Saturday 9 April 2016

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge - Cheaters Always Win

With my exploration of Booty Island complete, it was time to go visit the third and final island…Phatt Island. I knew from a conversation with Captain Dread that Phatt Island is ruled by a fascist dictator, but that’s about all I knew. As soon as I arrived, it was apparent that the residents were not all going to be as friendly as those found on Booty Island. A large, muscular man with a helmet over his eyes and a sword on his hip immediately recognised the similarity between Guybrush and a poster on the wall. He very politely asked me whether I was indeed Guybrush Threepwood, and I chose to take the brash, arrogant approach of admitting it: “That’s right. I’m the man who swashed the Ghost Pirate LeChuck’s buckles.” He wasn’t the slightest bit impressed, dragging me off to meet Governor Phatt.

Oh joy! Another island to explore.

I thought the moustache was a great disguise, but apparently it wasn't fooling anyone.

Pretty soon I was confronted by a horrifying scene. A disgustingly fat man, who I figured must be Governor Phatt, was lying in a bed. Every thirty seconds or so, an alarm on the wall would ring, and three tubes would pump toxic looking “food” into Phatt’s waiting mouth. A close-up revealed flies circling his many chins, and I noted a book sitting on the blanket next to him. “Well, Mr. Threepwood, I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have you here as my guest.” I responded to this comment by telling him how little I cared for his method of invitation, to which he informed me that he simply wanted to make sure we met before I departed the island. He then told me that LeChuck is indeed alive, and that he’s put a sizeable bounty on my head. Governor Phatt intended to collect that bounty, so after ignoring more fat and food-related taunts, he had me locked up in jail to await LeChuck’s arrival. Well so far things weren’t going particularly well on Phatt Island.

Oh my. It doesn't get much more disgusting than this. I can't wait to do something hilariously horrible to Phatt.

I've always wanted to say this in the right context.

I was unceremoniously dumped in a prison cell, where a rather placid dog named Walt stood guard with the keys in his mouth. The guard told the dog that he would be back at eleven to relieve him, which I assumed gave me enough time to figure out my escape. I’d been stripped of all my belongings, with the exception of my gold coins, so whatever I was supposed to do, it would involve items in my new surroundings. Pixel hunting revealed the skeleton of a dead prisoner in the cell next to me, a rock hard mattress on the bed in my cell, the cell door, two envelopes (a gorilla envelope and a manila envelope) in the shelves in the corner of the room, and Walt. Exploring the skeleton a bit more, I discovered that I could interact with the leg bone that was close to me. Unfortunately I couldn’t reach it, so I focussed on the mattress. Moving it aside revealed a stick underneath, which I picked up. I was then able to use the stick to reach the bone, and flip it over my head and into my coat pocket. Well, that was the plan anyway. The bone didn’t land in the pocket, but it did land in my cell, allowing me to pick it up and try to attract Walt with it. The dog fell for it, dropping the keys and running off with the bone. I unlocked my cell, and collected the two envelopes as my reward. The manila envelope contained my belongings, while the gorilla envelope had belonged to Mr. Willy Gorilla, who had apparently been arrested for “grinding his organ”. Inside the gorilla envelope was a banana and an organ, both of which were now in my inventory.

I love these shit grinning moments in LucasArts (and Sierra) adventure games. Watching my overconfident character fail miserably never gets old.

That's what she said.

Having escaped my cell and recovered my inventory, I set off to explore the rest of Phatt Island. Reading my Wanted Poster revealed that I was wanted for “the murder of G.P. LeChuck, the use of witchcraft on the person of Largo LaGrande, the thievery of clothing and medically prescribed hair supplements for such witchcraft, graverobbing, trespassing, larceny without a permit, exceeding allowable FDA limit for rodent parts in vichyssoise, unauthorized exiting from a penal institution, releasing a dangerous reptile in a populated area, and involvement in the disappearance of prescription eyewear”. Well at least I was making my presence felt. I wandered up the pathway to the left of screen to see if I could add to the list. Heading in that direction took me back to the island map, where I discovered I could visit a mansion (presumably the one where Phatt resided), a waterfall, a cottage, and a beach. The cottage and beach appeared to be on a separate island, so I wasn’t at all sure how I would reach them.

Let's hope this pathway leads to more opportunity for criminal acts.

Why do I get the feeling that Dread won't simply sail me across to this secondary island.

I decided to go check out the waterfall first. It wasn’t apparent what I was supposed to be doing there, as there wasn’t anything to interact with apart from the waterfall itself. Eventually I discovered a path leading up the hill beyond the waterfall’s summit. At the top I found a pump. When I looked at it, Guybrush questioned what it was doing in a pirate game. It was a good question, and one I didn’t have the answer to just yet. I didn’t appear to be able to use the pump, at least not without combining another item with it. I went through my inventory, but nothing made any sense. In the end I had to assume that the pump’s use would become apparent later. I wandered back to the map to select another destination.

Yes, it's lovely and all, but what am I supposed to do here?

An excellent question. Could it be possible that I need to drain the water between the two islands and walk across? Not likely.

On discovering that, as I suspected, I had no means to cross the water to the beach or the cottage, I instead made my way south to the mansion. When I reached the gate that led to the mansion grounds, I noticed a sign on the wall that read “Trespassers not delivering foodstuffs will be persecuted.” If there was any doubt that this was Governor Phatt’s mansion, there wasn’t now. I waltzed through the gates and into the house, getting a shock when I found the buff guard waiting for me inside. Fearing that I might be sent back to prison, I spoke to the guard to see what would happen. He recognised me, and asked why I wasn’t in jail where I was supposed to be. I was given a bunch of smartass answers, but I chose to go with “You must be confusing me with my cousin Guybrush”. It quickly became apparent that this guy was all brawn and no brains. He not only accepted my explanation, he then believed me when I told him that there was a fire in the kitchen. “Really? I’d better check it out.” He left me to explore the bottom floor, and after satisfying myself that there was nothing I could do with the red couch there, I made my way upstairs to the Governor’s bedroom.

Well, I have a banana. That counts right?!

A fair portion of the game's dialogue trees contain a three-headed monkey line. They pretty much always result in something funny happening.

Thankfully Governor Phatt was asleep, allowing me to snoop around his room. I thought for sure that I would find something useful, but all my pixel hunting revealed was a Famous Pirate Quotations book on the bed (which I couldn’t pick up without disturbing the Governor), a bed table (which I didn’t seem to be able to interact with in any way), a wash basin (which had something stuck in its drain, but which I also appeared unable to do anything with), and the alarm on the wall (which went off regularly to remind Phatt to open his mouth for incoming food but was otherwise useless). I paused to consider what I might need to do in the room, but came up with nothing. Thinking the answer would likely become obvious later, I left the mansion and made my way back to the wharf where Captain Dread had dropped me off.

...the ugliest, fattest baby ever to have lived!

When I’d first arrived on Phatt Island, I’d been whisked off to prison before I could explore the waterfront. Now that the guard was gone, I discovered a few new locations to investigate. There were two alleys, and in between them was the Phatt Island Library. I decided to check out the left alley first, and soon found myself staring at a large green door. There was a slot in the door, which slid open as soon as I knocked. Someone called out to me through the slot: “What d’you want, kid?” I wasn’t really sure, but cycled through various silly responses such as the classic “I’m selling these fine leather jackets…”. All of the man’s responses were variations of “get lost”, although I did discover that his name was Bruno when I asked him what he was up to inside. With my dialogue options exhausted and nothing else to check out in the alley, I walked back to the wharf and then into the library.

It's always nice to know you still have a few unexplored locations to check out. It takes the pressure off having to come up with a solution, at least for a while.

Would it help if I told you that I pretty much am lost?

The library, as you would expect, was filled with books. It also contained a model lighthouse on a table near the entrance, a card catalogue, and a librarian sitting at a desk. After trying and failing to pick up the lighthouse, I turned my attention to the card catalogue. It had twelve drawers, with all the letters of the alphabet represented on one of them. I clicked on the drawer that had A B on the front, and found I could look at each individual card within it. I didn’t really have any idea what I was looking for, but I systematically read every card in every drawer. The majority of them were clearly there for the comedy value alone, such as “Not Eating People and Feeling Good About It: Confessions of an Ex-Cannibal” in the self-help section, and “Elvis Lives: Predictions of Future Music by NotTrueDamus" in the music section. There were a bunch of books though that I felt could possibly be of use. For these ones, I soon discovered that I could click on “I’ll have to remember that”, and then ask the librarian to fetch them for me. I could only “remember” four books at a time though, so made numerous trips between the desk and the card catalogue. Before the woman would get me a book, I had to get a library card. This involved giving her my name, a fake address (1600 Pennsylvania Avenue), my age (which I gave as 21), my occupation (I chose Free Lance) and my vices (I selected nose picking). When I finished answering her questions, she informed me that my library card would be sent to the address I'd provided. Thankfully, she also gave me a temporary card so that I could borrow some books today.

I love it that every time Guybrush tells me something, the librarian tells him to be quiet.

A lot of the books had clever Monkey Island references.

Interesting. It appears Guybrush is actually 19 years old.

Some of the books that I had the librarian fetch for me were “Next to Nothing by E. Marley: An Account of Her Time With Guybrush Threepwood”, “Scabb Island History: An Introduction”, and “More of Me to Love by L. Phatt”. All three of these books turned out to be useless, with Guybrush refusing to read them for various reasons. One striking thing that I’d noticed while skimming through the catalogue cards were the amount of books that could relate to phlegm. I was pretty much certain that one of these books would assist me in winning the spitting contest, presumably by giving me some sort of ingredient list to make my spit thicker. I was actually quite shocked when Guybrush dismissed Viscous Fluids You Can Make at Home, Great Expectorations by Captain Loogie and a couple of other promising titles with “This is a pretty useless book, I’m not even sure why I checked it out”. I even tried “Famous Pirate Quotations”, since that was the book on Phatt’s bed, but the librarian merely told me that it was unavailable. If there was a book I needed to borrow, it wasn’t jumping out at me yet. Thankfully, I didn’t leave the library empty handed. When I talked to the librarian about the lighthouse model, I discovered that there was a scaled-down lens inside. I then found that I could open it up and take that lens. I broke the lighthouse in the process so that it will no longer close, but was able to leave with the lens nonetheless.

I was about 98% certain that Viscous Fluids was the book I needed. I was even feeling a bit chuffed with myself.

After leaving the library, I paid a visit to the second alley. There I found a man spinning a game wheel, and a second man standing nearby. The gamesman announced that there would be no more bets before spinning the wheel. It stopped on 32 red, at which point he announced that the gambler had won. “Which prize would you like? We have money, an invitation to Governor Marley’s Mardi Gras Party, and a Three-Day Vacation on Fabulous Hook Island.” The gambler chose the money, and left with his winnings. I decided to try my luck. I gave him one piece of eight, and was then given the option of 5 different numbers (23 black, 5 red, 8 red, 21 red and 18 red). I of course had no idea which one was going to come up, so I chose 5 red at random. The gamesman spun the wheel and it came up 27 black. “Too bad! Better luck next time.” Interestingly, the guy that had recently won a bag full of coins immediately jumped in to have another go. He chose 29 red, and won again! Just as he did the first time, the “lucky” bastard took his winnings and left, only this time I decided to follow him. I knew I was onto a good thing when I watched him walk out of the alley, along the wharf, and then into the second alley. I followed, hoping to find out the secret to his success.

I'm not sure luck has anything to do with it.

Boy it feels good to know you're onto something.

As the gambler approached the big green door and knocked, Guybrush hid behind some crates so as not to be seen. When the unseen man answered, the gambler ordered him to tell him the next number. The man inside said he’d need to hear the password first, and then a huge hand appeared through the slot, holding up four fingers. “If this is five…” He then switched to holding up two fingers. “…what’s this?” The gambler answered “four”, and since that was correct, the man inside informed him that the next winning number would be 32 black. The gambler wandered out of the alley, presumably to go and win another bag of coins, so I approached the door to see if I could replicate what I’d just seen. I had a quick think before I knocked, but really couldn’t see how 2 might equal 4 if 4 equals 5. That equation isn’t going to appear in any mathematics text books, so there must be something else going on here. I wondered whether it was just a matter of memorising the answer. There was only one way to find out. I knocked, and told the man that I wanted to know what the next number would be. He informed me that I would need to give him the correct password three times in a row. He then put up one little finger and said “if this is two”, then stuck out his three middle fingers and said “what’s this?” Hmmmm…if 1 is 2, then what is 3? I couldn’t see any correlation between this puzzle and the one the gambler had solved, so guessed 4. “No. It’s one.” Huh?!

If 1 = 2, then 3 = 1??!! What kind of maths is this?

Thankfully, the guy gave me quite a few chances, so I wrote down each of his clues. If 4 = 3, then 2 = 4. If 2 = 4, then 4 = 2. If 3 = 2, then 4 = 3. By this stage I’d noticed a pattern. I didn’t need maths at all to solve this number puzzle. The answer to the second part of each equation was simply the amount of fingers he was holding up during the first part. I tested my theory and found I was correct. Once I’d answered correctly three times in a row, the man said “OK, you must be a member of the Gambler’s Club. But I don’t recognize you”. I informed him that I’d only joined today, which seemed to satisfy him. “Oh ok. The winning number will be 26 red.” Feeling pretty excited, I made my way back to the spinning wheel and guessed that the next number would be 26 red. I won of course, so had the choice of 60 pieces of eight, an invitation to Governor Marley’s party, or a vacation to Hook Island. Since I didn’t yet have a costume for the party anyway, I chose the vacation. With the Hook Island certificate now in my inventory, I went back to the other alley to get the next number, then returned. I was able to win again, and this time I chose the invitation. Things were going pretty well, and I was starting to wonder just how many times I would be able to cheat the system. Could I possibly raise enough money to either charter a ship off Kate or buy the piece of map? I soon found out the answer was no, as after winning one lot of 60 pieces of eight, the gamesman packed up for the day and left.

Yes, because no-one could possibly figure out your system. That would be unthinkable.

I've got myself an invitation to Elaine's party. One step closer to a reunion!

At this stage I actually thought that I’d seen all there was to see on Phatt Island, but just as I was about to leave, I noticed something I’d overlooked earlier. There was a fisherman sitting on the wharf! I walked over to him and asked if he’d caught anything yet. “Are you kidding? I reached my limit hours ago!” His arrogance made me want to return the favour, so I chose my dialogue carefully. “I’m a game warden. I’ll have to confiscate your pole.” The fisherman wasn’t convinced, and asked to see my badge. I of course didn’t have one, so couldn’t follow through on my threat. I then took a different approach, telling him that I was “the best fisherman in these isles”. This had the desired result, as it led to the competitive little guy asking if I wanted to make a small wager. I said yes, but felt a little bit concerned when I heard exactly what he had in mind. “If you can catch a bigger fish than I can, I’ll give you my prize-winning pole. If I catch a bigger fish than you, you have to eat it. RAW.” There wasn’t any way out of the wager now though. What have I got Guybrush into now?!

I'm not sure how I didn't see the fisherman earlier. Makes me wonder whether my observation skills are a bit rusty.

Oh now you tell me!?

Session time: 1 hours 15 minutes
Total time: 5 hours 40 minutes


  1. I "hated" Phatt Island as a kid since it trapped me for far longer I would admit. First, I didn't get that you could open the envelops to get your stuff back and since you need the map to get Dread to take you anywhere. I tried to check it up on the net, but most FAQ writers assumed that you opened the envelope so it took me far to long when I finally stumbled upon the solution.

    And then we had the back ally math quiz. I was so frustrated with it since as you noted, it's completely illogical if you treat it as an equation. Doesn't help that I usually sucks at math anyway meaning I blamed myself for not get it. If I remember correctly I sat for hours guessing the numbers and the closest I got was 2 out of 3, almost crying in frustration. And then I learned that this was a joke one of the developers older brothers played on them causing them the same frustration. A wonder I even finished this game.

  2. >If 1 = 2, then 3 = 1??!! What kind of maths is this?

    A = B || multiply by A
    A^2 = AB || add A^2
    A^2 + A^2 = AB + A^2 || substract 2AB
    2A^2 - 2AB = A^2 - AB
    2A(A-B) = A(A-B) || divide by (A-B)
    2A = A || divide by A
    2 = 1

    1. Yes, yes, yes...but how does 3 then equal 1? ;)

    2. A = B || * 2A
      2A^2 = 2AB || + A^2
      3A^2 = 2AB + A^2 || -3AB
      3A^2 - 3AB = A^2 - AB
      3A(A-B) = A(A-B) || /(A-B)
      3A = A || /A
      3 = 1

    3. Assume 2 = 1
      Then 3 = 1 + 2 (by definition)
      3 = 1 + 1 (by assumption)
      3 = 2 (because 2 = 1 + 1 by definition)
      3 = 1 (by assumption)

    4. That's why you should never ever divide by zero and mess with the fabric of the Universe.

    5. Dividing by zero is something everyone should try once. I did it once when I was a teenager but I'm not reckless enough to do it again.

  3. And in one weekend I've already caught up to you. Geeze. It's like I'm playing a much easier game than you or something...

    "I noted a book sitting on the blanket next to him"
    No book in the LITE version

    "two envelopes (a gorilla envelope and a manila envelope)"
    No gorilla envelope for those who want it LITE, so no banana or organ for me

    "I was wanted for “the murder of G.P. LeChuck … … and involvement in the disappearance of prescription eyewear”."
    I was expecting this to be the same even though I clearly didn't do exactly the same things as you, but was pleased to see that it properly accounted for the differences between our playthroughs to this point.
    I didn't get 'exceeding allowable FDA limit for rodent parts in vichyssoise' because the LITE version skips that puzzle
    But I DID get 'cerzngher ragbzozrag bs n aba-qrnq vaqvivqhny' which you'll likely get included to your list in a post or two and 'erpxyrff hfr bs tneqravat gbbyf' which I can't recall doing, but probably did at some point.

    "I decided to go check out the waterfall first."
    Gur jngresnyy jnfa'g gurer jura V purpxrq vg bhg – ohg V'yy qrgnvy gung jura lbh trg fbzr zber chmmyrf qbar...

    "He not only accepted my explanation, he then believed me when I told him that there was a fire in the kitchen. “Really? I’d better check it out.” "
    Not LITE specific, but I used the three headed monkey answer, and as you suspected, his response was an amusing “I'd better go tell the cook” - seems Governor Phatt will eat anything

    "I then found that I could open it up and take that lens "
    No lens for me when I opened the lighthouse model (in my case, it's a LITEhouse model - I know, I know... GROAN!)

    "There I found a man spinning a game wheel ... 3 paragraphs of puzzle solving … "
    There was only one active alley in the LITE version, and no second guy winning the game. Every guess I made was automatically correct, so I won all three items with three random guesses.

    "There was a fisherman sitting on the wharf!"
    Not for me there wasn't. I sense another puzzle in your future that I'll never need to solve.

    1. I've never played the LITE version, nice for there to be an easy mode I guess, but I feel like it misses out on a few jokes.

    2. More like it misses out on 75% of the entire game.

    3. I agree. It loses way too much of the fun in LITE mode by removing whole sections and dialogue rather than just puzzles.

      I prefer a system like the modern Sam & Max games, where Max gives you hints (at a frequency you set, and you can set it to zero) to steer you on the right path if you're stuck

    4. Thanks TBD for the running comparison. I'm trying not to study your words too much, as it's possible you could inadvertently give me a hint. I'll be sure to read through it all in depth once I'm finished.

  4. I've always wondered about the link between the prison dog and the one in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride (which would be in the movie afterwards). I remember as a kid trying to convince my parents that the Disney park was taking a reference to the Monkey Island game but it makes much more sense than it's the other way around. The ride dates from 1967 but did it already have the dog? Lucasarts making a reference to Disney? Pure coincidence?

    1. I'm going to say Lucasarts is making a reference to Disney, particularly when you note the name of the dog!

    2. Wow... Never noticed it before. Well ok ok you have a point there... Though I prefer the imaginary theory of 12-year old me of the world around me being influenced by video games...

    3. In the special edition of MI2, there's an audio commentary in the Phatt Island prison where they discuss this. Apparently one of the graphic artists had a dog named Walt. They also sort of admit to ripping off the ride.

  5. I'm just going to say that I'm currently being very challenged by this game. I'm not prepared to ask for assistance yet, but damned if I can figure out what to do next.

    I think the next post will be amusing for you all to watch me floundering around.

    1. At the risk of the most cursory hint of a clue (because a certain other game has been nigh impossible for me to write of), remember that you do know what your goal is at present, so I'd look for things related to it instead of letting obvious peripheral puzzles fret you too much.

  6. If you read your wanted poster much later in the game, you will find that the list of your crimes has grown quite a bit.