadside to face me.
Sadly insult swordfighting hasn't gotten any more interesting since the last time. The trick to it is to throw out an insult, and see if the opponent knows the response. If they come up with a cutting reply, Guybrush adds it to his dialogue list and is knocked back, if they don't, they get knocked back a step instead. Too many failures and other fighter wins and claims the treasure. So basically I just have to sail around and fight people until I've learned all the insults and responses. I have to admit I'm not finding it that enthralling.
Anyway I should quit here before I end up with another thirty screenshots, because I could just keep going with this. In my opinion the game is a genuine classic so far and definitely worthy of the Monkey Island name, thought it's also a genuine pain in the ass at times. But when I compare it to other adventure games I've played lately like Lure of the Temptress and Curse of Enchantia, it utterly demolishes them in every department. The puzzles are reasonably logical most of the time, the dialogue is often hilarious, there's no way to die or get hopelessly stuck, it has is some of the best music and voice acting I've ever heard in a video game, and the only thing dated about the graphics is the resolution and colour depth. I mean it's basically a cartoon, and I could believe these backgrounds and animation frames still exist in a form that could be scanned in HD and put back together for a modern special edition.
In conclusion: this is one of the good ones.
If you've got any thoughts about Curse of Monkey Island, what I just wrote about it, which Monkey Island game had the best looking Guybrush character, or just want to talk about the site in general, you're welcome to leave a comment.