Ah...I forgot all about the LucasArts cutscenes!
I’m still very much in the exploration phase of Monkey Island. My first post was taken up almost entirely by the game mechanics and basic story introduction, so I’ll try to push some ways forward with this one. As I stepped out of the SCUMM Bar, aware that I needed to pass The Three Trials if I had any chance of becoming a pirate, I was witness to the game’s first cutscene. “Meanwhile, deep beneath Monkey Island, the ghost pirate LeChuck’s ship lies anchored in a river of lava.” That’s right, one of the most famous villains in gaming history was introduced right here, scheming aboard his ghostly ship! Suitably, his first words are “Ah, there’s nothin’ like the hot winds of hell blowin’ in your face. It’s days like this that make you glad to be dead.” It’s in this cut scene that we’re also introduced to LeChuck’s first mate, the one-legged skeleton, Bob. We quickly learn Bob’s origin story as LeChuck asks him if he too feels glad to be dead: “Oh yes sir. I feel so lucky that you happened to capture my ship, then murdered me and everyone on board...yes sir...lucky.” This is the type of humour that I love, and it comes thick and fast whenever these two are on screen. In fact, it’s really not very difficult to tell that both The Secret of Monkey Island and The Pirates of the Caribbean came from the same source, as Hector Barbossa and LeChuck have more than a little in common.
You're just not evil unless you have a ghost pirate ship anchored in a river of lava!
Especially when you don't have one!
Bob has clearly disturbed LeChuck for a reason, and that reason turns out to be Guybrush. “Well, you see, we might have a problem on Melee Island. There seems to be a new pirate in town. Actually he’s a pirate wannabe. Young. Inexperienced. Probably nothing to worry ‘bout. Don’t know why I bothered you with it. I’ll have him taken care of myself.” LeChuck isn’t entirely satisfied with that solution though, and decides to take care of the situation himself. “My plans are too important to be messed up by amateurs.” With that, I was thrust back in control of Guybrush, knowing that I now had an undead pirate pursuing me! I walked to the right of screen until I reached the main street of the town. There I found a shifty looking character standing on a corner, with a parrot on his shoulder. I wandered up to talk to him, and he had the following to say: “Excuse me, but do you have a cousin named Sven?” I chose to answer “What is that? Some sort of code?”, to which he answered “Of course it’s a code, you idiot...never mind.” Clearly I wasn’t the idiot, as when I approached him a second time I was able to totally fool him with the dialogue option “My cousin Sven sends his regards.” The moron was then willing to do business with me, opening up his jacket to reveal a bunch of maps. “You want to buy a map to the Legendary Lost Treasure of Melee Island? Only one in existence. Rare. Very rare. Only 100 pieces of eight.” I of course didn’t have any money, so had to decline his offer for now.
I'm pretty sure pirates don't take baths anyway.
Ah I see! Well in that case...
Is the trademark symbol a joke or were LucasArts really trying to protect their fictional property?
Making my way further into the main street, I was confronted by a small company of pirates known as the “Men of Low Moral Fiber”. There was a rat sitting in front of them, and making any attempt to interact with it was met with threats of physical violence from one of the crew. I asked them why they were sitting on a corner, and not “on a ship, looting, pillaging, sacking, that sort of thing”. They responded as expected, claiming that there were “some UNNATURALLY talented pirates in the area right now”. Clearly LeChuck’s presence was making all the other pirates in the area nervous! I can’t remember if it has any relevance to the game’s main story, but talking about the rat caused one of the men to tell me a tale about a bunch of monkeys that crewed a ship all the way to Melee Island from Monkey Island. Once that was completed, I questioned the troupe about the shifty looking man that was selling maps on the corner. “Wanna buy a map, eh? OUR maps are top quality, not like the birdcage liners you get from that clown across the street. No, just kidding. These are actually copies of the minutes of the last meeting of the Melee Island PTA. Can’t even GIVE them away. Want one?” Never one to turn down the addition of an item to my inventory, I decided to see if I could make an even better fist of it. “No, but I’ll take one if you give me two pieces of eight.” Unsurprisingly, given the intelligence level of the pirates I’ve met so far in the game, they accepted, resulting in me gaining both the minutes and a couple of coins.
It's great to be able to say whatever you want to, with no fear of repercussions.
My progress is assisted by the fact the game's pirates have the IQ of a goldfish.
Moving my cursor around the screen at this point revealed that there were numerous doors that I could enter. Some experimentation revealed that most of these doorways rather impossibly led to others elsewhere on the screen. Walk through a door on the left and reappear through one on the right! Still, there was one entrance that led somewhere of interest, as I found myself in a room containing various voodoo paraphernalia. Dead chickens hung from the ceiling, and the shelves were lined with jars of bat drippings, boxes of assorted scales, cat knuckles, and a shaker full of monkey flakes. Guybrush wasn’t willing to touch any of it, and who could blame him! However, on the table I discovered a rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle, and this item I was able to pick up. To the right of screen I came upon a large dark skinned woman sitting before a bubbling green cauldron of sorts. “What may I help you with, son?” I had quite a few options at this point, but I decided to own up about the chicken I’d just stolen. “Aaaahhhh, I sense the guilt of stealing my chicken grows. Take it. It’s yours.” This answer concerned Guybrush, and he asked why she was willing to give away the strange device. Perhaps it was jinxed with an ancient voodoo curse? Her answer was simply that the pulley squeaks, which made me chuckle. At this point the voodoo lady apparently figured out that my name was Guybrush Threepwood, at which point our greedy protagonist demanded to know his future. “Am I going to be rich?”
Well seriously, who puts a pulley system inside a chicken?!
She's good...but far from perfect.
The cauldron began to rise out of the floor, soon revealing itself to be in the shape of a huge blue skull with piercing red eyes. My fortune was read to me… “I see you taking a voyage, a long voyage. I see you captaining a ship. I see a giant monkey. I see you inside the giant monkey. Your journey will have many parts. You will see things better left unseen. You will hear things better left unheard. You will learn things better left unlearned.” Guybrush demanded to know more details, but the mysterious woman denied him: “NO! The time is not right to know. When you know your purpose, come see me. I will let you know then.” With that, the cauldron descended back into the floor, and the voodoo lady simply vanished before my eyes!!! Departing her creepy abode, I made my way through the archway beneath the large clock at the end of the main street. I was given a bird’s eye view of my new location, which contained a large building, a church, an alleyway leading off beneath them, and what looked to be a prison. As soon as I arrived, someone could be heard (not literally of course, as the game has no voice acting) tempting me to enter the alleyway. “Psssst. Come over here.” I decided, since I was standing right next to the entrance, to enter the building to my right before putting myself into what would likely be a dangerous situation. The building turned out to host a store, with a grumpy old man attending the counter.
Oh god, this reminds me of Les Manley! Aaarrgghhhh!!!!!
Yep! It's Madame Zarmooska!
Well, sure! I can't think of any reason not to!
Moving my cursor around the room revealed I could interact with a shovel, a safe, a handle on the safe, and a sword. Given that two of the Three Trials I had to pass were defeating the Sword Master and discovering a legendary lost treasure, the shovel and the sword seemed very useful. I took a closer look at them and found them to be the “DIGMASTER – The only shovel for serious treasure-hunting enthusiasts” and the “SLASHMASTER – When you want a sword as sharp as your wit.” I picked them both up and walked to the counter to see how much they would set me back, knowing full well that I wouldn’t be able to afford whatever the asking price was. Before I did that though, I noticed one of my dialogue options was “I’m looking for the Sword Master of Melee Island.” I was pretty keen to find out where I could locate this so called Sword Master, so I took that option. “The Sword Master of Melee Island? Hmmm…I don’t know…nobody knows the whereabouts of her secret hideout…nobody except me. I’d have to go and ask her if it’s okay to show you the way. Hmmm…I guess I could hike all the way over there…ONCE,” The old man put a “Ring bell for service” sign on the desk and left the building, stopping to tell me in no uncertain terms not to touch anything. I figured this would be a good time to check out the safe, so made my way upstairs. The large box had “Davey Jones Lockers: The last word in theft-, fire-, and grog-resistant storage devices” marked on it, and the handle had “Get a handle on your savings with GRIPMASTER handles.”
I imagine this sword would be useless for the pirates I've met so far.
I keep warning people not to tell me that!
I tried opening the safe, but wasn’t at all surprised to find it locked. I turned the handle a few times, and despite a strange noise being heard when it reached a north position, couldn’t achieve anything. I’m really surprised how little I remember from playing Monkey Island as a kid. Parts like this are just completely gone from my memory! I can only assume there’s a specific “combination” to open the safe, but I have no idea what’s in there. Giving up, I tried to leave the store with the sword and shovel still in my possession, only for the old man to suddenly reappear. “Caught you, you little thief! Maybe you’d like to pay for those?” I asked him how much each of them cost, and he informed me that the sword would be 100 pieces of eight, the shovel 75, but since I couldn’t afford either of them, I put them back in their original places and departed. I still had the alleyway, the church and the prison to check out, so I figured it was time to see who’d been trying to draw me into the alley. As Guybrush walked into it, he called out “Hello? Anybody in here? HELLO???” There didn’t appear to be anyone there, but then a bald headed pirate-looking man entered the alleyway the same way I had. “You know, bad things could happen to a person in a dark, deserted alley like this one. And at this time of night, nobody would be around to see it.” This seemed a threat to me, so I chose to respond with “Yeah, and bad things happen to people who sneak up on other people from behind.”
Please don't let the clown come to life! Oh please!
Yeah, like they might...um...have a chicken with a pulley in it thrown at them!
The guy clearly wasn’t impressed by my attitude, but I decided not to back off. “I’m Guybrush Threepwood, and I’m a mighty pirate.” It was then that the potential combatant informed me of his identity: “I’m the sheriff around here. Sheriff Fester Shinetop. Take it from me – This is a bad time to be visiting Melee Island. A very BAD time. My advice to you is to find somewhere else to take your vacation. Somewhere safer.” The Sheriff left me feeling somewhat uncomfortable, but I figured I should concentrate on examining the alleyway. Who had called to me earlier? Surely it wasn’t the Sheriff?! I looked around, but could only find a poster for the circus on the wall and a sign on a door that read “Employees Only”. I chose to move onto the church, rather than stand around with nothing to do. Strangely, after entering the church, I found there was nothing to do there either! I could walk down the aisle, but pixel hunting didn’t reveal anything at all that I could interact with. I made my way back out onto the street, and then entered the last remaining building on the screen, which looked to be a prison. On entering it I found that my assumption was correct! There were two cells, with a rat wandering around in one and a man pacing back and forth in the other. I didn’t seem to be able to do anything with the rat, so I focussed on the prisoner.
What came first? The name or the shinetop?
Either I didn't pixel hunt well enough or whatever happens here happens later.
What's the point of putting bars on the windows and then leaving the front door open!
As I approached him, he pleaded with me: “You gotta get me out of here! I’m a victim of society.” Guybrush proclaimed that the man must also suffer from halitosis, as he clearly had shocking breath. “Hey, it’s hard to keep my breath minty-fresh when there’s nothing to eat in here but rats.” I tried giving the guy some stewed meat, but he responded with “I don’t want anything but my freedom...and maybe a breath mint.” I couldn’t think of anything else to do, so I departed the prison and walked through the archway to the left of the bird’s eye screen. I was now following a very dangerous looking path, which wound its way around a cliff face, ending at a mansion. On arrival it was clear that this house belonged to Governor Marley, since the dogs I’d been warned about were tied up out the front. However, they weren’t the large terriers I’d expected. Marley’s dogs were nothing but small yapping poodles! Still, any attempt to get past them to the mansion’s entrancefailed, as Guybrush refused to go near the canines, no matter how fluffy. In fact, trying to interact with them revealed that they were “deadly piranha poodles”, proving that looks can often be deceiving. Interestingly, I was able to throw the stewed meat to the dogs, but they simply ate it, with no apparent benefit for me. I still wasn’t able to get past them, making me wonder whether I’d just wasted the meat for nothing. Despite knowing there are no dead ends in The Secret of Monkey Island, I decided to restore my game anyway and continue my exploration elsewhere. Join me in a few days to find out how I fared...
You could at least floss with the whiskers!
Wouldn't want to try to get home after a big night!
And you want to be a pirate!!!???
Session Time: 0 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 0 hours 50 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!