A tribute today to the super amusing and charming Murray the Skull from The Curse of Monkey Island (1997). This chap may have no body, but that sure as heck won’t stop him!
In the game, he’s a bodiless skull who rants and raves wildly about his demonic fantasies, sort of befriending protagonist Guybrush Threepwood along the way.
His legacy is ongoing (as of 2022 and beyond, oh yeah!), so let’s delve into the skull-based history to see what it’s all about. *despicable evil laugh*
The Skeletal Story of Murray the Skull
Right! So, players became accustomed to Murray the Skull following on from the intro to the genius that is The Curse of Monkey Island.
Voice actor Denny Delk is behind the wild ranting.
At the start of the game (a point-and-click adventure), you accidentally blow Murray up as his horde invades a nearby castle. That’s during the Battle of Plunder Island.
Yeah, so you’re responsible for him being like that in all future games. Hurray!
Not that Guybrush Threepwood helps in any way, as his simplistic self-assurance and naivety can often cause offence. Such as when Threepwood picks up Murray’s arm and takes it with him. Much to the latter’s consternation.
For the rest of the adventure in Curse of Monkey Island, you bump into the skull. He was part of LeChuck’s Army of the Undead, but after the failed invasion he seems to just go off on one alone.
As he has no body, he has no control over where he ends up in the gaming world. But throughout, you bump into him occasionally.
And when you do, he typically starts ranting quite wildly about how he’s going to annihilate the world and destroy Guybrush Threepwood.
It’s standard from Murray to vent about his desire to cause hellish nightmares, but then succumb to the realistion he hasn’t got the physical capabilities to carry out his desires for carnage.
Quotes go along the lines of the below, rounded off with a demonic evil laugh (of course):
“I’m a powerful demonic force! I’m the harbinger of your doom! And the forces of darkness will applaud me as I STRIDE through the gates of Hell, carrying your head on a pike!”
The brilliant dialogue is complemented by Threepwood’s sarcastic, and often caustic, asides about Murray’s predicament.
Threepwood: “Do you know anything about lifting curses?”
Murray: “Oh, right. I know a lot about lifting curses. That’s why I’m a disembodied talking skull sitting on top of a spike in the middle of a swamp!”
Threepwood: “You seem bitter…”
Murray: “I’m sorry, it’s been a rough day.”
Such statements usually lead to Threepwood mocking the skull for his lack of movement abilities.
But that’s black comedy for you! And such moments are what make Curse of Monkey Island such a joy to play. Behold!
Murray may want to enslave the human race, but he really doesn’t have any other capacity than to jabber quite mindlessly.
To note of his appearances in the series, he did also appear in Escape from Monkey Island (2000) and Tales of Monkey Island (2009).
But those titles were a bit disappointing. In the sense they weren’t total classics, unlike the previous Monkey Island games.
All the same, you can listen to him ranting away in the below clip.
Anyway, it’s for The Curse of Monkey Island that Murray remains most famous. We remember him very fondly, he’s a constant source of entertainment in the experience.
Part of the amusement factor is it’s unclear quite how Murray ends up in the various places he does.
At one point, he travels to Blood Island and bump into Threepwood again. And the reason for him being there is totally unclear, which is all part of the humour.
Murray does explain early in the game some kids shifted him into the swamp, though, so we guess he just gets hoisted around.
We must presume his constant ranting caught the attention of various folks. And they would pick him up and carry him off around the pirate world.
Anyway, you can get the game on Steam if you’d like to hang out with Murray the Skull. Or, you know, just enjoy all his assorted moments below.
Murray is a sidekick of sorts in The Curse of Monkey Island.
Despite his apparent animosity towards the human race he seems to get on pretty well with the protagonist. Forgive and forget. As his main hobby seems to be jabbering wildly and not actually acting on his ambitions.
But Murray is also just funny, in his crazed little way. Bwahahahaha!
Return to Monkey Island, Ahoy!
ZOMG! Have you heard the news? The brilliance that is Devolver Digital announced on 04/04/2022 that Ron Gilbert is back with a new adventure.
Super exciting news! The game is due in 2022 and, as you can see from the trailer, Murray the Skull… is back!
Oh yeah. This is going to be fun. You can point-and-click about that! And Denny Delk is celebrating the occasion.
Looks like Murray and the Monkey Island crew have got the band back together. Bwahahaha.
— Denny Delk (@dennydelk) April 4, 2022
Man, 1997 feels like a long time ago. When we were young… but the HARBINGER of your DOOM never grows old!
Tremble, heathens, ahead of this new experience!
You’ll all be slaves in Hell before you can say, “Why isn’t it in HD and 60 frames per second?” Bwahahahahaaaa!