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Monkey Island

The Monkey Island series is a series of graphical point-and-click adventure games published by LucasArts. The series follows the misadventures of the hapless aspiring pirate Guybrush Threepwood[?] as he struggles to become the most notorious pirate in the Caribbean, while fighting off the evil ghost pirate LeChuck[?] and winning the heart of governor Elaine Marley[?]. The series is known for its humour and the inability of the player character to die from "wrong" choices, traits shared by other LucasArts adventure games including Sam and Max Hit the Road and Day of the Tentacle.

Table of contents

The Secret of Monkey Island

The first instalment in the series, The Secret of Monkey Island, was the fifth game to use the SCUMM engine. It first follows Guybrush's attempts to prove himself as a pirate, then his attempt to rescue his new-found love, Elaine Marley, from LeChuck's clutches.

It was originally released on floppy disk with EGA graphics in 1990, and subsequently re-released with VGA graphics; when the game was later included on a CD-ROM compilation of Monkey Island games, the music was also improved. The project leader was Ron Gilbert[?], and the game was designed by Gilbert along with Tim Schafer[?] and Dave Grossman[?]. Another notable contributor was Orson Scott Card, who wrote the insults for the insult swordfighting section.

LeChuck's Revenge

The second game, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, was the sixth to use the SCUMM engine. It involves Guybrush's attempt to find the mystical treasure of Big Whoop, and win back Elaine's love. It is often considered to be overall the best of the LucasArts adventure games.

It was released on floppy disk, with VGA graphics, in 1991. It was later included on a CD-ROM compilation of Monkey Island games. The project leader and designer was Ron Gilbert.

The Curse of Monkey Island

The third game in the series, The Curse of Monkey Island, was the twelfth and last to use the SCUMM engine, which was extensively upgraded for its last outing. Guybrush manages to turn Elaine into a gold statue with a cursed diamond ring, and the game follows his attempt to retrieve the statue (which is stolen) and turn her back.

Ron Gilbert parted ways with the series before the third instalment, and some fans consider it to be inferior in storyline and design for his loss. Some fans also considered its upgraded SVGA graphics to be awkward and revealing the limits of the SCUMM engine, while others felt they were a considerable improvement on earlier LucasArts adventures. Similarly, some fans found the voiceover - Curse was the first game in the series to feature voices for the characters - did not match their expectations, while others felt it added to the game's atmosphere.

The game was released on CD-ROM in 1997. It was later included on a CD-ROM compilation of Monkey Island games. The project leaders and designers were Jonathan Ackley[?] and Larry Ahern[?].

Escape from Monkey Island

The fourth game, Escape from Monkey Island, used a slightly improved version of the GrimE engine introduced by Grim Fandango. Guybrush and Elaine return from their honeymoon to find that Elaine has has been declared officially dead, and her mansion is scheduled to be demolished.

The game was released on CD-ROM in 2000. The project leaders and designers were Sean Clark[?] and Michael Stemmie[?].

Common features

The games in the series share mini-games, puzzles, in-jokes and references. In each game there is a sequence based on repetition of a sequence in order to become more proficient; insult sword-fighting in the first game, a game in an alleyway in the second, sea battles and rhyming insult sword-fighting in the third, and Monkey Kombat in the fourth. The first and fourth games also both feature a puzzle which involves following another character through several locations, a trick also used in Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. Lines like "Look behind you, a three-headed monkey!" became a running joke. At the end of LeChuck's Revenge, Guybrush finds himself in a location from The Secret of Monkey Island, and during The Curse of Monkey Island, he can peep through a hole in a ceiling and see a different location from Secret. Curse also features a neat reference to Sam and Max Hit the Road, in LeChuck's demonic funfair. Much of the music in the series was composed by Michael Land.

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