Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Game 43: The Secret of Monkey Island - Insult to Injury

Guybrush Threepwood Journal Entry 5: "Yes! I defeated the Sword Master and passed the second trial in the process! I really need to thank Captain Smirk for teaching me how to use the sword, but more importantly, for letting me know the true secret to combat success...being a complete smart ass! I'm really close to becoming an official pirate now, particularly as I successfully broke into Governor Marley's house. If only I could get my hands on that damn idol..."

It sure sounds more important than Stan's Used Boats!

It was during my last post that I saved myself any further embarrassment by figuring out what the deal was with the red herring. This breakthrough allowed me to pay the troll’s toll, and therefore to cross the bridge that was separating me from the rest of the island. I was feeling pretty excited by that stage, as I felt I was close to finding Captain Smirk and getting the sword-fighting training that I needed to defeat the Sword Master. Before any of that though, it was time to check out Stan’s Previously Owned Vessels. I vaguely remembered Stan playing a significant role at some stage of the Monkey Island series, but as with everything else, my brain just wouldn’t let me grab onto anything specific. Stan didn’t appear to be around right now though, as there was a sign on the door that said “WELCOME TO STAN’S PREVIOUSLY OWNED VESSELS! I’m off searching the globe right now for the finest in previously-owned marine transportation. Have a look around, I’ll be right back!” I tried opening the door anyway, but it was locked. There were a bunch of boats surrounding the little shack, but I decided to concentrate on the vending machine with the word “Grog” on it, clearly taking off the style of the Coca Cola logo. Looking at that machine gave me a rundown of the items held within: “Grog, Diet Grog, Cherry Grog, Grog Classic, Caffeine Free Grog, and Root Beer.

Ooohhhh, I've got to get myself some of the caffeinated stuff!

I tried using my pieces of eight on the grog machine, but no matter how many times I did it, a coin would enter the machine and nothing would come out. Hmmm…what would I do in the real world if this occurred? I’d give the thing a good shove! I tried pushing and pulling the machine, but still no success. It was at this point that I thought about trying to use some of my inventory items on other items I already had. I hadn’t actually considered doing this yet, so thought perhaps something might stand out. Interestingly, when I used the yellow flower petal on the stewed meat, it combined into one item called “meat with condiment”. This certainly wasn’t going to help me with the grog machine situation, but it got me thinking about the dogs outside Governor Marley’s house. I’d been able to throw the meat to the dogs, but they’d simply eaten it with no ill effects. Perhaps adding the flower petal to the mix would have an effect? The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced it would work, and yet I couldn’t recall being told what exactly the yellow flowers could be used for (only that it was illegal to pick them). I was keen to go back and try out my new theory, but thought I would check out everything there was to interact with on this screen first. There were a variety of boats to investigate, but Guybrush’s descriptions ranged from “Dull, dull, dull” to “Now that’s a nice-looking vessel”. I imagine this last one would be the one I would eventually buy passage on.

What's stopping me from just taking it now? I'm a pirate after all!

There didn’t seem to be anything else to do, so I raced back to Governor Marley’s and gave the meat with condiment to the deadly piranha poodles. They ate it as before, and then quickly passed out! LucasArts made sure I didn’t feel offended by their fate. “IMPORTANT NOTICE: These dogs are not dead, they are only SLEEPING. No animals were harmed during the production of this game.” With the dogs finally out of the way, I entered the house for the first time! Inside I found a lavishly furnished hallway, with a priceless vase on a table and a painting of a man on the wall. When I took a closer look at the painting, Guybrush had the following to say: “I don’t recognise the man, but that looks like the dog in the bar.” That seemed important, but I couldn’t think of how the dog in the SCUMM Bar could play a role in proceedings. Further along the hall I found a small library, but couldn’t find any way to interact with the books within. There were two doorways leading off the room (excluding the main entrance), with one being right near the front and the other at the top of the stairs at the back. I decided to try opening the one towards the front, and on finding it unlocked, walked through into the room beyond. As I did so, Fester Shinetop waltzed through the front door, clearly aware that I’d broken in. “This looks like a job for Fester Shinetop!” He followed me through the door...

Somehow sleeping piranha poodles still sounds eminently dangerous.

The Governor sure is loaded!

Surely there's time for a couple of chapters of Treasure Island!

I just noticed the connection to Uncle Fester, what with the bald head and all.

In an interesting turn of events, I wasn’t witness to all that occurred in the room beyond. It was clear that Fester and Guybrush got into a lengthy scuffle, with words like “WUMP”, “OW” and “KABOOM” flying across the screen Batman style. This could have been quite a frustrating approach, as I couldn’t see what was happening, but it turned out to be a classic moment in adventure gaming. I was able to see exactly what Guybrush was doing by watching the actions he selected in the menu. It’s tough to get across just how funny it all was, but I’ll give a rundown of the main events. Command: “Look at tremendous yak.” Result: “It’s a big, ugly, hairy yak wearing some wax lips.” Command: “Push tremendous dangerous-looking yak.” Result: “I can’t move it.” Command: “Pick up staple remover.” Command: “Use staple remover on tremendous dangerous-looking yak.” At this point, Guybrush crashed through the wall, grabbed a book from the library called The Manual of Style, then dived back into the action. Command: “Pick up wax lips.” Command: “Pick up gopher repellent.” Command: “Use gopher repellent with gopher.” Command: “Use gopher repellent with another gopher.” Command: “Use gopher repellent with gopher horde.” Command: “Use gopher repellent with funny little man.” Command: “Look at fabulous idol.” Result: “It’s beautiful!” Command: “Open lock.” Result: “I can’t open it.” Command: “Pick up heavy chair.” Command: “Use heavy chair with sheriff.” After all this, Guybrush came out through the door at the top of stairs, announcing the status of the situation: “That should hold him for a while! If only I had a file I could get the idol!”

I guess pulling the wax lips off required a fair amount of force!

A gopher horde! We're all screwed!

Looks like my battle with Shinetop is To be Continued...

So after all that, I’d gained a staple remover, a Manual of Style, some wax lips, and some gopher repellent. If I was going to steal the idol, which was the purpose of my visit to Governor Marley’s house, I was going to have to get my hands on a file to pick the lock. I had a pretty good idea what one of the new items could be used for, so I made my way back to the prison. I gave the gopher repellent to Otis. He was grateful: “Hey, this might work on the rats! Thanks! Here’s the cake.” Cool, so I now had a carrot cake. What on earth was I going to do with that?! I looked at the other items I’d gained, trying to think of where they might be useful, but I came up with nothing. Oh well, they could wait. There was still one location on the map that I hadn’t visited yet, which was the house just to the east of Stan’s Previously Owned Vessels. I made my way over there, and was thrilled to find the sign out the front read: “Captain Smirk’s Big Body Pirate Gym. Sword Training 30 Pieces o’ eight. Canon Firing 160 Pieces o’ eight (balls extra). Grappling Hook 130 Pieces o’ eight (hook extra)”.  Finally I’d found Captain Smirk, and would hopefully be able to get the combat training I so badly needed! I knocked on the door, and Captain Smirk answered in his own special way: “What do you want, you wimpy little spineless maggot?” I informed him that I wished to be trained to defeat the Sword Master. It was clear that he doubted my potential. “Better than the Sword Master? You? Ha ha ha! You could never be HALF the sword fighter Carla is.”

Gee, thanks!


That may be so, but I do have one thing you don't have buddy!

I spent the next period of time convincing the Captain that I did have what it takes to defeat the Master. This involved repeatedly saying “I do so!” to his recurring “You do not!” until finally he conceded that he liked my spirit. I gave him the 30 pieces of eight the sign demanded, and then showed him my sword. I was ready, so we went inside his gym and got started immediately. Guybrush waved the sword around in an attempt to impress his trainer. It didn’t: “Boy! You fight like a dairy farmer! I usually don’t waste my time with vermin like yourself. But seeing as this LeChuck thing has put a cramp on business, I’ve got no choice. I need the money.” Captain Smirk then informed me that he was going to have to take extreme measures. He was going to have to put me up against...THE MACHINE!  He wheeled out a device that appeared to be made up of a spring-loaded boxing glove, a bucket, a can, and a monkey! Guybrush trained against The Machine for many hours before finally Smirk informed him that he was “starting to get the hang of it”. A few hours more and he was actually getting good! It was only then that Captain Smirk informed him of the real trick to combat. “Now I’m gonna let you in on the true secret of sword fighting. Sword fighting is kinda like making love. It’s not always what you do, but what you say. Any fool pirate can swing a sharp piece of metal around and hope to cut something, but the pros, they know just when to cut their opponent with an insult.”

A particularly skillful and vicious dairy farmer right?!


Really? Well, I guess that Sword Master was a bit of alright!

I might not recall very much about my original play through of The Secret of Monkey Island all those years ago, but I do remember trying to defeat pirates with cutting insults. Good times were ahead! Captain Smirk decided to test out my insult ability by repeating his previous affront: “You fight like a dairy farmer.” Sadly, the four responses I had to choose from were 1. “Oh yeah!?” 2. So’s your mother. 3. “I am rubber, you are glue...” and 4. “You must be thinking of someone else, I am not a farmer.” Clearly none of these options were going to do me any good, but I chose to bring his mother into it. As expected, my return “insult” didn’t impress him, and Smirk taught me that I should have responded with something like: “How appropriate. You fight like a cow.” He threw another insult at me: “Soon you’ll be wearing my sword like a shish-kabob!” I could now choose the cow response he’d just taught me, but that obviously wasn’t going to work in this instance. I chose it anyway, and after some justified mockery, Smirk told me I should have said: “First you’d better stop waving it around like a feather-duster.” He suggested I go out and learn some real insults, and sent me on my way! I’d wondered earlier in the game what role all the wandering pirates would play. Now I knew! I confronted dozens of them, causing a fight by anoouncing: “My name is Guybrush Threepwood. Prepare to die!”

You're a dairy farmer!

It's not quite as impressive as Inigo Montoya, but it will do.

To win a battle I needed to make three strong moves against a pirate before they could do the same to me. To push them back I had to either throw an insult at them that they had no decent reply to or respond to one of their own insults with an appropriately cutting retort. Losing a contest didn’t result in any actual physical harm (just harm to Guybrush’s pride), nor did winning one damage the defeated pirate. The only way to learn the correct response to each insult was to say it to a pirate that knew it, so it took a while to collect all the possible insults with all of their respective counter-insults. Finally one of the pirates raised his hands in surrender and said: “Wow! You’re good enough to fight the Sword Master.” I thought perhaps I would need to return to Captain Smirk’s gym to get his approval, but there was no answer to my knocks. I therefore set out for the Sword Master, assuming that she would fire off a bunch of insults I’d seen plenty of times already. I confronted her with my Princess Bride quote and she appeared unfazed: “Nothing like being honest. I can tell by the sarcastic expression on your face that you’ve been fully trained by Captain Smirk. Let’s get this over with.” To my surprise, the Sword Master spat out an insult I’d not heard before: “My last fight ended with my hands covered with blood.”

Oh he's good. He's very good!

I guess we'll soon find out!

Hey! That's not fair! I've never heard that one before!

I was put off-guard, wondering whether I was supposed to have had more training before confronting the Master. I looked at my available responses, and decided to try one that seemed a good fit: “I hope now you’ve learned to stop picking your nose.” I felt pretty damn satisfied to see Guybrush force Carla back with a few swift thrusts. Carla: “I hope you have a boat ready for a quick escape.” Guybrush: “Why, did you want to borrow one?” Carla: “I usually see people like you passed-out on tavern floors.” Guybrush: “I’m glad to hear you attended your family reunion.” Carla: “I’ve got the courage and skill of a master swordsman!” Guybrush: “I’d be in real trouble if you ever used them.” Carla: “If your brother’s like you, better to marry a pig.” Guybrush: “You make me think somebody already did.” I’d not seen any of her insults previously, but in each case, one of the responses I’d learned through fighting wandering pirates was a perfect fit. The Sword Master conceded! “OK, you win. Well...I hope you’re happy. You can go back and brag to all your friends about how you beat the Sword Master. You’ll need proof. Here, this should convince them.” She gave me a T-shirt that read “I beat the Sword Master” to go with my other Legendary Treasure of Melee Island T-shirt. I’d now passed two of the three trials! All that was left was to find the file I needed to get the idol and Part One would be complete...

I found fighting pretty much impossible until I noticed the blue arrows on the left that let me scroll through dialogue options. They're really hard to see!

You actually got T-shirts made up? Not very confident for a Sword Master are you?!

Session Time: 1 hour 00 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Game 43: The Secret of Monkey Island - One Down, Two to Go

Guybrush Threepwood Journal Entry 4: "I have passed the first trial! Sadly, the Legendary Treasure of Melee Island didn't turn out to be all that legendary. Still, the T-shirt proves that I'm a third of a way towards being the pirate I've always wanted to be. As for the other trials, well I've not yet found a way to get past Governor Marley's dogs, but I have met the Sword Master that I'm supposed to defeat in combat. She mocked me, and it became clearer than ever that I'm really going to need some proper training if I'm going to have any chance of beating her. If only I could find this Captain Smirk that she mentioned..."

Well seriously, how could I resist such an amazing offer!?

I’m back from my family Easter break, and raring to get stuck into The Secret of Monkey Island! Let’s get to it... My last post finished after I’d explored the island as far as I could, so this one began with me making my way back to the village with all the coin I’d received from the Fetuccini Brothers. As I was making my way to the general store, I ran into the shifty character selling maps on the corner of the main street. “Come back for the map to the Legendary Lost Treasure of Melee Island, eh? I hope you brought enough money this time.” I had more than enough to pay the 100 pieces of eight he was asking for, so handed it over. “There ya go. You’ve made a wise decision. Now get lost.” As Guybrush opened this so-called Legendary Map, he immediately came to the conclusion that he’d been ripped off. “I think I’ve been had! This is no map! It looks like dancing lessons!” I was then shown a display of the map, and found it had “DO THE MONKEY!!!” written on the top. It did indeed look like a guide to some sort of dance, but I figured it would likely act as directions at some point. With the map procured, I made my way to the general store to purchase the sword for 100 pieces of eight and the shovel for 75.

He seemed like such an honest, trustworthy character too!

Hey, do these instructions come with instructions?

I don't know, I just bought a really amazingly useful map!

Having completed my business, I was only given the option to ask about the Sword Master again, or to leave. I decided to ask for the Sword Master, for no other reason than I wanted to make sure the old guy would run off multiple times, leaving me on my own in the store. He did, but since I had no reason to believe that the Sword Master would suddenly be interested in meeting me, I following him out the door. To my surprise, I saw the old man walking away from the store in the direction of the lookout. I followed him, and discovered I could stay close enough behind not to lose him. This was big progress, but I must admit that I stumbled across it completely by accident! I followed the old guy all the way up to the lookout and then further on to the fork in the path. I was then able to pursue him along the pathway that I hadn’t been able to take previously (as Guybrush had demanded either a map or guide). We passed through numerous screens before arriving at a gap with a sign in front of it. The man shifted the sign to cause two logs to join through the centre of the gap, forming a bridge! One screen later and I'd uncovered the Sword Master’s secret abode! Guybrush decided getting any closer would be too dangerous, so stood back and listened to the conversation between the store owner and the Sword Master.

Not sure why I didn't think to follow him earlier!

I now know that the sign says "Open Ravine". Ha ha ha!

Yeah, it's not like they could possibly see you standing out there in the open.

Store Owner: “Hello again, Carla.” Sword Master: “I thought I told you to get lost.” Store Owner: “Actually, I’m here on business. This kid came into my store, see...” Sword Master: “Face it, you crusty old letch, you’d make any excuse just to come out here and bother me.” Store Owner: “Yeah, I guess so.” Sword Master: “Well, cut it out. I’m sick of it. Take a hike and don’t come out here again. Someone might follow you, and then I’d become another Melee Island tourist attraction.” The old man departed with his tail between his legs, leaving me to approach the Sword Master myself. I figured it wasn’t a smart thing to do, as the Important Looking Pirates had warned me not to take her on without appropriate training, but hey, you can’t die in Monkey Island, so... As expected, she wasn’t at all happy to see me! “How dare you approach the Sword Master without permission, which I surely didn’t give you.” I decided to take the nice approach, and responded with “I beg your pardon, I must talk to you.” She didn’t let me continue, saying: “I doubt that. Everyone who comes here is prepared to fight. Let’s be honest: you’re here to prove yourself to the Pirate Leaders, in hopes of one day being as immoral as they are.” I admitted that was the reason for my visit, at which point she demanded to know what my final grade in Captain Smirk’s sword fighting class was.

Well you can't blame an old man for trying can you?!

Don't you know who I am? Um...you don't...do you...

I am rubber, you are glue...

I of course hadn’t even found Captain Smirk yet, which led to a great deal of mocking: “You mean you came here to take on the Sword of Master of Melee Island, possibly the greatest sword fighter in the entire Caribbean, without a single lesson in the art of fencing? How did you expect to defend yourself? I’d advise you to seek out Captain Smirk’s and get some real training.” This seemed like good advice, but unfortunately I had no idea where Captain Smirk could be found. All I could do was walk away, and taking the path leading to the east took me back to the fork. I decided to head straight back into the woods, hoping that I would now be able to access all the pathways that were blocked to me previously (since I now had a map). I found that I was able to, but instead of trying to figure out how to apply the dance moves, if that was indeed what I was supposed to be doing, I decided to open up an Excel spreadsheet and map out the whole thing myself. It was fairly tough to do, as I rarely arrived on a screen facing the same direction I was when I left the last one. Eventually I found my way through it, mapping out a bunch of distinct landmarks such as a campsite, some bones, and a stump.

I really enjoy mapping, which is probably why I completely ignored the Legendary Map I'd just purchased.

I thought for a moment that I’d made a great discovery when I examined a stump, as Guybrush announced that “there’s a hole at the base of this stump”! It looked like I was going to be able to squeeze through the hole, but it turned out to be nothing more than a humorous programming joke. When I tried to get a closer look, I was asked to insert a whole bunch of disks (such as disk 22, 36 and 114), before finally Guybrush told me that he’d “just have to skip that part of the game”. Eventually I found what I was looking for! A large plaque read: “The Legendary Lost Treasure of Melee Island. This carefully reproduced piece of Melee Island history has delighted thousands of would-be pirates and their families for generations. Remember, there are other pirates on this island, SO GO EASY ON THE TREASURE.” There was a large cross on the ground, so I created the sentence “use shovel on X”, and then watched as Guybrush began a long digging process. Eventually, after many hours, the shovel hit something, and it turned out to be nothing more than a T-shirt with the words “I found the Treasure of Melee Island and all I got was this stupid T-shirt!” Smiling at the typical yet very amusing LucasArts humour, I replaced the dirt and made my way back to the main path. I’d made some pretty good progress, but wondered how long that would continue while I hadn’t discovered the location of Captain Smirk (whose name I've only just realised is a takeoff of a famous Starship Enterprise Captain).

I had a good belly laugh at this little prank.

Luckily, pirates are a selfless bunch, always thinking of others.


I had a think about things and decided I really needed to find a way past the troll guarding the bridge. What had he said? “I want something that will attract attention, but have no real importance.” Looking through my inventory, the only thing that stood out as a possibility was the T-shirt I’d just acquired, but surely I would need that to prove my eligibility as a pirate!? I made my way to the bridge and tried giving it to the troll anyway. “That’s pretty useless. But it’s not what I want.” Hmmmm...I had to assume that I still didn’t have what I needed to solve this puzzle, but that didn’t leave me with a lot of options. I decided to take the T-shirt back to the pirate leaders, hoping I might gain something useful in process. Unfortunately, they weren’t as forthcoming as I’d hoped. All they had to say was: “Discovered the Lost Treasure, eh? You’re a clever boy! Ye may keep the chic T-shirt. We have plenty.” With nothing left to do, it was time to revisit each of the game’s locations, trying to uncover something I’d missed, or a piece of information that might give me a hint. I found what I needed in the general store! One of my options was: “I could really use a breath mint.” Guybrush had commented about the shocking state of the prisoner’s breath in the local jail.  Perhaps giving him a mint would lead to something useful! To my delight, I was indeed able to purchase a whole roll of mints for a single piece of eight.

Tell me about it!

You mean I'm not the first wannabe pirate to pass the second trial?!

I'm going to have to get used to the evolving dialogue options! We've not seen such sophistication to this point.

I raced across the prison, and quickly formed the sentence “Give breath mints to prisoner”. He gladly accepted, and was pretty damn happy about it too! “Ooooh! Grog-O-Mint! How refreshing! Thanks. So have you come to release me?” I asked the man who he was, and he responded with: “My name is Otis. At least, I think it is. I’ve been in here so long I can hardly remember. You’ve got to get me out of here before I lose my mind completely! Can’t you see I’m innocent?” I decided to reserve judgement, asking Otis why he was in jail if he was innocent. “I was framed! I didn’t touch the stupid flowers!” I figured he must be speaking of the yellow flowers I’d seen in the woods, and from which I'd collected a petal earlier on. To be sure, I asked him what flowers he meant. “The yellow Caniche Endormi flowers in the forest. It’s against the law to pick them.” Sadly that was all I could get out of him regarding these flowers, so I asked him whether there was anything I could get for him. “Yes...YOU CAN GET ME OUT OF HERE! Actually, something to get rid of these rats would be nice. I’d trade you this carrot cake my Aunt Tillie made. I hate carrot cake.” I didn’t think I had anything in my possession that could help Otis with the rat situation, nor could I think of a reason why I might need a carrot cake.

You tell me that now!

Oooohhhhh, now that's a good deal!

With nothing else to do, I took a more aggressive dialogue option: “Sheriff Shinetop sure is a jerk, isn’t he?” This question really riled up Otis: “No kidding. Fester Shintetop is the meanest man on Melee Island. Luckily, the Governor keeps him in check most of the time. We used to have a fair, decent man for a sheriff, but he recently died under mysterious circumstances. If you ask me, I think the new sheriff had something to do with it.” At that very moment, the Sheriff himself walked into the room, and as you would expect, wasn’t pleased with what he was hearing: “I think you’ve said enough, Otis! I hope you haven’t been taking this filthy vagrant too seriously. He’d say anything to avoid paying his debt to society.” I had a bunch of different dialogue options, but I chose to question his captivity. “He seems innocent to me. Why don’t you let him out?” Unsurprisingly, the Sheriff wasn’t going to listen to me: “Maybe you should mind your own business, stranger. I’ll decide who’s innocent and who’s guilty around here. Look, I don’t know what you’re up to, but whatever it is, it’s probably illegal. So forget it. Wherever you go on Melee, I’ll be watching, and if you try any monkey business, you’ll end up in here for good.” Shinetop was definitely going to cause me trouble at some point, but he was gone for now. I spent a bit more time questioning Otis, but couldn’t get anything more out of him that seemed important. It looked like I was going to have to get rid of those rats if I was going to get any further with him.

Sometimes the universe just has it in for you!

Yes, that's what I'm afraid of!

Once again I had little idea what to do next, so I decided to see if lightning would strike twice in this instance. The store owner had given me the breath mints I needed. Perhaps he would also have something to deal with the rats? One of my options was “I’d like some rat repellent, please”, but sadly the store owner didn’t have any. I had no choice but to continue revisiting locations, hoping something would jump out at me. It was when I reached the bridge and was confronted by the ugly green troll that I became convinced getting past him was the key. When I offered him one of my items, he gave me a slightly different response this time: “I want something that will divert attention from things that are REALLY important.” When I tried a different item, he said “I’m getting hungry waiting for you. How about something to eat?”, and he even told me something I offered him wasn’t salty enough. EUREKA!!!! Oh man, you guys must have been really laughing at me while I struggled with this puzzle. I’d been convinced right back at the beginning of the game that the red herring on the pier was simply that, a red herring. A red herring could easily be described as an item that draws attention away from what is really important, and it would also likely be very salty. That had to be what the troll wanted! I had to tip my hat to LucasArts on this one, as they managed to get a lot of mileage out of a single device. The only question was, how could I get it without having my hand pecked off?!

Well, why don't you pop away and get something to eat. I'll wait here...promise!

I raced back to the SCUMM Bar and then out into the kitchen while the cook was busy. I still wasn’t able to interact with the bird, so had little idea how I was supposed to get the herring. Was there a way to make it fly away? I walked past it to the end of the pier, for no other reason than I hadn’t ventured out that far previously. As I did so, Guybrush stepped on a particular plank that flipped up, causing the bird to launch up into the air! It quickly returned, so I did it again. This time to bird flew around long enough for me to reach down and pick up the herring while it was absent. Victory! With the fish in my possession, I returned to the troll and gave it to it. “Ah! A red herring! Pass.” As I walked past the troll, my assumption that it had really just been a guy dressed up in a suit was revealed to be true. The big green head was removed to reveal a bearded man that eagerly chowed down the raw fish before replacing the troll head. I guess you could question why a hungry crook would make such riddle-fuelled demands, but then someone crazy enough to dress up as a troll and demand fish as a toll are likely to be a little strange...in the head. The great news was that I was finally past the bridge, and was now able to see what was waiting for me in the areas of the map beyond it. My session finished with me standing in front of Stan’s Previously Owned Vessels, and I’ll be loading back up shortly to continue this thoroughly entertaining adventure...

Well, I guess it pays to be thorough! I have no-one to blame but myself for not finding this earlier.

Mark my words. Scooby Doo and his gang will sort you out eventually!

Oh goodie...a salesman! Everyone loves a salesman!

Session Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Game 43: The Secret of Monkey Island - Risk and Reward

Guybrush Threepwood Journal Entry 3: "There sure are some strange characters on this Melee Island! Outside of the village I've held conversations with the lookout (an old man that keeps watch for who knows what), the Fetuccini Brothers (two brothers that run a circus in the middle of nowhere), Meathook (a man with hooks instead of hands that lives in an ex-tourist establishment), and a troll (who was, as you might expect, guarding a bridge). It was at the circus that I found what I was looking for though...a way to earn some coin! I was extremely lucky not to die in the process, or at least break a few bones, but I managed to get 478 pieces of eight for just a few seconds work! That should be enough to buy the tools I need to have a crack at passing the three trials. Back to the village I go!"

Right. Let's see what else is on this island!

So my last post finished with me facing off against a horde of demonic poodles outside Governor Marley’s house. I’d thrown the stewed meat to them, which they’d eagerly devoured, but hadn’t noticed any effect from the action. I pondered what else I might be able to give some dogs that might draw their attention away long enough for me to pass, but couldn’t come up with anything I’d seen so far. This meant that my initial exploration of the Melee Island town was now complete! However, the town was only a small part of the island, so it was time to widen my exploration range. I made my way back up the mountain path to where the game’s introduction took place.  The old man was still staring out over the cliff face, and once again he was completely unaware of my presence. I had a bunch of great dialogue options to say to him, but whichever one I chose, the result was me scaring the crap out of him! “Yikes! You almost scared me to death. I thought you were a – never mind.” He then went into a spiel about how silly my name was: “You want to be a pirate, boy, take my advice. Change your name. Try something like Dreadbeard or Six-fingered Pete.” At this point Guybrush finally asked the man who he was: “I’m the lookout of Melee Island. I watch the ocean for approaching storms and ships, and report them directly to the Governor. She doesn’t like unexpected visitors… especially not now.”

That must be a riveting job. Wouldn't you rather be a pirate?

I was happy to see that one of my dialogue options was the question that was foremost on my mind. “How did you get to be the lookout when you’re obviously blind as a bat?” Unfortunately, the lookout only told me to watch my tongue, and that he’d been handpicked by Sheriff Shinetop. I then asked him why the Governor was so worried about unexpected visitors, although I knew the answer of course. “Actually, it’s the EXPECTED visitors we’re worried about. One pirate captain in particular, a dead one, but that doesn’t make him any less dangerous.” After exhausting my options, I left the lookout and walked off to the right of screen. I was given a top down view of the whole island, with certain important locations lit up in a really neat way. As I moved my cursor around I could see Guybrush, the village, the lookout point, a fork in the path, a clearing, a bridge, some lights, a house, a shore, and an island. I couldn’t really remember what was waiting for me at any of them, so I chose one at random (the clearing). When the little Guybrush figure reached that part of the map, the standard side-on view returned. I was in the thick of the woods, and had stumbled upon the circus I’d seen advertised in the village. I had little doubt that this particular circus would be far more entertaining than the one I'd experienced in Les Manley a month or so ago.

This is the greatest in-game map in gaming history. No, you're right. It's probably not. I just wanted to emphasize how much I like it.

By now LucasArts had perfected night time environment through the use of black and blue.

Oh-oh! I'll surely be shoveling shit shortly? (CAPs to anyone that can say that 5 times quickly!)

I entered the large tent, and there I found two very colourful gentlemen chatting about the cannon I could see in the bottom right corner of the screen. Man in Pink: “I’d get in the cannon, but the gunpowder makes me sneeze.” Man in Green: “Well, I can’t do it, I hurt my hand taming the lions last week.” Man in Pink: “I hardly think that little scratch compares to my chronic allergy. You get in the cannon.” Man in Green: “You don’t have any allergies, you faker. YOU get in the cannon.” They went on like this for some time, calling each other all sorts of names in the process. Eventually I was given some dialogue options, one of which included the LucasArts regular, “I’m selling these fine jackets”. I chose simply to clear my throat, and this interruption caused the two men to come charging at me, clearly sensing an opportunity for someone else to fulfil their desire. It turned out these two carnies were called the Fettucini Brothers. The pink one was Alfredo, and the green one Bill. The brothers tried their utmost to convince me to get into the cannon, which they would then fire across the room. I of course wanted to know what was in it for me, to which they answered: “How about 478 pieces of eight?” That was more than I’d hoped for, and would allow me to buy the sword, the shovel, and the map from the mysterious man on the corner, and still have a heap of coin left over!

Ahhh, brotherly love!

It's the once in a lifetime bit that has me worried!

I agreed to the stupid stunt, at which point Alfredo asked me whether I had a helmet. I didn’t of course, but I had something I figured would make do, so answered in the affirmative. I gave them the pot I’d picked up in the SCUMM Bar kitchen, and they seemed to think it was more than adequate. I hopped into the cannon head first, with my makeshift helmet on, and was immediately, and violently, shot across the room! The helmet flew off my head halfway across, and I slammed into a pole, sliding down to the ground where my cranium copped another heavy knock. The Fettucini Brothers were delighted! Alfredo: “It works!” Bill: “I’m so relieved!” After they finished congratulating themselves, they wandered over to see if I was alright. I chose to respond to their uncomforting questions with “I’m Bobbin. Are you my mother?”, which somehow convinced them that I was fine. They gave me the 478 pieces of eight as promised, and I was on my way. As tempting as it was to go back to the village and stock up on items, I decided to explore the map as much as I could with what I currently had. I made my way to the fork that was not too far away, taking a path leading out of the first screen at random. I reappeared in another woodland screen, where some bright yellow flowers caught my attention. I picked up a yellow petal, and then attempted to take the path leading away to the north. Guybrush turned to me and announced he wouldn’t go “into this mazelike forest without a map or a guide or something”.

Seriously, what could go wrong!?


Unusual indeed! Not sure how they appear yellow in the dark.

He said the same thing when I tried to leave the screen to left. It looked like this section of the map was off-limits until I had the map that would lead me to the Legendary Treasure of Melee Island! With that path blocked, I attempted to head north up to the shore and the island. What I haven’t mentioned so far is that there were other pirates wandering around the map, and I’d managed to avoid them to this point. This time I ran straight into one, and my view switched to a side on one. I was now confronted by a spiky haired pirate, who demanded I “move outta the way, or I cuts my way through!” I responded by mentioning how nice a night it was, hoping that would settle the situation down. It didn’t, and he aggressively enquired as to why I’d stopped him. My only option was to ask him why he talks so funny, but instead of this comment firing him up, he merely explained that it was “pirate lingo”, and that I should play along. That was the extent of the conversation, and I wondered if there would be anything of value to discuss with a wandering pirate at any stage in the game. Anyway, now that he was out of my way, I continued on to the area entitled “The Shore” on the map. Said shore ended up having a large, flashy sign pointing to a house across the water. The sign read “Visit Fabulous Hook Isle”, and suggested there would be Restrooms and Souvenirs for visitors. A flying fox (as in a cable running between two elevated points), ran between the shore and the island where the house was situated.

Had a good giggle at this one.

Shorely there'll be something interesting here! Hey, I'm a dad! I'm allowing to tell horrible jokes!

This screams tourist trap!

I was able to climb the ladder up to the cable, but there was nothing to swing across on. The solution was obvious though, and I formed the sentence “Use rubber chicken on cable”, then watched as Guybrush swung himself across the water to the island. Satisfied with my work, I entered the house on the hill, having no idea what to expect. Inside I found Meathook, an ex-pirate that very noticeably had two hooks where hands used to be. “Hey! I don’t like visitors! Who are you?” That wasn’t the welcome I was hoping for, but I decided to be nice…for now. “Excuse me, but the sign said there were restrooms in here?” Meathook informed me that the sign was a little out of date, and that his tourist business had been closed since there was “a little accident with one of the trained animals, and one of our guests was hurt very badly”. He went on to tell me that the beast that did the mauling was now his only company, and that by coincidence, it was identical to the one that took his hands when he was a child. Strangely, he failed to mention what type of animal it was, leaving my imagination to run riot. This was all well and good, but I had little idea what I might be able to achieve in his home. I decided to try insulting him, since there were plenty of juicy options available to me. I went with “I’m a pirate, cannonball-head. Who are you?” Clearly he was an emotional guy, as my insult actually upset him. “My name’s Meathook, and I think you’ve got a little attitude problem.”

I think I'll need that restroom after this!!!

Why do I get the feeling that "monster" is going to turn out to be a cuddly bunny with sharp pointy teeth?

My insult had opened up further insulting dialogue options, so I decided to run with it. Guybrush: “Well, I think you’ve got a little hair problem.” Meathook: “Geeze! You just don’t know when to quit, do you?” Guybrush: “Obviously, neither did your barber.” This last insult pushed Meathook over the edge, and he kicked me out! I walked back in to see what would happen. “I suppose you’ve come to invade my peaceful home and insult me again, eh?” This time I decided to take a different approach, and apologised for my earlier behaviour. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to call you cannonball-head.” This seemed to appease him, and when I laughed along with his joke about my pony-tail, he finally decided I was alright after all. “Hey, you’ve got a pretty good sense of humor. Want to see something really funny?” As tempting as it was to ask whether it would be a picture of his whole bald family, I responded that I really did want to see whatever it was he thought was so humorous. To my surprise, he said “Say hello, Roger!”, and then the skull tattoo on his chest said “Hello, Roger” in return! Either this guy’s tattoo was a living entity, or Meathook had such good control over his chest muscles that he could make it appear so. It was impressive either way, but I didn’t see how it could possibly help me. Meathook informed me that he had a whole routine, but that he didn’t have time to do it all right now. At this point I had no option but to request to see the trick again or to leave, making me wonder how Meathook will ever be of use to me.

It is pretty awesome!

With the island done with for now, it was time to go check out the southern part of the map. The first location of interest there was a bridge, and it was there I discovered a strange looking creature blocking my path! Trolls have often guarded bridges in stories over the years, demanding payment before they’ll let journeymen passed, but I hadn’t expected to find one in The Secret of Monkey Island. I guess it wouldn’t be completely out of place, given that the main villain is an undead pirate. Perhaps it’s a man in disguise? I had plenty of dialogue options after he demanded a toll, but I decided to go with “Stand aside, troll, I’m a mighty pirate.” The troll was unperturbed by my threat, saying: “You’re no pirate! Why, the town drunk could out-insult you on his back!” He was proved right, when the best response I had was “Stick it in your ear, you great green garrulous grub!” In the end I had no option but to ask how much the toll would be, with his response being “Well, what have you got?” I offered him all sorts of things, but he wasn’t interested in any of it. “I want something that will attract attention, but have no real importance.” Whatever it was that he wanted, I clearly didn’t have it. This meant I’d explored as far as I could outside the main village of Melee Island, since the locations past the bridge were currently unavailable to me. It was time to head back to the village with my newly claimed cash. Hopefully the items I buy will help me to have a bit more success passing the Three Trials.

What is this? King's Quest?

You're a fussy troll, you know that!?

Session Time: 0 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

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