Monkey Island Logo

The Logo of the Monkey Island Series

The Monkey Island series is a franchise of adventure games published by LucasArts. Players play as protagonist Guybrush Threepwood in all the games, revolving around his love Elaine Marley and his exploits to disrupt the plans of the evil pirate LeChuck, an undead pirate who terrorizes the Tri-Island Area as part of his plans to assume control over the seas and marry Elaine. As the series progresses, more story on the background of the characters is revealed as numerous other villains are introduced with their own designs for Guybrush and Elaine.

The first two games, The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, were created by Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman. By the third and fourth games, The Curse of Monkey Island and Escape from Monkey Island, Ron Gilbert had left LucasArts to create his own company, so the games were made by a different developing team. A fifth game was announced in June 2009 and was developed by Telltale Games.[1] The first chapter of the new game, which is episodic, was released in July 2009.

The Secret of Monkey IslandEditar


The Secret of Monkey Island front cover

See The Secret of Monkey Island for more information.

The Secret of Monkey Island was originally thought up by Rob Gilbert who claims to have got inspiration from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" Disneyland ride and also the book On Stranger Tides. [2]

The player takes control of Guybrush Threepwood, a wannabe pirate who washes up on the shores of Mêlée Island. After speaking to the Pirate Leaders at the Scumm Bar he finds out that to become a pirate he must prove himself in the arts of thievery, sword fighting and treasure hunting. However, the governor of Mêlée, Elaine Marley, has been captured by the ghost pirate LeChuck. Upon hearing the news, he sets out on a journey to find a ship and a crew that can help him find the mysterious Monkey Island, in order to rescue Elaine and beat LeChuck.

The game uses the SCUMM Engine, a game engine where selectable verbs are situated at the bottom of the screen, which are used to control the actions of Guybrush. The mouse moves him.

The title was well-received by gamers, scoring highly[3].

On June 1, 2009 it was announced that the game would receive a HD remake for Xbox Live Arcade and PC. This remake was released on June 15, 2009 and included graphical enhancements and a full voice-over[4].

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's RevengeEditar


Front cover to Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge

See Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge for more information.

After the success of The Secret of Monkey Island, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge was named as one of the most anticipated sequels[5] during the lead-up to its release.

Once again you play as Guybrush Threepwood, who we find dangling from a rope in a huge chasm, gripping a treasure chest while talking to Elaine. She asks how he got there, so the second game in the series tells the story of how Guybrush got into this predicament. In search for the treasure of Big Whoop, Guybrush meets an old henchman of LeChuck's, Largo LaGrande. Largo manages to revive LeChuck in a zombie form, who intends to get his revenge on Guybrush.

Like the original, Monkey Island 2 uses the SCUMM Engine, though the game itself has been graphically improved. It was also well received by fans of the series, achieving an average score of 91.60% on Game Rankings[6].

A special edition similar to the first game's was released on July 7, 2010. Aside the same upgrades as before, players can also play with the voice-over along with the classic graphics and the game has an improved interface with no verb-menu. The game also features a commentary by the primary writers Ron Gilbert, Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer.

The Curse of Monkey IslandEditar

Curse of monkey island cover

Front cover to The Curse of Monkey Island

See The Curse of Monkey Island for more information.

This game was made by Jonathan Ackley and Larry Ahern, the first Monkey Island game developed without original creator Ron Gilbert. Gilbert always claimed that Monkey Island was to be a trilogy though without his involvement his own version of events were not included, meaning the developers had to come up with a story to explain the cliffhanger ending of the previous game.

We find Guybrush floating on a bumper cart out at sea, having been tricked by LeChuck at The Carnival of the Damned. Longing for some food and fresh water, Guybrush floats in between a naval battle going on between Elaine and LeChuck. He is captured by his nemesis, and when he escapes, proposes to Elaine using a cursed diamond ring that he'd found on LeChuck's ship. She is turned into a solid gold statue, and the game focuses on Guybrush in his attempt to reverse the curse and defeat LeChuck once more.

Graphically, the game was vibrant with colours and hand-drawn, something the game was praised for[7]. It was the first Monkey Island game to include voice acting, including the talents of Dominic Armato as Guybrush and Alexandra Boyd as Elaine.

Once again the SCUMM Engine was used, but this time it was upgraded to a 'verb-coin' which allowed a clearer interface, with the inventory and actions being visible on click, rather than at the bottom of the screen.

Escape from Monkey IslandEditar


Front cover to Escape from Monkey Island

See Escape from Monkey Island from more information.

This is the fourth game in the Monkey Island series. Made once again by LucasArts, this time the game was 3-D and was the first Monkey Island game to not use the SCUMM Engine. Instead, the game used the LUA Engine, an upgraded version of the GrimE engine which was used in the game Grim Fandango.

Guybrush and Elaine return from their honeymoon to find that her Mêlée Island mansion has been repossessed and that she has been declared dead. Ozzie Mandrill, an Australian land developer, is travelling around the Caribbean and buying properties in order to rid the land of pirates. Starting with a journey to get the mansion back, Guybrush must find a way to stop Ozzie Mandrill and his plans to make the Ultimate Insult, a powerful voodoo talisman that can dissolve a pirate's ego.

The lead developers of the game were Sean Clark and Michael Stemmle. The 3-D graphics and keyboard controls have been criticised by some fans. Though the reception of the game has, overall, been positive, it has been criticised for retcons involving Herman Toothrot and the less piratey feel of the game.[8].

Tales of Monkey IslandEditar

Tales of Monkey Island logo

Logo for Tales of Monkey Island

See Tales of Monkey Island for more information.

For a long while LucasArts had strayed from the Adventure Game genre, and had cancelled upcoming adventure games such as Sam and Max: Freelance Police. However, in June 2009 it was announced that Telltale Games had acquired the rights to develop a new Monkey Island game. Tales of Monkey Island was released episodically, with the first episode, "Launch of the Screaming Narwhal", having been released on July 7, 2009. The remaining 4 episodes were released on a monthly basis[1].

While explosively stripping the evil pirate LeChuck of his demonic mojo, Guybrush Threepwood inadvertently infects the entire Caribbean with the arch-fiend's expelled voodoo, which threatens to transform buccaneers into unruly pirate monsters. Pursued by a notorious cut-throat Pirate Hunter and a creepy French physician who believes that Guybrush's eerily-infected hand holds the secret of eternal life, Threepwood sails the seven seas in search of La Esponja Grande, a legendary sea sponge with unparalleled voodoo exfoliating abilities. But little does Guybrush know, his quest is part of a larger, more sinister plot, and good and evil are not always as they seem.[9]



See Monkey Island movie for more information.


Concept art for the planned movie

Nothing was known of this planned movie until Dominic Armato spoke about the LucasArts plan to do a Monkey Island movie, only after it had already been cancelled[10]. However, the first real piece of evidence appeared when artwork was released on the Internet after a discovery made on the portfolio of Tony Stacchi. Not long after, Steve Purcell released some concept art for the movie to the World of Monkey Island fansite[11].

A few days after these events, which showed strong evidence that a movie was once planned, an anonymous source contacted a fan site and revealed that the movie script was actually written by Ted Elliot, who later went on to write the Pirates of the Caribbean movies[12].


Although no Monkey Island movie was never released, a play based on The Secret of Monkey Island was performed at Hammond High School in Columbia on the 21st and 29th of May 2005. After he received permission off LucasArts, Chris Heady wrote, directed and produced the play, and starred as undead pirate LeChuck. More information about the play is here.


See also: Musical themes in the Monkey Island series

The music in the Monkey Island games has been deemed excellent by fans, and it was Michael Land who composed music for all four games which can be listened to at various fan sites around the Internet[13].


Although there are many characters in the Monkey Island games, only a few return in moultiple games. Main characters include:

In-jokes and triviaEditar

See also: The Secret of Monkey Island In-jokes and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge In-Jokes

Throughout the games there have been many running gags and in-jokes between the games.

  • The Three-Headed Monkey appears briefly in The Secret of Monkey Island, as a puppet in The Curse of Monkey Island and then again in Escape from Monkey Island. Far more often it is used as an attempted distraction when Guybrush tries to escape from someone, with varying results.
  • Insult Swordfighting appears in both the first and the third games, and briefly in the fourth and fifth games. It is a type of sword fighting where pirates must insult each other, and to defend, they must come back with an appropriate response.
  • Sam and Max, another LucasArts game, makes consistent appearances appearing in the first game as a cannibal idol, in the second game as costumes, in the third game as a portrait of Max (blocked by Edward Van Helgen) and as spotlight forms (though this is only in the Mega-Monkey mode), and in a puzzle in the fourth game involving finding out the name of Pegnose Pete.
  • Star Wars is mentioned numerous times, and appears to be where many game ideas came from such as in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge where Guybrush and LeChuck are announced as brothers, a parody of the Star Wars "I am your father" scene.
  • Grim Fandango is also mentioned in the third game, where there is a badge saying "Ask me about Grim Fandango" and a Curse of Monkey Island-style Manny is seen dead on a chair. A similar thing also happens in The Secret of Monkey Island with a badge about Loom. Grim Fandango main character Manuel Calavera can also be found in the Pegnose puzzle.
  • In Curse there is a grave in the Blood Island cemetery marked Tex Venture, referring to the "death" of text adventures, a form of computer game popular around the time the first two Monkey Island games were released but obsolete by the time of Curse.


  1. 1,0 1,1 Telltale FAQ
  2. Grumpy Gamer
  3. Gamefaq reviews
  4. Monkey Island at
  5. Amiga Magazine Rack Site
  6. Game Rankings
  7. Gamespot CMI review
  8. Metacritic review site
  9. TMI episodes at
  10. Dominic Armato on LucasForums
  11. Steve Purcell at WorldofMi
  12. Anonymous movie announcement
  13. Scumm Bar Music Page

External linksEditar