I thought I'd killed the Ghost Pirate LeChuck for good. Wrong. How many times can that bloated old fool die? Other pirates tell me there's no escape. Legend has it that the treasure of Big Whoop holds the key to great power... I must find it before LeChuck finds me.
—Excerpted from The Memoirs of Guybrush Threepwood: The Monkey Island Years
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge is the second game in the Monkey Island series, released in 1991. It takes place some time after the first. Guybrush is starting to have trouble getting other pirates to listen to his stories about the last game, so he decides to actually do something piratey that he can make a new story out of. His quest this time is to find the four pieces to a treasure map leading to a fabulous treasure known only as "Big Whoop". As the title of the game indicates, however, Guybrush's old foe LeChuck returns from the dead once more (this time as a zombie), and tries to get his revenge on Guybrush.This marks the end of the old-school, Ron Gilbert Monkey Islands, as he left LucasArts the year after the release, with co-writer and designer Dave Grossman following in 1994, and the following installments in the series were, until Tales of Monkey Island came along, made without input from Gilbert or any of the other original writers. This game is given the twist-ending Gilbert wanted to put in the original game, an ending which divides the fanbase like nothing else in the entire canon.A "Special Edition" Updated Re-release/remake was released in the summer of 2010, with redrawn artwork, voice acting from the cast of The Curse of Monkey Island, and creator commentary from Tim Schafer, Ron Gilbert and David Grossman.
This game provides examples of:
Adipose Rex: Governor Phatt, of Phatt Island. Not a king, but he runs an entire island, so it counts. He seems to be fed entirely on pureed food, which he has piped next to the bed where he spends all his time.
Air Aided Acrobatics: Has this during the spitting contest (watch the flags to see when you've got a tailwind).
Guybrush. He's mocked and belittled by the other characters, robbed blind in the first few minutes, forced to wear a stupid pink dress to a costume party, beaten up by the aged groundskeeper, humiliated in a drinking contest with Rum Rogers, Jr, sets off a room full of explosives by dropping the match he's using as a light source...the list is too long to fully repeat.
Wally. The developers actually had to remove a scene that shows what happened to him after LeChuck's fortress blew up, because they just felt too sorry for him.
Captain Ersatz: Captain Dread is clearly based on Bob Marley, from his looks and mannerisms right down to his music. You can even say "natty dread" to him and he responds positively - Natty Dread being a saying meaning 'nice dreadlocks' that was the title of one of Bob's albums and its title song, as well as the nickname of a recurring character in his work.
Cave Behind the Falls: The waterfall on Phatt Island has one, but the waterfall has to be stopped in order to access it.
Continuity Nod: Stan explains the reason he started a coffin business was so he could be absolutely sure his customers wouldn't come back with complaints. In the Secret of Monkey Island, Stan wound up sucker-smashed into the ocean by Ghost Pirate LeChuck.
Cruelty Is the Only Option: Wally's dialogue after you steal his monocle tugs at your heartstrings, but you can't progress through the game without taking it. And, though he's less sympathetic, Stan does the same thing when you seal him in his casket. Both seem even more cruel with the voice acting in the Special Edition.
Darker and Edgier: Much of the innocent goofiness of the first game is toned down. Guybrush is a hunted Heroic Comedic Sociopath that hurts other characters and LeChuck is a murderous creepy villain. The dramatic and gory elements are toned up, specially during the final encounter.
The Dead Can Dance: Your late parents show up in a dream sequence, turn into skeletons and do a little dance (see below).
Demoted to Extra: Elaine only appears in four scenes, including the pre-credits and the ending sequences, and has little dialogue apart from insulting Guybrush and asking him what he's been doing.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: One of the first dialogue options with Stan is him asking you how much money you have to spend on a coffin. You reply with however much gold you have at the moment (a very small amount), to which he replies (paraphrasing): "Consider cremation." You cannot access this dialogue choice to try again, it is one-time only. However, if you're carrying the large amount of gold you're supposed to use to charter the boat from Kate, and you've yet to have this dialogue with Stan, you can do it and he instead says something about how unfortunate for Guybrush that the cheapest model is just a few hundred gold more...
Really, the game is riddled with examples of this. If Guybrush attempts to take the coat hanging in Elaine's room while he's still wearing his party dress, he'll comment that he's "already wearing enough women's clothing." Once he's changed back into his normal clothing, trying to take the coat again will make him claim "I'm warm enough in the one I have on." He can't dognap Guybrush the Dog while he's wearing the dress either.
Another great example avoids making the game unwinnable by mistake. It's entirely possibly to avoid visiting Stan until you have the hammer and nails in your inventory. Normally, Stan gives Guybrush the clean, white hankie the first time Guybrush attempts to leave his shop. If, however, you attempt to nail him in the coffin during your first visit, Stan automatically pops the lid open before you can do so and hands you the hankie. Quite handy, considering the hankie is vital for solving the game's last puzzle.
Did You Die?: Inverted. If you "kill" Guybrush during the game, Elaine tells him that can't have happened, since he is currently telling her his story and he is obviously not dead.
Disguised in Drag: Guybrush has to wear a lady's dress as a costume in order to sneak into Elaine's Booty Island mansion.
The Dreaded: Captain Dread. He's actually a nice guy named for his dreadlocks, contrary to what people assume from his name.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: No one is very inclined to believe Guybrush's claims that he is the Mighty Pirate who defeated LeChuck, this is particulary ironic in MI2 as he tells everyone about his exploits enough that people who know him are sick of hearing about them. Gubybrush is a real bore about his Glory Days and has penned a trilogy of books about his killing of LeChuck.
Quite a bit of stuff was removed before release. For instance, after Guybrush blows up LeChuck's fortress, he and Wally were going to land on a raft in the middle of the ocean. Wally loses his monocle and falls into the sea. The scene was cut because even in a game chock-full of sociopathically cruel yet absurdly hilarious puzzle solutions, this was felt to be beyond the pale. The background which was to feature the raft was entirely redrawn and reused for another scene, but the game files still refer to it as the "raft" room.
Also of note are several rooms cut from LeChuck's Fortress, which presumably contained extra puzzles, including a voodoo shrine/potions laboratory, closeups of the desk and throne in LeChuck's office, and a closeup shot of Zombie LeChuck in all his g(l)ory. There was also a much more elaborate alternate version of the underground tunnels beneath Phatt Island. The filenames of these unused rooms were embedded in a pre-release demo of MI2, but their art assets were not revealed until the 2010 Updated Re-release included some of this cut material in its concept art gallery.
DVD Commentary: The special edition features a track by all the three fathers of the series. A producers commentary of a videogame (while you're playing it) is massively rare, if this is the only game to do so, don't be surprised.
Ear Trumpet: There's one old man on Booty Island whose job is to fire a cannon when the mail boat comes in. Probably because of being deafened by proximity to that loud cannon, he needs an ear trumpet to hear what Guybrush is saying. The launderer has been given one in the Special Edition, not that it helps him understand anything Guybrush says.
Electrified Bathtub: How Rum Rogers Sr. kicked the bucket. In this game, you'll find his corpse lying in the bathtub under his son's home, while the sequel explicitly retcons his death so that LeChuck killed him when he found him drinking rum and eating toast while bathing by tossing his toaster into the bathtub.
Frothy Mugs of Water: Near-beer and derivatives are parodied with near-grog: "It's just as nasty-tasting and foul smelling as the real thing, but without the alcohol."
Gainax Ending/The Ending Changes Everything: After Guybrush falls down the hole in Dinky Island, he finds himself in some concrete tunnels. LeChuck is there with a voodoo doll and he tortures Guybrush with it after revealing that he is Guybrush's brother. Big Whoop only contains a ticket with the letter "E" on it. In the tunnels Guybrush finds an elevator that leads to Melee Island, carnival equipment, and a hospital room with two skeletons that he immediately identifies as his parents. Later he builds a voodoo doll and nearly kills LeChuck with it, then he takes off LeChuck's mask and reveals that LeChuck is his long lost brother Chuckie. Then the scene cuts to both of them as kids at an amusement park where Guybrush's parents chastise him for wandering off, and then they go to a ride. But at the last second Chuckie makes a Aside Glance and lightning arches from his eyes. Finally during The Stinger Elaine wonders if Guybrush has fallen into another trap. And that's why there is a Broken Base (for this game). Many discussions with Epileptic Trees and Wild Mass Guessing have ensued. Nobody knows for sure what the ending originally was all about, and the next game Retconned it.
Gargle Blaster: As usual, grog is the series' usual example, but this game amps it Up to Eleven with Rum Rogers Jr.'s special home-made grog, with twice the alcohol and calories compared to the usual drink, used for drinking competitions.
Gender Flip: In the 1991 original, when Guybrush calls the LucasArts Help Desk (then LucasFilm Games Help Desk) on Dinky Island, the phone operator on the other end of the phone appears near him... and it appears to be a woman named Chester! In the redrawn Special Edition, however, Chester the phone operator is now a man. Interestingly, both characters can be found in the Special Edition version, with female Chester appearing in Classic mode and male Chester appearing in the high-definition mode, and both characters even have unique voice actors.
If you look at the bust (as in sculpture) Guybrush will remark "I overheard a couple of guys talking about Gov. Marley's bust, this must be it."
If you look at the chest (as in furniture) Guybrush will say "It's impolite to stare at a woman's chest."
Many of Guybrush's insults toward Elaine after he tries to steal her grandfather's map piece are also this, especially "So, who's the father?"
Most of the lines involving the fishing pole ("I think you're just trying to get your hands on my pole.") and the (grind) organ ("Mr. Willy Gorilla. Arrested for grinding his organ in public.") involve Double Entendre.
The scene where Guybrush uses Jojo the monkey on a water pump is pretty... suggestive as well.
When Guybrush asks for a drink called Yellow Beard's Baby, the bartender responds "I don't think nature's on your side."
When Guybrush talks to Captain Kate and uses the pick-up line "You'd be in good hands with me, baby.", Kate responds with "You can go be in your own hands, creep."
Goofy Print Underwear: Happens twice with Guybrush: once when he lifts up the bone of Marco Largo LaGrande from his grave in Scabb Island Cemetery, and one when he gets knocked out by the gardener for taking a map piece while in a dress in the Booty Island mansion.
Gosh Dang It to Heck!: There's only one scene in the game when Largo LaGrande refuses to tip the deliverymen, resulting in one of them muttering out, "What a butt." The rest of the game averts this completely.
Just Between You and Me: Played to the extremes when LeChuck places Guybrush in a Rube GoldbergDeath Trap. Not only does he tell how the trap works in minute detail, he even stays around for while to answer any questions Guybrush might have about it.
WANTED: Guybrush Threepwood : For the murder of G. P. LeChuck, and also for the use of witchcraft on the person of Largo LaGrande, the thievery of clothing and medically-prescribed hair supplements for such witchcraft, graverobbing, trespassing, larceny without a permit, disturbing the peace, illegal gambling on a sporting event, use of falsified identification for the purchase of alcohol, exceeding allowable FDA limit for rodent parts in vichyssoise, premature entombment of a non-dead individual, reckless tampering with city-maintained plumbing without prior acquisition of environmental impact report, transportation of animals not in a mental state to give consent, vandalizing a historical miniature, reckless use of gardening tools, impersonating a woman in order to evade prosecution, two counts of unauthorized exiting from a penal institution, impersonating a federal mail boat, reanimating dead persons within city limits, possession of library books not specifically checked out to oneself, mixing drinks without a liquor license, and releasing a dangerous reptile in a populated area. Also wanted for questioning regarding the disappearance of prescription eyewear.
Lost in Translation: Perhaps a worst case scenario — the waterfall puzzle is a pun on "monkey wrench." Since this is a term only ever used in America though, the foreign English-speaking countries were scratching their heads trying to solve a puzzle that had an arbitrary solution as it stood. It got even worse when it was translated, with the translators struggling to find a way for this puzzle to make sense. Needless to say, Ron Gilbert made sure not to use another puzzle with a wordplay solution again.
Loud of War: The player can have some fun with the ship's horn this way. Try playing it near some sleeping pirates, or in the library.
"You're back! I knew you would! All my customers return... eventually."
Oddball in the Series: Not a glaring example, but the much more open-ended structure, along with LeChuck acting like a murderous psychopath rather than an evil goofball, the complete lack of any insult combat game, and Guybrush having a full beard (or, on a more serious level, the gameplay forcing him to be needlessly cruel or jerkish to advance the plot) combine to give this a somewhat different feel to the other Monkey Island games.
Violets are blue Roses are red We're coming aboard Prepare to eat lead
Rube Goldberg Device: LeChuck attempts to kill Guybrush and Wally with one of these. If you wait long enough, it actually works... Until you realize Guybrush is still telling Elaine about how he got into such a mess. Naturally, she calls him out on it.
Speed Run: The Special Edition offers an achievement for beating the game in three hours. Of course, rushing through a Monkey Island game is pretty much missing the point.
Split-Screen Phone Call: When Guybrush calls the LucasFilm Games Hotline, the split-screen image of Chester is more like a "bubble phone call".
The way Guybrush replaces a book for another over the bed of Governor Phatt is exactly the same way Indiana Jones replaces a sandbox for an idol in Raiders of the Lost Ark. "Indy's Whip" is also available for sale in the local store.
One of the costumes in the costume shop is Max, changed to a purple tentacle in the special edition.
In the Special Edition, one of the portraits in governor Phatt's mansion has been updated to show Manny from Grim Fandango.
The final scene of the game (The Big Whoop amusement park) is a recycled version of the first scene of Booty Island. The building that looks extremely similar to the antique store is pretty much a dead giveaway.
The Cave Behind the Falls on Phatt Island is reused for the ending sequence of the game, though this is justified since they were running out of disk space, and they originally had intended to use a much more factory-like room. Concept art of it still exists.
Stan's animation is recycled from the first game, as pointed out in the DVD Commentary in the Special Edition.
Talking to Himself: In the Special Edition, we hear Largo LaGrande berate Mad Marty after the Bucket of Mud incident, which is very odd because both characters are voiced by James Arnold Taylor; in other words, it sounds more like Taylor is chiding himself!
Take That: A book in the Phatt City library is called "The Majesty of the Sierras". If you examine it, Guybrush remarks, "The Sierras? Majestic? I think not."
Guybrush: How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Carpenter: A woodchuck would chuck no amount of wood since a woodchuck canít chuck wood. Guybrush: But if a woodchuck could chuck and would chuck some amount of wood, what amount of wood would a woodchuck chuck? Carpenter: Even if a woodchuck could chuck wood and even if a woodchuck would chuck wood, should a woodchuck chuck wood? Guybrush: A woodchuck should chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood, as long as a woodchuck would chuck wood. Carpenter: Oh shut up.
The fate of Largo LaGrande after the Fortress explosion is also bizarrely unknown, even 3 games after his last appearance. Intriguingly, the Special Edition has re-opened this question somewhat. In the original version, the fortress was utterly obliterated by the blast, making it seem as if Largo had been blown to smithereens. The Special Edition version on the other hand just has one of the fortress's side walls collapsing, increasing the chances of Largo surviving. So far, the only place where Largo's fate has been so much as discussed was an April Fool's Day gag with the World of Monkey Island website, where "leaked" audio files from a new Monkey Island game included dialogue for Largo. And of course the ultimate example: "What wasthe secret of Monkey Islandô?"
We also don't find out what happened to Wally for the rest of the game. A scene that didn't make it into the final game would have shown him dropping his monocle into shark-infested water, then falling in trying to retrieve it, but it was cut because the developers themselves finally took pity on him.
You Bastard: Wally's dialogue after you steal his monocle is really depressing, and you will have a hard time to not feel like a utterly bad and mean person about leaving him in his blinded state, especially when he talks about how he will "die blind, hungry and alone," followed by "I have never hurt anyone." At least you eventually have to replace it.
This also happens when you get the cook fired from the bar, when you cut loose the hotel owner's lizard, when you saw off the pirate's pegleg, when you frame Kate Capsize, and when you steal the barkeep's monkey. Guybrush really was a true pirate in this game - he was not afraid to do something really sociopathic to help achieve his own goals.
But only to other pirates. Almost all the really rotten things Guybrush can do are done in Woodtick (or to Stan), which is explicitly noted to be "a place where a pirate can be a pirate". And the ones he rips off who aren't scurvy as hell are the ones he can make amends with (you can spring Kate from prison and give Wally a new monocle).