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Your favorite Monkey Island game


Your favorite Monkey Island game  

41 members have voted

  1. 1. What is your favorite Monkey Island game?

    • The Secret of Monkey Island
    • LeChuck's Revenge
    • The Curse of Monkey Island
    • Escape from Monkey Island
      0
    • Tales of Monkey Island


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Seeing that any and every LucasArts forum I've seen has started with this question, I'm just getting it done with.

Your choice is public, to maximize shaming.

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For me it's never not been Monkey Island 2. The only thing that has fluctuated in my mind is how thin the margin is.

The original is an undisputed classic, the game that showed off the true potential of a SCUMM adventure game and more or less represents the best of a genre and the halcyon days of LucasArts as a spirit. I don't think the series ever really did fully recapture that kind of Princess Bride storybook flavor it had going here. I can't imagine arguing with anybody who would rank it first, though I find it hard to find any new way to sing its praises at this point.

Monkey 2 feels like it builds on the first game and offers a deeper, richer, more ambitious experience. It ups the ante in every way, and to this day you can pit the Four Map Pieces segment against pretty much anything the genre has produced since. Again, three decades worth of discussion sort of leaves me at a loss to come up with some kind of original take on the thing, but for me this is still my favorite game.

CMI is an undeniable departure from the first two in overall feeling for reasons both unavoidable (major technology gap, different creative personell) and chosen, and it probably honors the template of the original a little too much in the first half (get ship and crew, insult sword fighting) but it's just such a well-made adventure game top to bottom, with stupid good production values, that I doubt a convincing, objective argument could be made for it representing any kind of misstep from a strict quality standpoint. It's another installment where I can't object to it being ranked first. It is also as influential as the first game in a certain sense as it seems to have spawned, or at least been released at the right time to soak up, that initial burst of online fandom. Many people seem to have met the series through CMI.

EMI is the least of the games, but I think it deserves reappraisal in terms of what that really means. What I see is a satisfying, rock solid adventure game with a lot of funny moments, good animation and very possibly the best voice acting in an LEC game -- and that's really saying something. On the other hand it delivers a somewhat off brand story for a Monkey Island installment, it comes dangerously close to making the world feel too small (that Tri-Island Area map: hilarious) and it unquestionably fails its pedigree on the graphics front (both because using GrimE to create a cartoony-yet-lush 3D world with the target specs of the average turn-of-the-century Windows user isn't setting yourself up for success, and because Chris Miles, by all accounts a talented animator, probably wasn't the guy to sit in the Art Director chair for the series' delicate transition to 3D.) But visuals aside I think it's held up reasonably well, and I would like to think its status as a kind of "side trip" story will gain some appreciation/perspecitve now that it is a middle installment and not the last game, which admittedly was not a good look for it. Monkey Island is an exceptionally good series, and in this case being the worst of five great games still leaves you: a really good game.

TMI is a bit of a rebound that to a large extent feels like a course correction or return to form, especially in terms of a moody atmosphere and a general sense of captivating piratey-ness (both of which were a bit lacking in EMI as a consequence of its story), and the Telltale engine really upped the ante on the "performances" in my opinion, allowing the installment to go into some new emotional territory.  On the downside, the decision to develop the episode with WiiWare in mind and general corner-cutting absolutely and unnecessarily hurt the production values. The art direction is good, but the 3D is up against limitations it should not be up against, and it is kind of funny how the Xerox-character-designs-for-background-NPCs strategy never really improved on Monkey 1. And while the MIDI score has a certain nostalgic feel that I like, it is kind of shameful that Michael Land's excellent compositions were not given the respect of a proper production, which might well have resulted in something that could have usurped the CMI score. The game's qualities more than overwhelm these drawbacks, it's just frustrating that they feel so self-inflicted. On the quibbles front, the equal-sized chapters necessitated by the episodic structure made me weirdly sad, I object to the absence of Alt+W, and the abruptness of the last moment felt like the one real shortcoming of CMI wasn't learned from.

Short version: All these games are great, and I question the value of rankings, but I give the crown to MI2 if coronating one is a life or death matter. And I look forward to buying them all yet again in what promises to be a truly absurd anthology package in October.

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I love both Monkey 1 and 2 so dang much, but I enjoy the first one a tiny bit more. Mostly because the world of 1 feels more real to me. I got this sense of visiting a world with people in it that have their own things going on. There are pedestrians everywhere on Mêlée Island, and even the main plot is a conflict primarily between Elaine and LeChuck. Guybrush is just a tiny part of a world that is moving on without him.

Monkey 2 to me has a similar, believable world, but the more I progress through „Four Map Pieces“ the emptier the world gets, and unlike in Monkey 1 it‘s not narratively supported. In Monkey 1 the world gets emptier because everyone is scared by the terror of LeChuck. This is SO GOOD, aaah!!

 

Anyway, good first thread. Hi everyone!

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Adding a bit of diversity here! My favourite game is The Curse of Monkey Island and unlike a lot of people that prefer the game because it was their introduction to Monkey Island series this was actually the third Monkey Island game I played.

 

The first one being LeChuck’s Revenge: Monkey Island 2. I must say that I didn’t get most of the jokes as my english back then was really basic and most of the witty dialogues went over my head. None the less I still enjoyed playing it but for me it was just another great adventure game.

 

The second game I played was The Secret of Monkey Island (CD version) and I must say I enjoyed more than LeChuck’s Revenge: Monkey Island 2.

 

Then in 1998 I played The Curse of Monkey Island and that’s when I really became a fan of the series. It’s hard to say why this one and not the others, but I think the main reasons are because of the amazing drawings by Bill Tiller and the atmosphere it creates with Michael Land’s music on top of it. The Blood Island part is definitely my favourite as it’s very mysterious and exotic and almost makes you want to go there. Of course, not all is good. I felt the carnival part a bit boring and the ending a bit rushed, but overall it’s still an awesome game.

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I've always had mixed feelings about CMI's graphics. They're objectively gorgeous with great atmosphere, and they're distinctively their own thing. The latter is what I'm a bit shifty-eyed about, as it loses that Purcell-y, Chan-y, etc.-y touch the two original games had. That is probably a me-problem, though I maintain the character art generally is totally off.

 

The music is fantastic, though.

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The way I see it is that if you were already huge fan of Monkey Island 1 and 2 when you played CMI it’s very unlikely that you will enjoy the new graphics considering how much it departed from the original ones. It would be good to have other views though.

Edited by Blondebeard
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It's interesting how Bill Tiller gets routinely credited/blamed for the CMI art style, but people forget that his role on the project was Lead Background Artist, not Art Director. That would be co-project leader Larry Ahern. And there's this, from our interview with Bill for the CMI retrospective:

 

Quote

 

To what extent were the first two games an influence visually?

 

Very much so. I was fully prepared to make Monkey 3 look like Monkey 2, but Larry wanted a more updated, unique look. So I tried my best to copy elements from both games and incorporate them into CMI, and to use similar colors and dissimilar elements. But at the same time we wanted to go with a new look too, so I didn't do that everywhere.

 

 

I love the look of CMI, but it's certainly different from the first two games. I actually find Day of the Tentacle's take on the Maniac Mansion universe far more radical a reinvention. And I adore Day of the Tentacle as well; I just find it interesting that its bold departure never seems to have engendered the controversy the post-Ron Monkey Island games did. Maybe the MI fan base is just more protective, maybe Maniac Mansion was relatively forgotten by 1993, or maybe the fact that Ron and Gary Winnick openly supported Day of the Tentacle's hairpin turn made it more acceptable to the audience. But that sequel outright shifted genres, let alone art style. I intend to write up my thoughts on this in an article some day. 

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I think part of it is Maniac Mansion doesn’t give the impression of having an art style to begin with. Obviously it does, every pixel placed is a deliberate choice, but it’s definitely pushing less deliberate purely stylistic choices than Monkey Island 1 or 2 did. There was more space available from MM to DOTT to establish a style at all, while I think MI1 and 2 had a very deliberate style that they had to choose to move away from with Curse. 
 

I voted for MI2, but love MI1 as well, and find Curse to be a visual/tonal delight that I just like hanging out in. 

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You might have a point there with Maniac Mansion, but that game is still pretty overtly a horror/sci-fi B-movie parody, while its sequel is overtly a Saturday morning cartoon. In addition, we've seen interpretations of Maniac Mansion rendered in ink, oil and clay that predate Day of the Tentacle that managed to be much more evocative of the game's world, in my opinion. I need to shut up about that now, because if I work through my ideas here I'll end up using it as an excuse not to make the article.

 

To build on your point, though, I think the reason the visual jump from MI2 to Curse continues to spawn discussion is that there's always going to be a certain ambiguity about just how much the art styles of MI1 and MI2 were dictated by extreme technology constraints, and how much of their look can be ascribed to deliberate aesthetic choices on the parts of Purcell, Chan, etc. When it comes to really old games where there's so much sleight of hand involved to wring every last bit of potential out of limited palettes and ungenerous pixel counts, the art design and the problem-solving get melded together in ways that are difficult to unweave. The black magic Mark Ferrari had to pull to achieve those dithering effects in Loom, probably the most impressive EGA game ever made, was practically a programming task.

 

I do think that certain people who can't stand the look of CMI can get this idea in their head that somehow the original art team would have made the game look like the LeChuck's Revenge cover art, which is silly. I don't think there's truly any way of knowing what a Steve-Purcell-art-directed Monkey Island 3 made in 1997 would have looked like, but probably the closest thing we have to a reference point would be the MI1 concept art or the original character close-ups from the EGA version, all of which is pretty cartoony. They're still distinct from Ahern's stamp on the series (I stamp he is entitled to, I might add), but I think it's a more reasonable comparison.

 

 

full20040726035117.jpg       pirates3.gif

 

Now, those pirates are still really different, but I think it puts the "How cartoony is too cartoony?" debate in the proper context.

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That painting of the pirate reading the insult book reminds me of the concept art for the original Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. It’s honestly very in line with Monkey 1 and 2, and 3 - you can see how all those games pulled from this same source material in different ways. Cartooney and fun mixed with scary and weird, inviting but creepy all at once. 
 

lots more of it here: https://www.themeparkreview.com/parks/photo.php?pageid=235&linkid=6881&pageno=2

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3E6AF62D-0FD8-4940-8405-F1B242053FCA.jpeg

B48590D6-7F9F-4CA4-8182-9ABC4C8220C0.jpeg

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It's 1 for me, if only for how much it makes me feel like I'm eight years old again. I got to the rest of the series much later on in life, and while I enjoy 2, Curse (Murray is the greatest video game character to have ever been created), Escape (to a certain extent, although to be fair it has been many, many years since I played Curse) and Tales, MI1 makes me feel like a kid again. When I saw the trailer for the Special Editions, I got a little bit teary-eyed. 

 

For whatever reason, during the COVID outbreak, I started looking back into MI games lately...I caught a replay of Jake's stream on Twitch and then I was completely hooked again. Funny how it coincided with the grand re-opening of the MixnMojo forums, and I'm happy to see a dedicated group of folks who also want to talk about thirty year old games with complete earnestness. 

 

 

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22 hours ago, Jake said:

 

I voted for MI2, but love MI1 as well, and find Curse to be a visual/tonal delight that I just like hanging out in. 

 

Very this about Curse, which is my favourite. It really is about that atmosphere which makes each space feel unique, special, and interesting. Even when you have so many different locations within a single island, like Plunder with its beach, town, swamp, jungle, grassy knoll, etc; they somehow all seem to hold together to form a cohesive whole. And I've always loved Blood Island, it's just completely magical to me. 

But beyond that, i think this is the one that hits my sense of humour the most. I think it's got the best lines, visual gags and references. 

 

Then again, I played Curse a lot when it came out. I mean, a lot. You know how sometimes you'll put on music or a TV show for background noise while doing something else? It got to a point that I would do that with Curse. Forget speedruns, I'd go as slow as possible - selecting every longer bit of dialogue, and making sure to extend the conversation trees as much as possible. I would sometimes just leave it sitting on a single screen for a bit while doing something else IRL, waiting to run through all of the different Guybrush asides that could happen, or to hear the whole of Slappy Cromwell's performance rehearsal. I still can quote the game in its entirety from memory. So it may be that it's just the sheer amount of time I spent in it that has made Curse my favourite.

 

When EMI came out, I was so excited and I wanted to like it so badly. I tried to convince myself I was enjoying it. When I finished the game, I cried actual tears because I was so disappointed in it. I've only played it through three times, and one of those was last year. I'd seen an article (can't find it now) that was toting EMI's merits and saying that it basically got a bad wrap because of the fanbase's love for the earlier games and their aversion to change. So I decided to give it another shot - I thought that surely now, with some distance and age, I'd be able to see the good in it. That I could, in some way, divorce it from the franchise and see it objectively as a unique adventure game. That was not the case. I still hated it. I just found it tedious, not funny, and shallow as an overall experience - even before the Monkey Kombat. 

 

MI2 is runner-up for me, great storyline, good characters (esp. Largo, Kate, and Gov. Phatt), but it falls apart for me on Dinky and I've actually replayed it multiple times and just stopped when I get there because I don't want to bother with Dinky. I've had similar experiences with MI1, where once i'm on Monkey Island, I just don't want to go through the island bit. 

 

Tales is a hit-and-miss for me, and it really goes episode for episode, which makes it hard to rank but I was glad for it overall.  

Edited by FaNaTiC
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1 hour ago, FaNaTiC said:

Forget speedruns, I'd go as slow as possible - selecting every longer bit of dialogue, and making sure to extend the conversation trees as much as possible.

 

I love this description - MI1 is the first game I ever did that with. There is a phenomenon with certain games that I find incredibly attractive, and that is the appearance that the player has broken the game because they did something the designers didn't anticipate, and being proven wrong -- the designers are just as inexhaustible and petty as you, the player.

 

 I can clearly remember trying to exhaust Stan's list of extras on each of the boats he tries to sell you, and finding it nearly inexhaustible -- the same is true with the multiple iterations of the door on the cannibal's hut when you escape over and over. I took gleeful pleasure in seeing how outthought I was as a player. 

 

The only other game I can think of that gave me that same pleasure was Portal 1, which felt as though you were seeing behind the scenes of a game that you weren't meant to see behind -- it was thrilling in both games to think you were beating the game at it's OWN game, and then to be continually reminded that, in fact, you were not -- the pleasure of the synthetic experience. 

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I voted for MI2. It was the last (besides Tales) that I played--we had 1 and 3 when I was a kid, and 4 was easier to find. I had to ask my dad to buy 2 on ebay when I was in my teens. It was the one I played with the least help (again besides Tales) because as a kid I was perfectly happy to look up solutions on the internet...lol. I found 2 genuinely spooky. It is darker and nastier than any other installment, and I think playing through it "on my own" added to that feeling of danger. The ending thrilled me not just because it was so surreal but because it so unapologetically refused to explain anything--very David Lynch. To me 1 is comforting, magical, makes me feel safe, whereas 2 is DIScomforting, confrontational, more subversive than the already subversive MI1. But this might just be because I know MI1 backwards and forwards from playing it so much more. (I also played 3 A LOT)

 

I love all the games and I would not say that 2 is superior to 1, which I think is flawless. I guess I choose 2 as my favorite because...it's MORE! MI1 is perfection...and MI2 is an expansion of that perfection! I don't think the others are perfect but I love them too.

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It is always Curse. Part of it I think will always be because it was the first one I played, not only in the Monkey Island series but the first of all the LucasArts adventures and introduced me to adventure gaming. Nostalgia's a hell of a drug. Having said that, a lot of things from my childhood haven't aged well in the slightest, so I still believe it speaks to the overall quality of the game that I still consider it my favourite. The game just oozes atmosphere with every new background and the style of humour just knocked it out of the park for me. MI1 and 2 were masterpieces too, but Curse to me was an experience unlike anything, it just felt more dense and the most epic of the whole series before Tales came out. I would probably place Curse and Tales right next to each other in terms of the scope of the story, but Curse is far superior in all other aspects; music, visuals, puzzles, characters, it's a game that has it all, not to mention a great musical number. It's not Ron's Monkey Island, but I don't much care, lots of series move on from their creator and they don't have to be inferior, this game proves it in my opinion. Would MI3a be good to have? Of course! Honestly at this point I just want more Monkey Island. Doesn't take away from the fact that Curse is a gem. 

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Tales, because the secondary villain of Marquis de Singe is interesting and gives it a more interesting story than the usual Guybrush/Elaine/LeChuck love triangle (MI2 and MI4 did this too, but the quest for BIg Whoop didn't click with me and Ozzy Mandrill wasn't a very interesting secondary villain). Plus, I really enjoyed the character of Morgan Le Flay.

 

So, because everyone loves lists:

 

1.) Tales of Monkey Island

2.) Curse of Monkey Island

3.) Monkey Island 2

4.) Secret of Monkey Island

5.) Escape from Monkey Island

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44 minutes ago, Jenni said:

So, because everyone loves lists:

 

1.) Tales of Monkey Island

2.) Curse of Monkey Island

3.) Monkey Island 2

4.) Secret of Monkey Island

5.) Escape from Monkey Island

 

Just to correct the typo, you probably meant to say:

  1. MI2
  2. MI1
  3. TMI
  4. EMI
  5. CMI

(I only assume everyone means to agree with me.)

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22 minutes ago, Remi said:

 

Just to correct the typo, you probably meant to say:

  1. MI2
  2. MI1
  3. TMI
  4. EMI
  5. CMI

(I only assume everyone means to agree with me.)

 

Whoops, sorry. Think you've got a couple of errors there. I assume you meant:

 

1. MI1

2. MI2

3. CMI

4. TMI

5. That high school production of Monkey Island

6. Marius' flash movie re-telling of MI1

7. EMI

 

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36 minutes ago, Remi said:

 

Just to correct the typo, you probably meant to say:

  1. MI2
  2. MI1
  3. TMI
  4. EMI
  5. CMI

(I only assume everyone means to agree with me.)


EMI above CMI? Having a lot of difficulty comprehending this info

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On 8/13/2020 at 8:39 PM, Remi said:

CMI is a nineties sitcom gone wrong. That's just how I feel.

 

And you are wrong to have those feelings. 

 

As everyone has been putting joke lists in this thread, I thought I'd share the real one:

 

1. MI1 / CMI

3. MI2

4. TMI

5. EMI

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