Sunday, 11 May 2014

Game 43: The Secret of Monkey Island - Voodoo Stew

Guybrush Threepwood Journal Entry 8: "I've made it to Monkey Island! It would have been a lot easier had my crew been even remotely helpful, but they seem to think this journey is nothing more than a holiday. I guess it's not all that surprising that I had to play around with some horrible voodoo magic to find my way to LeChuck's homeland, but surely it will be worth it. I'm close now Elaine! All I need to survive...the highly stupid thing...I'm about to...BOOOOOMMM!!!!!"

Well, one of us is anyway.

Surprisingly, after Part One of The Secret of Monkey Island took five hours to get through, Part Two took just over an hour. But as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself! My last post finished with me finally convincing Stan to sell me the Sea Monkey for 5000 pieces of eight. He’d told me to meet him at the dock, and to make sure I had three crew members ready to set sail. I’d convinced both the Sword Master and Meathook to join me in my attempt to save Elaine, but I wasn’t certain whether or not Otis would be completing the crew since he appeared to be going back on his word. I hadn’t been able to find anyone else to sway, so I made my way to the dock to see what would happen. Stan was waiting for me, and I could see the Sea Monkey anchored in the distance. Ever the salesman, Stan couldn’t help but bust out a pitch again: “Hey! It’s a good thing you showed up. Ten people have offered to buy this baby off me while I’ve been standing here waiting for you. But I said, NO WAY. I know a guy who’s in love with this ship, and it would break his heart to lose it. Am I right? Of course I am! I mean, just look at her! Sleek...aerodynamic...a buoyant, barnacle-covered beauty. I’ve changed my mind. I can’t give her up. You can have your money back. How can I sell something so dear?” It was at this very moment that one of the Sea Monkey’s masts snapped at the base and fell into the sea. I nearly spat my cup of tea all over my laptop with laughter!

I should have seen it coming. A real laugh out loud moment!

As you would expect, Stan quickly backpedalled, saying a deal’s a deal and departing before I could get in a word. He did hand me a bunch of “free seafaring literature” on his way, which I assumed would come in use during my attempted ocean adventure. To my delight, once Stan made his way off screen to the left, Otis waltzed on from the right: “Hey, long time no see.” I expressed my surprise that he’d showed up, to which he responded that he “could never pass up a chance to make some easy money”. The Sword Master, who I will refer to as Carla from now on, then came to join us, questioning whether there would be any pay at all for their efforts. I avoided the question, choosing to tell her just how happy I was that she could make it instead. She began asking questions about the “waterlogged wreck” that was visible out to sea, wondering how we were going to get our ship close to the dock with “that pile of scrap in the way”. Meathook saved me from having to answer by turning up next, demanding a cabin boy go back to his place and pick up his bags. Clearly this was not going to be an easy trip! As Guybrush looked desperately in my direction, the words “Part Two: The Journey” suddenly appeared. I’d finished the three trials, got myself a ship of my own, and now I had a crew, even if they weren’t particularly willing. It was time to go save the damsel in distress!

I fear my crew may not have the same priorities as I do.

As if saving a girl from the clutches of an evil ghost pirate didn't sound difficult to begin with!

I actually have no idea how many parts there are in the game, but progress is progress.

I now found Guybrush and the crew standing aboard the Sea Monkey. Guybrush was making an attempt to captain the ship, but it wasn’t going well. While he talked about teamwork and assigning duties, Otis began questioning why they should even bother going off to rescue the Governor. His lack of enthusiasm rubbed off on the others, with all three of them eventually agreeing that their time would be better spent kicking back and getting some R and R. At this point control of Guybrush was returned to me in his captain’s quarters, where a chest, a writing desk, a bed and a cabinet awaited investigation. I started with the chest, only to find that it was empty. Inside the desk’s drawer I found an old, dusty book, and it turned out to be the previous Captain’s log! “March 10th: First mate Toothrot and I have been searching for Monkey Island for a month with no success. The directions we purchased on Melee proved to be a recipe, not a map as we had believed. March 12th: I wish Toothrot would take a bath. March 17th: “I wish Toothrot would stop snoring. March 23rd: Toothrot is really starting to get on my nerves. I figure it’s only a matter of time before we come to blows. April 2nd: As a gesture to restore our friendship, Toothrot offered to fix dinner tonight. April 3rd: I don’t know how we did it, but we’ve arrived at Monkey Island. Both Toothrot and I passed out from the soup he fixed last night. When we awoke, Monkey Island was sitting off the bow.” Hmmmm…what was I supposed to take from this? That I needed to cook the same soup they did to reach the island?

Even the narrator struggles with my name!

...and remember people...there's no I in teamwork!

At least Toothrot seemed to want to help, unlike my crew.

On top of the desk I discovered a ballpoint feather pen and some ink, both of which I added to my inventory. I could find nothing interesting about the bed, and the cabinet on the right was locked. It was at this point that I remembered the “seafaring literature” that Stan had given me, and decided to check it out. There was a leaflet titled “How to Get a Leg Up in Treasure Hunting”, a brochure called “How to Arm Yourself in Sea Battle”, and a pamphlet on “How to Get Ahead in Navigating”. However, looking at these documents displayed their topic only, so I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to benefit from them. I left the cabin to find my three crew members lounging on the deck tanning, drinking and reading. As usual, my dialogue options included friendly banter and more combative outbursts. I decided to start friendly, but my small talk was met with abuse such as “Beat it, Guybrush” and “Excuse me Guybrush, you’re blocking the sun”. In the end I was forced to get aggressive: “I’m going to give you mutineers five seconds to come to your senses! Then I’m going to start kicking some butt!” Sadly, my crew clearly had no respect for me whatsoever and even this rant was met with indifference. They weren’t going to move a muscle, so whatever needed to be done, would have to be done on my own.

You have a short memory Meathook. Have you forgotten my display of immense bravery already!?

A bit of pixel hunting revealed that I could climb up a rope ladder or down through a hatch, and there was also a large cannon to play with. I chose to climb up the ladder. There was nothing to do up the top of the mast apart from removing the skull and crossbones flag, so that’s what I did. On returning to deck, I thought I’d check out the cannon, finding that I could interact with both the nozzle and the cannon proper. I looked through my items, but couldn’t find anything I thought might be used on either end of the cannon, so climbed down the hatch.  Underneath the deck were a few beds, a ladder leading down, and another hatch in the floor. I couldn’t find anything around the beds, so I took the hatch. This one led to a storage area, where there were stacks of kegs, trunks, chests and all sorts of other bits and pieces. Most of the containers were locked, but I did find some “VERY fine wine” in one of the chests, a “giant piece of rope” sitting on top of one of the kegs, and some gunpowder in another. I picked all three items up, and then made my way back up to the sleeping area. Taking the ladder down at the back of the room brought me to a kitchen, with a large cooking pot on a fire in the centre of the room. There I was able to pick up a couple more items, being a box of rough cereal from the cupboard and a small pot from the bench.

I'm the king of the world!!!

Could be worse I guess.

Awesome! My crew will surely rethink their stance now! Right?

Seemed the previous crew had a bit of a fetish for it too!

I spent some time focussing on the cooking pot, but was continually told that I didn’t have a recipe and wouldn’t know where to begin making soup. It seemed likely to me that I needed to find the recipe that Toothrot had followed while making his soup for the previous captain. I also had the feeling that the recipe might be found in the locked cabinet, but had no idea where the key might be. I made my way back to the deck, and despite not really having any reason to do it, set about trying to use the cannon. I successfully put the gunpowder into the nozzle, and then inserted some of the rope into the rear to act as a fuse. All that was left was to find a way to light the fuse, and I recalled the fire beneath the cooking pot. I went back down to the kitchen and tried using the journal on the flame. To my surprise, it lit, and from this point onwards appeared in my inventory as a “flaming mass”. I once again headed back up to the deck, and this time I was able to light the fuse. The cannon fired with a roar, but as you might expect, nothing was achieved. I’d hoped that firing the cannon might shock my mutinous crew into action, but it had no effect on them whatsoever. Was I supposed to put something into the cannon? Was I supposed to get in and fire myself, Fetuccini Brothers style? I did after all have a pot in my inventory that was about the same size as my head! I was clutching at straws, but I decided to give it a shot anyway.

Satisfying...but useless.

I collected some more gunpowder for the nozzle, inserted more rope into the cannon, lit the fuse, and then tried using the pot while the flame burnt down. Guybrush understandably informed me that he had no desire to blast himself out to sea. I was running out of ideas now. What was I supposed to be achieving? Surely the answer was the soup, but where was the damn recipe!? I scrolled through my inventory, paying some attention to each item in the hope that something might click. When I reached the cereal, I decided to simply try using it. Perhaps this was like the carrot cake incident, and all I needed to do was eat the cereal to get somewhere. Guybrush ate some of the cereal, and found a toy prize inside! It was the key!!!! OK, I get that there was a cereal box bookmark in the previous Captain’s log, but was that the only hint I was given that the key might be in cereal box? Oh well, I had the key, and boy was I excited about it! I raced back to my cabin and unlocked the cabinet. Inside was...”a very heavy metal chest”. I was able to carry the chest a short distance from the cabinet, and then opened it. Inside were the recipe and some cinnamon sticks! Now I was really getting somewhere! However, the recipe included all sorts of items that I didn’t have, which was a bit concerning. Where on the ship would I get my hands on items such as a human skull and some monkey blood?

Anyone else have trouble finding this?

Wishful thinking Guybrush!

Lucky I prepared some pyridoxine hydrochloride earlier!

Ignoring these concerns, I made my way back down to the kitchen and began throwing ingredients into the cooking pot. The first thing I needed was “1 Cinnamon Stick”, which I’d just collected. The second thing was “4 Leaves of Mint”, which I didn’t have. I did have some breath mints though, so I threw 4 of those in instead. The next thing on the recipe was “1 Human Skull (pressed)”. A quick look through my inventory gave me the answer, and boy was it a clever one. I threw the Jolly Roger flag into the cooking pot! The next thing I needed was “1 Squirt of Squid Ink”, so I put one drop of the ink I’d found on the Captain’s table into the mix. So far so good, but how could I possibly find “2 pints of Monkey Blood”?! The most likely answer seemed to be the fine wine, since it was described as being very red in colour. I poured some in and hoped for the best. Hmmmm, the next required ingredient was “1 Live Chicken”. Surely the rubber chicken with the pulley wasn’t the answer, but I tried putting it into the pot anyway to see what would happen. Guybrush did it, saying “About time I got rid of this worthless artifact”. The item was no longer in my inventory, but I wasn’t convinced that it was the one I was supposed to use. I tried putting the feather pen in, thinking it was likely made using feather of a chicken, and Guybrush threw that in too!

But monkey blood soaked cinnamon and mint rubber chicken is my favourite!

It dawned on me at this stage that I could likely try throwing everything I had into the pot. I wouldn’t be allowed to dead end myself, so what was the worst that could happen?! I threw some of the cereal in and then tried some gunpowder, thinking that would likely be the 3 ounces of Brimstone that was required. There was a small explosion in the pot, and then green fumes began rising out of the brew. Guybrush announced that he was getting dizzy and then fell to the ground. “Overcome by the fumes and stench, Guybrush quickly loses consciousness. Moments later the voodoo spell kicks in, turning the ship to an unknown heading and off on its mysterious voyage.” Apparently days passed, and when I was finally able to get Guybrush up off the floor, the Sea Monkey was floating just off the shore of Monkey Island!!! I informed my crew, but they still weren’t willing to roll their sleeves up: “Let us know when you’ve found the Governor. We’ve got an extra chair she can use.” It seemed like I was going to be on my own for a while longer! I set up the cannon again, figuring now was the time to fire myself out of it. This time when I lit the fuse, Guybrush did actually put the pot on and climb into the cannon, launching himself hundreds of metres through the air. The screen went black, and the words Part Three: Under Monkey Island appeared. Part two was already complete, and it was now time to see what awaited me on and under LeChuck’s island home.

This bean and cabbage diet is having horrible consequences!

I know just how you feel Guybrush.

Sounds painful.

Don't know why I bother putting the helmet on!

Session Time: 1 hour 00 minutes
Total Time: 6 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. Tim Schafer plays "Day of the Tentacle" and gives commentaries.

    1. Ohhhhhhh. Now this I want to watch.

    2. That video was available as a bonus to Broken Age backers in 2012. AFAIK they never made part 2.

      They also just released "Tim Schafer plays Full Throttle":

    3. Man, Full Throttle looks so much better then any other Lucasarts adventure game. Serious, yet funny and with a decent plot (Well, as far as that video went). Looks like they blew a LOT of money on cutscenes though, which could have been put into gameplay. I'm not really suprised that Broken Age ran into money troubles; It sounds like Tim Schafer is a better designer then he is at managing money and time and such.

      *Now expects to be crucified*

  2. I didn't have trouble finding the key, I did however have trouble finding the hatch to go down. Well, I suppose as the key is through the hatch, it could be argued that I had trouble finding the key.

    1. I didn't have problems with the key either. I think the first thing I did when I got the cereal box was 'open' it, which I think in this case had the same effect as 'use'

  3. You're plowing ahead more smoothly than I'd anticipated, or you give the impression of it at least. ;)
    I didn't struggle with the key, but somehow I had issues finding the pressed human skull (the flag) as I missed the climbing hot spot the first few times I walked over the deck.

    Onwards to the most difficult chapter of the game!

    1. I didn't have any trouble with chapter two either, except I didn't quite see the rope right away. Waiting for next chapter to see if you get stuck in the same way I did (you probably won't).

  4. Still not much to say about the game. It seems hilariously well written, much more so then almost everything else we've see. The art is mostly good, expect for that shot of him flying out of the cannon. But other then that, there isn't much to SAY. It's good, funny enough to get over my snark about silly games, and um.............

    Chapter 2 seemed oddly short. Did you miss anything, or is it always that short?

    1. Yes, it is very short. They originally planned to have a ship combat system during this part. The idea got eventually used in Monkey Island 3.

      Gur ynfg puncgre vf rira fubegre.

    2. According to Ron GIlbert, it was always supposed to be compact though. It was to reward the player for getting through a huge part with many locations and puzzles, and allow them to lower their shoulders and just enjoy the game.

      And Laukku is correct, they wanted to put a top down ship combat system there. Actually Ron wanted to make the entire game more of a RPG/adventure hybrid from the start, but the RPG bits kept being axed during development.

    3. The game has such good pacing. Gilbert really knew when the story should progress slowly or fast. And as he stated on his blog, gur ynfg puncgre jnf nyfb znqr rnfl ba checbfr fb gung gur cynlre pbhyq fvzcyl rawbl gur riragf.

      Getting to Monkey Island is also a good example of basic storytelling mechanics. While still exploring Melee Island, you hear various stories about Monkey Island that make it mysterious and intriguing. It has a famous secret that only LeChuck knows. Two men sailed there in a ship but it returned with a crew of monkeys. The player gets curious and wants to know more. Then Guybrush gets the task of getting to the island, and every main puzzle is about getting one step closer to it, until it's seen outside the ship, just out of reach. And when you finally do get there, it's huge compared to the familiar and safe Melee Island. There are many things that together make getting there feel special and satisfying.

  5. So, do you guys like me posting games that aren't out yet? Cus Memento Mori 2 is coming out in just over 24 hours and is on sale.

    Also The Whispered World Special Edition is on sale. (19 sales, 12 new games)

    OH hey, so is The 39 Steps, based on a novel by a Canadian Governor General and a large influence on Alfred Hitchcock. (Also, is it an adventure game? It looks rather boarderline. (20 sales, 12 new games).

    1. The 39 Steps seems to be more of an interactive novel than an adventure game. All the reviews I've read seems to not classify this as an adventure game at all.

    2. Trickster: Can you transfer 5 CAPS from me to Lars? I got 5 CAPS for this game way back, so it seems unfair that I got them.

    3. Wait, what? I never gave you CAPs for The 39 Steps, did I? I know I haven't bought it, at least.

    4. Nope, but I got CAPS from Trickster for it, so rather then throwing them away I was going to give them to you. However, if you don't want them....

      Trickster: Please give my 5 CAPS to Zenic instead.

    5. Yeah, thanks, but no thanks. Wouldn't be right getting CAPs for doing nothing. I say you keep them as a bonus reward for testing Trickster's QA system. :p

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