Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Game 43: The Secret of Monkey Island - All Aboard the Sea Monkey

Guybrush Threepwood Journal Entry 7: "Who knew this pirating thing was so difficult to organise!? It took me ages to purchase a ship from Stan, despite having stolen 5000 pieces of eight in credit for the purpose. The sleazy, not to mention highly annoying, salesman totally ripped me off for sure, but I got what I needed in the end. I've also pulled together a crew, although I'm not sure how well Meathook, the Sword Master, and Otis will work together. Still, it's the best I could do in such a short time! Hopefully they all turn up a dock for our departure or I'm back to square one. I'm coming Elaine! I promise!"

Damn straight I will!

My last post was heavy on plot development, and low on actual puzzle solutions. Let’s see if I can turn the tide with this one. After being told my vague future by the voodoo lady, I figured it was time to go pay Stan a visit. If I had any chance of rescuing Elaine from the clutches of the evil LeChuck, I was going to need a ship and a crew. As soon as I arrived, the aggressive salesman charged at me: “I’m Stan of Stan’s Previously Owned Vessels, and I’d stand on my head to make you a deal. What sort of craft are you looking for? Little? Fast? Slow? You want it, I got it. And if I don’t got it, I’ll get it. I want to make you a deal that YOU’RE happy with. Because if YOU’RE not happy, I’M not happy. But I KNOW you’re going to leave here happy today. How do I know? Just look at all these ships! I’ve got something for everyone! Come take a look around!” After this avalanche of slimy pitching, the hand-waving, elastic-jawed Stan led me over to his wares, asking me what I was looking for in the process. I decided that “something not too expensive, but built to last” would be a pretty safe bet, so ran with it. Stan, of course, had just the thing! “Affordable quality? Hey, that’s my motto! I’ve got JUST the boat for you!”

Come on mate! I work with sales people every day!

I'd love to hear the voice acting for this guy.

He led me to what was clearly a Viking-style boat, complete with shields on the sides. “Now, I can see you’re a no-frills kind of guy. But I can also tell that quality means a lot to you. I mean, just look at the way you dress. Rugged. Like this baby. She comes from a land far to the North, where the sea is as unforgiving as the men are tough and hey, you wouldn’t happen to be from there would you? You just seem to have a sort of Nordic quality about you. Anyway, we’re talking about a real value here. What kind of price range were you thinking of?” There seemed no point in lying, so I admitted that I could afford no more than 171 pieces of eight. This number didn’t impress Stan: “I’m glad this ship doesn’t have ears, my friend. Because if she did, she’d slap your face. I doubt you’re carrying enough cash on you for this transaction. You wouldn’t happen to have any OTHER means of finance, would you?” My options at this point were to ask for credit or announce that I had a rubber chicken I’d be willing to trade, so I chose the credit path. “Sorry, kid. Neither a borrower nor a lender be. That’s just old Stan’s philosophy. If you’ve got a job, the storekeeper in town might extend you some credit.” Now, I don’t intend to recite the entirety of my conversations with Stan, as he banged on and on in just as much detail for every ship in the yard. I did want to give you a clear picture of just how hilarious and memorable the character is though. I was laughing for about ten minutes while choosing every dialogue option I could, just to see what verbal diarrhea would come out of his mouth.

I did try giving him the chicken with the pulley in the middle, but strangely, he already had one.

After checking out the expensive red ship in the foreground to no avail, and finding out that the blue ship near the store was Stan’s and not for sale, I finally asked about the cheapest one on offer. Stan took me to the end of the pier, and then told me all about the famous Sea Monkey. “The only ship ever to make it to Monkey Island and come back with anyone aboard left alive. Or should I say, anyTHING. You see, the previous owners of this ship were two adventurous pirates. They set off, like many before, to find the legendary Secret of Monkey Island. And, like many before, they disappeared forever. Their fate - - a mystery. Almost as mysterious as how this ship returned to Melee Island without a single human aboard. Some claim it was sailed back by a crew of chimps.” I offered Stan the same amount I had previously, 171 pieces of eight, only for him to throw it back in my face again. “Look. This is a very reasonably priced ship, but not that reasonable.” I figured I wasn’t going to get anyway at this point, and set off for the storekeeper to see if I could convince him to give me some credit. As I was leaving the screen, Stan appeared out of nowhere to give me his business card and “something to remember him by”. It was an extra strong magnetic compass, that would always point directly back to the Stan’s Previously Owned Vessels. Brilliant!

Hey, they didn't trademark Sea Monkey! Fair game!

I hate it that he's right!

I took a closer look at the compass that was now in my inventory and discovered something potentially important. “(WARNING: Contains strong magnet which may interfere with other navigational equipment.)” Perhaps I would require the magnet to interfere in my favour at a later time! I made my way to the general store, and found that one of my dialogue options was now “I’m interested in procuring a note of credit”. I tried my luck, and the owner seemed open to the idea: “You are, are you? Got a job?” I lied and told him that I did, and he appeared convinced. “All right. I’ll get one of my notes and we’ll fill it out.” The storekeeper went upstairs to the safe and turned the handle so it pointed west, then east, then west, and then east again. The door opened, at which point the storekeeper picked up the note and returned. Finally I knew how to open the safe! The storekeeper asked more information regarding my occupation, leaving me with the choice of 1. a grog-swilling, foul-smelling pirate, 2. a waiter at the SCUMM Bar, 3. an acrobat with the travelling circus, or 4. a ship cleaner at Stan’s ship yard. I chose the fourth option, figuring that none of them were going to be successful anyway. As expected, the storekeeper wasn’t convinced: “I haven’t seen a clean ship over there in years. You’re either lying, or you’re just a crummy worker. Either way, I don’t trust you.”

Having a safe for a single credit note is a bit of overkill don't you think?

The storekeeper returned the note to the safe, and on his return I asked him about the Sword Master. As it had previously, this resulted in the old man leaving the store to go visit the Sword Master, giving me the opportunity I was after. I went to the safe and copied the handle movements I’d witnessed earlier. The door opened, and I was able to get the credit note! “I, the good and honourable storekeeper do hereby take liability for the debts of the bearer of this note for any amount up to 5000 pieces of eight.” Awesome! I now had 5171 pieces of eight with which to purchase the ship I needed! I raced back to Stan and asked if he would accept a credit note in exchange for the Sea Monkey. “Hey, of course! Your credit’s always good at Stan’s. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had credit problems in the past. Bankruptcy...chronic gambling mishaps...I mean, who am I to judge, right?” I offered Stan 2000 pieces of eight for the ship, then 3000, then 4000, and then finally 5000! To my dismay, he accepted none of these offers! I asked him how much he wanted for it, and he came back with 9000 frickin pieces of eight! How was I going to afford that?! There had to be a way to convince him. Perhaps if I tried to leave he would come to the party.  I told Stan to forget the whole thing and started to leave. “Now, wait a second! Don’t go away mad. I’m sure we can work something out.”

Woohoo! I'm rich!

Well, it's not exactly MY money.

Sadly, Stan still wouldn’t accept my offer of 5000 pieces of eight, so I decided to try and find a crew instead. Perhaps I would gain some more cash during my travels?! The one character I’d not achieved anything with yet was Meathook, so I made my way to his island to see if things had changed. I informed the handless man that the Governor had been kidnapped, and he didn’t believe me. I showed him LeChuck’s note, and the guy seemed genuinely concerned for Elaine’s safety. “What are we going to do?” I suggested we get a crew together and go after them, and while Meathook thought this a fine idea, he was concerned that we wouldn’t have a captain. Guybrush put his hand up for the role, but Meathook only laughed. Eventually he asked me to prove I was worthy of the role, and then led me to some sort of enclosure. To prove how brave I was, he demanded I open the doors and touch the hideous creature that was held captive within. “Let’s just hope you’re quicker than I was. Oh, I just remembered something. I never did get around to feeding him this week. Silly me.” I knew all too well that whatever was beyond the doors would be harmless, but I was still intrigued to find out what it was. As Meathook climbed up onto another floor, well out of way of harm, I opened the door! I was shown a really nice close-up of Guybrush, eyes wide with trepidation, and then the shockingly evil and violent demon creature from hell was revealed to be...a parrot!

Honestly, I really wish I could show you all the dialogue options in this game. They're just awesome!

Um...yeah, sure...what could go wrong!?

I look forward to seeing Laukku's comparison screenshot for this one.

I had a bunch of previously unseen actions in my menu such as taunt, tickle, annoy and poke, but I chose to "feel" the “murderous winged devil”. Guybrush simply reached up and touched the bird, causing Meathook to scream in disbelief. “I don’t believe it. You are a brave man after all. You faced the beast I’ve feared all these years. You had the guts to do what I never could. I feel like such a coward.” Meathook professed his unworthiness to be part of my crew, but in true Top Gun style I convinced him otherwise: “You’re a big, strong good-looking guy with a talking tattoo. You can swab my decks any time!” I left my first crew member while he was packing his bags for the journey, and as I departed I was witness to another cut-scene. LeChuck and his crew had returned to their underground hiding place after kidnapping Elaine. I was a bit stunned though to find none other than Sheriff Fester Shinetop standing in the place of the ghost pirate in his room. Even moreso when Bob entered the room and called him Captain! “Captain, sir. I just stopped by to congratulate you on your kidnapping mission.” Things became clear when Shinetop’s form began to warp in horrible ways. LeChuck burst out from within, and the penny dropped. LeChuck was Shinetop! Shinetop was LeChuck! I felt a bit stupid that I hadn’t guessed this connection, particularly after Shinetop had ranted about his “plans for the Governor” during my last session.

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god...oh...you big wuss!

You still have a talking tattoo which automatically makes you better than me.


LeChuck asked Bob how the Governor fared, and the answer wasn’t all positive: “Ah yes, the prisoner. We had a little trouble. Nothing to worry about, sir, everything’s under control. She escaped a few times, but we’ve got her locked up in the brig. No-one’s getting in or out of there.” LeChuck made it clear that any failure wouldn’t be tolerated: “For your sake I hope not. With years of planning almost destroyed by my death, I’m not taking any chances now.” Bob asked his Captain whether he had dealt with Mr. Threepwood appropriately, to which he responded: “Guybrush Threepwood will not be a problem. At this very moment, he’s twenty feet under water, probably bloated up like a fattened pig. ‘Is eyes being eaten out by crabs. Fish peckin’ at his fingers. Kinda makes you wish you were there to watch.” The cut-scene ended with LeChuck demanding Bob run an errand: “Now go check on the root. Make sure it’s locked up tight.” Clearly this was the root that the voodoo lady had spoken of! The root that could destroy a ghost just by touching it! At least now I knew where it was, but I still needed a boat, and likely, more crew members. I made my way back to the Sword Master’s home, guessing that she might be interested in assisting in the Governor’s rescue. On seeing the note, she took no further convincing: “Hmmm, I have a feeling I’m going to regret this, but count me in. I’ll meet you at the dock.”

Wanna make a bet?!

Thank you Captain Obvious!

Now I had two crew members, but I hadn’t gained any more money to purchase a boat. I had a think about who else might be interested, and after a few failed attempts (I wasn’t able to talk to the cook in the SCUMM Bar, the pirates on the main street, or the Fetuccini Brothers in the travelling circus), I went to pay Otis a visit in prison. However, before I entered I noticed someone standing beneath the archway leading to the Governor’s mansion. When I approached, they asked me whether they could help me. I told them I was just on my way to the Governor’s house, at which point they asked if I was there “for the looting”. Apparently there was a huge amount of people looting the mansion, and if I wanted to join them I would have to book a time slot for later in the day. I found this whole conversation to be particularly hysterical, and after my attempts to fool them into letting me pass failed, I booked in a looting slot at “around the two o’clock hour”. With that little episode done with, I went and told Otis about the Governor’s kidnapping. Initially he seemed concerned: “They’ve kidnapped the Governor? That makes me really mad. I feel like kicking someone. Hmm...I wonder if she left her place unlocked.” Despite doubting that Otis would make a very good crew member, I asked if he would join us if I were to free him from his confines. He told me he would be eternally indebted to his emancipator, so I took a look at my inventory items. The answer hit me immediately!

No, just passing through. Oh I'm pulling your leg. I'm her for the looting!

Hey, don't get any ideas buddy!

Well educated criminal aren't you!

The grog I’d got from the barrel in the SCUMM Bar had burnt through the mug I’d used, so perhaps it would also burn through the lock! Suddenly I recalled doing this as a kid, so I knew it was the right thing to try. I raced back to the kitchen and got some grog, but the mug melted into nothingness well before I could get back to the prison. Eureka! It dawned on me that I might be able to pour the grog from mug to mug while I was travelling between the two buildings, and this turned out to be the correct answer. Pouring the green liquid onto the lock burnt a hole in it, freeing Otis! My victory turned sour quickly though, as the bastard wasn’t as grateful as he should have been: “I’m free! Oh yeah, thanks. Sucker!! HA HA HA!!!” Otis left me standing in the prison, wondering how someone could go back on their word like that. Since I couldn’t think of any other potential crew members, I made my way back to Stan’s, determined to find a way to get the ship I needed. I have to admit I’m not certain what I did to get Stan to agree to 5000. I only know that every time I offered him a different price, his asking price changed. When it was finally as low as 5900 pieces of eight, I offered the 5000 and was successful. “Okay! Okay! It’s killing me, but okay! And I thought I was going to give my children Christmas presents this year. Just take it out of here. I’m GLAD to get rid of it. See you at the dock, and don’t forget your crew. All three of them.” Finally I had a ship, and perhaps a crew! It’s time to go to the docks and see whether Otis has changed his mind...

People drink this stuff!!!

Now I feel like kicking someone!

Yeah, whatever. See you in a sequel Stanley!

Session Time: 1 hour 00 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 00 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. You want to hear Stan's voice acting: You got it!


    Don't worry about spoilers - this video only contains scenes you've played in this posting.

    1. Sometimes the names of the related videos that YouTube shows to the right contain spoilers - I got spoiled about Zbetna'f qrngu in Tales of Monkey Island that way.

    2. Well. That's annoying. A pox on anyone who puts an obvious spoiler on their Youtube video's title. Sorry if it's my link that did it to you.

      I personally didn't get that one linked. The videos it shows to the right are largely random and will be different each time you look at the video, but are either related to the current video (and there's hundreds of Monkey Island videos there) or recent videos you've looked at.

      So I suppose the only way to avoid possible spoilers on youtube is to immediately maximize the video without reading the names to the right.

    3. No, it wasn't your link - it happened sometime during 2010. I was playing the game together with my family, and we progressed slowly due to being rarely together. We only got to that scene about half a year after all episodes were already released, which was more than enough to fill YouTube with scenes from the game during that time. I had viewed a lot of trailers and other videos of the game, which is why I eventually stumbled upon the spoiler.

      Nowadays if I want to look a YouTube video related to a game or film I really don't want to be spoiled about, I open a private/incognito tab that doesn't save any cookies and move the window to the corner so that only the video itself shows.

    4. Relevant, I just discovered this:


  2. >I look forward to seeing Laukku's comparison screenshot for this one.

    OK, here goes.


    This is one of the cases where the VGA version improves on it in almost every way. The facial expression has been made better, the use of light is more interesting and the whole thing is beautifully done (aside from the somewhat unfinished-looking shirt). The EGA version's hair is a neat example of those thin wavy lines used throughout the game, though.

    Here's his confused expression, with the parrot reflection visible:


    You can also see clearly in these closeups that the stripes on Guybrush's shirt in his sprite are supposed to be strings, miscoloured blue in the VGA versions.

    1. ....Laukku are you red-blue colourblind? The leather things lacing his shirt up are red in Trickster's screenshot, like a leather red. Not blue.

    2. No, I mean the little sprite. The one you see all the time when standing and walking. Not the big closeup. Like in this screenshot. You do know what a sprite in this context is, right?

      You see those three blue stripes? They are black in the EGA version.

    3. Another question is why Guybrush has purple eyes, which is kinda odd. Can that actually happen?

    4. Oh! Yes, sorry, I missed that word somehow. Oops. I guess that is what I guess for reading comments on the blog in one eye while monitoring the x-ray with my other.

    5. The eyes might be reflecting the blue light around him. Maybe not realistic, but it looks cool anyway.

  3. I didn't know you could make Stan lower the price without rejecting all the ship's extras, which are pretty funny on their own. You should redo the transaction only to read them ^^U.

    1. Yeah, for the record that's the idea behind that puzzle. You treat Stan like the used-whatever salesman he is, shooting down all his "Extras", threatening to walk away and find a better deal somewhere else, aggressive haggling... I can't imagine how long it must've taken without that.

    2. I failed to mention it in my post for the simple reason that I was spending a lot of time on the Stan scene, but I did go through all the extras the first time I visited him.

      Oh well, I got there in the end, even if I wasn't quite certain what the trigger was.

  4. A very entertaining writeup as usual, Trick :-)

    On the corrosive qualities of grog. I have a painful story to share which some of you may have heard of. A few years ago Monkey Island inadvertently made the local news with a breaking story of how teenagers were getting hooked on a new dangerous drink named "Grog XD". This was not parody, this was live TV. Someone had tipped a morning news show that some kids on Facebook were trying a new "energy drink" that contained ingredients such as battery acid, axle grease and -last but not least- a misterious "scumm". And boy did they run with it, in typically sensationalist fashion. They had a doctor in front of the camera (a very renowned one, no less) going through the ingredients used for this "grog XD" (all of them matching the description given by the three mean pirates in the SCUMM bar) that was apparently devastating the local youth. The "XD" of course, is simply a misread emoticon.

    Local fans were predictably dismayed, flabbergasted and angry as the prank went viral, but many were delighted. It was Monkey Island on the news! Word of the snafu spread fast on the Internet and eventually reached Schafer, who said something like how he couldn't have provided better comedy himself. As a way of tribute, "Grog XD" is featured as one of the flavors offered in a grog-dispensing machine in one of the chapters of Tales of Monkey Island, where Guybrush comments "This must be that new high-energy grog that all the kids are drinking these days":

    Oh well. Whoever thought up the prank probably never imagined how it would turn out, and I don't think he/she was disappointed :-)

    1. That's good stuff Charles!

      I'm often astounded at how gullible the media can be. Some of the news articles relating to the missing Malaysia airline were so obviously contrived that it's difficult to understand how anyone could let them run.

    2. I'm consistently astounded by how a simple Google search seems to be beyond the grasp of so many supposedly knowledgeable people, let alone actual responsible research on the subject matter. This episode, while funny, highlighted how bad it can get.

      I can only imagine how bad it *did* get with that missing flight... (haven't been following the news) I reckon UFOs must've entered the picture at some point...

  5. I could have sworn you needed to go through all the extras and reject them before the price went down low enough, as haggling on your own didn't change it more than once. At least that's how it worked in the remake.

    Vg'f nyfb cbffvoyr gb serr gur eng va gur nqwbvavat pryy. V jnf ubcvat gur ahzore bs serrq engf zvtug pbzr hc yngre, ohg qbrfa'g frrz yvxr vg znggref.

  6. I spent ages wandering around the entire island looking for a job before I thought about lying to the shopkeeper. Lying never works in adventure games. The person you're lying to always seems to have some omniscient power of knowing when you're lying and holding back until all of a sudden they become aware of you having done some small insignificant thing 10 screens away that they could not be affected by at all and only then giving you what you want.
    Honestly, I don't know how I finished this game when it threw out tried and true adventure game tropes like that in the garbage

    1. I didn't even bother going back to the shopkeeper until I'd visited every other location first. I too assumed I actually had to get a job and then go visit him.

    2. I've forgotten: Is it possible to ask the shopkeeper to open the safe, after you've taken the credit note? If so, what's his reaction to the empty safe?

  7. BundleStars has a new bundle up with three adventure games: Jane Jensen's Gray Matter, Gomo and Hotel Collector's Edition (which looks like a hidden object game, but I think it actually isn't):

    The three adventures are bundled with 7 other games for $4. All Steam keys.

  8. >Honestly, I really wish I could show you all the dialogue options in this game. They're just awesome!

    That brought to my mind that there was a lot of dialogue dummied out form the final game. For example, there was another dialogue option ("Screw ‘em. Let’s go loot the town.") among those in that screenshot.

    BTW, I'm always amused by Stan's comment on Guybrush's "Nordic quality", because I'm from a Nordic country myself and happen to look a lot like Guybrush in this game.

    1. Have you ever tried tracing your lineage, mate? Because... who knows?

  9. It's out and ready to play!



  10. RealMyst: Masterpiece Edition has also been released on GOG. So that means there's Myst, Myst: Masterpiece Edition, RealMyst, and RealMyst: Masterpiece Edition. Is the first game really worthy of all these versions?


    1. RealMyst is the more obvious departure from the original, though I'm not familiar with the features added by the Masterpiece Editions... if higher-res textures are part of the package, those are always nice, especially in this kind of game.

  11. People ask the same thing about Blade Runner as well. XD


  12. The new Humble Weekly Bundle has I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream, Harvester, The 7th Guest and The 11th Hour in it: https://www.humblebundle.com/weekly

    And now back to Tesla Effect...;)

  13. GoG weekend sales, IndieMix Weekend! http://www.gog.com/promo/indiemix_weekend_promo_090514
    The adventure games present are:
    Machinarium: Collectors Edition
    To The Moon
    The Ballads of Remus: When The Bed Bites
    and some borderline cases such as Miasmata and Lucius.