The Secret of Monkey Island

1990 LucasArts Entertainment
Designed by Ron Gilbert
Reviewed 1997 January 26

Rating +5 Linearity straight, segmented
Reasonability reasonable Connectivity moderate
Difficulty challenging Relevance strong
Interface 3rd paned menu Real-time minor

You are Guybrush Threepwood, a young man intent on becoming a pirate. You travel to Melee Island, a pirate hangout, to learn the trade and prove yourself. Along the way you meet the woman of your dreams and an evil ghost pirate.

Monkey Island is a hilarious game. The characters and events are funny enough, but the game also includes some neat devices that add to the fun. The combat system (non-real-time) is funnier than any role-playing game. The game also takes over for you at one point, playing itself off-screen; it may not sound like much, but the result will draw a few chuckles.

The actual play is fairly linear. There are many characters to interact with and a good sized world to explore, so this linearity is not obvious as you play. Furthermore, it is put to good use, creating a solid story to propel the play. While the play is not difficult, the challenges are still hard enough to keep you engaged.

There's no audio speech, but the dialogue is too funny to care. There's only VGA graphics, but it's well done in a cartoon style. The game's appearance is dated, but it's fun is timeless.

Beware! Here are some spoiler-ridden notes on the game. They're only recommended for people who have played the game and want to see some of my rationale for my evaluations.

Related reviews:

  • LeChuck's Revenge
  • Curse of Monkey Island
    David Tanguay's Game Reviews
    Here's a description of all the gobbledygook in these reviews. It's also a bit of an essay on the nature of adventure games.