perjantai 11. helmikuuta 2011

Good vs. Evil - Guybrush Threepwood & LeChuck

Guybrush as he appears in
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's
Seepgood, Tweephood, Peepwood, Mr. Brush etc.
Voice actor(s): Dominic Armato
First game: The Secret of Monkey Island (1990)
Latest game: Tales of Monkey Island (2009)

We've had countless heroes and antiheroes, alpha males and females, swordsmen, gunmen, angels of death, ladykillers... and then, we've had Guybrush Threepwood. In 1990 A.D., Ron Gilbert brought us The Secret of Monkey Island, in which a slim, seemingly half-witted, and most definitely annoying teenager armed with nothing but the stupidest name in the world, and the curious ability to hold his breath for ten minutes, washed up on the shores of a pirate-infested island deep in the Caribbean with the burning desire to become a pirate for no apparent reason. Despite of his very thin and awkward potential to be a pirate, Guybrush became one by being clever enough to bend just about every rule there was, using a little bit of MacGyverism and having incredibly good luck. He also won the heart of Melee Island's beautiful governor Elaine Marley. No one knows why.

Guybrush's actions, especially towards Elaine, captured the attention of a man that was soon to be his nemesis, the dreaded Ghost Pirate LeChuck. With the help of a voodoo expert, Guybrush whipped up a batch of root beer brewed especially for busting ghosts and with it, he managed to defeat LeChuck. Proud as a man can be of his literally incredible accomplishment, he kept LeChuck's beard as a memento of his victory. Some time later, Guybrush waved it around in the absolutely wrong place and inadvertently made LeChuck's resurrection as a Zombie Pirate possible. This time, LeChuck won and trapped Guybrush inside his Carnival of the Damned, located on Monkey Island.

Another while later, Guybrush (accidentally) sunk LeChuck's ship and its captain with it, and had seemingly rid the seas of his nemesis forever. He finally proposed to Elaine, but with a cursed voodoo ring that turned his beloved into a solid gold statue. Another quest followed, and in the end, Guybrush had to face LeChuck once again, this time as a Demon Zombie Ghost. Guybrush and Elaine married, and LeChuck was in turn trapped (under ice) inside the Carnival... forever?

No, LucasArts had a deal for one more Monkey Island game, which saw LeChuck resurrect and disguise himself as Melee Island's new governor, Charles L. Charles. Guybrush and Elaine, who had been deemed deceased by LeChuck and his Australian partner in crime, Ozzie Mandrill, had to go to great lengths to smoke their enemies off their island - even as far as to discuss the subject with a group of lawyers. They failed, and Guybrush was once again unceremoniously dropped off to Monkey Island. Guybrush was just about to give up when he found a way to once again escape the dreaded island of horror, and defeated LeChuck in the most epic Monkey Kombat confrontation in the history of the noble sport.

After spending many years on the sidelines and enjoying his reputation as the most memorable and funniest adventurer in gaming history, Guybrush made his return in Telltale Games' episodic adventure Tales of Monkey Island, in which he was met by some of his biggest challenges yet: his biggest fan - who had been hired to kill him. The most ghastly reincarnations of LeChuck yet - an irritatingly polite human being, but ultimately, an evil pirate god. A rather dangerous handicap - a possessed hand. And, a sudden case of death. But, it was not the first time for Guybrush, so naturally he... just got better.

The very first actually talking Guybrush
Threepwood from The Curse of Monkey
Jumped the shark?
My favourite one of all Monkey Island games is without a shadow of a doubt, Monkey Island 2, and I believe Guybrush's very best moment is somewhere within the confines of that game. When I think of the most outrageous thing Guybrush has ever done, my thought first wanders to the point in which he needs to rent Captain Dread's ship and Largo LaGrande has just robbed him of all his money. Guybrush figures he needs a job, and that there would be one available at the local bar if he somehow managed to get the cook fired. So, he gets a rat, goes to the kitchen window, drops the rat into a kettle full of vichyssoise and goes to ask the bartender something along the lines of "So, how's the soup today?" The bartender goes to the kitchen, all hell breaks loose and he fires the cook. So, Guybrush gets the job. After receiving his payment in advance, he just goes to the kitchen and climbs out of the window, knowing he probably will need to explain himself to the bartender some day. He just doesn't care, 'cause he's Guybrush Threepwood.

Hit rock bottom?
Two words: Monkey Kombat. Guybrush isn't quite himself for the duration of the whole game of Escape from Monkey Island, but him engaging in that Monkey Kombat shit is just that, shit. It was just never meant to be. Even the worst jokes in that game bring more of a smile to one's face.


LeChuck as he appears in
The Secret of Monkey
a.k.a. Fester Shinetop, Chuckie, Charles L. Charles, Ghost Pirate LeChuck, G.P. LeChuck, Zombie Pirate LeChuck, Demon Zombie Ghost Pirate LeChuck, Pirate God LeChuck etc.
Voice actor(s): Earl Boen, Adam Harrington, Kevin Blackton
First game: The Secret of Monkey Island (1990)
Latest game: Tales of Monkey Island (2009)

True evil can never truly be killed, so Guybrush Threepwood made a poor choice of an arch nemesis in LeChuck. LeChuck simply doesn't die... not until there's absolutely no potential for another Monkey Island sequel. Whether he's a ghost, a zombie, a demon, a human, or all of them in one less neat package, LeChuck is pure evil with one single purpose: to make Elaine Marley his undead bride. LeChuck was originally killed in a wreck near Monkey Island while searching for its fabled "Secret" (no one still quite knows what it is) with the purpose of impressing Elaine, and death made him even more unpleasant than he already was. Although LeChuck was considered the most dangerous undead pirate of the seven seas, even his unholy powers weren't a match for a flask of makeshift root beer, brewed by Guybrush Threepwood.

In Monkey Island 2, LeChuck returned as a zombie, thanks to Guybrush himself, who had unknowingly boasted about his grand victory to LeChuck's most trusted henchman and let him have possession of LeChuck's beard. Any tissue from LeChuck's body was enough to bring him back from the dead... again. LeChuck devised a plan which led Guybrush to search for the treasure of Big Whoop, and hypnotized him to think of himself as a child, and LeChuck as his brother - trapping him inside his "abusement park", the Carnival of the Damned, and once again going after Elaine.

In The Curse of Monkey Island, LeChuck's foul-smelling zombie non-life seemed to end when his ship sank, thanks to another lucky effort by Guybrush. His spirit remained in a pair of boots, which were scavenged by a couple of unlucky pirates. This time, LeChuck returned as a demon. In the end of the game, it seemed he had finally won - he had managed to capture Elaine, and neutralize Guybrush. However, the lovebirds pulled through, trapped LeChuck under a block of ice and finally married.

LeChuck's first of three forms in Tales of
Monkey Island
In Escape from Monkey Island, it was revealed that a devious land developer by the name of Ozzie Mandrill had released LeChuck from his icy tomb and made him run for the gubernatorial spot on Melee Island, where Guybrush and Elaine first met. Once again, LeChuck's delusions of grandeur were thwarted, but this time, he didn't explicitly die. There always was potential for some fashion of a sequel, and it just so happened that Tales of Monkey Island arrived in 2009. Once again, we witnessed what seemed to be the end of LeChuck, but time will tell what the fates have in store for everyone's favourite evil demon ghost pirate from Heck.

Jumped the shark?
I really, really can't decide between his whole character in Monkey Island 2 and The Curse of Monkey Island, especially not after the release of Monkey Island 2 - Special Edition, in which voiceovers were added for extra atmosphere. When LeChuck speaks, the player listens. He's such a treat to listen to when he makes those long speeches just to irritate Guybrush and of course, hear himself talk.

Hit rock bottom?
I think the final Monkey Kombat sequence in Escape from Monkey Island featuring LeChuck was passable in comparison to the rest of the minigame, so I'll go with Tales of Monkey Island - I didn't really dig LeChuck's human form that much. It was a good idea to introduce a whole different LeChuck, but the more I advanced in the game while LeChuck was still human, the more I found myself craving for his evil, piratey ways.

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