(This is part of my journey going playing through 1997’s The Curse of Monkey Island. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)
I don’t know if you have a gaming bucket list or not, but on mine, I really want to finish certain classic adventure game series that I had never played or played fully through. I’ve accomplished this with Space Quests 1-6 already, while series like King’s Quest and Monkey Island remain undone. And with that motivation, I’m going to be making my way through the goofiness that is 1997’s The Curse of Monkey Island.
As we start this latest tale, Guybrush Threepwood is found floating out at sea on a bumper car. There’s a great running gag here where he’s writing about his wishes for fresh water, bananas, and even grog with a fresh chicken while those things float by without him noticing.
Clearly, there’s a huge visual change here from the first two Monkey Island games. We’re no longer in pixelart territory, but rather a very whimsical cartoonish, hand-drawn style. Other than the flatness of the characters, I really dig it.
The game proper begins in a pirate ship where Guybrush has to figure a way out. Good ol’ Wally the cartographer is firing a cannon and I’m over here trying to figure out how to interact. There’s a new type of context-sensitive mouse interface that uses a gold doubloon to show the different actions you can do on items. It’s very in-character.
Wally explains why he’s working for the feared undead pirate captain LeChuck — namely, empowering motivational seminars and audio books-on-parrot (“Which taught me all the key pirate phrases, like ‘Who’s a pretty bird?'”). I can’t help it, I’m already laughing out loud.
Guybrush talks Wally out of the pirating life and proceeds to use the cannon to blast all of the boats of undead invaders heading toward the island fort. One of the survivors of this massacre is Murray, a rather evil-minded talking skull who looks really, really good in hats.
“How can you see without eyeballs?”
“How can you walk around without a brain?”
Right as Guybrush uses a cannon to blast his way out of the hold, LeChuck is messing around with an enchanted cannonball — and the two events end up capsizing the ship.
Guybrush, a man of action, cuts his way out of the upside-down ship with a diamond ring and reunites with his one true love — Elaine! Cue a speech that had me giggling once again, especially as Guybrush ends it with a marriage proposal (while wearing a floatie).
Even Wally survived! And it’s a good thing he did, too, because he notes that this particular ring has a rather nasty curse on it, but of course Guybrush wouldn’t be dumb enough to propose with that. Right? Right.
And thus as Elaine winds up to smack Guybrush for being an idiot, she turns into a giant gold statue. No, Guybrush, she’s not going to be happy about this. Very few women would be.