Monkey Island is a famous series of adventure games and was first released in 1990 on several computer platforms. The first game in the series was created as a collaborative effort among Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman. The Monkey Island series is known for its humor and “player-friendly” qualities. The player cannot permanently place the game in an unwinnable state or cause Guybrush to die without great effort. The point-and-click mouse interface is also very intuitive. Even if you’ve never played a graphic adventure before, it’s extremely easy to understand. Each of the games takes place on fictional islands in the Caribbean around the Golden Age of Piracy sometime between the 17th and 18th centuries, though in the fashion of a theme park: The islands teem with pirates dressed in outfits that seem to come from films and comic books rather than history, and there are many deliberate anachronisms and references to modern-day popular culture.
The series debuted in 1990 with The Secret of Monkey Island on the Amiga, PC, Atari ST and Mac. The game starts off with the main character Guybrush Threepwood stating “I want to be a pirate!” To do so, he must prove himself to three old pirate captains. During the perilous pirate trials, he meets the beautiful governor Elaine Marley, with whom he falls in love, unaware that the ghost pirate LeChuck also has his eyes on her. When Elaine is kidnapped, Guybrush procures crew and ship to track LeChuck down, defeat him and rescue his love.
The second game, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge was released one year lataer in 1991. As Guybrush, with a treasure chest in hand, and Elaine hang onto ropes in a void, he tells her the story of the game. He has decided to find the greatest of all treasures, that of Big Whoop. Unwittingly, he helps revive LeChuck, who is now in zombie form. Guybrush is eventually captured by his nemesis, but escapes with help from Wally and finds the treasure only to find himself dangling from a rope, as depicted at the beginning of the game. As Guybrush concludes his story, his rope breaks and he finds himself facing LeChuck, whom he finally defeats using voodoo.
The Curse of Monkey Island, the third in the series was released in 1997. Following the events of Monkey Island 2, Guybrush Threepwood has regained his adult form and escaped from the zombie pirate LeChuck’s “Carnival of the Damned”. Drifting to Plunder Island, he finds his love interest Elaine Marley under siege by LeChuck. Guybrush is captured and encounters Wally, the diminutive cartographer from the previous game. His actions in escaping cause LeChuck to drop a “voodoo cannonball” which explodes, seemingly obliterating the villain. Guybrush proposes to Elaine using a diamond ring he found in LeChuck’s treasure hold, but Wally reveals that it carries a curse. Elaine is transformed into a gold statue and soon stolen by pirates. Guybrush receives guidance from the Voodoo Lady, who assisted him in his prior adventures. She tells him that to save Elaine, he must replace the ring with a non-cursed one of greater value which can be found on Blood Island.
Escape from Monkey Island, the fourth installment, was released in 2000. When Guybrush Threepwood and Elaine Marley return from their honeymoon, they find that Elaine has been declared officially dead, her mansion is under destruction order, and her position as governor is up for election. Guybrush investigates and unearths a conspiracy by LeChuck and evil real estate developer Ozzie Mandrill to use a voodoo talisman, “The Ultimate Insult,” to make all pirates docile in order to turn the Caribbean into a center of tourism.
Tales of Monkey Island is the fifth installment within the series. Unlike other installments, Tales is an episodic adventure consisting of five different episodes. During a heated battle with his nemesis, the evil pirate LeChuck, Guybrush unwittingly unleashes an insidious pox that rapidly spreads across the Caribbean, turning pirates into zombie-like monsters. The Voodoo Lady sends Guybrush in search of a legendary sea sponge to stem the epidemic, but this seemingly straightforward quest has surprises around every corner.
Return to Monkey Island will be the sixth installment overall, a joint collaboration between Gilbert’s Terrible Toybox studio and Disney-owned Lucasfilm Games. The game will continue the story from the ending of LeChuck’s Revenge, while bringing on some elements from subsequent games, such as Murray the Demonic Talking Skull. The will game will be released somwhere in 2023.
The Secret of Monkey Island is without doubt one of the best graphic adventures of all times! From the humour, the memorable characters and dialogue, the graphics, the incredible music, the puzzles, etc. The Secret of Monkey Island is a true classic that is not only a great introduction to the genre but it’s still a very influential game. Lucasarts stroke pure gold with this one and cemented its position as a powerhouse among videogame developers. Return to Monkey Island represents a future for one of gaming’s most beloved and influential franchises, one that fans have been waiting for a very long time.
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