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Monkey Island things

Escape from Monkey Island

Escape from Monkey Island (EMI) is a computer adventure game developed and released by LucasArts in 2000. It is the fourth and most recent game in the Monkey Island series, following the successful games The Secret of Monkey Island, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, and The Curse of Monkey Island.

Production was headed by Sean Clark and Michael Stemmle who had previously worked on Sam & Max Hit the Road.

The game centers on the pirate Guybrush Threepwood, who returns home with his wife Elaine Marley after their honeymoon, to find her erroneously declared dead, and her office of governor up for election. Guybrush must find a way to restore Elaine to office, while uncovering a plot to turn the Caribbean into a tourist trap, headed by his archnemesis LeChuck and Australian co-conspirator Ozzie Mandrill.

The game was made with Sean Clark and Michael Stemmle in the lead, both of them having worked on previous LucasArts adventure titles. Michael Land provided the soundtrack once more. EMI was LucasArts' last adventure game. It was also the second and last game to use the GrimE engine, which was upgraded from its first use in Grim Fandango.

Gameplay

Since the game uses Grim Fandango's GrimE engine the gameplay is also similar. Like in most classic point-and-click adventures the game is comprised of dialogue with characters and solving puzzles. Unlike classic point-and-click adventure games who had completely mouse-driven interfaces, such as the previous Monkey Island titles, the game is controlled entirely with the keyboard or alternatively with a joystick.

A new feature of the game is action-lines which resolve the occasional issue seen in Grim Fandango where the protagonist Manny Calavera had to be maneuvered into a specific position in order to make sure he was looking at the right object. Like Manny, Guybrush will glance at any items (that can be interacted with); the player can use Page Up or Page Down to select the item that he wants Guybrush to look at. This is necessary because by comparison there are more objects in close proximity to one another in EMI than in Grim Fandango.

Controls

The essentials of controls are about the same as in Grim Fandango. The player uses the arrow keys to move, holding Shift or tapping the up arrow twice will get Guybrush running. L and E are used for examining/looking at items, though unlike in Grim Fandango the functions of these two keys are identical whereas in Grim Fandango, Manny would sometimes give a different description when examining an item with E. U functions as the typical use item command but it is also used as the talk to command throughout the game. The function of Enter is largely the same.

P is used for picking up items and when used on its own Guybrush will pull out or put away the inventory item he was last holding. The inventory is triggered with I, but differs somewhat from Grim Fandango's inventory as the player is presented a circle of items. Also unlike in Grim Fandango the player can use inventory items with one another, by pressing U on an item.

Monkey Kombat

One of the hallmark aspects of the Monkey Island games, the insult swordfighting — the witty sword duels which were won by knowing the appropriate insults and responses - is briefly touched upon in the game as "insult armwrestling," and in an unwinnable insult duel against Ozzie Mandrill.

In the second part of the game, the insult games are replaced by "Monkey Kombat", the name being a parody of Mortal Kombat with a symbol to match. Monkey Kombat is a sub-game akin to rock-paper-scissors, where you need to memorize lines of "monkey insults and retorts" which consist of per-game randomized compositions of "monkey words" like "oop", "chee", "ack" and "eek".

Story

The game begins with Guybrush Threepwood and Elaine Marley returning to Mêlée Island from their honeymoon, which they embarked on in the epilogue of CMI. Here they find that Elaine has been declared officially dead, her position as governor has been revoked and her mansion is scheduled to be demolished. The governorship is up for election, and suddenly a person known as Charles L. Charles presents himself as the lead candidate.

Guybrush later meets again with three of his old "friends", Meathook, Otis and Carla (see Minor characters in Monkey Island). Together they discover a conspiracy seeking to extinguish all pirates from the Caribbean, making the islands suited for tourism. LeChuck, the old arch nemesis of Guybrush, is once again involved, as well as new villain, an Australian called Ozzie Mandrill. They seek a voodoo talisman known as the Ultimate Insult.

Plot contradictions

Like almost every game in the Monkey Island series, EMI included some plot-contradictions and continuity errors.

  • Ozzie Mandrill is the man who pushed Grandpa Marley into the whirlpool, while in the previous Monkey Island game, LeChuck said he was the one responsible for Marley's death. Also, the events of Ozzie Mandrill and Marley are said to have taken place 20 years prior to the game, contradicting the back-stories of all previous titles.
  • Herman Toothrot being Captain Marley is considered a major plot-contradiction in itself (further discussed in Toothrot's article).
  • Carla, Otis and Meathook imply Guybrush left them on Monkey Island in SMI, making the SMI ending where Guybrush and Herman escape on Herman's boat canon. Despite this, it is not explained how Herman got back on Monkey Island.
  • The designs of certain locations on Mêlée Island have changed noticeably, such as the town's geography, the Scumm Bar, the Voodoo Lady's shop, Meathook's house and the shipyard (formerly Stan's Previously Owned Vessels) though the over-all layout of the island is still the same.
  • Upon examining the pistol received in the Mysts O' Tyme, Guybrush will exclaim that he's never had a gun in any of his previous adventures, but he briefly used a gun in The Curse of Monkey Island to destroy Edward Van Helgen's banjo.
  • On the map seen a couple of times in the game, Booty Island and Phatt Island are much farther apart than they are in Monkey Island 2.
  • Elaine has an American accent in Escape from Monkey Island but had an English accent in Curse of Monkey Island.

Development

The game was made with Sean Clark and Michael Stemmle as lead designers, both of them having worked on LucasArts' previous adventure titles Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Sam & Max Hit the Road. Sean Clark also worked on Loom and The Dig. EMI used a slightly improved version of the GrimE engine introduced by Grim Fandango. Compared to the rest of the series, the SCUMM scripting language was replaced by the Lua programming language.

The iMUSE music system continued to be used, albeit with MP3 compression. EMI's introductory music is identical to that of the third game, unlike the earlier sequels which featured newly-composed remixes of the well-known Monkey Island theme. Once more Michael Land provided the soundtrack.

The voice-cast saw the return of Dominic Armato as Guybrush, Earl Boen as LeChuck, Leilani Jones Wilmore as the Voodoo Lady and Denny Delk as Murray. The only major voice not to return was Alexandra Boyd who voiced Elaine in the previous game. She was replaced by Charity James. Stan is also voiced by a different actor, Pat Fraley. Additionally characters who had previously appeared in The Secret of Monkey Island such as Carla, Otis and Herman Toothrot are heard with voice-actors for the first time.

The game was also released on PlayStation 2 in 2001. Apart from obvious control differences, the PS2 version only varies by a slightly higher polygon count and use of less pre-rendered material. EMI is the second Monkey Island game to have a console release, with SMI being the first as it was also released for the Sega CD.

Reception

Reactions towards the game were mixed.

Critical response

The gameplay, which was only slightly modified from Grim Fandango, received massive criticism of its interface and the difficulty of keyboard or joystick control as compared to the classic mouse controls. The "Monkey Kombat" was also criticized, with the Gamespot review stating that "unfortunately Monkey Kombat may be the single biggest problem with Escape from Monkey Island". Another reviewer speculated that "Perhaps the designers figured that combining insult fighting, cute monkeys, and a Mortal Kombat spoof would work well, but it didn't".

The technical aspects of the game were praised, with especially the voice work gathering praise. The graphical style split reviewers, with some praising the 3D rendered world, while others criticized the change in atmosphere.

The game's main plotline of commercialization and tourist-friendly remodeling of the fictional Monkey Island universe was a change from the series' original swashbuckling and escapist atmosphere. The series suffered a change in atmosphere, particularly in the Jambalaya Island-part of the game. In-game locations clearly based on modern franchises, like "Planet Threepwood" and "Starbuccaneers", and the inclusion of things like giant robots and sushi bars, were a departure from the more or less colonial-era Caribbean setting of the previous games. "Strangely enough, Escape from Monkey Island suffers precisely from what it laughs at - commercialism". Despite the qualms about the story, the game was still reviewed as a satisfying and humorous experience overall. Many fans feel, however, that this is the point where the Monkey Island series jumped the shark, as no further games are being planned.

Awards

Sequel?

In 2002, LucasArts public relations manager Tom Sarris stated that "they are definitely going to make Monkey Island 5 since it is their most popular franchise. However, we shouldn't expect it in the near future. Later in 2006, LucasArts director Jim Ward jokingly added that he will make the fifth game in 2015.

In-jokes

LucasArts

As EMI uses a new engine that was programmed with the Lua programming language instead of the SCUMM engine, Guybrush returns from a journey to find the "SCUMM Bar" originally featured in The Secret of Monkey Island replaced by the tourist-oriented "Lua Bar."

In a reference to LucasArts founder George Lucas' movie Star Wars: A New Hope, Guybrush finds the model of a "ACME Prosthetic Proboscis" model to be TK-421. TK-421 is a reference to the call number of the Stormtrooper that Luke Skywalker ambushes in A New Hope. Another Star Wars joke, is that one of the possible names to Pegnose Pete is "Obi W. Kenobi". Another option in the game allows the users to ask Ozzie Mandrill if he was "the one who was to restore order to the force" which is a clear reference to the Star Wars Saga. Other LucasArts reference appears when typing S-K-U-L-L during gameplay. This will cause a large Murray to appear on the screen and laugh manically, similar to the "B-L-A-M" joke in LucasArts game Grim Fandango. Also on Lucre Island, when traveling through the Mist O' Tyme swamp, in one of the backgrounds is Luke Skywalker's X-Wing.

The game includes a number of call-backs to the earlier games in the series. The joke that Guybrush can hold his breath for ten minutes, which is repeated throughout the Monkey Island series, can be put to the test when the game presents a chance for him to dive. After about 8 minutes underwater, Guybrush says "I'm running low on air." If kept under water for another 2 minutes, he decides to head back up to the surface. If tried again, after ten minutes he will drown, ending the game.

If you wait long enough in "Monkey Town", the famous three-headed monkey will appear in the upper-right hut. Another reference to the older games is the "rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle" item, a homage to the original The Secret of Monkey Island game.

In "Planet Threepwood", there is a LucasArts mug. If you look at it, Guybrush claims that "LucasArts have their grubby hands on everything around here".

Pop Culture References

  • A reference to the English heavy metal band Iron Maiden from the film Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is made when in the "Hall o' Justice" on Lucre Island. If Guybrush examines the iron maiden torture device he exclaims, "Iron Maiden! Excellent! ...I have no idea why I just said that."
  • The Title of the first chapter "Things to do on Melee Island When You're Dead" is a parody of the movie title "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead".
  • At one point you have to go to a coffee shop called Starbuccaneer's, a parody of the real-world Starbucks. Also, Planet Hollywood is parodied as the Planet Threepwood.
  • Monkey Kombat, a feature in the third act of the game is a parody of Mortal Kombat, a famous line of fighting games.
  • Additionally Guybrush's Monkey Kombat victory dance appears to be modelled after the dance moves of Michael Jackson.
  • When Guybrush walks by the grassy knoll on Lucre Island, he says, "I better get out of here before I'm accused of another crime I didn't commit."

References

External links

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