Part Three: Where The Trickster raves on about just how awesome this game is.
The Secret of Monkey Island is such a joy to play! I’ve put another half an hour or so into it, and I have to say that LucasArts got all the balances right. The puzzles are far from easy, yet they are solved through thoughtful logic and are rarely frustrating. The story is undoubtedly silly, but it’s so entertaining and funny that you never care. The graphics, sound and interface are fantastic while never drawing the player’s attention away from what they’re trying to do. Everything just feels...right, and so much happens every time I start the game up (which is why it's taking me so long to blog through it). I really want to get stuck back into it, but to do that I need to get this post done, so I’ll get on with it. When I started this latest session, I’d just landed (literally) on Monkey Island. While my head was stuck in the sand, a monkey ran around and made typical monkey sounds such as “eep” and “oop”. It quickly ran off, to be replaced by an odd looking pirate. He didn’t seem to notice the state I was in, and spoke to me as follows: “Hi! I’m Herman Toothrot! Don’t bother to say hello. I’ve only been waiting twenty years to talk to somebody civilized, I don’t mind.” When I didn’t respond he became discouraged, but then noticed that my pants were on fire after being fired out of the cannon. “By the way, you might want to think about putting out that fire. Someone could be hurt.” With that he ran off into the jungle, and control of Guybrush was giving back to me. It was time to explore the island, starting with the note that was nailed on the tree in my close proximity.
Um...a little help here!
I'd love to ask him why he's not wearing any pants, but that's a bit difficult right now.
“NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING: There will be a meeting Wednesday evening to discuss the recent occupation of the Sacred Monkey Head by the ghost pirate LeChuck, and subsequent impact on the environment and the tourist trade. All Monkey Island cannibals are encouraged to attend.” The note seemed to suggest that there were more inhabitants on the island, even if they were cannibals, so I had to wonder why Toothrot hadn’t had a conversation in two decades. I could only guess that these cannibals were not particularly “civilized”. Lying in the sand beneath the tree was a banana, and there were a heap more of them adorning the upper branches. I picked the piece of fruit up, but didn’t seem to be able to reach the rest. The other obvious thing on the screen was a rowboat just off the shore. Taking a look at it revealed that it had the words “Sea Monkey” on the side, so it was obviously the boat that Herman and his Captain had rowed to the shore all those years ago. Could the Captain also still be on the island somewhere? I tried to use the boat to see what would happen, only to be told that there was nothing to paddle it with. With the beachfront fully explored, I made my way into the jungle. I was shown a top down view of the southern part of the island, and a bit of pixel hunting revealed that I had the option of visiting either a monkey or a crack. I chose the monkey...
...I don't have a shadow! Aha! A flaw in the game!!! I must remember this moment.
Does anyone else look at this and see...um...never mind.
The monkey was moving quickly around the lower section of the island, so it was a little tricky to make contact with him. Once I did, I was taken to a screen where I could interact with it. It seemed obvious that I might be able to give a banana to it, so I did. The monkey quickly peeled it and ate it, but then continued to run around. Looking at it revealed that it still looked hungry. Did I need to go back and get more bananas? I couldn’t think of anything else to try, so I paid a visit to the crack to see what was there. I found myself standing at the top of a sheer cliff face, with a tree, a strong branch, and a sturdy stump situated at various heights. I figured I probably needed some type of rope to climb down, and if I could manage it, the oars to the boat were waiting at the bottom. I made my way back to the banana tree, but couldn’t find any way of getting more bananas, despite being informed that they looked ready to be picked. I walked back to the jungle, and moved my little Guybrush avatar up towards the north-western part of the screen. I reappeared on the western edge of the island, where a fort sat at the top of what once must have been a volcano. I made my way up there, and uncovered a heap of useful looking stuff!
What about me? I haven't eaten in days!
I'll try to not to make the same mistake Larry did in Larry III.
I'm glad I can't die in Monkey Island, because these vultures look threatening.
I'm stating upfront that I am NOT getting into that cannon!
Firstly, there was a piece of rope, which was exactly what I needed to attempt to climb down the cliff to get the oars. Secondly, there was yet another cannon, although this time I didn’t appear to be able to interact with it. Lastly, there was a spyglass lying on the ground, which I picked up along with the rope. The spyglass had a very helpful message written on it: “WARNING: Objects in spyglass may be farther away than they appear.” I left the fort, and despite being keen to go back to the crack with the rope, decided to explore more of the island. I travelled to the east and once again revealed more of the “map”. This section had a river fork that looked like it might travel through a mountain range, and a dry river bed that ran into a pond. I chose the river fork, and soon found myself standing at the edge of some water with a small bridge running over it. On the large rock right near me was a note, which in turn had a smaller rock holding it down. I looked firstly at the small rock and was given a surprising amount of information: “I’m no geologist, but judging by these conchoidal fractures, I’d say this is a piece of flint!” Well, isn’t Guybrush a big smartypants! Who knew?! I picked up the flint and read the note beneath: “To the ghost pirate LeChuck: We must ask you once again to curtail your nightly activities in the Sacred Monkey Head area. Decent people are trying to sleep. Kindly keep the noise level down. The Monkey Island Cannibals. P.S. We saw you taking that woman with the scarf down there!”
You don't say!
I've said it before, but I'll say it again. I love these overhead views!
There have been a few occasions where the game has automatically taken the next obvious action without waiting for me to command it. A nice touch!
These cannibals really weren’t impressed with LeChuck’s habits, and now I knew for sure that Elaine was somewhere here on the island! I crossed the bridge and then climbed the stairs leading up the mountain face on the other side. The stairs led to a platform where a huge rock took up most of the screen. Just in front of it was a strange looking structure with another note lying next to it. I read the note: “To the Monkey Island Cannibals: Please stop moving this. It is delicately balanced. -- Herman Toothrot” Moving my cursor over the structure, which seemed to be made up of nothing more than a log and two rocks, revealed that it was supposed to be “primitive art”. I took a closer look, only to be told that it was in actuality exactly what it looked like: “It’s either an incisive representation of the futility of man, or it’s a log and a couple of rocks.” I tried pushing it, and found that I could move it from an eastern pointing direction right round to a western one. Pulling it moved it back in the other direction. I left it facing west, and then climbed up the stairs that I could see in the background. These stairs took me to a summit, from which I could see the Sea Monkey clearly in the distance. There was a pile of rocks towards the right of screen, and one fairly large one resting at the front edge of the cliff.
Herman was really onto something with this. A primitive Freudian masterpiece!
Yes of course. No doubt you're in great demand around here!
As I walked towards the rock, Herman Toothrot approached me for another strange conversation: “I never get tired of this view. Even if I HAVE been looking at it for twenty years now. Even if it is the ONLY view on the island.” Unlike last time I saw him, this time I was able to speak back. I chose to agree with him, telling him that it was indeed a very nice view. That was the extent of our discussion, as Herman told me he really needed to get going. I had no idea what might be so pressing for him to rush off to, but at least I was now able to see what could be done with the rocks. I pushed the rock sitting at the edge, and it tumbled off, apparently landing on the primitive art below. The rock must have landed on the end of the log, which caused the larger rock to be propelled into the air. It peeked just in front of my face before gravity kicked in and took it back to its original location. This caused the rock I’d just pushed off to be launched into the air at huge velocity! It travelled in the direction of the Sea Monkey, but fell well short of the beachfront and into the jungle. Hmmm, was I supposed to face the artwork in a particular direction before launching the rock? What would I try to hit? Eureka! The banana tree! I immediately knew that this was the way to get more bananas for the monkey!
For a moment I thought I was supposed to take out the Sea Monkey, but couldn't for the life of me figure out why I would want to.
What can I say? With great talent comes great awesomeness.
As was becoming the norm by now, there was a note on the ground nearby. “To the Monkey Island Cannibals: I don’t mind you worshipping in front of the Sacred Monkey Idol which doubles as my home and secret base of operations, but could you please refrain from leaving messy sacrifices on my porch. Also, please DO NOT ENTER the Monkey Head. – G.P. LeChuck” Well this was getting interesting! There seemed to be a bit of a running battle between LeChuck, Herman Toothrot, and the Cannibals. Speaking of Toothrot, he entered the screen for another chin-wag: “This is an old friend of mine, the one I sailed here with. He’s lost weight. Never looked better.” I asked what happened to him, and was given an explanation that surely deserves a Darwin Award: “Oh, nasty accident. He was trying to put up a swing.” I asked Herman whether he was a castaway, and his response took his odd behaviour to a whole new level. “What do I look like, the caretaker?” He looked straight at the screen and continued: “Listen to this guy: Am I some kind of a castaway? Heh.” I was thankful that I had the opportunity to ask him who he was talking to, as it seemed to me that Herman might be breaking the fourth wall! “Why, the people watching, of course.” No further explanation was given or needed! Thankfully, the crazy guy seemed to be warming to me: “My name’s Toothrot. Herman Toothrot. I live here. Well, not RIGHT here. In the fort on the volcano.” My next question, which was simply whether he was stranded on the island, somehow offended Herman, as he left in a huff: “You think I stay here for my health? Hoo, boy...”
He actually calls himself Ghost Pirate LeChuck?
It's you I'm more concerned about!
Free to continue, I checked out the hanging corpse and found there was another coil of rope that it looked like I might be able to obtain. Unfortunately, Guybrush seemed unable to reach it, and since I couldn’t find anything else to do with it or the corpse, I left. It was possible that there was still more island to explore at this point, but I decided to see if I could solve a couple of puzzles that I’d already come across. I went back to the beachfront and found that my amazing effort had only knocked two bananas out of the tree. I picked them up, but instead of going straight to the monkey, I made my way to the crack and tried using the rope on the strong branch. It worked, and I was now able to climb down to the ledge where the sturdy stump was. I thought I might be able to reclaim the rope and use it again on the stump, but I didn’t seem to be able to. It seemed to me that I was going to need the other piece of rope that I’d seen with the corpse, so climbed back out for now. I made my way to the monkey and gave it another banana. It gobbled it down, but was still hungry. I gave it the other one, but the damn thing was still hungry! Was I supposed to keep feeding it or could I do something else now that I'd given it three bananas? Was feeding it helping my cause at all? Maybe I could go back to the mountain and launch another rock at the banana tree?!
Thankfully, Guybrush is much more sensible than Larry.
Oh come on! You greedy little shit!
I raced back to the summit and gave it a shot: “It came close, but I don’t think it’ll hit it again. That shot was one in a zillion!” Nope, launching more rocks at the tree wasn’t the answer. I hadn’t seen any other food on the island. There seemed nothing else to do but to continue my exploration of the island, so I made my way back down to ground level and tried going further north-east. I was thrilled to find that there was indeed another section that I could explore, and it was one containing a beach and a clearing. The only item of interest on the beach was a green bottle, which contained...that’s right... another note. “To: Herman Toothrot. From: Yammer, Hem, and Haw, attorney at law. Re: Suit against cannibal tribe over malicious tossing of your oars into a chasm. I think we have a case here. We can probably soak them for emotional distress and possibly punitive damages as well.” So that’s how the oars got down there! Before I could think on it any further, Herman paid me another visit. He seemed to recognise the ship that he'd sailed on all those years ago. “Look at that fabulous ship out there! Did you come in that? You’re braver than you look. Actually, it looks a lot like a ship I used to own.” I told him that I purchased it from a guy called Stan, and this really grabbed his attention: “Stan of Stan’s Used Ships? On Melee Island?” Finally, this little connection gave me the opportunity to question Herman about all sorts of things.
The competitor in me simply wouldn't give up that easily!
Methinks Monkey Island would make for a really nice holiday destination.
Hey, what the hell is that supposed to mean?!
When asked whether he was the only person on the island, Herman told me there was “a native tribe of hunter/gatherers – well, HEADhunter/gatherers, actually”. He went on to explain that they weren’t really dangerous though, unless you lend them something. “I lent my banana picker to them, and they never gave it back. As collateral they gave me this enormous cotton swab. It opens the big monkey head idol they worship.” Clearly I was going to need that cotton swab, so it seemed likely I would have to retrieve the picker for Herman to get my hands on it. The next thing I got out of Toothrot was the story behind the mysterious Sea Monkey: “Well, I sailed here with a friend of mine twenty years ago. We hoped to discover the Secret of Monkey Island. But my friend met with a horrifying and tragic accident, which claimed his life, and I couldn’t sail the ship back by myself. I trained a bunch of chimps to crew the ship and sail it back to Melee Island. They were supposed to get help and come back for me. Something must have happened.” The obvious question I had was why Herman didn’t go back to Melee island on the boat with the monkeys, but he responded that he couldn’t bear the thought of “WEEKS on a boat full of monkeys”. Fair enough I guess! I told him that I had come to Monkey Island to rescue someone, and he immediately assumed it was him. I explained that it was actually the Governor of Melee Island, who had been kidnapped by LeChuck, but that he was welcome to come back with us once she was rescued. Herman wandered away at this point, and it seemed a good time to save my game and get this post out. Now I get back to finding those non-dangerous cannibals. Wish me luck!
Yep, I finally got to ask Herman why he isn't wearing pants. Apparently he never has!
Session Time: 0 hours 30 minutesTotal Time: 6 hours 30 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!