The Secret of Monkey Island is one of the most beloved adventure games of all time, and it’s not difficult to see why. I remember when I was but a wee lad and my dad pulled out his old Amiga 1200 from the closet to show me this game and it instantly became one of my all-time favorite video games.
The Secret of Monkey Island follows Guybrush Threepwood, a pirate wannabee looking to become one of the most feared buccaneers ever to sail the seven seas. He has come to Mêlée Island to seek out the Pirate Leaders with the hope that he can pass the three trials that every pirate must pass. The trials consist of mastering the sword, mastering the art of thievery, and mastering treasure hunting.
Guybrush completes one trial after the other, none of which offers less humour or puzzles than the others, and in the process meets the beautiful governor of Mêlée Island, Elaine Marley. Guybrush instantly falls in love with Elaine. However, she soon gets kidnapped by the evil ghost pirate LeChuck. So Guybrush sets off to find her and travels to the mysterious Monkey Island where nothing but cannibals, monkeys, and hermits live. Clues and puzzles are scattered around the island. Monkey Island has quite the interesting backstory that you need to solve in order to find and rescue Elaine.
The puzzles vary in difficulty. Some puzzles are a no-brainer while others may take hours to figure out by yourself. Luckily, you have the choice of playing in easy-mode, which enables hints if you’re not the type of person who likes being stuck for hours on end. Most of the time though, the puzzles are logical, and you can apply trial-and-error to any of them, making it relatively easy to pass any of the challenges thrown your way.
The graphics of the game can either be an eyesore or very beautiful depending on your preferred style of art. I personally dig pixel-art style games because it leaves some imagination to the players themselves. The reggae music is, depending on which version you play, quite nice. Voice acting didn’t make into the game until 2009 when a special edition of the game came out with updated 3D graphics, remade interfaces, and updated music.
One of the more interesting aspects of The Secret of Monkey Island is that you cannot die. Except maybe in one specific spot where most people wouldn’t leave their screens when that scene is played. Other times it’s just impossible to kill yourself. The developers also made sure that you cannot lose the game in any way. There are no scores to be kept either, except maybe the time it took to complete the entire thing, all of which adds up to the ultimately relaxing feeling of this game.
The Secret of Monkey Island is one of the all-time classics of the genre. It’s funny, casual, and most importantly, kept simple. There’s no element in the game where you feel rushed or stressed to decide what to do. You can walk around the different islands examining objects and listening to funny comments and conversations without feeling your heart pumping. And that is one of the most enjoyable feelings of all time. Just zone out while playing and laugh once in a while.