Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Favorite Adventue Game Moments - Monkey Island 2

Every once in awhile there's some bit of humor that cracks you up and you still can't quite explain why. Well, I'm going to try to anyway.

Longtime Monkey Island fans may remember this puzzle from the second game, where you need to decipher hand signals:

It's a halfway brilliant puzzle just because of the misdirection - after you figure it out, you either want to choke the designer for being so irritating or slap yourself for being so stupid. (Giving it away here, if you don't know it, would totally ruin the fun.)

So, anyway, much later in the game, when you're captured by LeChuck and suspended over a vat of acid, the evil zombie pirate gives a Bond-esque explanation of how his maniacal contraption will bring about your death, at which point you can ask a few questions. You can ask:

Why did I crack up with this? I guess it's because it's a totally random allusion to a puzzle so annoying that it had probably ingrained itself in your skull, and to be on the opposite side (the questioner instead of the questionee) while in such a dire situation is strangely appealing. The fact that LeChuck will give a straight answer - without the hand signals, even! - is just as funny.

Now that I've over explained the joke it probably won't be funny anymore, but maybe it'll ring some bells in those of you who've been through it before.


  1. I remember hanging over a vat of acid, but I don't recall the hand number joke... Was it optional, or is my brain wasting away?

  2. I think it may only be available to say in hard mode since you didn't have to do that hand number foolishness on easy mode.

    But if you play hard mode, you miss out on your chance to have Wally somehow pee on the candle with hands chained up.

  3. One of these days I will play Monkey Island. That's a brilliant little callback gag.

  4. Monkey Island 2 was my least favorite MI because of stuff like this. Sure, I chose hard mode, sure I should have known what I was getting into, but MI2 really turned into an exercise in psychoanalyzing Ron Gilbert rather than trying to actually solve even tangentially rational puzzles. This puzzle isn't even cute in retrospect, it's just senseless and illogical.

    Usually I can put up with some amount of that in adventure games: The Longest Journey certainly had moments like it. The clincher for me is that almost everyone in MI2 was unlikeable and vaguely hideous in appearance, and not in a fun Zeno Clash kind of way. The whole game just seemed subtly nasty, like a cruel joke. Maybe that says more about me!