Spitting the sand of Monkey Island from my mouth, I began to wonder if the life of a mighty pirate was all it was cracked up to be. If only I'd chosen a different path, LeChuck might still be dead, and the mystery of the Ultimate Insult might have remained an enigma. If I'd never picked up a sword, the grog-swilling pirates of the Tri-Island Area might be unthreatened by the twin forces of gentrification and demonic heckfire. If only...
—Excerpted from The Memoirs of Guybrush Threepwood: The Monkey Island Years
Escape From Monkey Island is the fourth game in the Monkey Island series, released in 2000 by LucasArts. It was also the first 3D game of the series (which used a modified version of the engine from Grim Fandango). Guybrush and Elaine return from their honeymoon to find two problems: Elaine has been gone so long she's been declared legally dead, and is thus no longer governor of the Tri-Island area, forcing her to run for re-election against the challenger "Charles L. Charles". Furthermore, a sinister Australian businessman named Ozzie Mandrill has been buying up property all around the Caribbean, driving out the indigenous pirate-themed businesses (and the pirates along with them) in favor of coffee houses, theme restaurants, and other tourist traps. Guybrush soon discovers Mandrill is not only in league with a yet-again-resurrected LeChuck, but the two are after a sinister artifact known as the "Ultimate Insult" that will allow them to rule the Caribbean.
This game provides examples of:
Batman Cold Open: The game begins with a battle against nondescript pirates, in which the player must learn to utilize Guybrush's unique adventuring skills.
Bond Villain Stupidity: LeChuck does manage to realize that not killing Guybrush when he had the chance comes back to bite him.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Being Monkey Island it's to be expected. But early in the game a literal example happens. Guybrush is challenging a master dart player to some difficult and later insane trick shots. One is to "Hit that guy over there" at which point he throws a dart at the player and cracks the screen.
Women playing the game must feel insulted by Guybrush.
Calling Your Shots: There are a couple of dart players so talented they'll hit any mark Guybrush names, including a doorjamb on the opposite side of the room or the player.
Chekhov's Boomerang: This is vital here, where you have a "meet yourself" scenario twice on your way to a particular destination, and the second time you have to repeat the exact sequence of events you experienced the first time. It doesn't help that the potential sequence of events is completely random, so there's no "one guide fits all" answer for solving the puzzle.
The banana picker.
Chewbacca Defense: Ozzie's Australian insults are so incomprehensible no one can counter them, so he always wins his matches.
Comedy as a Weapon: The results of the insult-themed sports are based entirely on insults and puns.
Cutting Off The Branches: Guybrush canonically ended up sinking his boat in the first game and stranded Carla, Otis and Meathook in Monkey Island. As such, the first two are very angry at him and will only agree to sign on with him if he gets them cushy government jobs.
Development Gag: In-game, the SCUMM Bar is replaced by the Lua Bar after a hostile takeover, named after the language used in coding the game.
Guybrush's name also originates from the character sprite's filename in Deluxe Paint. The sprite was first called "Guy", with "brush" appended to designate it as a sprite.
Less Embarrassing Term: Guybrush requisitions a ship, only to be given a bright pink vessel called The Dainty Lady. If he complains to the Harbormistress, she will suggest other terms for the color, such as "magenta." In a bit of a subversion, one of her suggestions, "Flaming Popsicle," is even more embarrassing. Interestingly, the ship's figurehead, when animated, is decidedly unladylike and is in no way dainty.
Nostalgia Level: Major sections of the game take place back on Melee Island and Monkey Island, complete with similar geography and reunions with characters/objects from the first game (Carla, Otis, Meathook, the stuck clock tower, the banana picker). Unfortunately, the nostalgia appeal seems to have failed.
The Other Darrin: Once played by the very British Alexandra Boyd, Elaine is now played by the very American Charity James.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Ignatius Cheese is the only one who wasn't surprised at Charles L. Charles's real identity.
Parody Name: Planet Threepwood and StarBuccaneers parody Planet Hollywood and Starbucks.
Politicians Kiss Babies: Discussed, of sorts. Charles L. Charles excuses himself saying that he has "hands to kiss and babies to shake".
Reformed Criminal: There is a school where pirates undergo rehabilitation. Guybrush can pass and get a certification, which is embarrassing, and/or utterly fail after giving the most hilariously heinous answers.
Self Healing Phlebotinum: In the endgame, both Guybrush's giant monkey robot and the Living Statue of LeChuck regenerate their health so fast that it's futile for them to fight each other and you have to find another way to defeat LeChuck.
Shapeshifting: LeChuck does this one here, switching between his ghost, zombie and demon forms as well as Charles L. Charles.
He already showed this capability in the first game, disguising himself as a sheriff named Fester Shinetop.
Also, one of the numbers that can be given in the Mysts O'Time marsh is 69.
Stable Time Loop: The Mists o'Tyme Marsh sequence has a part there the player will meet a version of himself from the future, exchange some dialogue and swap inventory items. The player has to remember and duplicate this sequence exactly for when they revisit the same place as their future self.
Stealth Pun: Guybrush hires a navigator named Ignatius Cheese. The short form of Ignatius is Nacho.
Video Game 3D Leap: The first Monkey in 3D. Not a very positive transition. It loses mouse control, playability, and the graphic quality is crude, generic and charmless. Cartoonish but detailed 2D sprites like the ones from the older Curse still befitted a humor/story-driven non-action game .
Villain with Good Publicity: Charles L. Charles, LeChuck's alter ego, who wins the election for governorship of the Tri-Island Area with his "Good Times, Free Grog" policy.
This drops to 0% Approval Rating after he wins and everyone realizes he's LeChuck, although no-one will actually admit to having voted for him.
Vocal Dissonance: The Dainty Lady's figurehead. Once you get her talking, you'll wish you hadn't.