Available on: Amiga, Atari ST, CDTV, MAC, PC, Sega-CD
Developer(s): Lucasfilm Games
Every once in a while, it's nice to return to a familiar, warm place and exchange greetings with a an old favourite from the dark past. It's been some time since I've last played the very original The Secret of Monkey Island. Even the one I currently have's not technically the first version of the game, but the VGA version which was released some months after the original one, so it's sort of a re-issue with no changes to the core gameplay, just a slightly enhanced look. Written by Lucasfilm's dream team of Ron Gilbert, Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer, The Secret of Monkey Island is perhaps the most important point 'n' click adventure game of all time. It's not the best game in the series, it's a little rough around the edges, but it's capital nonetheless.
A tale of swordplay, thievery and, uhh... treasure huntery!
A young man named Guybrush Threepwood washes up on the shore of Melée Island. Besides the ambition to intentionally annoy everyone he sees, he has a burning desire to become a pirate, one way or another. While he trains to become a pirate in his own unorthodox ways, a dreaded ghost pirate by the name of LeChuck stalks the island's beautiful governor Elaine Marley with the intention of stealing her hand in marriage. When Guybrush himself falls in love with Elaine, he inevitably becomes a target of the most feared undead pirate of the Caribbean.
The graphics still look awesome in their own way, and back at that time, the game had more motion, visual depth and diversity than any adventure game that preceded it. Objects are well highlighted, and there's very little in terms of total obscurity which would make hot spots hard to make out from the background. The music is absolutely classic stuff - the kind that sticks so bad that you'll have trouble sleeping. The Monkey Island theme song is one of my all-time favourites.
|The SCUMM Bar. Like a second home to the |
most foul, dirty, grog-swilling pirate bastards
you've ever seen. I love this place.
The Secret of Monkey Island introduced yet another, extremely comfortable version of SCUMM that went on to be used in several games, with pretty minor changes, including Monkey Island 2. There are 12 verbs - 10 in the CD version - which you can combine with anything in your inventory, or anything in the playfield. The list of commands takes up a lot of fine space on the screen, but ultimately it isn't very distracting.
|Not many guys meet the woman of their dreams |
by robbing her house.
Although being dumb in a clever way will most likely help you in conquering The Secret of Monkey Island, it is by no means an easy game. I actually consider it to be the most difficult Monkey Island game, due to its fair share of complex and delicate puzzles. It might not be absolutely perfect of its kind like its first sequel is, but it is a classic game which every gamer needs to experience at least once, in my humble opinion. It redefined adventure, and made it one of the most important game genres of the 90's.
Graphics : 9.2
Sound : 9.0
Playability : 8.7
Challenge : 9.3
Overall : 8.9
GameRankings: 81.25% (PC), 63.33% (Sega-CD)
World of Monkey Island has an extensive list of all of the game's numerous references to pop culture.