The graphic adventure par excellence, videogame fun embodied in a pirate, or in a three-headed monkey if you prefer. The Secret of Monkey Island – LucasArts (1990) is much more than just a video game, it is a milestone that has fascinated millions of fans who still today, decades later, regret the end of the saga of the nicest pirate in the Caribbean.

The Secret of Monkey Island, the point and click par excellence

Produced and distributed by Lucasfilm Games (later LucasArts) in 1990, Monkey Island becomes more and more mythical over the years, thanks to a compelling plot, hilarious dialogues and an anthology soundtrack. My favorite game ever, let’s face it. The plot is simple: take on the role of Guybrush Threepwood , a clumsy, dreamy and likeable boy, always in pursuit of new adventures.
The game begins with Guybrush landing on Melèe Island , an island in the Caribbean: his goal is to become a fearsome pirate. After meeting characters like Governor Marley , Phantom Pirate LeChuck , Hermann Toothrot, the pirates and Stan , and after Elaine Marley is kidnapped by LeChuck, Threepwood sets sail for the legendary Monkey Island . An island that hides a terrible secret.

From here begins an adventure that has indelibly marked the history of videogames . It is even difficult to say which are the most successful things in the game, which are the best characters or dialogue. The Secret of Monkey Island is a triumph of grotesque situations and brilliant ideas. Think of the three-headed monkey, of Stan trying to sell you any kind of boat with his crazy gesture, Herman the hermit or cannibals who respect a healthy low-fat diet.
Every detail of the LucasArts masterpiece is well-kept, nothing is left to chance, not even a second of gameplay. The game situations are intertwined with each other and sometimes refer to the following chapter, while the skilful mix of humor and seriousness makes the characterswhen you live, give them a life of its own. This also applies to the secondary characters, with minor roles but which are easily remembered. This is the case of Carla , the Swordmaster, of Meathook , of Otis and of Voodoo Lady , for example.

Monkey Island graphics, music and Easter Eggs

The interface used by The Secret of Monkey Island is the SCUMM , streamlined and improved by that genius Ron Gilbert : the verbs in the lower part of the screen are more limited in number and, via the keyboard, can be recalled by pressing the right initial . The Easter Eggs within the game are too many to name them all, but we like to remember Guybrush’s faux death, in the scene where he crashes off a bluff and then bounces back an instant later. The game wouldn’t be the same without the sound support, with Michael Land’s signature soundtrack making the gaming experience phenomenal. The graphicsit is absolutely pleasant and even today, despite the remastered versions also available for smartphones, I prefer to enjoy the original version. Without forgetting the puzzles, which guarantee a level of difficulty perhaps not very high (even if when I was playing it I was about a dozen years old) but able to engage the mind. Some sequences, then, have entered history and re-proposed in a thousand sauces by other videogames.

The duel of insults  is perhaps the highest point of a creative genius that the authors have made available to the players. Who has not played it and who has not finished it must remedy as soon as possible and fully enjoy this masterpiece.

GENRE: Graphic Adventure
YEAR: 1990
PLATFORM: MS-DOS, Amiga, Mac OS, Atari ST, Sega CD, FM Towns
SUPPORT: Floppy disk, CD-Rom
HIS FOLLOW-UP IS: Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge (1991)


by Abdullah Sam
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