The Secret of Monkey Island

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The Secret of Monkey Island
The Secret of Monkey Island artwork.jpg
Protagonist: Guybrush Threepwood
Genre: Adventure
Platforms: MS-DOS
Atari ST
Sega CD
Release Date: October 1990
Developer: LucasArts
Publisher: LucasArts
Franchise: Monkey Island
Next Game: Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge

The Secret of Monkey Island is a 1990 adventure game released by LucaArts. It is the first game in the Monkey Island series, and was initially released on MS-DOS, before being ported to various other platforms.


A wannabe pirate named Guybrush Threepwood arrives on Melee Island, and undergoes the three trials needed to become a pirate. In the process he meets and falls in love with the island's governor, Elaine Marley, but this brings him into conflict with the ghostly pirate LeChuck, who wants Elaine for himself and ends up abducting her and taking her to his stronghold on the mysterious Monkey Island, forcing Guybrush to get a ship and crew to rescue her.

Why It Rocks

  1. This was the point where LucasArts made their adventure games so that you couldn't die, or make the game impossible to complete, making it much more accessible.
  2. Guybrush Threepwood is a likeable and memorable protagonist, and the game features some great supporting characters as well.
  3. The puzzles, for the most part, find just the right balance of being challenging, but not ridiculously hard to figure out.
  4. Great artwork, particularly in the updated releases of the game.
  5. Insult Swordfighting, one of the most memorable aspects of the series, makes its debut here, giving rise to a lot of well-remembered insults like "You fight like a dairy farmer" and its comeback, "How appropriate, you fight like a cow."
  6. Good soundtrack, especially the game's main theme.
  7. Very humorous dialogue.
  8. One of the few LucasArts adventure games without a 100% set storyline; you can alter some small aspects of the ending depending on your choices in the game.
  9. A Special Edition, with updated HD graphics and voice acting by the cast of the later games, was released in 2009.

Bad Qualities

  1. It can be a bit of a grind to learn all the insults you need for Insult Swordfighting; The Curse of Monkey Island would later simplify things a bit by reducing the number of insults and having the insults and comebacks rhyme.
  2. The Monkey Island segment of the game can drag a little, due to the lack of any characters to interact with outside of Herman Toothrot and the cannibals.
  3. The infamous "Stump Joke" in the original release, whereby if you looked at a stump in the Melee Island woods, it'd ask you for an increasingly ridiculously high-numbered set of disks (disk 22, disk 106, and so forth). Unfortunately, a game with 22 disks wasn't completely infeasible at the time, resulting in confused customers calling LucasArts about the "missing" disks, forcing them to patch it out in later versions.
  4. The Sega CD port isn't very good, with degraded graphics, poor performance and extremely long load times.