Written by The Trickster
Written by The Trickster
I often find that having high expectations of a game leads to hindered enjoyment. What I find tends to happen is that I come up with what in my mind would be the ultimate experience, and when the game differs from that (which it inevitably does), I feel let down. That hasn’t been the case at all with Monkey Island 2 so far for the simple reason that it’s pretty much impossible not to be entertained. Sure, I’m still playing through Part I of the game, but there has already been so much hilarious fun that I’ve literally had to drag myself away from it to write this post. Now that I’ve managed to do that, you’ll have to excuse me if I cut to the chase so I can get back to playing it as soon as possible.
Monkey Island 2 starts in an intriguing way. Guybrush is hanging precariously from a rope with one hand while holding onto a treasure chest with the other. The woman whose heart he captured in the first game, Elaine, suddenly descends on a rope of her own, and rather than helping him, asks Guybrush how he got into this situation. Despite the imminent danger, our hero sets out to tell her the lengthy story, which of course leads to a flashback that I as the player will take part in. It’s a brilliant way to kick things off, and particularly perfect given that there is technically no way to die in the game (yes, I’m aware that there is one way, but that’s an anomaly for humour’s sake). So what’s the story? Well, it all starts on Scabb Island, which Guybrush is visiting in search of an infamous treasure named Big Whoop. Any thoughts that the protagonist might now be a renowned and respected pirate after defeating LeChuck in The Secret of Monkey Island are quickly quashed, as the two pirates around a campfire mock him while he tells his tale of victory. Having convinced himself that Big Whoop isn’t on Scabb Island, Guybrush tells the pirates that he plans to charter a ship and look elsewhere. As he stands up and walks away from the fire, control of Guybrush was handed over to me. It was now up to me to lead our hero through all the events that led to his current predicament.
Session time: 40 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Written by The Trickster
My first Monkey Island 2 session covered my initial exploration of Woodtick. By the time I’d finished I really only had one lead, which was to go and purchase some wood polish for the peg-legged pirate…ahem…performance artist. I naturally started the second session by heading back to Woody the woodsmith to do exactly that. After exchanging the single piece of eight for the polish, I made my way back to the one-legged man and tried to give it to him. He wouldn’t wake up, but the game suggested that he actually wanted me to polish the leg for him. I used the polish on the peg leg, and the man woke up and gave me another piece of eight for my trouble. I’d kind of hoped that something more substantial might happen, and suddenly realised that I really didn’t have any other solid leads. I still had the wood polish though, so perhaps there was something else I could do with that? I couldn’t think of anything, so I decided the time was right to step outside Woodtick. There had to be more to this island than a few rickety businesses. As I crossed back over the bridge and walked to the right of screen, I confirmed that there was.
Sadly I took my screenshot mere moments before Guybrush’s pants came down. At least the blog’s PG rating is intact.
I figured Largo would be the messy type, but this is something else.
Written by The Trickster
Those of you that have played Monkey Island 2 would have had a good laugh at the end of my last post. I’d been pretty certain that I was going to find some form of cheese in the kitchen, which I could then use to catch the rat in the box. My discovery of the open window to the kitchen did indirectly lead to me catching the rat, but not in the way I expected. In the kitchen I found a chef, flailing about making meals. I quickly surmised that I could interact with the stove, a saucepan on top of it containing vichyssoise (apparently a potato and leek soup), some cans of fruit cocktail on the shelves, a knife on the table, and the chef himself. Guybrush outright refused to touch most of the items, for three reasons: 1. He hates vichyssoise. 2. He’s not a cook. 3. He hates fruit cocktails. The chef was far too busy to talk to me too, meaning the only thing I was able to do after all my excitement at finding a new location, was pick up the knife. Still, this was progress, and I had a strong feeling that I knew what to do with my new inventory addition.
Written by The Trickster
While I have no idea how many parts there are to Monkey Island 2, I was feeling pretty happy with myself for having defeated Part I without too much trouble. It did seem odd to me that, apart from “lending” his monocle to me, Wally the cartographer played next to no role at all. It also seemed strange that the Voodoo Lady bothered telling me that she could raise the dead if I just happened to be in possession of some ashes, only for there to be no opportunity to actually do it. I was done with that part of the game though, so it was time to clear the slate and move forward, right? Well once again a lot of you will know that this way of thinking was incorrect, and I’ll explain why straight after this cut scene…
With my exploration of Booty Island complete, it was time to go visit the third and final island…Phatt Island. I knew from a conversation with Captain Dread that Phatt Island is ruled by a fascist dictator, but that’s about all I knew. As soon as I arrived, it was apparent that the residents were not all going to be as friendly as those found on Booty Island. A large, muscular man with a helmet over his eyes and a sword on his hip immediately recognised the similarity between Guybrush and a poster on the wall. He very politely asked me whether I was indeed Guybrush Threepwood, and I chose to take the brash, arrogant approach of admitting it: “That’s right. I’m the man who swashed the Ghost Pirate LeChuck’s buckles.” He wasn’t the slightest bit impressed, dragging me off to meet Governor Phatt.
OK, where was I? That’s right, I’d just finished exploring Scabb Island, Booty Island and Phatt Island. It’s these moments that I both look forward to and dread in adventure games. On the one hand, with no more locations to explore (at least for now), it’s finally time to take stock of my inventory and see if I can actually solve puzzles. On the other hand, if I struggle to actually solve anything, then I have to face up to the fact that I’m stuck and start revisiting everywhere all over again. I’d just made a wager with the egotistical little fisherman on the Phatt Island wharf (that I could catch a bigger fish than him), so before I left there I pondered what this puzzle was all about. Why would I need his fishing rod? I had no idea. How could I possibly catch a fish without having a rod of my own? Could I make one? A quick look at my inventory told me it was very likely indeed. I had a piece of string, and I also had a stick that looked pretty suitable. I tried using the string on the stick: “I think I’m too clumsy to hold the stick and tie a knot at the same time.” Oh come on Guybrush, do I have to hold it for you? I tried to figure out how I might achieve the task but couldn’t.
Looking through my inventory had given me a few ideas, so I set off to try them out. The first thing I did was head back to Booty Island to have a chat with Captain Kate Capsize. Ever since I’d won the holiday to Hook Island, I’d wondered whether she might be the one that would take me there. I still didn’t have the 6000 pieces of eight that she was demanding, but I was interested to know whether my dialogue options would change. They didn’t. I hadn’t given up on the idea, but would have to come back if and when I strike it rich. The next location I went to was the inn on Scabb Island. Finding the banana in the jail had reminded me that Jojo the monkey sometimes performs there. When I walked in I found that the monkey was indeed there now, making me all but certain that I was onto something. I tried giving the banana to Jojo and he seemed pretty keen, but the innkeeper sternly told me to stop bugging the monkey, once again ruining any chance I had.
I wasn’t done in the inn though, as when I’d previously tried to buy a drink, the innkeeper had asked me for ID. I just so happened to have a library card showing that I was 21 now. I was able to show it to him when he requested ID, and to my relief, he was satisfied that I was old enough to partake. He did ask me whether the name Guybrush was French, but accepted my answer that it was actually Fictional. There were three beverages on offer, being Yellow Beard’s Baby, Bloody Stump and Blue Whale. I bought one of each. When I’d asked him about the inn’s non-alcoholic “near grog” last time I was there, he’d informed me that Captain Kate Capsize had purchased the last glass of it. I asked him whether they now had any, but he told me they wouldn’t have any more for a month. I wasn’t sure what the relevance was, but it seemed like something I would need to remember down the track. In my inventory I now had a red drink, a blue drink and a yellow drink. Something told me that these drinks needed to be mixed to assist me in winning the spitting contest. This wasn’t a particularly logical thought, so I can only imagine there’s a memory held in the back of my brain from when I played the game in the early 90s. I experimented, and found that if I mixed the blue and the yellow drinks, I ended up with a green one. When I drank the toxic looking concoction, Guybrush commented that it made his spit thick. Yes! This must be what I need to win!
The dog still paid no attention to me, so I walked straight into the mansion through the front door. Inside were a whole heap of costumed party attendees, drinking what appeared to be red wine and chatting. As soon as I walked in I noticed a piece of the Big Whoop map in a frame up above the fireplace. Before doing anything else I clicked Pick Up and then on the map, and was shocked when I suddenly had it in my inventory. Surely it wasn’t going to be that easy! I tried talking to all the guests, but none of them would pay any attention to me, continuing their conversations as though I wasn’t there. The only other thing I could interact with in the room were some fish bones on the table, but Guybrush refused to pick them up as they were already picked clean. I’d hoped that I would be able to go upstairs and see Elaine, but I could find no way to get past the couple pashing on the bottom step. Well, at least I had part of the map. I had a strange feeling though that I wasn’t simply going to be able to walk out with it.
Yep, it seems everyone went to the same costume shop. Hey, isn’t that a piece of the Big Whoop map!?
My last post finished with Elaine throwing her Big Whoop map piece out of her mansion window. It was clear that I was going to have to put some serious effort into repairing her and Guybrush’s relationship, but at this point I was more concerned with the map. When I walked out of the mansion I was shocked to discover the piece just sitting on the ground next to the dog. I’d expected it to be lost, or stuck up on some precarious ledge, not just waiting for me reach down and pick it up. I walked over to do just that, but a small breeze blew it just out of my reach. I stepped towards it again, only for the same thing to happen. All of a sudden a huge gust of wind picked up the map piece and blew it way up into the sky! I was shown the map view of Booty Island, and watched helplessly as as the map floated around for a while and then settled down onto the cliff face near town. I knew when I saw the cliff originally that I would eventually need to do something there. It appeared I now knew what that was.
Rather than head straight for the cliff, I paid a visit to the big tree, hoping to climb it with the two paddles I now had in my possession. I stuck the first one into the first hole and the second one in the second, then walked across them. To my utter shock, when Guybrush stepped on the oar it snapped in half, and he fell violently. He lost consciousness, and the screen took on a red tint. Guybrush eventually stood up, but it was clear that he was only dreaming. An old man and woman approached him, and he recognised them as his parents. They informed him that they’d come looking for him, and that they had some information. When Guybrush asked what that information was, his mother told him that they would give it to him in the form of a song. All of a sudden their clothes and flesh dropped off, and two skeletons were left standing there. They began to dance, and sang the bones song that many kids are taught when they’re young, albeit in a slightly messed up form: “The rib bone’s connected to the arm bone. The arm bone’s connected to the head bone. The head bone’s connected to the leg bone.” They danced around a bit longer before departing to the right of screen. As they did so, someone crept up behind Guybrush. It was LeChuck!
As I stepped out of the store, a potential solution pretty much smacked me in the face. Augustus DeWaat was still standing next to his cannon, waiting for the mail ship to arrive. I figured that I might be able to use the ship horn to fool him into thinking that it had arrived. I clicked Use and then the horn, and Guybrush pulled it out and gave it an almighty blow. Just as I’d hoped, DeWaat was fooled: “That sounds like the mail boat! I’d better fire the cannon!” He did exactly that, and then the spitmaster unexpectedly arrived on the scene to find out whether there was any mail for him. He didn’t stay long, but the fact that he came must have meant something. I looked at all of my new items and tried to come up with a likely use for them. Was there anything I needed to cut with a saw? No. Was there any use for a sign, a hubcap, a wreath, a collector’s plate or a pirate hat? The only thing I could think of was that I might be able to use the feather on Governor Phatt’s feet. I didn’t know why I might want to do that, but his feet were sticking out of the bed. I had to try something right?
Session Time: 2 hours 05 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 30 minutes
So what could the near-grog be for if not the spitting contest? I took it back to the inn and tried giving it to the barman. Perhaps he would reward me for restocking him. Nope, that didn’t work. While I was there, I tried messing around with Jojo the monkey. I didn’t have any clue what I might be trying to achieve, but surely the banana would play a role in whatever it was. I could still distract Jojo with it, but he would never stop playing the piano or do anything else of note. Was there something I should do with the metronome? I tried, for absolutely no reason at all apart from ruling it out, to use the banana on the metronome, and it worked! Guybrush stuck the banana on the metronome so that it swung from side to side in front of Jojo. This of course distracted the monkey to no end, and seemed to result in him going into some sort of hypnosis. The barman wasn’t happy: “Hey, what’d you do to my piano player?” With Jojo standing statue-like before me, I wondered what good any of this did me. Surely I couldn’t just pick up the monkey. I tried it. That worked too! Guybrush picked up Jojo and stuffed him somewhere beneath his clothing. Perhaps this isn’t a particularly logical outcome, but using the banana on the metronome kind of was. If I’d given things more thought previously, I might not have had to stumble on it by accident.
OK. So now I had a monkey in my inventory. What the hell could I use that for?! I started visiting locations all over the three islands, trying to discover something which a monkey might be useful for. I also tried (again) to find the Big Whoop map piece amidst all the other maps in the treehouse, to get a fish from the kitchen beneath the mansion, and to find a way to trap Stan in the coffin. I achieved nothing none of these things. While considering the coffin puzzle, I had a think about what I might use in the real world to achieve the result. A padlock might be one option, but the only one I could think of was on the crypt in the cemetery. Given I needed to lock Stan in the coffin so I could fetch the crypt key to unlock that padlock, well that wasn’t going to work. Coffins are normally nailed shut, not padlocked anyway. Could I get nails anywhere? I knew where some were. Woody had a whole barrel of them in his workshop. He had a hammer there too. Was there a way I could get them? I felt a rush of excitement. This seemed a very likely solution. I raced back to Scabb Island and tried to pick up some of the nails again: “Hey! Don’t touch those! I need all of them.” Damn. Nothing had changed, and I had no additional dialogue options that might lead to a positive outcome either. Think Tricky, think!
When I started this session, I’d just gotten my hands on the Ashes-2-Life potion from the Voodoo Lady and the fishing rod from the fisherman. I was fairly certain that I would be able to use the fishing rod to get the map that was stuck halfway down the cliff, so I immediately set off to find out whether that was the case. It was, as Guybrush managed to hook it and then reel the map up towards him. I should have known better though. Monkey Island 2 has been thwarting my attempts to collect the four map pieces from the get go, and this situation was no different. As soon as the map was just about within Guybrush’s reach, a seagull flew past and grabbed it in its beak. I watched in disbelief as the gull flew all the way across Booty Island and appeared to land in the big tree. I had little choice but to head on over there and see what the damn bird had done with it. My worst fear was realised when I arrived at the top of the tree, finding that the bird had added the map piece to the huge pile of other map pieces in one of the huts. The bird now sat on top of the heap, as if mocking me. I tried a whole bunch of stuff on both the bird and the pile of maps, but nothing worked. After all the effort I’d put in, I still didn’t have a single piece of the map!