(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.)
The quest to obtain the four pieces of the treasure map to Big Whoop is, as would be expected in such a game, a circuitous and meandering path through a whole lot of nonsense. Including a visit to a costume shop (with a Sam and Max outfit!) where another adventure game staple rears its weird head: making the protagonist cross dress. I don’t know WHY this was such a trope in the 80s and 90s, but it was, and Guybrush is about to strut his feminine self to get into a Mardi Gras party and snatch Elaine’s map piece.
In a funny bit, when told that he has to wear the costume to go to the mansion, Guybrush up and tries to change on the spot in front of a lady. I’ve been noticing that the team added a lot of custom animations and emotes for very specific circumstances, and those touches are what makes these pixel art toons come alive.
The party itself was a bit of a disappointment. Really expected more jokes and weirdness, but it ended up being a lot of sleazy, creepy people standing around muttering sleazy, creepy things. Basically, a YouTube comments section.
Finally, Elaine and Guybrush reunite, apparently after a falling out that happened between the first and second game. My daughter was playing this with me, and she fell into a fit of giggles when Guybrush starts using all of these pet names for Elaine. I might have laughed as well.
The quest for the four map pieces sees Guybrush going to crazy, roundabout lengths to succeed. At one point, he picks up a dog to use later, stuffing it inside of his coat. I thought that this was a particularly brilliant sendup to the “endless pockets” inventory systems of adventure games. Why not stuff a dog in there? He’ll be fine.
Following a failed attempt to climb a tree and grab a map piece fluttering about up there, Guybrush falls down, hits his head, and starts hallucinating… his parents? It’s so out of nowhere, they just show up and say they want to help him…
…and then turn into dancing skeletons singing the bone song while Guybrush writes this down because it’s important for some reason. It’s all very surreal and raises many questions about Guybrush’s family, all of which go unexplained when the game returns to normal. Okay then.
Guybrush’s streak of being an absolute jerk to fairly nice people in this game continues as he saws off the (peg) leg of one of the lazy pirates. My daughter thought that the pirate freaking out over his leg and calling for a doctor was the height of hilarity. “It’s just a WOODEN leg, you silly!” she yelled at the screen.
And hey, Stan’s back! Instead of selling used boats, in this game he’s selling used… coffins. Discount coffins. Guybrush tricks him into one of his floor models and then nails it shut on him. If you play this game, you have to stick around for a good minute or so to hear all of Stan’s freak-out quotes. Poor Stan, you deserved better.
Guybrush also cheats at a spitting contest (!), earning double disapproval from any moms or stern aunts evaluating this game’s moral character. Counting Largo’s loogie, this is the second time that spit has emerged as a major plot element in this game.
Guybrush’s famed ability to hold his breath for 10 minutes comes into play as he goes on a bit of a shipwreck diving expedition. I actually expected a lot more out of this part than we got, kind of felt rushed.
But by far the best part of this play session was reanimating the ashes of a corpse to get at the map fragment he was holding onto when he burned up. The guy is so weirdly chipper for a temporary zombie, even if my daughter thought he was incredibly creepy.