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Video Game / Escape from Monkey Island

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"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.


After being hard to find for a long time, the game was finally made available digitally on and Steam in 2018.

This game provides examples of:

  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: You might think Pegnose Pete is just a gag on peg-legged pirates, but prosthetic noses are a real thing, and have been for centuries; for example, 16th century nobleman and astronomy pioneer Tycho Brahe lost his nose in a duel and wore a prosthetic made of brass.
  • Bank Toaster: Referenced where an option to end the Dialogue Tree with a bank teller is to act outraged at the lack of free toasters.
  • 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 tries to avert this once he and Ozzie Mandrill have Guybrush at their mercy, saying "I've left him alive before, and it's always proved to be a big mistake." But Mandrill argues that they might need him as a hostage, so they maroon him on Monkey Island.
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  • Bound and Gagged: Guybrush and Elaine.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Continuity Snarl: The revelation that Herman Toothrot was actually Elaine's grandfather, Captain Horatio Torquemada Marley all along completely breaks the continuity and timeline of the series:
    • For one thing, it ignores the fact that Toothrot originally got to Monkey Island aboard the Sea Monkey, with the ship's log spelling that out quite clearly. The retcons in this game would mean that Toothrot somehow managed to get from Monkey Island to Melee Island (while forgetting that he was formerly governor of the latter island), then undertook a voyage back to Monkey Island, only to get stranded for good this time.
    • It suddenly changes Captain Marley from having supposedly killed by LeChuck pushing him into a whirlpool sometime between the first and second games to Ozzie Mandrill being the one who did the deed, twenty years before the events of this game.
    • The only way all of this even begins to make sense is if Elaine's grandfathers both had the surname Marley, both were victims of assassination attempts via whirlpools during boat races, and one grandfather was successfully killed by LeChuck, but the other survived Ozzie's attempt on his life.
    • The International House of Mojo provides a complicated, if detailed description of how this could possibly all tie together.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Ozzie Mandrill.
  • 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 again if he can promise them cushy government jobs.
  • Easter Egg: Murrayball!
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: Brittany the bank teller refuses to cash Ozzie's checks because she thinks they're counterfeit. Whoever heard of "Australia" anyway? And what's this animal with another animal sticking out of its belly?
  • Explosive Leash: The Voodoo Anklet of Extreme Discomfort.
  • Expy: Pegnose Pete is very similar to Largo La Grande from Monkey Island 2.
  • Fanservice Pack: Guybrush is MUCH easier on the eyes in this game than in the last one.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • One can crop up when you're trying to restore Herman Toothrot's memory. If you hit him with anything other than the correct object, it causes him to completely lose his memory, forcing you to start the whole sequence again. However, it's possible for his memory to remain permanently lost, and if this happens before he remembers that he's really Captain Marley and gives you a vital Plot Coupon, it becomes impossible to proceed in the game. Repeatedly throwing the coconut at him can reset the puzzle, but you then have to remember to throw the coconut at him again if you don't want to end up re-breaking the game.
    • It's possible for the rock puzzle on Monkey Island to become unsolvable if you throw the rocks in the wrong order, leaving you stuck.
    • On the Playstation 2 version only, talking to Otis on Jambalaya Island more than once will lock the game.
  • God Test: Guybrush asks his future counterpart to guess what number he's thinking of.
  • Guide Dang It!: The final round of Monkey Kombat turns into a Hopeless Boss Fight (for both sides) unless you get very lucky or you start fighting to draw.
  • Hand Wave: The player can ask how Carla, Otis and Meathook managed to Escape from Monkey Island, but all three of them refuse to elaborate behind mentioning how the whole ordeal was 'very traumatising'.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Narrowly averted. Our favorite villain returns, but he's working for the new Big Bad, and his last-ditch attempt to seize power backfires on him.
  • Hold Up Your Score: The cliff-diving judges.
  • Humongous Mecha: The monkey head from The Secret of Monkey Island is retconned into being the very tip of a giant monkey robot, encased in stone, which Guybrush powers up and uses to save the day.
  • In-Joke: Ignatius Cheese's SCUMM Bar is bought out while he's at sea and transformed into a tiki-themed establishment called the Lua Bar, after the flexible open-source coding that replaced the Scumm system in this game and Grim Fandango.
  • Ironically Disabled Artist: In the previous game, Meathook tells the tragic story of how in youth he was a virtuoso painter until he lost both hands in an accident. In this game, he has rediscovered his art through the method of impaling colored candles on his hooks and dripping wax onto a canvas.
  • Knights and Knaves: The parrots on the beach. The trick is to get one of them drunk or caffeinated.
  • 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. But then again, she does say her being pink is a new thing that she isn't happy with either.
  • Living Figurehead: The enchanted figurehead of the Dainty Lady is part of the solution to finding the Ultimate Insult. The first step of the process is bringing her to life with voodoo earrings. She is not happy about having to be more than a statue.
  • Luck-Based Mission: In Monkey Kombat, all attacks do the same amount of damage, and your opponent always gets the first move. As you can probably work out, this means that actually winning a match requires you to not make a single mistake, while hoping that the opponent is dumb enough to either switch into a stance weaker than the one you've adopted, or not bother changing its own stance after you switch into one that beats it. If the opponent AI doesn't feel like letting you win a match, then you're not going to, plain and simple. Strangely enough, the one match that isn't luck-based is actually the one against the reigning champion, who is coded to make at least one mistake in the match.
  • The Man in Front of the Man: In a rather surprising plot twist, Ozzie is the real Big Bad of this game while LeChuck is just The Dragon.
  • Mêlée à Trois: In the climax of Escape, it's Guybrush vs. LeChuck vs. Ozzie. Though this translates to you facing LeChuck.
  • Milholland Relationship Moment: Subverted when you try to tell Ignatius Cheese what happened to the SCUMM Bar. He doesn't react at all when you tell him it fell victim to some fictional disasters, but when you say "Oh, never mind, it's nothing" he realizes it's been taken over and is infuriated.
  • My Grandma Can Do Better Than You: The Insult Arm-Wrestling features this potential exchange:
    "My ninety-eight-year-old grandmother has bigger arms than you."
    "Ungh... Yeah, but we both got better bladder control than you do."
  • Named After the Injury: One of the minor antagonists is Pegnose Pete, who gets his name from his prosthetic nose.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Ozzie Mandrill is a clear stab at Rupert Murdoch, being an Australian tycoon who sweeps in, takes over American (well, technically Caribbean) businesses, and seeks to impose his own views on his adoptive country.
    • The caricature artist who appears in Planet Hollywood is himself a caricature of Harvey Fierstein.
  • No Flow in CGI: Probably the reason why Guybrush has such a tiny, pathetic ponytail in this one. However, the "Elaine" waitress at Planet Threepwood has a long ponytail that sways as she walks.
    • On the other hand, Elaine's hair is bigger than ever, but noticeably stiff.
  • No Fourth Wall: Used extensively.
  • 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).
  • One-Winged Angel: LeChuck in his Giant Statue Form.
  • 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. Also, Piratemon cards and Hot Keels toys.
  • Plot Coupon: The pieces of the Ultimate Insult.
  • Politicians Kiss Babies: Discussed, of sorts. Charles L. Charles excuses himself saying that he has "hands to kiss and babies to shake".
  • Polygon Ceiling: The game's comparatively crude 3D models looked very sub-par compared with The Curse of Monkey Island's attractive cartoon-style 2D graphics. It also had an adverse effect on the control scheme.
  • Primordial Tongue: The Ultimate Insult, scourge of every piratical soul, is revealed to work by speaking in a primal tongue that bypasses the limitations of normal language and speaks directly to the soul: specifically, it's monkey jabber.
  • Reformed Criminal: There is a school where pirates undergo rehabilitation. Guybrush can pass and get a certification, which is embarrassing, but of course the plot requires that you utterly fail after giving the most hilariously heinous answers.
  • Running Gag: Throughout the game, Guybrush ends up using pink transportation and even called "pink boy" by Jojo Jr.. For instance, the ship he travels in is pink as is the lava log coaster car on Monkey Island. And of course, he always points it out whenever it comes up. "'s pink..."
  • 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.
  • Schmuck Bait: The multiplayer option in the pause menu. Attempting to select it results in various messages that try to remind the player that the option is fake and the game has no multiplayer.
  • Shout-Out:
    • If you talk to the drunken pirate at the SCUMM Bar in Act 1, his ramblings include "Hikeeba!" and "Mxyzptlk".
    • The name "Ozzy Mandrill" brings to mind a certain poem by Shelley, especially when he completes the Ultimate Insult and boasts "I am Ozzy Mandrill, king of the Caribbean! Look upon my works, ye mighty pirates, and despair!"
    • It also sounds like the name of the Star Wars character Ody Mandrell.
    • When talking to him, Guybrush can ask if he's the guy who bites the heads off monkeys.
    • Mortal Kombat is the source of the name "Monkey Kombat".
    • The trial; "If the nose don't fit, you must acquit" parodies the O. J. Simpson murder trial.
    • There is a X-Wing from Star Wars stuck in the swamps.
    • If you examine the iron maiden in the Lucre Island jail, Guybrush will remark "Iron maiden? Excellent!"
    • Upon failing to use the Ultimate Insult to wipe out all the pirates in the world:
  • Stable Time Loop: The Mysts o'Tyme Marshe sequence has a part where Guybrush 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 Guybrush revisits the same place as his future self.
  • Stealth Pun: Guybrush hires a navigator named Ignatius Cheese. The short form of Ignatius is Nacho.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: "Charles L. Charles." You won't be surprised that it's actually LeChuck.
  • The Stinger: Guybrush, after having been kicked off a cliff by Elaine for making a ridiculous suggestion of the player's choosing now that they're free to do as they wish, is still stuck in the ravine after the credits roll and calls out for help.
  • Symbol Swearing: In Act III, Guybrush asks Herman Toothrot, "How do I get off this [bleep]ing island?", as the swearing is bleeped in the dialogue and replaced by symbols in the in-game text.
  • Temporal Suicide: Optional and Played for Laughs. In the Mists of Tyme Swamp, Guybrush encounters his future self who gives him a few items, including a gun. The player can then use the gun to kill the future Guybrush, but this results in time resetting itself.
  • Title Drop: Very blatantly: Whenever the title is dropped by Guybrush, it's spoken in a bombastic movie trailer voice. And, what's more, if you have the subtitles on, the title drop is also written in caps lock with a Trade Snark at the end.
  • Took the Wife's Name: Played With. A lot of people, especially natives of Melee Island, assume that Guybrush has become Mr. Marley after marrying Elaine. As it turns out, both he and Elaine have become Marley-Threepwood.
  • Tradesnark™: "Nice use of the ™."
  • Unholy Nuke: The Ultimate Insult is one of the most powerful Voodoo artifacts around; it doesn't hurt the body, but it annihilates the spirit.
  • The Unreveal: When Guybrush asks the Voodoo Lady's name.
    Voodoo Lady: My name is... not important.
  • 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 a Hated by All status 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.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Pegnose Pete is terrified of ducks. He is so terrified of ducks that one of the dialogue options you have after catching him is to quack just to listen to him scream. As often as you like.