The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition Impressions - New Graphics, New Music, Plus a History Lesson

We take an up-close look at this remake of the classic adventure game at E3 2009.

The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition is the newly announced remake of the original classic point-and-click adventure game that graced computers nearly 20 years ago. The original game set itself apart with its goofy and irreverent sense of humor (you played as a wannabe pirate named Guybrush Threepwood, and engaged in such manly pursuits as "insult swordfighting"), and earned itself a devoted fan following and many sequels. Then, for a long time, nothing happened. But now, LucasArts is reviving the classic game with an all-new facelift that includes completely revamped, high-resolution hand-painted art, a brand-new music score, and full-speech voice acting provided by the actors who voiced the characters in the original series.

Who's Making This Game: LucasArts, surprisingly. The company had seemingly turned its back on its once-glorious stable of classic graphical adventure games, including Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Maniac Mansion, Full Throttle, and Grim Fandango. The publisher has done an about-face on the subject, developing both this game and an all-new Monkey Island game with California-based studio Telltale Games (which itself was founded by ex-LucasArts adventure-game employees).

What the Game Looks Like: It looks either really great or like a musty old history lesson. We'll explain: the new version of the game offers an all-new graphical upgrade, complete with brand-new "close-up" cutscenes that take place when Guybrush speaks with someone. However, you can also, at any time, seamlessly revert the graphics to look exactly like the original game--chunky, pixelated characters, noiseless dialog, and all--though fans of the original game will still find a certain charm in the original graphics. However, the new graphics look great, much like how our imaginations made the game look to us the first time we fired it up back in 1990.

What There Is to Do: Like in the original game, you must walk around as Guybrush, interact with objects and people (using a handy interaction menu that pulls up an icon-based menu of all possible interactions with something or someone in the world, such as "pick up" or "talk to"), meet and fall in love with Elaine Marley, and end up at odds with a dastardly pirate named LeChuck. To make progress in the game, you'll primarily collect items and talk to people, using combinations of items and answers to riddles to solve the game's various puzzles and advance your progress.

How the Game Is Played: This is a point-and-click adventure game that lets you use your Xbox 360 controller (and presumably your computer mouse) to direct Guybrush throughout the world, seek out clues, talk with characters, and generally be a smart aleck. The game will also have a three-layer hint system that lets you ask for a superficial hint on what to do next, a more in-depth hint, and finally, a blunt and slightly-less-than-polite spoiler that will tell you exactly where to go next. Guybrush's adventures will turn him into an apprentice pirate, a human cannonball, and a dog whisperer, among other things.

What They Say: This is the game that the remaining adventure fans on the LucasArts staff have been dreaming of making, and should the Xbox Live and PC versions of the game sell many copies, there might possibly be hope of seeing the game on other platforms, such as the Nintendo DS, which seems like it'd be well-suited for point-and-click gameplay.

What We Say: This really seems to be everything that LucasArts claims it will be: a graphical and audio overhaul of a classic game with a built-in history lesson. The game will be released later this year.

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19 comments
alexisbellido
alexisbellido

Super! My wife and I played and loved The Secret of Monkey Island long time ago. It will great playing the new edition with our daughters. Hope they make the other parts too.

BigBangWiscite
BigBangWiscite

I can't imagine any other game in 1990 that would be Game of the Year other than this game. At the time, the Amiga version would get all 10s. PC didn't meet Amiga soundchip status cos it uses your modem for music!

Hellspawn_1581
Hellspawn_1581

WOOOOOOTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! now give me some maniac mansion remake......and this would be the best year of all times =D

2x4b96123
2x4b96123

now do the other two =D (EFMI doesn't count)

Warghost2k
Warghost2k

Monkey Island is great! It's good to know a company cares enough about a classic game to remake it, bringing it into the 21st century. I am really looking forward to this game, and the new Monkey Island game they're also developing. Woot!

dudeski89
dudeski89

Man, hopefully this means that there's a possibility of a Grim Fandango remake in the works.

einarabelc5
einarabelc5

No talk about the New game...mmmm...

rkrause
rkrause

I cut my computer gaming teeth on adventure games, but for some reason I never played the first two Monkey Island games. I am very much looking forward to this.

geitenvla
geitenvla

HAR...This rocks! Thank you LucasArts - I'm sure to buy my copy the minute it gets released. Now. how about some remakes on Maniac Mansion, Zak MCkracken, Loom and Dott?

lukas1051
lukas1051

Woooo! I love monkey island!

dysentery_aldo
dysentery_aldo

I've wanted to play monkey island again for so long, I remember back in the 90s when I played it on my Amiga, and the ability to revert it to the old graphics is such a nice touch. Xbox 360 rules so much!

sheepradish
sheepradish

I hope the PC version is though steam. later on maybe the could do a manic mansion and day of the tentacle?

Blubadox
Blubadox

This looks good but I can't wait to play new Monkey Island series by TellTalegames. You can watch the trailer on their website.

damaster101
damaster101

I played a monkey island game on computer years ago and it was flippin awesome despite some of its ridiculous puzzles

hibikino
hibikino

It looks really good! Monkey Island is back!!!

dab198
dab198 moderator

Can't wait. Also can't wait for Telltale's new Tales of Monkey Island.