First game in my Epic Procrastination Adventure Game Research Project was The Secret of Monkey Island. It’s got a big reputation as one of the best of the old-school 2D verb/noun graphical adventure games and I’d never played it. Other games in this genre are things like Kings Quest, Space Quest, Peasant’s Quest, etc.
First off I bought the “enhanced” or whatever they call it remix of the original. I thought all the new graphics and voice-over really didn’t add anything to the game and I disliked the new interface. Not to mention your love interest is actually attractive in the original and looks like a horrible Disney character in the remake. I loved the fact that the original game was still there and could be instantly switched to just by hitting F10 at any time. So props for that – I played most of the game in the old-school 8-bit graphics style.
This game is definitely fun. Here is just a brief run-down of what I thought in positive and negative.
Awesome “feel”. The game had an engrossing style: The visuals (in the 8-bit version) and the dialogue bring you right into the world of Monkey Island.
Humor. The game has a strong voice and a distinct sense of humor. It plays off your expectations and consistently surprises and delights. Winning a “I defeated the Swordmaster” T-Shirt for example. This contrasts with a bloody corpse you’d find at the end of such a fight in other games.
Variation. The three parts of the game are very distinct and give you the feeling of actually being on a journey. The nighttime world of Melee Island is left behind for the bright daylight of the ship and Monkey Island. Likewise the underworld of the Ghost Ship is a sharp contrast to both.
Expanding World. Your access to hidden areas slowly and naturally expands in a gratifying way. I especially liked the fact that you could find oars for the rowboat and paddle around the perimeter of the Island.
Cannot Fail. I mean unless you quit – there is no way in this game to die or get stuck in a situation where you have to load a saved game or restart. This is really unusual in games of any kind but especially adventure games. I love it.
Some of the puzzles were arbitrary and confusing. Case in point is the catapult puzzle on Monkey Island. I swear I tried to pick up a rock from the Pile-O-Rocks and wasn’t able to. After that I never tried again and it took forever to figure out what to do.