OMG! Well, here’s something to brighten your day. One of the very best games from the 1990s finally got its digital release this week. For some reason, despite its predecessors being readily available for some time, it’s taken much longer to roll out the Curse of Monkey Island. But it’s here right now!
We reviewed the game last year to mark its 20th anniversary. At the time, we noted how strange it was you couldn’t actually get access to LucasArt’s point-and-click adventure classic. That’s all changed now and, if you have a spare £5 ($10) then you really can do no wrong by picking up this wonderfully charming, funny, clever, and beautiful title. It’s a real shining tribute to the brilliance of video games and what the medium can achieve, so let’s have another look!
The Curse of Monkey Island
It’s really one of the most beautiful games you can play, in many senses of the word. For all its natural charms (including one of the best video game scripts we’ve ever come across), the artistic style will certainly leave you impressed. It’s aged very nicely with all manner of hand drawn backgrounds for Guybrush Threepwood (the protagonist) to wander around. This is matched by a glorious orchestral soundtrack influenced by Caribbean music.
It’s just such a funny game to play. With his sharp wit, but bumbling nature, Threepwood blunders around a series of islands coming across all manner of unusual, but always endearing, individuals. One of our favourites is the Flying Welshman who is sardonic and heavily over-dramatic. He also seems to struggle to understand what a skull us (see the below clip, which includes the excellent line: “What are you talking about? Don’t you see the skuuuull?!”).
There are plenty of these endearingly wacky individuals you meet on your adventure. The utterly insane, ebullient Captain Blondebeard is another fine example – he runs a restaurant in the town of Puerto Pollo (where the first part of your adventure begins) and has a manic, crazed quality which will cheer up anyone’s day. However, there’s one chap you’ll bump into regularly on your travels who will stick with you for the rest of your life.
Murray the Skull
You come across Murray early on in the game. Guybrush accidentally blows him up, which leaves the guy’s skull floating around. He’s jabbering quite wildly about demonic forces and how he intends to take over the world (despite having no body). You bump into him fairly regularly – his head washes up on a beach later and some kids stick him on a sign just before a swamp.
Along with his demonic laugh, what you’ll take from this most fabulous of games is a sense of joy. We’re not even messing around here as we fanboy over it, but it’s brilliant to have it back on the gaming scene, and we’re actually just going to go and play it now rather than continue writing this. So there! Oh, but do yourself a favour and get it as well.
Addendum: Metropole Orchestra
On a final note, regarding the excellence of the game’s soundtrack, have a listen to this rendition of the game’s opening theme. The excellent Metropole Orchestra performed this in Amsterdam back in 2006 – performances of the video game music like this are getting increasingly popular, with a tour of the famous Zelda series having taken place in England recently. Have a listen to the above Curse of Monkey Island piece, though, as it’s mega.