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? don' 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 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!


  1. Notes: The stump joke doesn't appear in the Special Edition (or, from memory, the CD version which I last played many years ago) - which is disappointing - could have been replaced with an "Insert CD #12 for the CD version, or a "Buy Stump Catacomb Adventure DLC from the Lucasarts Store to continue" for the Special Edition to update the joke for more modern devices.

    Also, I'm pretty certain the bearded man in the troll suit is actually George Lucas (TM)

    1. Apparently the Stump Joke got the Lucasarts tech support line a lot of frantic phone calls asking about those extra disks, so they decided to keep it gone for good. Pity really.

      Also, I can't believe Trickster tried to/succeeded in map(ping) the whole forest. I thought it was randomly generated! Shows me better.

    2. I imagine it's random until you actually have the map?

    3. No, it's the same every time.

  2. I told you that you'd need the herring! (I was ridiculed for it and everything!)

    1. First rule of adventure games is surely to pick everything up!

    2. Except if what you pick up is potentially lethal to you.

    3. Perhaps it should be:

      Rule 1: Save now, save often!
      Rule 2: Pick everything up!

    4. you often need to pick up items that kill you, the trick is how.

    5. I didn't ridicule you, mate. I was trying to put Trix off course to make him look stupid and waste valuable ti- er... I mean, yes. Yes, I'm trying to ridicule you and Trix is really, really smart.

  3. We did get a chuckle out of your casual dismissal of the red herring at the beginning, Trick. I had faith in you though :-)

    As you can imagine, non-English speakers had an additional complication with the Troll puzzle. The joke was completely lost on me at the time. I think I simply got past the Troll by trying everything in my inventory, but overall the whole business was a real head-scratcher (a few months later I got to read Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None" for English class, and I was overjoyed at "getting" why the only thing on the book cover was a big red fish, of all things!).

    By contrast, and I will ROT13 this just in case, gur chmmyr vaibyivat gur lryybj sybjref vf n pvapu sbe nal Fcnavfu fcrnxre. "Pnavpur" vf Fcnavfu sbe cbbqyr, juvyr "raqbezv" vf snhk-Yngva sbe "qbezve" (fyrrc). Fb bapr lbh trg gur sybjref' "fpvragvsvp anzr" gur pbhefr bs npgvba vf cerggl pyrne.

    1. V jnf ernyyl jbaqrevat ubj lbh jrer zrnag gb svther gung bhg. V whfg gevrq rirelguvat ba gur zrng. Jryy V jbhyq unir gevrq rirelguvat rkprcg gung V fgnegrq jvgu gur sybjref naq sbeghvgbhfyl fnirq gvzr.

    2. Pnavpur raqbezv nyfb fvzcyl zrnaf fyrrcvat cbbqyr va serapu!

    3. Bu, fb vg vf npghny Serapu? Pbby! V svtherq vg jbhyq or fbzr snxr Yngva be znlor Vgnyvna, ohg V thrff Serapu znxrf frafr tvira gur frggvat.

    4. Lrnu naq V frrz gb erzrzore gung va gur serapu irefvba vg'f fgvyy gur "pnavpur raqbezv" sybjref, zrnavat gur chmmyr frrzrq npghnyyl cerggl fgenvtugsbejneq gb zr jura V svefg cynlrq gur tnzr...

  4. For some reason, when I visit the Sword Master she appears to be spinning on the spot in that longer-distance viewpoint (where Guybrush eavesdrops on the conversation). I wonder if my DOS version of the game is a little dodgy.

    Trial and error got me through the treasure hunt forest the first time too (in fact I think I was probably just lucky the first time. Trying to read the "map" I wasn't sure what "back" was supposed to mean (I wasn't sure if I was supposed to go back to the previous screen, or upwards). Didn't realise I could have properly mapped the route, I assumed it was a little random.

    1. I actually do wonder if this means you can actually go without the map! (I'm not presently capable of checking this out, but I'd be quite interested if anyone has tried to find the treasure before purchasing the map. Given they'd not dead end you either way, I can only imagine it's possible...

    2. I found the treasure by luck. I just thought I'd wander around and see if I could pick any more flowers and just walked into the treasure quite quickly

    3. If you look at her while she's spinning, Guybrush says she's "meditating". She spins in the EGA version too.

      And yes, you can find the treasure without the map. You need to either follow the shopkeeper once to the forest or buy the map to have access to the whole place.

  5. I thought you'd be stuck a bit longer than that on the red herring. Congratulations, you're getting along quite nicely with the game so far. I'm still stuck, going to put in some more time tonight. Looking forward to your other posts.

  6. That damned red herring. I tried for ages to get it and then read you post and thought oh how annoying, should have figured that out. Then I met the troll and knew straight away I'd need it. Still couldn't figure it out and hunted everywhere for something to throw at the bird. Eventually gave up and checked a walkthrough. I was most annoyed to find out I just had to walk past it. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Also trying to quickly move your cursor with a fixed speed in a short time limit with an X-Box controller is really frustrating.

  7. Let's compare Carla's closeup to the EGA one!

    ...ehh, I dunno. The VGA portrait does look a lot prettier, but at the same time the EGA one has a more sharp, masculine feel to it. It fits her character as a sword master a bit better.

    1. I do like her arched eyebrow in the VGA version. They managed to make her look incredulous quite well.

  8. Ha, well I guess you were stuck on the red herring puzzle for only a short amount of time.

    I dunno, I have a feeling lbh jba'g trg fghpx ba nalguvat gbb onqyl hagvy lbh npghnyyl trg gb Zbaxrl Vfynaq. V xabj gung'f jurer V unq gur zbfg gebhoyr.

  9. Putting it Rot13 for potential spoilers. Can be safely decoded after you leave Mêlée Island™. Vs lbh hfr gur sybjre crgny ba gur "ureevat" vg'yy orpbzr n "ureevat jvgu pbaqvzrag." Vf gung gur bayl pyhr gb hfvat gur sybjre crgny pbeerpgyl? V xvaq bs fghzoyrq hcba gur pbeerpg hfr, naq frrvat nf Gevpxfgre gevrq naq snvyrq ba gung cngu fvapr ur zvffrq nqqvat gur vaterqvrag V jbaqre ubj zhpu gebhoyr guvf chmmyr jvyy tvir uvz. Fbeel vs V zvffrq guvf cnegvphyne qvfphffvba fbzrjurer ryfr, V'z fgvyy jbexvat guebhtu gur tnzr naq unira'g qrpbqrq nalbar ryfr'f zrffntrf (nfvqr sebz gur bar uvag V tbg).

    1. Gurer vf n ovg bs qvfphffvba nobhg vg tbvat ba nobir. Nccneragyl gur sybjre'f Yngva anzr vf Serapu sbe fyrrcvat cbbqyr. Fb vs lbh'er yvxr zr naq qba'g fcrnx Serapu (be nalguvat ryfr bgure guna Ratyvfu) gura vg jnf gevny naq reebe

  10. Sales I meant to put up a few days ago, but well, I got Sleeping Dogs, then I was out, then I was at work....

    New Games:
    Blackwell Epiphany:
    I'd bet money (Or CAPS) that this is the best game on the list, as I've heard some of you talk about the Blackwell series fondly. Well, now you can get the final part from Steam!

    Hotel Collectors Edition: From 2010 it arrives on Steam as part of the back catalogue gold rush: Meet the ancient Egyptian cult in a search of almighty artifact, Marcus Antonius, King Arthur and many others who tried to kept this omni-powerful object hidden away from those who wanted to use its terrible powers for conquering the world and stop the evil from raising from its grave! Honestly, it kind of sound like shovelware, but I'd love to be proven wrong.

    And winning out best title catagory: Baron Wittard: Nemesis of Ragnarok.
    The eccentric architect Baron Wittard has built something really special: a city inside a building. This monumental pleasure dome, called 'The Utopia', features 1000 apartments, a shopping mall, and hundreds of offices and leisure facilities. All under one roof. Its grand opening was supposed to have been two years ago. That event never happened. A chain of mysterious events has now left the Utopia abandoned and silent. People have gone missing. Electromagnetic disturbances are increasing. These happenings all point to Wittard's desolate Utopia. Armed with only a camera and a torch, you must journey there alone to explore its winding corridors, its secret passageways, and its gloomy halls. Local townspeople say Wittard kept a terrible secret. They speak fearfully of someone or something malevolent lurking at his city. They say it is waiting and growing in power. They say time is running out...

    (I had twice this many, then I realized I'd typed into Google, so of course none of them showed up as being posted about already...)

    Also the STeam Weekly Sale has a number of adventure games in it this week: includes:
    The Last Express Gold Edition
    Adam's Venture Episode 3: Revelations
    Still Life
    Still Life 2
    Post Mortem

    11 new games, 17 sales (I'm not double dipping anymore. I am however, a bit worried about the huge flood of 'new' adventure games on Steam. I recall when it was one or two a month, IF that, now it seems I can't check Steam's new list without a few point and click games having been added... I've even gone from my old stance of 'if it is at all adventure like, it goes on the blog' to 'eh, that doesn't REALLY look like an adventure game...". I'm even checking the tags just in case it is a hidden object game in disguise!