I have an unabashed love for the Monkey Island games. Like many other series, my experience with them is somewhat incomplete: I didn’t even know the games existed until someone gifted me with a copy of The Curse of Monkey Island, and I wasn’t able to devote the time to working on the earlier entries until the special editions were released a couple of years ago (and I still haven’t played Escape from Monkey Island, or Telltale’s latest episodic entries into the series).
But man, oh, man. The Monkey Island aesthetic is just brilliant. The number of video game narratives set in the Age of Sail is criminally small, and the number of successful video game comedies is pretty paltry, too. To have a game that combines the two, and does so with aplomb, is truly a gift.
It doesn’t hurt that Monkey Island has one of the catchiest and most memorable main themes in all of gaming. When I first booted up Curse and was treated to this:
I knew that somebody at LucasArts was working some magic.
The absolute best part, though, is that this theme has a strong enough melody that it’ll succeed on just about any hardware. The first game, playing its theme using your PC’s system noises, sounded like this:
You can call that horrific, electronic bleeps and bloops if you want, but to my ears that is solid musical gold.
If you really want proof of Monkey Island’s beautiful marriage of aesthetic, music, and comedy, however, you need look no farther than this scene from Curse, in which hero Guybrush and his newly-acquired crew of miscreants are boarded and robbed by a rival. If you’ve not seen it before, be sure to watch until the end. It’s… priceless.