Ah, Monkey Island. Some call it overrated. Some call it sublime. Others don’t call it anything at all, since they haven’t heard of the four game adventure series released by LucasArts. For this review, I will examine the very first in the Monkey Island series. It ran on DOS, so, to play it, you need to download ScummVM.
Moving right along. Secret of Monkey Island (from here on out, it will be referred to as SMI) has you, dear reader, playing as Guybrush Threepwood, a young man trying his darndest to become a pirate. A mighty pirate, at that.
This game is comparable to Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney for the DS. SMI is a point-and-click adventure game that requires you to read. Yes, read. It’s not so foreign a concept is it? Especially for all of you who have to crack open a book once in a while for that thing adults like to refer to as “school.” I guarantee you, you will find this far more interesting than your Mankiw Economics textbook.
The whole adventure is off-the-wall and silly. The dialogue is smart and funny despite its relative zaniness. You even get to swordfight (and what person who hasn’t seen Pirates of the Caribbean doesn’t want to do that?), but not in the traditional sense. You use insults to gain the upperhand against your opponent rather than button-mashing skills.
Actually, there’s not a whole lot of button mashing at all in this game. Gameplay focuses on your ability to solve puzzles logically (or, ahem, look up a FAQ off the internet). You can basically use anything available to Guybrush to solve the puzzles, but nothing is too over-the-top or funky that you’ll find yourself going “what the hell?” after a puzzle.
There’s something in SMI for nearly everyone with a sense of humor. Some people who are used to 40+ hours of gameplay might be slightly appalled at the relative short nature of the game. However, you can always spring for the next chapter in this game.
All in all, SMI is smart, funny, and it has certainly made an addict out of me. This game gets an extremely happy smiley face, meaning: “Go out and buy it! It’s worth the time and money you will spend!”
This game is not free. I’d just buy it off eBay or from one of the Amazon storefronts. My home computer has a 3 1/2 floppy drive, so I bought the LucasArts classic collection which includes some of their other games like Maniac Mansion and Zak McKracken (all for the low price of $50!).