The Curse of Monkey Island

1997 LucasArts Entertainment
Designed by Larry Ahern, Jonathan Ackley
Reviewed 1999 July 20

Rating +2 Linearity wide, segmented
Reasonability sporadic Connectivity high
Difficulty difficult Relevance strong
Interface 3rd paned simple Real-time minor

Once again you play Guybrush Threepwood, daring pirate, scourge of the Caribbean. You have somehow been freed of the curse of Big Whoop, just in time to find the dead pirate LeChuck once again harrassing your true love, Elaine. As usual, your botch things up and Elaine is cursed and kidnapped. You must find a cure for Elaine, find her, and rescue her.

You meet a large number of characters along the way, including a few old friends. The characters are all hilarious, and set up the plot. It's not much more than a rambling scavenger hunt, but it's a fun trip.

The challenges are mostly inventory based, including many good, clever challenges (in Mega Monkey mode). There are some repeats from the previous games in the series, including the sword fighting of the first game and LeChuck's chase of the second. There is also an optional fighting ships real-time challenge which frames the sword fights.

While the challenges are seldom overtly silly, many skirt the edge of reason. You frequently have to do things for no good reason, trusting that things will turn to your advantage. In combination with the devious challenges, this makes the game very difficult.

The interface uses a three action mouse: clicking and holding brings up a menu of use, examine, and use mouth (talk, eat, or bite, as appropriate). It's a bit strange to have to click and hold, and I never did get used to it -- I would have liked to be able to use the right mouse button for this (it isn't used at all by the game).

As usual for LucasArts, the graphics are great, the voice acting is as good as it gets in computer games, and the music is well done. I especially liked hearing the old Monkey Island theme redone with a full band.

The Curse of Monkey Island gives fans of the series more of the same, but it's a good same to be getting more of. It's funny and enjoyable, and two difficulty levels should make it approachable by most adventurers, although it might be a bit tough on a raw beginner.

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:

  • Secret of Monkey Island
  • LeChuck's Revenge
    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.