I’m ashamed to admit that I missed out on the Secret of Monkey Island the first time around. I’m going to blame being eight years old and playing Commander Keen when it was released. I’ve played my share of adventure games since then, such as Grim Fandango and Dreamfall. I shouldn’t have missed one of the classics of the genre! I have even less of an excuse for not playing when I picked up the Special Edition for PC last year, and still didn’t play it. Luckily for me, work corrected the oversight!
Sadly, adventure games have declined as a major genre of games since the original Monkey Island was released.
After playing through The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition Mac from GameAgent, I have no idea why. While the graphics aren’t those fancy 3D polygon pushers all the kids are talking about these days, the artwork is top notch. Pressing ‘0’ lets you swap to the original graphics, and you can see how the updated artwork incorporates all of the elements of the original, but also improves upon it. When I was playing through the game on a 27-inch iMac, multiple people walked by and said “Whoa, that’s Monkey Island?”
Now, on to my favorite part of the game: the writing. You know how quotable Monty Python and the Holy Grail is? That’s how quotable this game is. In no place is it more quotable than the sword fighting scenes. As Captain Smirk says “Sword fighting is kinda like making love. It’s not what you do but what you say that’s important. “ The sword fighting is all about having the appropriate insult and comeback. Hardly a day goes by here without me hearing “You fight like a dairy farmer!” from someone.
In short, the game looks great, sounds great, and makes you wonder why there isn’t that many adventure games anymore. The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition even has a handy hint feature that helps with the main problem of adventure games (getting stuck) without giving it all away. If you haven’t played The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, pick this up and see what you’ve been missing for the last 20 years. If you have played it, then check out the updated art and voice over!
Quality Assurance Lead