I know there are more than a couple of games in the Monkey Island series, but it wasn't until coming across The Secret of Monkey Island for this 1001 list that I had played any of them, and now we're already into the second title, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge.
It's more point and click adventuring, more hand-drawn vistas and backdrops, more witty writing and puzzling... puzzles... and, thankfully, a novice friendly HD remaster that really shows it all off.
There's no point beating around the Guybush, though, let's get stuck in.
From the very start, Monkey Island 2 is more of the same, and by that, what I probably mean to say is more along the lines of 'Monkey Island 2 hits the ground running and you best go with it'. You are once again filling the shoes of Guybrush Threepwood, still not quite the pirate he wants to be but very confident in his abilities now that he's blown LeChuck to a million pieces - a story that doesn't get old in these opening segments, which is unfortunate if Monkey Island 2 is your entry into the series...
It's not like you have to have completed the first game to understand everything, but I get the impression it helps. A lot. But it's not essential, so we can be left to ogle over the graphics.
The fancy pants version I'm playing allows you to switch back and forth between old-school and modern looks, each having their own good points and bad. I found myself switching back and forth quite a bit, partly because I couldn't decide which was better to look at, they are that good.
Most of the time though, I switched back and forth because along with graphics, the remake switches up the control scheme too so that you can highlight interactable items and bring up a contextual input menu doohickey to quickly reach the verb you're looking for.
There are no screenshots of that menu, but trust me, it's great. As are the hints, though they're a bit irksome sometimes, being as blindingly obvious as they are unhelpful until you find yourself exactly where you need to be for them to be so blindingly obvious that you call yourself stupid for not thinking of them before resorting to the hints.
Case in point, having to soil Largo's clothing so that he gives them to the cleaners, from which you can pick them up and use them to make a voodoo doll and drive him out of town (Duh).
So I got that you needed to get his clothes dirty, but as to how I couldn't fathom. I had the right items, but trekking all the way to the other side of the island to fill a bucket with swamp mud, before trekking all the way back to Largo's room in order to prop said mud-filled bucket on top of the door in such a way that really shouldn't be possible but who cares it's a cartoon/point and click comedy from LucasArts... gah, you get the picture. Sometimes a puzzle is obvious to me, sometimes it isn't.
I didn't find any marshmallows during my time with Monkey Island 2.
No, apart from my inability to solve problems without sometimes glaringly obvious hints, there weren't many frustrations with it - not that I've finished it to know where the story goes and how the game and its puzzles develop.
Further Fun Times
I found myself more engaged with Monkey Island 2 than I did with The Secret of Monkey Island, despite playing the fancy arty version of the original game as well, and despite the sequel kind of requiring you to know a bit about the events of the first.
It feels faster paced than the first - like you're immediately dropped into a world full of problems to solve, as oppose to walking into town to see what's what, then decide where to go to do something, only to find you need to go somewhere else to do this thing first... Monkey Island 2 just says 'there we go, get on with it', and I did.
I've not gotten far into it yet, but I get the impression that I'd easily put more time into this than the first game. I should remember to stick with the original interface, though, with all its problems (or perhaps with all my problems with it), rather than swap back and forth between versions. I should probably listen to it on mute too because as good as the voice overs are, they do feel more modern to me than the original probably ever did - if the very first version even had voicework.
Monkey Island 2 included a 'lite' mode for new players, which toned down or outright removed puzzles to make the game easier. I don't think I'm playing on that mode, but thanks to the hint system of the remake I might as well be. What can I say? I like the story and want to see it, as oppose to getting frustrated at my own stupidity.
Whatever version you play, Monkey Island 2 is clearly a must play - there's no way it couldn't be. There may well be better point and click titles yet to come, but there's so much here that you can't ignore it.
That 'lite' mode? It was jokingly referred to as a mode for video game reviewers on the back of the box. And that was back in the early 1990s, might I remind you - the state of this industry, I don't know...
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, developed by LucasArts, first released in 1991.
Version played: Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge, PC, 2010.