The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition (2009)
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge: Special Edition (2010)
Series creator Ron Gilbert left after the second game. After the long hiatus following Escape, Telltale Games took up the mantle with their episodic Tales of Monkey Island release - with Gilbert's blessing and also the involvement of many key staff members from the original two games. LucasArts has also gotten back in the game of late, finally redeeming themselves in the eyes of adventure fans by remaking both the original Secret of Monkey Island and the first sequel LeChuck's Revenge, complete with voice acting by the cast of Curse.Note: Please put tropes related to individual games on their respective pages, and character tropes in the character page.
Adaptation Dye-Job: Elaine has black hair in the original 16-color version of Secret, as well as in LeChuck's Revenge. In the older 256-color upgrade of Secret, and in Curse, she has red hair and blue eyes. In Tales she has red hair and green eyes. In the MI1 Special Edition remake Elaine now has brown hair and green eyes; however, in the MI2 SE she has red hair instead (but still has green eyes).
It's played with, as the second game suggests that this may be due to the entire game being the fantasy of a child lost in a theme park. Many of the supposed anachronisms were possibly subtle hints towards this. As the original creator and team left before the mystery could be answered, however, this became an Aborted Arc and the remaining games have played the trope straight.
Art Evolution: The first game, in its original release, utilized a very realistic art style, especially during the handful of close-up shots. Starting with the sequel, the art style became more cartoonish, where by Curse, the game looked exactly like a cartoon and the cutscenes used this art style. Subsequent games maintained the cartoony look and even retrofitted it onto the re-releases of the first two games. The discordant art styles are one of the reasons why the re-releases also included a "classic" mode that retained the original look.
Beard of Evil: LeChuck's beard is different every game or has a plot significance. In Curse it's on fire. In Revenge it's vital to his resurrection.
Bilingual Bonus: Justified by the strong French and Spanish influences in the setting.
Bound and Gagged: Happens at least once per game, except for (ironically) the first game which actually centered around a kidnapping plot. As of 2009, Curse is the only game that has used gags.
Also inverted is that Pat Pinney (Stan) and Neil Ross (Wally B. Feed) sounded younger only in Curse; and S. Scott Bullock (Otis), Cam Clarke (Meathook), Wally Wingert (Herman Toothrot) and Jess Harnell (Estevan) sounded younger only in Escape; while Leilani Jones-Wilmore (The Voodoo Lady) sounded younger in both games. When the actors returned to voice the characters in the Special Editions of Secret and LeChuck's Revenge, however, the characters' younger selves now sound older than they did before.
Comedic Sociopathy: The amount of physical or emotional abuse that Guybrush inflicts varies from game to game, ranging from slapstick to more serious stuff like Buried Alive. Naturally it's all played for laughs, even when Guybrush is in the receiving end, except in the Darker and Edgier installments (Revenge and Tales 4-5).
Secret shows Guybrush exploring Monkey Island with a group. In the game he goes alone.
Revenge shows LeChuck torturing Guybrush with a voodoo doll on a ship. Ingame LeChuck tortures Guybrush in the tunnels of Dinky Island.
Curse shows Guybrush confronting LeChuck near the gold statue of Elaine on top of another pirate's mast with the uncursed ring. That never happens ingame.
The PC version of Escape just has a collage of the characters, but the PS2 version shows Guybrush and Elaine being attacked by a gang of monkeys. That does not happen ingame.
Tales shows Guybrush and Elaine again on top of mast, which does not happen in the game.
Also, the US PC DVD version of Tales has Winslow holding a map next to Morgan (holding the Blade of Dragotta), and Guybrush making a pose up front next to Elaine, with the demon LeChuck right behind the four of them, all on a background of an island in the sunset with a dark cloud above them. This does not happen in-game, though.
Creator Cameo: Countless shoutouts to Ron Gilbert, including "L. Ron Gilbert" in Revenge, "I thought the SCUMM Bar was owned by a guy named Ron" in Escape, and, of course, "Nor Treblig" in Tales.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Throughout the series an absurd amount of minor gags are found by using items in ways not intended in order to win the game. For example, try using the ramrod on Murray at the start of Curse, then examine the porthole in the next scene. If that made you feel bad, offer him some gum in Act 2.
The sheer amount of library books programmed into Le Chucks Revenge, when you only need three of them, was revolutionary at the time. It took the ability to play the game at your own pace and ran with it.
Easter Egg: Several, including the only way to die in the entire series.
There's actually a way to die in each of the five games, but only the first and fourth ones count: In SecretGuybrush drowns if he stays underwater for too long after ten minutes (the rest of the games, excepting Escape, perhaps, he automatically surfaces after the ten minutes are up). Revengeis being told after the fact, so if Guybrush dies, Elaine tells him to stop screwing around and tell the real story, and in Curse, you need to fake your death to progress. The Curse example actually comes with not one, but two fourth-wall breakinglampshades; one from Guybrush, telling the kids not to try this at home, and one from the barkeep and the gravedigger, wondering how Guybrush managed to die in a LucasArts game. Escape sums up two ways to die: 1. by drowning in the second dive underwater after surfacing upon Guybrush's running out of breath in the first dive; and 2. having him kill his future self in the Mysts of Tyme and then going around and having himself get killed by his past self. Tales sums up one way to die, and surprisingly, it's not an Easter egg, but rather a part of a story to progress on from Chapter 4 to Chapter 5.
Get on the Boat: Every game starts with Guybrush on an island trying to get a ship to get off the island.
Grave Humor: In LeChuck's Revenge, Curse and chapter 5 of Tales.
Hammerspace: Used with a sword in the third and fifth games when it's time to fight. Used with a shovel in the fifth game when it's time to dig. Strange, considering the lengths Guybrush went to get these tools in the original game.
Of course, pretty much every item Guybrush picks up gets sent into hammerspace, including a live monkey. His coat and pants seem to double as Bags of Holding. In the second, a manilla envelope acting as hammerspace for all of Guybrush's confiscated items "tickles" when it is opened and dumps it's entire contents into his inventory.
Happily Married: Guybrush and Elaine Marley-Threepwood as of Curse. They are very cute together.
Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Surprisingly, quite a few of the dialogue options allow you to make Guybrush one of these. They're generally the least useful ones, though, since you'll usually antagonize the characters, although thanks to the fact the games are impossible to lose or make Unwinnable you can still use them for a laugh with no permanent harm done.
Hijacked by Ganon: Regardless how it might appear, the main antagonist in all games is always LeChuck
Hoist by His Own Petard: Happened to LeChuck a few times, particularly in the first act of Curse when his zombie body is destroyed up by the demon-fueled cannon ball he he created to blow up Elaine's fort. The trope is subverted most of the time, though, because he usually comes back even stronger. In this case, the voodoo cannon ball led to his reincarnation as the Demon Pirate LeChuck.
Joker Immunity: LeChuck is too good a villain a to be out of the picture for more than a few acts.
Jungle Japes: Several islands have heavy jungles in them, including Booty Island in Revenge, Plunder Island in Curse, and the titular Monkey Island.
Kleptomaniac Hero: "Pirates by principle have to steal everything that isn't nailed down (and if you can find a way to remove the nails and steal it, do so, and take the nails while you're at it)."
Large Ham: Most notably LeChuck ("AND MOOOOOOORE SLAWWWWWWW!!!!")
"IF YOU VALUE YOUR LIFE MERE MORTAL, YOU WILL FLEE BEFORE MURRAY, SCOURGE OF THE LIVING AND UBERSKULL OF THE UNDERWORLD!!! MUHUHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!"
Leitmotif: The main theme and LeChuck's Theme are the most employed; throughout the series you'll hear variations of both, and key parts from each will leak into other songs—as in the underground tunnels climax of Revenge. Lesser examples are the themes for the Voodoo Lady, Stan, and Largo LaGrande.
Look Behind You: The "Look behind you! A three-headed monkey!" running gag. Mostly used as a distraction, sometimes it actually shows up and occasionally becomes a Crying Wolf trope.
MacGyvering: Guybrush uses all manner of wacky items and combinations to save the day.
Magic Compass: Finding Monkey Island and the ghost ship LeChuck tends to involve constructing one of these.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Most of the games have Guybrush's spending four chapters undoing his own actions. In Revenge he gives away Lechuck's beard, enabling his resurrection, in Curse he turns Elaine into a golden statue and in Tales he unleashes a Voodoo Pox.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Every single game features LeChuck giving one of these to Guybrush while he desperately tries to solve the final puzzle(s). It's taken to a new level in Tales, in which you can see the bruising and hear the pain in Guybrush's voice as you play the sequence.
In the 3rd game, Guybrush reveals he has a fear of porcelain (which is something of a running gag throughout the rest of the game) and never explains why other than that it's "a long story". In earlier games he mentions his hatred of it, but he does not admit to fear.
What exactly happened between LeChuck's Revenge and Curse.
The entirety of Monkey Island 5 is a Noodle Incident, seeing as it hasn't actually been made but is referenced many times in Tales. According to Telltale Games, Tales is not Monkey Island 5 because the latter needs to be an epic 40-hour adventure.
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: For the first three games, Elaine was practically the poster girl for this trope. She escapes from an undead pirate, carries out a plan to kill said pirate, manages to locate and travel to the elusive Dinky island without a map (Guybrush, eat your heart out), and saves Guybrush from being killed by Big Whoop. None of these four events occurs onscreen. (The last one was actually intended to be shown on-screen in a major cutscene late in Curse. The scene went as far as having the dialogue recorded, but its animation was sadly never finished due to budget concerns.)
Oh My Gods!: The series has characters substitute "Blackbeard" and "Neptune" (and sometimes "Poseidon") for "God" ("Neptune's navel, that was a close one", "Now why in the name of Neptune's hangnails would I let you borrow this priceless artifact of a long-dead civilization?", "Neptune's beard!", "I said quit yer whimpering and grow some barnacles, for Blackbeard's sake!", "Nothing yet, thank Poseidon!"). The only exception, however, is Edward Van Helgen in Curse:
Van Helgen: You must take an oath now, before man and God, that you will never ever again sing in public.
Old, New, Borrowed and Blue: In Escape, the four heirlooms which are the key to finding the Ultimate Insult are something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue respectively. (They were intended as wedding gifts.)
Following a similar scheme in rhyme and purpose, in order to make a voodoo doll, you need Something of the Head (dandruff, hair, lice, what have you), Something of the Thread (a thread or cloth sample from the victim's clothing), Something of the Body (spit, phlegm, blood...whatever), and Something of the Dead (a bone or something from a dead relative).
Once per Episode: In addition to the many running gags, the usual The Three Trials or pirate tropes and with occasional aversions; moreover, in most of the games several puzzles or situations recur, though not all appear in every game. In a typical adventure, Guybrush:
Begins skint broke, or with a heap of treasure that he promptly loses.
Has to commandeer or hire a ship to get off the starting island, and acquire a crew (usually three), who promptly mutiny or otherwise become a nuisance once they've made it into open water.
Has to get a fairly large amount of money, usually by dishonest means.
Guybrush gets trapped or imprisoned in a small area and has to use only the items he finds there to escape.
Several puzzles gravitate around a bar and its beverages. Guybrush at least once has to drink something caustic and/or unpleasant.
The quest eventually leads to Monkey Island and a confrontation against LeChuck is the climax of the game.
The adventure is divided in about four/five named parts. The last is some variation of "Guybrusth Kicks Butt".
Despite the above name, the last part consists largely of Guybrush being brutally attacked, repeatedly, by LeChuck until he can use the items around him to construct some kind of trap.
The Pennyfarthing Effect: A strong case can be made about the saga being a notable inversion. The first two games (1990-91) have the classic SCUMM interface displaying a lot of verbs and the inventory. It's always visible, taking a good portion of the screen, but this makes them easily accessible and it's complemented by hotkeys. Later games have an streamlined interface with fewer verbs, but doing simple things like item combination requires more clicks and bringing forward a new, intrusive screen, which hurts the gameplay. The simplified interface of the remakes also shares some of these problems and the situation gets compounded by the Video Game 3D Leap -done by the fourth game-, a traumatic transition for the adventure genre that frequently involves losing some Point-and-Click features here and there.
A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: Well, not the pirates, but the other anachronistic jobs like the laundromat guy, or coffee shop employees.
Rainbow Speak: Throughout the entire series, Guybrush is the only character whose text is always white when he speaks, even when voices were added to the later Monkey Island games. Many characters often speak lines of dialogue in colors, with one text color attributed to each character's speech. In Tales, for example, in forming subtitles, Elaine's text is "cameo pink", while Demon LeChuck's text is "asparagus green". Similarly, the Voodoo Lady's text is "thistle" (a shade of purple), the Marquis De Singe's text is "pink lace", and Morgan LeFlay's text is "munsell red".
Red Herring: Both figurative and literal. Ironically there's no overlap.
Retcon: Has happened to the biographies of LeChuck and Horatio Torquemada "Herman Toothrot" Marley so many times that it takes several contortions of logic to form coherent backstories. See Wikipedia.
Room Escape Game: The games themselves aren't these on the whole, but each contains at least one puzzle based on this idea, where Guybrush is trapped in some small space and must use whatever he finds there to escape. (Since the games are designed never to become Unwinnable, and the developers don't know which items the player has picked up yet, whatever is needed to escape the room must logically be inside the room itself)
Ditto Stan, only he goes back since the very beginning. While he was part of the story in the first game, ever since he's just been someone you know is going to turn up, always treat you simply as a customer, and always be selling something new. And his plaid jacket will stay still.
Guybrush asking people what the Secret of Monkey Island? is, since it's not revealed in the first game. No one has given a straight answer yet. (Flight of the Amazon Queen, a LucasArts adventure pastiche, gave a humorous joke answer to this: "Elaine is really a guy.")
The gag continues still, only flipped. Twenty years after Secret's release, series creator Ron Gilbert released a game called DeathSpank , containing an old adventurer named Eubrick who claims to know the Secret of Monkey Island. Unfortunately, the game's titular hero isn't at all interested in what it might be.
Scenery Porn: All games in the series have lovingly drawn, detailed graphics that are mighty impressive. The Special Editions of the first two take it Up to Eleven.
Script Breaking: In the second game the Voodoo Lady mentions the last time she helped you, but it's actually possible to complete the first game without ever meeting her.
ShoutOut : Tons of them, specially to other Lucasfilm/Arts games and works. As mentioned below, exhausting every possible line of dialogue to trigger one becomes an implicit part of the gameplay. Expect many references and wordplays if there is a library or a bookshelf around.
Took a Level in Badass: Played with in the final act of a given game, sometimes aptly called "Guybrush Kicks Butt" or some mutation of it. Guybrush gets usually trashed by LeChuck, but it takes guts to just make a stand against the monster while finding some clever way to undo him. Straight example in the contests of insults, when an ignorant and weak Guybrush becomes a feared master after some Level Grinding.
Un Installment: Tales of Monkey Island is refereed to as the sixth Monkey Island installment, and starts off at the climax of a unseen epic adventure which presumably was the events of the non-existent fifth game. Exactly what happened on this adventure is unknown, but Guybrush keeps making vague references to it throughout Tales.
Unwinnable: Generally averted, according to LucasArts' policy, but it is possible to make the first game unwinnable if you really try, such as by using up all your money in the vending machine. Later releases of the game will simply cause Guybrush to refuse wasting any more money on the vending machine after the first time you try it.
There are grog machines featured in four out of the five Monkey Island games. Two of them act like this.
In The Secret of Monkey Island, you can put as many pieces of eight as you want in it, but it won't work. A single bottle of root beer later falls out of it when LeChuck punches Guybrush into the machine.
In Escape from Monkey Island, the machine still doesn't dispense any grog, but if you kick it enough, some empty cans eventually tumble out.
Violation of Common Sense: Several actions the Monkey Island adventure games require you to take are questionable in their wisdom. Over the course of the series, Guybrush has: ridden a rope across a chasm using a rubber chicken, deliberately mixed medications to put himself in a coma (twice), fired himself out of a cannon (thrice), triggered a volcanic eruption at point-blank range, soaked an irritable undead pirate with root beer... Thankfully, the games make it almost impossible to lose, no matter what you do, so the player can experiment without fear.
Let's face it, the Monkey Island series was one big Violation Of Common Sense. You're supposed to start the game, solve the first puzzle, realize that common sense just doesn't work in the Monkey Island world, and then gleefully throw all good judgment out the window and just try the most outlandish things you can think of. It's more fun that way.
Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Stan, the resident Honest John's Dealership, runs a different business in each game. In order, they are: used ship salesman, used coffin salesman, life insurance salesman, time-share representative and attorney-at-law-who-makes-a-side-income-by-selling-souvenirs-based-on-his-cases. His job changes are often explained as a result of something that Guybrush did in the previous game
The X of Y: Out of the five games in the Monkey Island series, only three of them have these trope titles: The Secret of Monkey Island, The Curse of Monkey Island, and Tales of Monkey Island.
Zip Mode: In the third Monkey Island game, double-clicking an exit will take Guybrush there instantly, which is considerate because he walks very slowly. Later games switched to a 3D format and a corresponding change in controls, replacing the teleportation with a Dash Mode (but in Escape you can leave the room you're in immediately by pressing O).