Monday, 19 May 2014

Game 43: The Secret of Monkey Island - Monkey See Monkey Do

Guybrush Threepwood Journal Entry 10: "I'm so close to Elaine now, I can feel it! After retrieving Herman's ingenious banana picker from the rather nonthreatening "Cannibals of Monkey Island", I've managed to gain entrance to the giant monkey head where I'm certain I'll find LeChuck's ghost pirate ship. I wouldn't have been able to do it without the help of my little monkey friend though, which only acts to remind me how useless my crew has turned out to be. Oh well...I've made it this far on my own! I'm not going to let anything stop me now!"

This appeared to be the last location I could get to on the island, but what would I find there?

I must apologise for the increased gaps between posts the last few weeks. I normally get a lot of writing done on weekends and an influx of 4 year old birthday parties (literally five in two weeks) has sucked up all of my blessed time. Rest assured that I’m as eager as ever to keep pushing ahead and am thoroughly enjoying taking my time with The Secret of Monkey Island. So...where was I? That’s right, my last post covered what I assumed would be the majority of Monkey Island, ending as I’d just found out what really happened to the crew of the Sea Monkey during its first trip to the island. From what I could tell, there was only one more location I could visit, since the northern part of the island appeared to be blocked off by a mountain range straight through the middle. I left the beach front and walked up to what was listed a “clearing” on the map. Once I arrived I found a sign that read “PRIVATE PROPERTY: Worshipping is permitted, but please DO NOT ENTER the Monkey Head. G.P. LeChuck.” A few more steps to the right of screen and I entered a very creepy part of the island. There were skulls and corpses on spikes, with the corpses rather humorously described as Shish keBob, Shish keJoe and Shish keLarry. Past this morbid path I uncovered a couple of totem poles in front of a fence, and behind that fence was the Monkey Head I’d heard so much about. It looked like I was going to have to figure out a way to firstly get past the fence and then secondly inside the head.

I'm certain there was at least one dad involved in the creation of this game. Only dads are allowed to tell jokes like this one.

There were carvings on the totem poles that read “Made by Red Skull” and “Made by Sharptooth”. This didn’t mean much to me, but perhaps it would be relevant later on. A bit of pixel hunting revealed that I could interact with one of the large noses on one of the poles, so I pulled it. To my dismay, while I was hanging onto the nose a gap would open up in the fence, but as soon as I let go it would close up. I looked through my inventory to see if I had anything I could hang off the nose, but found nothing. After a couple of minutes of fluffing about, it became obvious I was missing something I needed, so left the clearing. I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to do now, so revisiting all the island’s locations seemed a sensible thing to do. I hadn’t found a use for the spyglass yet, so I planned to try using it at each of the places I visited. This led to the discovery that I could use the spyglass when standing in front of Herman’s “primitive art”. While I’d discovered which position the log needed to be facing for the boulder to make contact with the banana tree by using trial and error, I now figured out that using the spyglass on this screen resulted in Guybrush announcing that he could “see that big banana tree on the beach” while directing it straight towards the player.” This was nice to know, but it didn’t help me now.

Who nose how I'm going to solve this puzzle?! Yes, I'm a dad, so I'm definitely allowed!'s not a banana tree!

I got a bit excited while revisiting the western part of the island, as I discovered there was a section of beach I could visit that I’d somehow missed the first time through. Sadly, the only thing I found there was a note reading: “Herman – Please return our key to the Monkey Head. – The Cannibals.” I already knew that Herman had the key, and the only way I was going to get it was to retrieve his banana picker from the cannibals. Finally I had some real success when I went back to the fort up on the volcano. I’d previously tried using the cannon, but this time I tried pushing it. It fell forward, and a cannon ball fell out of the nozzle! As it did so, Herman came home (he lives in the fort) and he wasn’t too impressed with the mess I’d made. “Oh, perfect. I’m gone five minutes and somebody comes here and dumps gunpowder all over the floor. Naturally I don’t think YOU had anything to do with it. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that you came in here to prowl around right after some MYSTERIOUS person dirtied up my nice clean floor.” I tried to convince him that I saw a monkey leaving the area just as I arrived, but he wasn’t having any of it. Still, he wandered off again and let me pick up the cannon ball and some gunpowder that had also fallen out of the nozzle. Interestingly, examining the cannon ball revealed that it had three holes in it, making it a fine candidate to be used as a bowling ball at some point.

Yes, it is a very obvious beach. Don't ask me how I didn't find it earlier.

Naturally! I mean, pirates are renowned for their honesty and integrity right?

I had a think about where I might be able to use either the ball or the powder, and the dam I’d seen at the river fork came to mind. I went back there and used the gunpowder on the dam. I then used the flint on the cannon ball to light it and KABOOM!!!!!! The dam exploded and water came rushing out of the river and into the dry river bed behind me. Guybrush got caught up in the rush and taken for a ride all the way to the pond at the end of the river bed. This of course was where the corpse had been hanging from a tree, but the rush of water had brought him down! I didn’t appear to be able to do anything with the corpse, but I could pick up the rope he’d had in his hands before his accident. Eureka! I raced back to the crack and used the second piece of rope on the sturdy tree stump. I was finally able to climb all the way down the cliff face and collect the oars at the bottom of the ravine! I thought I might be able to walk along the ravine in either direction, but Guybrush refused: “It’s spooky, and I’m not going any further.”  I climbed back out and made my way back to the beach front where the rowboat was situated. Using the paddles on it gave me the ability to row the boat, and I was given a top down view to navigate my way around the island. I was now able to row around to the northern part of the island, which had been inaccessible to this point!!!

This seemed like a great position to blow up the dam! What could go wrong?

Well he won't be needing it will he? Plus it didn't exactly do him much good when he was alive!

And you're really going to enter a ghost ship on a river of lava to fight an undead pirate?!

Row row row your boat, gently down the...oh you get the idea.

I rowed the whole way around the island until I reached a beach towards the northern peak. I noticed while rowing that there was a village that I would now be able to visit, but first I checked out the note that was resting on the beach itself. “Cannibals – I’m not giving you bloodsuckers your key to the Monkey Head until you return my banana picker. H.T.” Nothing new there, so I made my way to what I figured had to be the cannibal’s village. This belief was strengthened when I found various bones on spikes and hanging on ropes around a collection of huts on arrival. I decided to walk through the village before investigating anything, and at the very end I found a bowl of fruit on the ground in front of a huge stone head. There were two bananas in the bowl, so I picked those up with the intention of feeding the monkey back to the south. I was unable to get any of the other fruit since it was all overripe. Guybrush refused my commands to enter the stone head since he figured it would be booby trapped, and since the door to the hut behind me was locked, I walked back towards the centre of the village. To my surprise there were three natives with strange masks on their heads waiting for me!!! The one with the red mask spoke to me: “Is that a banana in your pocket, or are you just glad to see us?” The grey masked cannibal then piped up: “You’ve got a lot of nerve stealing from the notorious Monkey Island cannibals!” Man, it seemed I was in some serious trouble here!

Why can't we all just learn to get along?

What better place for cannibals to hang out than part of the world completely ostracized from the rest!

Well I don't think the cannibals will miss them...or perhaps they will!

Actually it's two, but let's not tell anyone ok?

Guybrush questioned whether these guys really were cannibals, and their response had me laughing out loud. “Well, yes. Although, lately we’ve been trying to stay away from red meat. Only for health reasons. We’re still as vicious as ever. Especially with tourists who try to steal our stuff for souvenirs. Well, what do you have to say for yourself?” None of my dialogue options seemed likely to get me out of trouble, but I decided to threaten them, telling them that I was a mighty pirate. This concerned them, but not in the way I’d imagined. “That means his skin will be leathery and his meat tough and stringy. You are of no use to us, nutritionally speaking, but if you had some sort of offering for us, something that we could pass on to the Great Monkey, we might be persuaded to let you leave here uncooked.” I desperately looked through my inventory, but couldn’t find anything obvious to offer them. I randomly chose to give them the minutes I’d received back on Melee Island, and as expected they weren’t impressed. “Now what would the Great Monkey do with THAT? Obviously you have nothing for us. We might eat you, we might let you go. We’ll have to talk about it with the village nutritionist. Come. Let me show you our guest hut.” The three so called cannibals led me back to the hut that I’d recently found was locked, and put me inside. Things were not all bad though, as a large device that was clearly Herman’s banana picker was also in the hut!

Whoever came up with vegetarian cannibals is a legend!

Clearly they don't realise this is an adventure game!

Easier said than done. Look at the size of the thing!

There was also a note on the floor in the hut which read: “To the ghost pirate LeChuck: We must protest your ‘acquisition’ of our voodoo antiroot. We realize that it presents a hazard to you and your crew, but this is thievery. – The Monkey Island Cannibals.” The voodoo lady had already told me about this root, and one of the cutscenes had informed me that it was on LeChuck’s ghost pirate ship somewhere, but this memo let me know that he’d stolen it from the cannibals. I picked up Herman’s picker, not stopping to wonder where Guybrush might store something so large, and then tried to find a way out of my imprisonment. There were vines in the corners of the room, but interacting with them just caused Guybrush to say “I don’t think hanging myself is the answer”. Eventually I found a loose floor board, which I was able to remove. Unfortunately, when I climbed through it to freedom, I wasn’t able to take the banana picker with me as it was too big. I was going to have to get that out another way! I didn’t see exactly where Guybrush emerged from underground, but I watched him make his way to the village exit in the background while the cannibals continued to debate whether or not they should eat the pirate: Red  Cannibal: “I’d LOVE to eat the guy!” Grey Cannibal: “So let’s do it!” Red Cannibal: “But think of your arteries!” Grey Cannibal: “We ARE cannibals, for crying out loud!” Red Cannibal: “Yeah, but cannibals have to watch their saturated fats just like everyone else.” etc. etc.

Having a large object always makes fitting through tight openings a bit tough.

No-one ever considers cannibal's health situations!

I didn’t yet know whether there was anywhere else I could visit on the northern part of the island, but once I figured out I wasn’t, I decided to re-enter the village to explore all the other huts. The first one was “empty”. The second one was “VERY empty”. The third one was “the emptiest hut I’ve ever seen”. The fourth one? “I’ll bet if I looked up ‘empty’ in the dictionary, there’d be a picture of this hut!” I had a good giggle at all these descriptions, but in the end it meant coming back to the village had achieved nothing at all. I decided to row the boat back around the south part of the island to feed the two bananas I’d gained to the hungry monkey. I was thrilled that after he gobbled them down he was finally described as “happy”, but I wasn’t sure what good that would do me. He just sat there looking at me as though waiting for something to happen! However, shortly afterwards I noticed that the monkey was following me as I moved around the map! Aha!!! Perhaps the monkey could help me to get to the monkey head!!! I made my way back to the totem poles with my new friend in tow, and as soon as I showed the animal how I could open up the fence, he copied my motions and hung off the nose. Victory!!! I wasn’t sure how long he would stay there, so I quickly wandered through the newly formed opening and onward towards the head.

It's about bloody time!

OK, I forgive you! You've been the most useful character I've met so far!

Shortly afterwards I found myself standing in the midst of numerous creepy looking idols, all of which were standing erect in front of the huge monkey head. Trying to pick any of the large ones up failed, as they were apparently very heavy, but when I tried to pick up the one described as “wimpy little idol”, I found that I could. It had “Made by Lemonhead” written on the bottom of it, and I immediately made a connection to the cannibal with the head that resembled a lemon. It was at this point that I made another connection too! The two totems had been made by Red Skull and Sharptooth. Of course! They were the other two cannibals! I took a quick look at the gigantic monkey head, but knew I wasn’t going to be able to get in without the cotton bud key that Herman had in his possession. I had a feeling that returning the idol to the cannibals might give me the progress I needed so hopped back into the boat and rowed back around the village. When I was confronted by the cannibals, I gave them the wimpy little idol. Red Skull: “Hey, wow! This is impressive! LEMONHEAD!!! Take a look at this.” Lemonhead: “Ooh, that’s nice. Simple. Just like one of mine. And little. Like mine. And it says ‘Made by Lemonhead’, just like mine! We should take this to the Great Monkey.” These cannibals sure weren’t very smart, but at least they were grateful: “We are very grateful to you for this fine gift. If there’s ever anything you need on Monkey Island, just come and see us.

Creepy indeed!

I've just realized while writing that these are the first words Lemonhead speaks in the game.

There was one thing I wanted of course, and walking over to the hut where I’d previously been imprisoned revealed that the door was now wide open. I walked in and picked up Herman’s banana picker, then walked back out unopposed! I’d expected to have to go track Herman down on the south island, so was surprised to find him standing within the village walls, grumbling about how he still hadn’t got his precious picker back. I gave it to him. “I thought I’d never see this again! Here, you can take this key to the Monkey Head back to the natives.” I promised Herman that I would give the key back to the cannibals, and gave him my absolute guarantee that I wouldn’t try to use it myself. That’s exactly what I planned to do of course, so raced back to the monkey head, eager to find out what awaited me inside. Thankfully the monkey was still hanging from the nose, so I was able to wander straight up to the head again, where I tried using the “key” on the huge ear. In a truly awesome gaming moment, the key did indeed turn out to be a huge cotton bud, which Guybrush used to clean the monkey’s ear. As he did so, the mouth opened wide and the tongue rolled out in the form of a staircase! I was getting really close to LeChuck and his crew now, but also feeling a little concerned about what I might find in and around the underground lava sea. In situations like this, there's only one way to find out. I'm going in!!!

Well this is your lucky day buddy!

Pure adventure gaming gold!!!

I'm seriously a bit daunted about what's inside. At least I know I can't die in the game!

Session Time: 0 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours 15 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. Wow, a flint and a cannonball? I was stuck for a long time in that dam puzzle (heh), before eventually having one of the most memorable eureka moments in my gaming history and solving it via a completely different method. I wasn't aware of this alternate solution...

    1. Oh you have to tell me now! Unless of course it spoils something else for me.

    2. There's actually plenty of solutions for that particular puzzle. I know of, let's see...four of them off the top of my head.
      In addition to using the flint on the cannonball, you can replace the cannonball with both the stapler and the spyglass and have it still work.
      Those three solutions are pretty much the same though, but the last one I know of isn't: you can take the lens from the spyglass and light the gunpowder with the power of the sun.

    3. You can also open the spyglass to get the lens and use it on the sun. Speaking of which, there's some funny messages if you try interacting with the sun.

    4. Yes, I used the lens. It was the sun that eventually clued me in. We'd been playing for a while with some friends and we were hungry, not to mention royally stuck. So we took a break and went out to grab some pizza, all the way mulling over the puzzle. Then it hit me and I was "IT'S THE SPYGLASS!!" and then all of us were cheering in the middle of the street -- we just knew that would work. Good times.

  2. Hey, you missed some of the best jokes in the game! You really should've tried to distract the cannibals with the three-headed monkey line. Try getting captured and escaping from the hut several times in a row, too.

    1. I was quite stuck at this point, and did this many times. The door becomes increasingly locked as well. I liked that touch.

    2. Haha, yeah, the three-headed monkey is a classic.

    3. Qbrf nalbar xabj vs gur guerr urnqrq zbaxrl nccrne va gur raq tnzr vs lbh qba'g zragvba vg urer?

  3. So, Red Skull is Captain America's major opponent and Sharptooth is a tyrannosaurus in Land before time -movies, but who is Lemonhead?

    1. The Lemonheads are a rock band who are most well known for a cover of Mrs. Robinson.
      A lemonhead is also a lemon flavoured candy. Don't know which (if either) of these the writer had in mind

    2. I knew the Red Skull reference, but not the Sharptooth one. I think I was about 11 when I watched that movie.

  4. I'll admit that this as always my favorite part of Monkey Island. The game really felt like it moved past the 'three trials' notion in the first part to really letting your imagination fly - the multiple solutions to the dam puzzle are a perfect example. Maybe the cannibals and Toothrot are the real stars of the game in padding out what is otherwise a few quite boring forest sections... or I'm just biased because I still feel like I could laugh at their conversations.

  5. Amazing that you missed the beach but found the perfectly camouflaged Fort that I couldn't find without help.

    1. and that one nose to pull to open the gate... I need to work on my pixel hunting skills.