Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Deep in the Caribbean

It’s the one line old gamers like me see in front of the lovely night skyline of Melee Island and immediately relax. And I did relax, once I found the Special Edition of “The Secret of Monkey Island” and installed it.

Monkey Island, as we used to call it when I was still at school and playing it for the first time (really a looooong time ago), is one of the first adventures LucasArts (then Lucasfilm Games) created. It features a young man who wants to be a pirate and still (after four regular games and five chapters of “Tales of Monkey Island”) can’t get people to remember his name correctly: Guybrush Threepwood. And Guybrush would still be a nobody if it weren’t for the dreadful, un-dead pirate LeChuck. At first a ghost pirate, he is called a demon pirate by now – although technically speaking he’s more of a zombie pirate.

But back to the nightly skyline of the beautiful Melee Island. The words “Deep in the Caribbean” and some nice reggae music are among the first things people see and hear when the game starts up (in the original and the SE version). Then we meet Guybrush Threepwood who wants to be a pirate and thus embarks on an adventure that will lead him into the depths beneath the mysterious, legendary Monkey Island, into the very lair of the ghost pirate LeChuck and his crew of scary spectres.

On his way, he meets the female governor of Melee (and a few other islands): Elaine Marley. And he falls in love with her – which makes LeChuck very angry, as he wants Elaine to be his ghostly queen when ruling the Caribbean.

The first Monkey Island keeps firmly in mind, because it features some quite strange humour. For instance, Guybrush has to defeat the swordmaster of Melee Island. To do so, he needs to learn about the fine points of swordfight: the right way of insulting your enemy while fighting. Guybrush also isn’t very worried about being underwater, he claims he’s able to hold his breath for ten minutes. (In a classical LucasArts adventure, you can’t die and thus lose the game, no matter what strange things you do.)

In the latest instalment of the series, “Tales of Monkey Island”, Guybrush has been married to Elaine for quite a while (they marry at the end of the third game) and is still after LeChuck (who, in turn, is still after Elaine). He’s still quite clumsy, too. But that’s the point. Otherwise he wouldn’t, for instance, lose an important ingredients for a voodoo recipe and have to improvise...

Deep in the Caribbean ... aaaah, pure bliss.

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