Posted in Retro Gaming

Secret of Monkey Island: Piranha poodles

(This is part of my journey going playing through 1990’s Secret of Monkey Island. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

Now that Guybrush has acquitted himself as both a treasure hunter and a sword master, the only trial standing between him and legitimate piracy is stealing the governor’s idol! This being an adventure game, we’re going to have to go about it in a very roundabout way. So I make friends with Otis, the local prisoner who certainly doesn’t remind me of that scene from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

The governor’s mansion is being guarded by a pack of leashed piranha poodles. Seriously. That’s how the game describes them. The only way to get past them is to toss over a hunk of rancid meat, which… kills them.

Sorry, which PUTS THEM TO SLEEP. This popup notice made me laugh so hard that I shot ginger ale through my nose. Fizzy ginger nasal passages, I have.

To one-up itself, Secret of Monkey Island then goes into one of the funniest scenes in the game. As Guybrush starts looting around the governor’s mansion, the oppressive sheriff Fester Shinetop (because he’s bald, see?) shows up and tries to nab our hero. The two then go “offstage” — that is, out of sight behind some doors.

Then for a couple of minutes, the game completely takes over with a ridiculous cutscene in which all manner of absurdity is going on but the player is only given clues as to the specifics with brief dialogue (“NOT THE RED BUTTON!”), sound effects, and the parser, which keeps typing out, well…

Stuff like that. Guybrush is picking up weird things left and right, diving in and out of the room through a hole in the wall, and ultimately finding himself victorious.

It’s probably the one part of the game that I’d recommend the special edition, if just for the hilarious voice acting and sound effects. The gopher horde, in particular. I showed this scene to my nine-year-old son and he had a fit of giggles before it was all said and done.

I trade Otis — the prisoner — some gopher repellent for a carrot cake, which (unfortunately for him, fortunately for me) has the file I need to get the idol. Back to the mansion for more wacky fights!

People, this is getting TOO SILLY. I totally approve.

Guybrush gets the idol, but Shinetop corners him soon thereafter. Is this the end of our daring hero?

Not quite! The governor steps out of her office to intervene — and it’s love at first sight. Well, gibberish and foolhardy staring at first sight. Elaine Marley calls Guybrush’s face “sweet” while he stammers and is incapable of any real conversation. Guess he’s not enough of a man for this firecracker of a leader!

Even though Elaine lets Guybrush off the hook, Fester there accosts him a second time and makes for the pier. He alludes to sinister “plans for the governor” that he doesn’t want interrupted, and with that, he kicks a weighted Guybrush off the side to drown.


(it’s not, actually)

3 thoughts on “Secret of Monkey Island: Piranha poodles

  1. This is the one part of the game where you can die. IF you just hang out underwater for more than 10 minutes.

  2. @ Gobsmacked – Which is one of the little things showing the genius of those games’ devs imho.

    They let Guybrush drop a line earlier in the game (when asked about any special abilities he might have) that he can hold his breath for ten minutes, and due to that I and everyone I know totally sat there and waited for those ten minutes to pass just to see if it was true.

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