(This is part of my journey going playing through 1991’s Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)
With the first Monkey Island game finished, I was eager to continue on to the sequel. While the LucasArts team obviously hurried to get a follow-up to this hit adventure game out there — Monkey Island 2 came out a mere year later — they didn’t sacrifice quality in the name of speed. In fact, many gamers consider the second game to be an improvement on the first in many ways. I’ll have to judge that as I play, since I never did finish this one back when I was going through it on my tablet.
So Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge. Starring monkeys, zombies, and some dorky pirate named Guybrush Threepwood. Let’s absolutely do this.
The game begins in media res, with Guybrush hanging from a rope (and holding onto a chest) over a pit of some kind. Elaine, his love interest and fellow adventurer/pirate, comes down and instead of helping out, she asks him how he got to be here. And so the grand flashback begins!
So a couple of changes between the first and second game that I should note. The characters have evolved in their pixelated form, most notably Guybrush, who is now sporting a goatee and much more fine clothes. Also, the special edition offers the ability to play the original with the voiceovers, which I gladly selected. I think both hearing and reading the dialogue gives it more of a punch, especially since a lot of the humor comes from it.
No longer on Melee Island, Guybrush now finds himself on the tastefully named Scabb Island. It’s here that he is trying to regale some grizzled pirates with his escapades from the first game (they aren’t buying it) and revealing that he’s on a quest to find the biggest treasure of them all — Big Whoop. What is Big Whoop? I have no idea, but I bet it’s a big whoop.
There are only two problems with said quest. The first is that Guybrush got stranded on this treasure-less island without a ship, and the second…
…well, the second is a short jerk named Largo LeGrande. He’s a bully who is in charge of this island and shakes Guybrush down for every penny of his well-earned riches. Largo’s also put the titular embargo around the island, which keeps anyone from coming or going. That’s going to put a crimp in Guybrush’s treasure hunting plans.
Well that stinks, especially considering that Scabb Island is a pretty nowhere nothing place. The most prominent settlement, Woodtick, is just a bunch of busted-up ships lashed together. But it’s where Guybrush must begin (all over again), and so it makes sense that there are a lot of flashbacks to the first game. Including, for example, a run-in with the Men of Low Moral Fiber (Pirates)!
To get off the island means dealing with Largo, and the path forward there is to make an ally with a voodoo priestess. Because of course. Actually, she’s chafing under the reign of this bully — who, by the way, used to be LeChuck’s right-hand man — and she is willing to cast a voodoo hex on him. The only problem is that she needs to make a voodoo doll with four specific items of LeGrande, and that means (say it together) SCAVENGER HUNT!
Not fifteen minutes into this adventure, and Guybrush is already digging up graves and desecrating corpses. This scene is absolutely brilliant, by the way. It’s all tense and creepy with lightning flashes as Guybrush excavates the grave — and then when he finds a bone of LeGrande’s ancestor, he holds it up and his pants drop at the same moment. It was really, really hard to capture with all of the flashing light, but trust me, it’s out of nowhere and had me laughing.