Yesterday, we discussed my playthrough of “The Secret of Monkey Island”. Tonight, we look at the second game in the series.
Part Two: LeChuck’s Revenge
(Doo doo, doo doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo, etc. etc.)
December 4th, 2009. 9:34 PM.
“LeChuck’s Revenge” is not a flawless game. Its main flaw is that the difference in the levels of complexity between Hard Mode and Easy Mode is akin to the difference in the levels of complexity between hiking across Europe and walking across Epcot. Now, remembering all the puzzle solutions speeds up both modes, naturally, but retrieving each map piece takes about two steps in Easy Mode, and something like 117 steps in Hard Mode. And some of those steps can be infuriating, like the infamous Monkey Wrench gag, or the bloody “If this is three…” code, which I gave up and consulted a hint guide about on my first playthrough.
The bulk of “Revenge” is told in flashback, an interesting narrative advice for a game. It doesn’t really affect gameplay until much later, when you can “die” if you take too long solving a puzzle, and Elaine reminds you that you couldn’t have died because you’re telling her the story.
After the framing device, you’re greeted by one of this game’s greatest features: the music. A unique remix of the main theme underscores the credits, and fades into a rather beautiful tune for the Scabb Island beach. Once gameplay begins, you experience the greatest invention in human history: iMuse. This magical device allows the melodies to change and segue based on your location, as if it was an orchestral suite that was always meant to be arranged that way. Far preferable to the all-too-common videogame symptom where music cuts off and starts abruptly when you change rooms.
Walking around Woodtick is one of the greatest treats for the ears you could hope to receive from an old game.
9:39 PM. “There ARE no police on Scabb Island!” “Then who eats the donuts and roughs-up the transients?”
Largo LaGrande is the first major non-LeChuck villain in the series, and one of the best. Granted, I was never sure why LeChuck had a henchman who was still human, but that’s beside the point. Here’s a classic Napoleon Complex, with political power and his own hinted-at-never-quite-explored secret shames (such as his toupee and brassiere), not easily intimidated by a young punk like Guybrush, but cowering as soon as he’s not in power anymore.
9:49 PM. “I’m a cartographer.” “You do open-heart surgery? In here?”
Wally is another beloved character, probably the first person we meet that’s more innocent and hapless than Guybrush. So, naturally, we have to torture him. Interestingly, stealing his monocle might be the cruelest act of piracy Guybrush ever commits in-game. Usually, Guybrush politely asks when he needs something, and if he DOES steal it, it’s something the person can function without. (Meanwhile, the kindly, non-pirate Daventry Royal Family from “King’s Quest” are a bunch of ruthless kleptomaniac bastards.)
The second most piratey thing Guybrush does is probably cheating on the spitting contest later in “Revenge”. THAT’S throwing morals to the wind. (Okay, stupid pun, but “Spitting in the face of the rules” would have been worse.)
9:54 PM. “I think you’re overlooking the potential symbolism to be gained by your closeness to the earth.”
This time, you CAN’T get through the game without interacting with the Men of Low Moral Fiber (or, for that matter, the Voodoo Lady). Despite their former optional status, Guybrush and these characters treat each other as if they interacted in the previous game. So, I guess there were potential plot holes long before “Escape”, after all.
10:27 PM. “Two! Four! Six! Eight! Who do we assassinate!”
On this playthrough, I dealt with Largo fairly quickly. Chartering the ship took a bit longer, because I couldn’t remember where to find the string to trap the rat. About ten minutes after the voodoo doll scene, I finally found it in the Voodoo Shack, in one of those glorious pixel hunts the old games loved so much.
I have chartered the ship of Captain Dread…or as I like to call him, Winslow: The Prototype. Dread is the friendliest character in the game, although I’m sure that is because you are (A) paying him, and (B) not boring him with your story of destroying LeChuck.
Each “Monkey Island” game contains some references to Disneyland, and that certain piratey ride everyone loves which got adapted into enjoyable-but-overexposed movies. This one from the Phatt City Jail is the most blatant, where the ride’s famous give-a-dog-a-bone scene becomes a small puzzle.
11:11 PM. “Careful With Those Cannonballs! Legends of the Glass Bottom Armada”
The card catalogue in the Phatt City Library is a joy to read. One can imagine how long they’ve wanted to use some of these book titles.
If there’s one thing “Monkey Island 2” has taught me, it’s that sometimes you just gotta crash your ex-girlfriend’s party in a pink dress.
The Indy-and-Marion-esque scenes between Guybrush and Elaine make me wonder what sort of things went on between the first two games. Clearly they had a bad breakup. Did it have something to do with Guybrush’s weird and cruel habit of carrying animals around in his pants?
I’m sure there’s plenty of atrocious fanfiction I could read that would attempt to answer some of my questions.
A lot of the exercises in Monkey Island 2 are quite therapeutic. For example, when you put Kate Capsize in jail, you can pretend you’re throwing Kate CapSHAW in jail for numerous charges of obnoxious shrieking. And when you lock Stan in the coffin…well, you’re locking Stan in the coffin. I love Stan, but…come on, it’s fun.
Side note: you can get Kate to help you even after incarcerating and releasing her. Good thing pirates don’t believe in karma!
December 4th, 2009. 12:23 AM.
The Dance of the Bones. So awesome, so surreal. And between this and “King’s Quest VI”, apparently “Dem Bones” was quite the popular dance tune among 1991-92 adventure game designers.
At this point, I got my first map piece, the Marley Family Heirloom, and had the groundwork laid for most of the rest. Again, it’s amazing how many more steps it takes to get each map piece in Hard Mode than Easy Mode.
It’s almost disquietingly easy to talk the shopkeeper up from “I don’t want your spit-plaque!” to “Here, take six thousand pieces of eight!” Suddenly I’m skeptical about the quality of the rest of his merchandise.
12:46 AM. After cheating to appear to be drinking his son under the table, Guybrush has retrieved Rum Rogers’ map piece. All that’s left is the guy in the coffin!
I’m convinced the Ash-2-Life sequence was the inspiration for the TV show “Pushing Daisies”.
At this point, Guybrush has collected the whole map, but is no closer to solving the game’s REAL mystery: why is it always nighttime on Scabb, and always daylight on all the other islands? Can we just assume twelve hours goes by each time Guybrush lands on or departs from Scabb? Or are they on opposite ends of the globe, despite the small map space?
Thanks to moving men Groucho Marx and Carrot Top, Guybrush has infiltrated LeChuck’s fortress!
1:20 AM. “I will call it my Screaming Chair. Every morning I will sit in it and listen to you scream.”
I don’t want to alarm anybody, but I think LeChuck may have issues.
1:26 AM. Guybrush has arrived on the scenic shores of Dinky Island.
I’ll admit, the first time I played the game, I just assumed that “Dinky” “Inky”, etc. were all people mishearing what was actually Monkey Island. I’m sure that’s what they wanted us to think, before they fake us out with the big sign saying “Welcome to Dinky Island”. Of course, if you listen to “Curse”‘s retcons, we end up on Monkey Island soon enough anyway…but that’s a different argument.
Wait, if Dinky is three days away from Booty, how could she tell that’s where the explosion came from in the first place? Or did she just wait for two days before leaving?
When you’re really involved with the game, LeChuck chasing you around with the voodoo doll is genuinely creepy. You feel a real time crunch, knowing that he could walk through that door at any minute. Of course, this is all surrounded by a Star Wars reference, and followed by the infamous mindscrew cliffhanger ending, complete with eerie carnival music!
1:54 AM. “I hope LeChuck hasn’t cast some horrible SPELL over him or anything!”
And with that hint at things to come (even if the things we got weren’t quite what they were meant to be at this time), tomorrow we look at “Curse of Monkey Island!”