|Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge|
Amiga, FM Towns, Mac OS, MS-DOS
iOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One
7 July 2010
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge is an adventure game developed and published by LucasArts in 1991. It was the second game of the Monkey Island series, following The Secret of Monkey Island, and the sixth LucasArts game to use the SCUMM engine. It was the first game to use the iMUSE sound system.
The game's story centers on the wanna-be pirate Guybrush Threepwood. After defeating ghost pirate LeChuck in The Secret of Monkey Island, little is known of what happened between Guybrush Threepwood and Elaine Marley. The sequel involves Guybrush's attempts to find the mysterious treasure of Big Whoop.
The development team for Monkey Island 2 was largely the same as for the first game in the series. The project was led by Ron Gilbert, and he was once more joined by Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman. The game was a critical success, but a commercial failure. Its HD remake was released in 2010 and it was released again for the Xbox One, via backwards compatibility, on February 1, 2017.
LeChuck's Revenge plays like most SCUMM-based point-and-click adventure games. Actions and dialogues are depicted on an Animation Window which covers the top of the screen; verbal commands are listed in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, while Inventory items are shown as icons on the lower right-hand corner. A Sentence Line is located below the Animation Window and serves in describing the actions of the player.
The game was one of the few adventure games that offered the player a choice in levels of puzzle difficulty. In some versions, before starting the game, the player is prompted to choose between regular version and "Monkey 2 Lite", a relatively stripped-down experience that bypasses many puzzles entirely. On the back of the game's packaging it is (jokingly) stated that this mode is intended for video-game reviewers.
LeChuck's Revenge is set in the fictitious Tri-Island Area of the Caribbean, several months after The Secret of Monkey Island. The game opens in medias res as Guybrush Threepwood hangs on a rope above a hole, narrating to Elaine Marley on a separate rope the events that led to this situation. The flash-back sequence starts on Scabb Island and constitutes almost all of the playable game's setting. During it, Guybrush also visits Phatt Island, Booty Island, and Dinky Island.
The game was also the first and only in the original series under the direction of LucasArts that never actually took place on Monkey Island. However, it is stated in the following game, The Curse of Monkey Island, that the Carnival of the Damned seen in the LeChuck's Revenge's conclusion was actually part of Monkey Island. The game's creator, Ron Gilbert, departed from LucasArts after the second game. He stated on his blog that, if he made his hypothetical own version of a third Monkey Island game, he would follow his own vision of how the story would develop from the second game's ending, and that the story development LucasArts came up with in his absence would not be canon.
Some of the notable characters include:
Pirate Guybrush Threepwood boasts to two pirates about the time he defeated LeChuck. He further tells them that he is looking for the treasure of "Big Whoop", and for a ship to take him there. The pirates tell Guybrush that Largo LaGrande, LeChuck's former first mate, has placed an embargo on the island, and is not allowing any ships to enter or leave. Guybrush wanders into Woodtick, the only town on the island, and encounters Largo, who promptly robs him of all of his money and takes off. Wandering the island, Guybrush comes across the International House of Mojo, the Voodoo Lady's new shop. She offers to help him drive Largo off the island if he can get her some ingredients for a voodoo doll. After retrieving the needed ingredients, Guybrush, with the voodoo doll that Voodoo Lady makes for him, defeats Largo. However, in trying to prove that he was the one who killed LeChuck, Guybrush makes the mistake of showing Largo LeChuck's beard, which he had kept as a trophy. Largo then steals the beard and uses it to resurrect his old boss, this time as a zombie. The Voodoo Lady reveals to Guybrush that Big Whoop, the mythical treasure for which he is searching, is also the key to another dimension which will allow him to escape from LeChuck forever. In addition, she gives him a library book about Big Whoop which reveals that a map, made by the original discoverers of the treasure, still exists in four fragments.
After a lengthy quest involving library research, rigged gambling, theft, awkward attempts at love, drinking contests, necromancy, monkeys and spitting, Guybrush is able to recover all four fragments of the map. He gives the map to Wally the cartographer so that it can be deciphered, but both Wally and the map are captured by LeChuck. Guybrush stows away in a crate of voodoo supplies which is delivered to LeChuck's fortress, and through yet more spitting to escape from the torture chamber, and an accident involving a match and a large quantity of explosives, he and Wally are able to escape, although without recovering the map. Literally landing on Dinky Island, Guybrush encounters Herman Toothrot, who claims to be teaching zen philosophy on the beach. Herman is typically unhelpful, but his parrot remembers the conversation between the sailors who originally discovered Big Whoop and guides Guybrush to the treasure's burial site in exchange for crackers. Guybrush excavates the site with dynamite and lowers himself into the hole on a rope. Elaine Marley, in her home on Booty Island, hears the explosion and correctly deduces that someone is attempting to dig up Big Whoop.
At this point, back to the scene from the overture, of Elaine and Guybrush talking, Elaine agrees to help Guybrush if it will shut him up, remarking "That was the longest story I've ever heard!". Unfortunately for Guybrush, at this point his rope snaps and he falls into a series of artificial tunnels. LeChuck confronts Guybrush, claiming to be the mighty pirate's brother, and stalks him through the tunnels, tormenting him with a voodoo doll. Running from LeChuck, Guybrush makes a number of surprising discoveries, including the skeletal remains of his parents in a medical examination room (beneath a large sign reading LOST PARENTS, with an arrow), an elevator to Mêlée Island, and the infrastructure for an amusement park.
By taking advantage of his surroundings, Guybrush is able to construct a voodoo doll of LeChuck, and maims the zombie pirate by ripping the leg off the doll. LeChuck begs Guybrush to take his mask off; Guybrush acquiesces, revealing the face of his "creepy brother, Chuckie". The reunion of the two "brothers" is interrupted by a man in brown coveralls, telling them that kids are not allowed "down here". The two brothers, now both appearing as children, exit the tunnels together and meet their parents above-ground in the "Big Whoop" amusement park, with Guybrush either agreeing with his "parents", stating his identity, or simply asking, "This is weird. What's going on here?". As the family leaves to ride the Madly Rotating Buccaneer, Chuckie grins, voodoo magic playing over his eyes. Elaine waits outside the Big Whoop excavation site and wonders if LeChuck has cast a spell over Guybrush.
The development on Monkey Island 2 began a month after The Secret of Monkey Island went to manufacturing without the knowledge of how well the first game did commercially. The project leader and designer was Ron Gilbert. The development team for the game was largely the same as for The Secret of Monkey Island, and Gilbert was once more joined by Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman. Gilbert parted ways with LucasArts after Monkey Island 2, while Grossman went on to co-design Day of the Tentacle with Schafer. Schafer's future projects for LucasArts included Full Throttle and Grim Fandango.
According to Gilbert, the Monkey Island series was partially inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Monkey Island 2 features a number of tributes to it, particularly a scene with a guard dog in a prison being lured by a bone and Disneyland style tunnels and "E tickets" in the closing scenes. An even greater influence, however, was the 1988 book On Stranger Tides, by Tim Powers.
The game was released on floppy disks for the PC (with EGA and VGA graphics), Macintosh and Amiga (with standard 32-color graphics) in 1991, and was later included on a CD-ROM compilation of Monkey Island games called The Monkey Island Bounty Pack. Plans to release Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge for the Sega CD were scrapped after the Sega CD edition of The Secret of Monkey Island did not sell well. In 1994, the game was released on the FM Towns, the last title LucasArts ever published on that system. The game's graphic interface was later adapted for the CD-ROM release of The Secret of Monkey Island.
LeChuck's Revenge was the first title to use Michael Land's and Peter McConnell's iMUSE audio sequencing MIDI engine that enabled the compositions in the game to change interactively depending on the current environment or situation. Its capabilities are extensively explored in the game, with progressive music arrangements adapting to the story on screen for most of the game, and with logical transitions from one piece to another. For instance, the first town of Woodtick has its own theme, but every location or character the player visits within the town will produce seamless variations on the town theme, introducing new melodies, instruments, or changing the arrangement of the piece completely. The DOS version uses a variation on the MIDI system, played back by either an internal speaker, the FM synthesis of an AdLib or Sound Blaster sound card, or any other soundbank of an external, MIDI-compatible source, such as that of a Roland MT-32 sound module popular at the time. All MIDI files used in the game were recordings of hand-played performances over an MIDI controller, adding to the lively feeling of the soundtrack.
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge was highly anticipated; Amiga Power called it the most eagerly awaited game of 1992. According to Ron Gilbert, Monkey Island 2 and its predecessor "sold well, but Sierra Online and King's Quest were still kicking our ass completely!" A writer for Next Generation noted that the games were "relatively minor hit[s]" in the United States, but became "blockbusters on the PC and the Amiga throughout Europe." Conversely, Edge reported that both games "sold very poorly on release". Designer Tim Schafer said that Monkey Island 2 sold about 25,000 copies, despite its being released at a time when LucasArts was "really excited if we sold 100,000 copies of a PC graphic adventure." Following the underperformance of Monkey Island 2, Schafer recalled, "Management came down on us and told us Monkey was a failure and that we should make something else." He speculated that the Monkey Island series' reputation grew as a result of software piracy. According to Schafer, the pressure to develop a more commercially viable game ultimately led to the creation of Full Throttle, which became the first LucasArts adventure to sell one million units.
Monkey Island 2 received consistently high reviews for all versions, 95% from Amiga Computing for the Amiga version, 96% from Computer and Video Games for the PC version. When Kixx XL rereleased Monkey Island 2 as a budget game, the reviews remained high getting 91% from CU Amiga. The game is still considered very high quality with contemporary reviewers scoring the game highly. Monkey Island 2 is often considered the greatest in the point-and-click genre, and it still stands up well against modern adventure game titles. The game holds a rating of 90% on the review aggregator site GameRankings.
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge was rated highly for several reasons. The game is considered user friendly as it has a "lite" mode. This allowed beginners to play the game at an easier setting. The overall difficulty of both modes is also considered to be good. The redesign in controls, such as the fewer verbs and graphical inventory were rated well as increasing the game's ease of use. Music in Monkey Island 2 was noted for its use of the iMUSE system. Reviewers noted that for the first time the sound is an integral part of the atmosphere. Graphically, the game was considered an improvement over its predecessor, with reviewers very impressed. It is also noted by critics that the developers of Monkey Island 2 made using the Amiga version's 11 floppy disks relatively smooth, but also noted that installing the game on a hard drive is recommended.
In 1992 Computer Gaming World named it the year's best adventure game, praising its "challenging puzzles and wonderful sense of humor, along with a stunning visual presentation". In 1996 the magazine ranked it as the 74th best game of all time. In 1994, PC Gamer UK named Monkey Island 2 the fourth best computer game of all time. The editors wrote, "Anyone who claims to have an interest in adventuring cannot afford to be without this." In 2011, Adventure Gamers named Monkey Island 2 the eighth-best adventure game ever released.
In a celebration of the series 30th anniversary, Ron Gilbert shared secrets from its original source code during a video conversation with the Video Games History Foundation. These included early character prototypes, deleted scenes, unused animations and alternative game environments from the first two games.
Following the release of a Special Edition of the first Monkey Island game in 2009, a Special Edition of Monkey Island 2 was released for the PlayStation 3, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Windows and Xbox 360 platforms in July 2010. The Mac OS X version has not yet been released, while the iOS version was retired in March 2015. The special edition includes updated graphics, updated high-quality audio engine, new voice-overs, additional content such as concept art, and an in-game hint system. The "lite" mode from the original game ("for game reviewers") has been omitted. Further, the original introductory sequence with the main musical theme has been removed, purportedly because it displayed credits for the original game, now outdated. Players can opt to switch from the updated version into the original at any time during the game, though an option allows players to retain the voice-overs of the remake. Players can opt to use the original point-and-click control scheme, or can directly control the movements of Guybrush using a control pad or similar device.
The remake was announced by LucasArts during their annual Game Developers Conference on March 10, 2010, with the previous creators of the adventures, Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman, in attendance. The trio of game designers have recorded a commentary track for the Special Edition that can be brought up in many locations, using silhouettes in the fashion of Mystery Science Theater 3000 overlaid on the graphics. Craig Derrick announced on a new interface that was in the vein of The Curse of Monkey Island's and a return of the original voice cast, including Dominic Armato as Guybrush, Alexandra Boyd as Elaine, Earl Boen as LeChuck, and even Neil Ross as Wally. Phil LaMarr was also confirmed as Dread and Tom Kane as additional voices.
The Special Edition was given a score of B+ by Gaming Bus; the site stated that there was more music and it was of higher quality, the graphics were improved, there was additional content, and the core game was still intact, though the hints were too helpful and there were some problems with controls.
It would be called Monkey Island 3a. All the games after Monkey Island 2 don't exist in my Monkey Island universe. My apologies to the all talented people who worked on them and the people who loved them, but I'd want to pick up where I left off. Free of baggage. In a carnival. That doesn't mean I won't steal some good ideas or characters from other games. I'm not above that.
Guybrush: No, I'm in search of treasure. The biggest treasure of them all. A treasure so valuable and so well hidden, that it haunts the dreams of every pirate on the seas. / Fink: You mean... / Bart & Fink: Big Whoop? / Guybrush: None other. [...] Now I'm trying to charter a ship and look someplace else. When I return, I'll have riches galore, and a whole new story.
Frustrated with the state of music in games at the time, two composers at LucasArts Peter MccConnell and Michal Land created one of the first adaptive music systems, called iMuse. iMuse (Interactive MUsic Streaming Engine) let composers insert branch and loop markers into a sequence that would allow the music to change based on the decisions of the player. The iMuse engine was one [of] the first significant contributions to interactive music for video games. Its importance in shaping many of the techniques that you see in video games today cannot be overemphasized.
i: Internal speaker; a: Adlib(tm) sounds; s: SoundBlaster(tm) sounds; r: Roland(tm) sounds