Posted in Retro Gaming

Secret of Monkey Island: Cruising the Caribbean

(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.)

Finally off of Melee Island, Guybrush surveys his just-barely-adequate ship and addresses the crew. He quickly finds out that the three crew members are much more inclined to cruise around the Caribbean and work on their tans than to head off to Monkey Island to rescue Elaine.

With a lazy mutiny in progress, Guybrush has to figure out a way to get to Monkey Island(tm). A journal from the boat’s previous captain mentions some sort of toxic stew that made the crew pass out and then somehow appear at the island, so that’s probably the route needed. Guybrush goes about the ship looting left and right, including a cabinet full of (naturally) Cap’n Crunch cereal. With a toy inside. I love the observation about how this cereal cut up our mouths because it really, really did. Why did we eat it?

After concocting a really bizarre stew, a voodoo thing knocks Guybrush out and takes the ship to Monkey Island(tm). He’s pretty happy to be there — what with the potential of rescuing Elaine — but the crew continue to sunbathe without a care in the world.

In a really terrific cutscene and a callback to the circus, Guybrush dons a pot on his head and fires himself from a cannon onto the shore. No going back for now!

Monkey Island(tm) seems to suffer from the late game curse — that is, the early part of a given game is treated to a lot more care and detail than the crap-we-need-to-rush-to-ship-this back half. So it kind of feels underwhelming to be in this sparsely populated setting after the bustling fun of Melee Island(tm).

On the other hand, there’s a reclusive hermit named Herman Toothrot (the previous captain of Guybrush’s ship who got stranded here 20 years ago), a friendly monkey, and a tribe of big-headed cannibals who are giving up red meat for the time being in an effort to stay healthy.

So most of the action here is slowly unlocking areas via object puzzle solving, which is just as thrilling as it sounds. Probably the most fun puzzle was using a catapult to launch a rock at a banana tree (or, if clumsy, Guybrush’s own boat). The only thing that kept me moving forward at a fast pace was the burning desire to know the truth — what is the secret of Monkey Island?

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