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Once upon a time Lucasarts made games that didn’t have the Star Wars name plastered all over them. It was a simple time, filled with laughter and bright colours, quick wit and intriguing puzzles. While it seems that time is long gone, we can still look back fondly upon these games, hoping that one day they will be revived in a blaze of glory.

Games like Day of The Tentacle, Grim Fandango and most importantly, the Monkey Island Series. The Curse Of Monkey Island to be precise, the 3rd superb game in the series,often regarded as the strongest out of all 4. Hit the jump to find out more!

The Curse Of Monkey Island is a point and click adventure game. The player uses a pointer, usually a mouse, to interact with the environment and solve puzzles. We don’t see many of these anymore, simply because as console gaming has grown bigger, more of the mainstream want 3D graphics, guns and explosions. The 4th Monkey Island game (Escape From Monkey Island) was the only 3D title in the series, and is often said to be the weakest.

The  interface for the game is as simple as gaming gets, click over an object or person and a coin will come up. On the coin there are 3 symbols; A Parrot (Talking/Mouth Activities), A Skull (Examining/Looking At Objects) and a Hand (Using or Picking Things Up). Left clicking would bring up the Coin Menu, whilst right clicking would have you perform the most obvious use of an item/person; For a person it would be talking to them, for a door it would be opening it. Anyone can use these controls, easy to understand and simple in use, however its the aspect of what to do with what object/person that adds the puzzle element to the game. It takes a while to figure out what you can or cant use with specific people/objects.

Despite being a disembodied skull, Murray has become one of the game's most popular characters.

Despite being a disembodied skull, Murray has become one of the game's most popular characters.

The game centers around a wannabe pirate, Guybrush Threepwood. He has foolishly turned his girlfriend into solid gold by giving her a cursed diamond ring from the treasure hoard of his arch nemesis; The Zombie Pirate LeChuck. Guybrush must then retrieve the statue, which is stolen almost immediately, and return her to human form. Although through the course of the game you’ll meet many quirky characters, from demonic skulls to vegetarian cannibals.

The Curse Of Monkey Island has an irrefutable charm to it, the 2D style mixed with vibrant colours gives it such a pleasant look. Even though at times the game will frustrate you to your very core, the crystal clear animation tops it all off with a pretty pink bow. The game’s main strength comes through in the writing though; a talking skull who comes out with lines like – “I’m a powerful demonic force! I’m the harbinger of your doom! And the forces of darkness will applaud me as I STRIDE through the gates of hell carrying your head on a pike!” even though its clear he has no legs. Now, this is just one of the side characters! Coupled with superb voice acting it makes for a hilarious roller-coaster ride of hilarity (Funnily enough it was the first game in the series to feature voice acting).

There are many memorable parts in the game, personally I believe that if certain parts of a game stand out in your memory after you complete it, the game has made a fairly solid impression on you. Every gamer I’ve spoken to who has played The Curse Of Monkey Island can remember specific lines and scenes, no matter how long its been. Parts like the Banjo Duel and Insult Sword fighting, where you fight using wit and words, each insult having an appropriate comeback; “Throughout the Caribbean, my great deeds are celebrated!” would be defeated by “Too bad they’re all fabricated.” There are countless references and “In-Jokes” from other games and even books/movies; titles like Ren and Stimpy, Grim Fandango and Apocalypse Now all have a subtle line uttered throughout the course of the game.

I Am Rubber; You Are Glue!

I Am Rubber; You Are Glue!

It’s a darn shame they don’t make games like this any more, as emphasis was placed strongly on the story and writing, rather than the graphics, leading to a unique  experience compared to many titles that exist today. There were two modes in the game; the Regular Mode, and Mega Monkey, this included more puzzles and gameplay, making an already difficult game even harder.

The Curse Of Monkey Island is reasonably long, but Mega Monkey expands it nicely. Newcomers will get hours of pleasure from it, although they may find the ending to be a bit flat and anticlimactic, but that depends on your experience with the game. Particularly clever people may be able to solve the games puzzle with less difficulty, although the game gives you very little direction as what to do next. Its all about thought.

You’d have to be a cold hearted gamer not to get some form of pleasure out of this game. Its humour, puzzles and story will charm you from beginning to end. Although there will be times you’ll consider giving up, when you just can’t figure out what to do with that comb full of lice, but you’ll pull through. The Curse Of Monkey Island is one of the finest games Lucasarts has to offer, and one of the best point and click games ever made. It’s in my Top 5 favourite games of all time, and I’m still holding out for Monkey Island 5.

  1. avatar John C.

    So true; thanks for reminding me of such an amazing game!

  2. I need to get on my horse and play this game. I’m truly a dolt for having missed this. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. avatar Tom

    This one’s nothing in comparison with the two first.

  4. avatar Luke Valentine

    yeah, i thought this was poor compared to the first 2, then then 4th upped it again.

    Grim Fandango, now thats a game that rivls the first two MI’s!

    • avatar Pamela

      - It’s true- they’re twins. Finn colored all over his hands and arms this monnrig and WHY in the world are our markers not the washable variety? Your boys are cute.October 28, 2010 4:51 PM

  5. avatar swish

    Thanks for the reminder, i still have my copy of MI3 and i can’t wait to play it. All of first 3 are good, with the 2nd one being the best imo. Too bad they messed up Monkey Island 4. Well…….there’s always 5 to look for, but it doesn’t seem like we’re gonna get it.

    • avatar Zeeshan

      As much as the new As much as the new graphics are nice, there’s just sotnehimg solid about pixelart. Or maybe it’s just nostalgia, but pixelart is so timeless and iconic, so the fact that you can change back and forth is GREAT.

  6. avatar andrew

    Oh, WTF. How can you write a “retro” article about Monkey Island 3. How old are you, 16?!? Only the Tim Schafer games are real Monkey Islands.

  7. Dude. The game came out 12 years ago. Around the same time as the N64. 10+ years = Retro.

  8. avatar Cytizen

    Retro, yes. But you made an ill choice in putting MI 3 on the throne, here. The first one was far, far superior in its humor, the dialogue, the attention to detail (even if badly pixelated in its old bitmap style) and in its brilliance to pose logical puzzles. The third part was the first of the series that started to introduce silly puzzles where the solutions were just too dumb to fit into the witty humor of the previous MI titles.

    The voice acting, while very entertaining, also very much disenchanted my own personal view of Guybrush Threepwood. For all these years I had my own idea of how he sounded like and how he pronounced his lame jokes. MI 3 ruined this for me. I never wanted to hear him speak. Other games like Half Life 2 or Bioshock don’t have their characters speak for the very same reason. You just don’t ruin a gamer’s personal idea and identification with the character by forcing a perhaps alienating personality on him.

    I enjoyed MI3. And I even enjoyed MI4 to some degree. But the real MI will always be 1 and 2.

    And by the way, Murray, as funny as he was, just can’t keep up with the Navigator’s Head.

  9. avatar klarax

    One day I’ll play them, i only played number 4, which was awesome, so ppl saying the prvious games are better, then they got to be worth a go. Even if dos based :P

  10. Retro Reunions are just pieces where we look at games that affected us personally, and share those moments with you. The prequels are better, yes, but C. Rossi felt a connection with MI3, which is fine.

    We’ll be covering Monkey Island 1 in the far future, so stay tuned. No great classic game will go unturned!

  11. avatar PokerCrow

    First time I hear that MI3 is “often regarded as the strongest of the 4″ and I beg to disagree. I’ll grant that it’s the one which has aged better because of its nice and fluid cartoony animation. The one I enjoyed the most was MI2 Le Chuck’s Revenge, but that’s personal preference. Objectively speaking I’d say the first 2 are more than often regarded as the strongest in the series.

    • avatar Dina

      Posted on I’ve been absent for a while, but now I reembmer why I used to love this site. Thanks , I will try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your web site?

  12. avatar Cytizen

    I’d love to see a retro review of rival company Sierra’s adventures. But please not King’s Quest. Space Quest was by far the best of the series. :)

    There were many similarities between Roger Wilco and Guybrush Threepwood, so it should be quite interesting.

  13. avatar Kelix

    I love money island, grim fandango and dott, they are all amazing games, there should be more of them :)

  14. great article, sweet ass game!

  15. avatar Person

    I don’t get all the hubabaloo over MI2, 3 had better graphics and looks more fun.

  16. avatar B15HOP

    This game runs rings around most modern adventure games. This is a game that should be put in the hall of fame for all time greatest adventure game. Best yet, with Scummvm you can play it in linux with the original two disc set, interruption free! I love it!

  17. avatar Sarah

    Very cute, but you may have a problem on your hands. If Orangutans hear that you are clialng them monkies instead of apes, they might rip your arms off and beat you to death with them.

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