Our next podcast recording (12.7.20) - 427: The Curse of Monkey Island

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JaySevenZero
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Our next podcast recording (12.7.20) - 427: The Curse of Monkey Island

Post by JaySevenZero »

Here's where you can contribute your thoughts and opinions of The Curse of Monkey Island for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.

A friendly reminder to all that where feedback for the podcast is concerned, we love it - but self-editing (brevity) is appreciated. We do want to include a breadth of opinions where appropriate, but no-one wants a discussion podcast that’s mainly reading. Better to save yourself time and cut to the chase if you can.

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ashman86
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Re: 427: The Curse of Monkey Island

Post by ashman86 »

The Secret of Monkey Island is one of my earliest and most influential gaming memories. I credit it for my falling in love with both reading and video games, and it's naturally very near and dear to my heart.

But it isn't my favorite game in the series.

I think it might be heresy to most Monkey Island fans. And so is the fact that the game's immediate successor is probably my least favorite of the trilogy. (It's a real shame the series ended here, isn't it?) No, for me, the best of the banana bunch is Curse.

While I've always wondered what a third Monkey Island game from Gilbert and Schafer might actually have looked like, Curse is, for me, the definitive Monkey Island experience. And I was personally pleased with its immediate retconning and dismissal of its predecessor's polarizing ending.

A lot of my love for the game comes down to its art and audio direction. I love the game's swirly clouds and its Disney-esque animation. And Dominic Armato's performance as Guybrush Threepwood taught me just how much of an impact an actor could have on comedy. It informed how I read Guybrush in the earlier, unvoiced games (up until their special editions were released), and I've always found those games funnier post-Curse as a result.

And, oh, how I love Michael Land's score to the game. It's often whimsical, sometimes mournful, and nearly always memorably melodic. To this day, I still hum the themes to Puerto Pollo's various locations (I'm especially fond of the barbershop's flavor). And Blood Island's themes, particularly the one that accompanies the Goodsoup Family Hotel, still leaves me feeling melancholic.

I also still sometimes blurt out, "We'll surely avoid scurvy if we all eat an orange."

Curse feels like the end of an era for LucasArts. I remember delighting in the game's UI innovations, particularly how it condensed its predecessors' verb charts into a dynamic wheel, and I couldn't believe that it'd been cut from the genre by the time Escape came out.

But, then, the adventure genre was fading fast from the AAA space by then, and my own interests were shifting away to other types of games. Even now, I find it hard to really invest myself in modern point-and-clicks, which is part of the reason Curse feels so magical to me. It was the grand finale to a style of game that had propelled me into other new interests and passions.

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Alex79uk
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Re: 427: The Curse of Monkey Island

Post by Alex79uk »

This game is often dismissed by fans of the series for not being a real Monkey Island 3 and I don't think that's fair, because it's a fantastic point and click adventure game in its own right.

My first experience playing it was as a demo on the PC compilation of the first two games, and I was blown away with the quality of the cartoon-like graphics and voice acting. The game is just gorgeous to look at and is filled with interesting characters and nice nods back to the previous games in the series.

It's been such a long time since I've played through it that I don't remember many of the individual puzzles, but the one that springs to mind is Guybrush getting eaten by the snake and having to use the ipecac to make him vomit you up again. I just remember being absolutely engrossed in this game from the start to the finish. Lots of nice locations, brilliant music, decent length and plenty of chuckles along the way.

You know what, I'd go as far to say this is my second favorite game in the series after LeChuck's Revenge. I just wish they'd bring it back. Properly I mean. Not that awful fourth game or the episodic early Telltale version, a full on, oldskool point and click Monkey Island made by Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer. That would be really special.

THREE WORD REVIEW: Perfect piratical puzzler.

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Ordinary Coalscuttle
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Re: 427: The Curse of Monkey Island

Post by Ordinary Coalscuttle »

I started playing this shortly after being furloughed. The word "furloughed" reminded me of the high seas and so - long story short - I downloaded and started replaying this a couple of minutes later.

This was my first experience of the 'Monkey Island' series, and what struck me about the game was the vibrant visual style. I'd loved 'Sam and Max', 'Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis' and 'Day of the Tentacle' as a child, but this was on another level. Looking back at it now, I can identify shortcomings and aspects that don't look quite as seamless as they did when I was young; but I still kind of wish the remasters of Monkey Islands 1 and 2 had more closely followed this game's graphical style.

For me, this latest playthrough solidified the fact that Blood Island is my favourite part of the game. Plunder Island is fun enough, and I'll admit that my interest waned in the closing chapters - but Blood Island is really the reason I hold this game so close to my heart. As well as featuring the funniest parts of the game (the Goodsoup hotelier's nonchalant reaction to Guybrush's multiple "deaths", the Flying Welshman), it's also got a beautifully melancholy, ghostly atmosphere in everything from the soundtrack to the use of colours that has always stayed with me since I first played it almost two decades ago.

I'd love to be able to see Ron Gilbert's vision for the "true" conclusion to the trilogy - a game that follows on from 2's truly bizarre conclusion, but I can't deny that - for my own personal, nostalgic reasons, I'm sure - Curse is the real peak of the series for me.

You'll notice I haven't had much to say about the gameplay specifics. I'll be honest, I figured out most of the puzzles pretty much through muscle memory of having played it to death in my childhood (impressive, considering it's been over a decade since I last visited it!) Can easily imagine - as with any of these games - the obscurity of some solutions getting some people's goats, though.

(also I'd love to see more LucasArts classics getting covered on the podcast!)

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The Baboon Baron
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Re: 427: The Curse of Monkey Island

Post by The Baboon Baron »

I waxed lyrically last year about my enduring love for Monkey Island 2, about how it influenced me as a child, how it inspired me to find laughter in all things, how its gothic comic style inspired so much of the person I became.

I feel the same way about Curse of Monkey Island, A worthy successor to the Monkey crown in my view, and the closing of the “classic” trilogy, even if it wasn’t what the series creators envisioned. In fact, the move to CD-rom allowed for a full voice cast, a transition they handled very well, with some excellent performances.

But the most important part of Monkey 3 is Murray. The inclusion of the evil demonic skull into the main cast of the series was a master stroke. Near Pixar levels of characterization from a skull with virtually no moving parts. I still quote Murray more than I quote philosophers or historical figures, “the Quotable Murray” was the coffee table book that never was.
So much do I love this skull, he makes up part of the tattoo on my arm. Lets just hope no one tries to remove it from me with cooking oil eh?

It is a source of frustration that this never made it to consoles. What do we have to do to get some sort of Monkey Island mega pack with the 5 main games released? Or better yet, the Lucas Arts “corr… the nineties were great” mega collection?

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Nupraptor
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Re: 427: The Curse of Monkey Island

Post by Nupraptor »

I don’t remember much about this game other than it being “Fun, but not as good as 2.”

To this day though, whenever someone asks me to comment on their tan, I compulsively respond with “Man, you got the savage pale!”

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Re: 427: The Curse of Monkey Island

Post by BlueWeaselBreath »

I have such fond memories of Curse of Monkey Island. I loved the first game and played it into the ground but could never find the second game in stores or on warez sites. Of course, I’d never look on warez sites.

When Curse came out, I finally was able to get Monkey 2 as part of a promotional collection disc and finally got to play it before going immediately on to Curse. Therefore, despite Part 2 being many people’s favorite, it was but a stopover toward Curse for me, and Curse made much more of an impression on me.

I remember being initially dazzled by some bits of the presentation and interface such as the full color inventory cursor and the animated verb coin. I also dug the hand drawn look and animation and still think it holds up great today, some resolution issues aside.

I will also stand up and say that the introduction’s brief hand-waving explication of the end of Monkey 2’s offbeat ending was fully sufficient for me and the best possible way to get out of the bizarre narrative corner that Ron Gilbert painted the series into.

I played the game through a handful of times, first on regular mode and then on mega-monkey, engaging in copious amounts of walkthrough consultation for both. Decades later, some of the lines from this game are still stuck in my head and I think of them regularly. One is the snow cone pitch by the unhygienic carnival vendor (a nicer version of an extremely vulgar Cheech Marin routine in From Dusk Till Dawn—the tight release timing makes it potentially a coincidence, but there are some similarities). Another is when Guybrush asks Cutthroat Bill if his job is fun. Gregg Berger’s brilliant deadpan delivery of the line “I get giddy, and the laughter bubbles out of me like a sparkling fountain of mirth and gaiety,” has popped into my head literally every month for the last 20 years.

And yes, they decided to splurge on gameplay rather than build a proper ending. But overall, a scream of a game that deserves a remaster immediately.

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Mechner
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Re: 427: The Curse of Monkey Island

Post by Mechner »

Having began my pirate adventures with Guybrush in Lechuck's Revenge as a young boy, it was fitting that I should go forward in the series rather than backwards.

Curse of Monkey Island somehow masterfully pulls off, nearly completely disregarding the weirdness of MI2's ending right in its opening cutscene, but before we know it, our attention is grabbed as the main theme kicks in, in glorious "partially" orchestrated live CD music, and that's one point I cannot breeze past. Michael Land's themes and music truly come into their own here, with expert help from Clint Bajakian and Peter McConnel, The music finally feels fully realised, easily surpassing that of many Hollywood blockbuster scores. It is an integral part of the game, often helping in story telling and creating atmosphere. Along with the hilarious puzzle based "A Pirate I was Meant to Be" musical number for good measure. The music is full of nostalgic instrumentation and a youthful pirate-like sense of adventure and energy, though it also has an overarching heavy feeling of melancholy which penetrates every aspect of this game in my opinion, especially in the introduction music before the theme kicks in and in the outro piece as our characters essentially ride off into the sunset to continue there adventures without us.

There is a strong feeling of loss throughout the game, in it's themes, characters, fixation on death, failure and curses.. which could mirror series creator Ron Gilbert moving on to arguably less greener pastures of "edutainment" with humongous games and essentially leaving MI up in the air, not knowing it's direction or still mysterious "secret".

The Bill Tiller led art style is excellent, I do remember being taken aback by how lanky and weird Guybrush looked, and it is a bone of contention amongst OG fans, but it has a near Saturday morning cartoon level of style and charm that had me won over rather quickly, I can see it for how artful and interesting it is. The backgrounds are absolutely gorgeous, and still hold up to scrutiny of any modern point and clicker.

Curse marked the first Monkey Island to be fully voice acted... and I do not think there has ever been a more perfectly casted main character in all of gaming history. I remember hearing Dominic Armato for the first time and it wasn't a shock I didn't even take much notice, because it felt so right, like he was always there, so much so that when I returned to MI2 later in life, I was shocked to find that there was no voice acting, I was convinced that he had always been Guybrush. Along with an excellent supporting cast including The Terminator's Earl Boen as "Lechuck", I always think it's weird watching those films now, knowing Dr Silberman is actually Lechuck.

It easily has the same quality of narrative and character that previous games in the series had, but sadly anything without the great "Gilbert" is looked upon negatively by older fans.. which is sad because Curse is brilliant, full of very memorable characters, music, puzzles and story.

Murray is also one of the funniest side kicks in gaming.

Three Word Review:
BLISTERING BANJO DUAL

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