Deep in the Caribbean lies Melee Island, ruled by the governor Elaine Marley. The cruel pirate LeChuck is deeply in love with her - so deeply that he refuses to accept his own death. As a ghost, he dwells with his undead crew somewhere near the mysterious Monkey Island. Meanwhile, a young fellow named Guybrush Threepwood is determined to become a real pirate. At the Scumm Bar he meets three pirates who tell him he has to complete three difficult tasks in order to be worthy of this title. But as Guybrush is trying to complete these tasks, he encounters the lovely governor, and this meeting changes his life forever. Risking to incur the wrath of LeChuck, Guybrush has to prove his wit is as sharp as his sword, and figure out a way to foil the ghost pirate's plans.The Secret of Monkey Island
is an adventure game that utilizes the command verb-based SCUMM interface first introduced in Maniac Mansion
: the player constructs commands for Guybrush by selecting an appropriate verb and then combining it with an object or an inventory item. Objects that can be interacted with are highlighted when the player places a cursor over them. The game is the first LucasArts adventure in which it is impossible to get irrevocably stuck; like in Loom
, the player character also cannot die. The branching dialogue system, where the player chooses between several available responses during conversations, allows the player to talk to characters in different ways without fearing a wrong choice, and is often used as a humorous device.
The puzzles are predominantly inventory-based; most of the problems in the game are solved by picking up items and combining them with each other or with objects (or people) in the game world. Several tasks are dialogue-based; among those is the humorous "insult swordfighting", which involves Guybrush learning and choosing witty insults while dueling pirates.
The CD DOS and FM Towns versions of the game have slightly updated interface (with graphically represented inventory items instead of the text-only labels in the original version), as well as CD audio music tracks.
- "猴島小英雄" -- Chinese spelling
- "モンキー・アイランド ユーレイ海賊大騒動！" -- Japanese spelling
- "TSOMI" -- Common abbreviation
- "Monkey Island 1" -- Informal name
- "Le Secret de L'Ile aux Singes" -- French title
- "El secreto de Monkey Island" -- Spanish title
Part of the Following Groups
The Press Says
The budget of the game was $130.000.
The CD version of the game features CD music, a furnished interface with graphical inventory items and new sound effects not seen in the disk version. If you try to load the game with "e" parameter, you won't see the inventory because it is 256 colors only.
One of the first scribbles for Monkey Island
that were used for the different story-branches hang in the bathroom of George 'The Fat Man' Sanger
's studio in Austin/Texas.
- Originally, there used to be a ship combat sequence in Monkey Island. While this scene didn't make it into the final cut, the idea was re-used in Monkey Island 3.
- At one point, the developers actually deleted a whole bunch of the games because it didn't flow well with the story.
- Ron Gilbert was going to make the part where you get Meathook to join your crew longer, but the idea was axed.
The original version came with a code-wheel copy protection, in which you had to mix and match several pirate's faces and assemble their names.
The demo version features story, dialogues and puzzles not present in the main game. More information can be found in its game entry
According to a G4 interview with Tim Schafer
because Lucasarts was so small at the time and the first shipment of Monkey Island
was larger than normal, Lucasarts asked the staff to go help stuff the boxes for the first shipment. So you might own a copy packed by the creators themselves!
There are three different versions of the game: 16-color EGA disk version, 256-color VGA disk version, and 256-color VGA CD-ROM version.
- When wandering in the forest, if you examine a certain tree stump very closely, Guybrush sees something in there and tries to crawl in. The game then asks you for disks you don't have, and Guybrush says something like "Oh well, I guess I don't fit".
- Keep escaping and returning from the cannibal village and the prison door will change its shape to a more modern door.
- Did you know that you CAN kill Guybrush? Just stay under water for more than 10 minutes.
- Did you know you can make Meathook make his tattoo talk? Ask him at his hut!!!
Guybrush got his name from the fact that in DPaint, the art software being used at the time, you saved palettes and other art particulars in files called "brushes", and the one for the guy who was the hero was called the "guybrush". "Threepwood" was decided by a company contest.
The character of Herman Toothrot was added because the script was running a little slow once you got to Monkey Island...the player needed someone to talk to.
Though he's long been on the record regarding Monkey Island
's inspiration from the Pirates of the Caribbean theme park ride (the ride, having earned its own movies, effectively nullifying any chance of a Monkey Island
movie once in development), Ron Gilbert has come clean
regarding another primary source of inspiration, a recently-back-in-print
book by Tim Power
entitled On Stranger Tides
, ensuring a heavy injection of voodoo into the Monkey Island
"Monkey Island" is a colloquial term used to describe the area on the roof of the bridge on a modern cargo ship. It is mainly used by the crews of the large cargo ships operating in the East Indies, South East Asia and the South Pacific.
Did you know there IS a real Monkey Island in the Caribbean Sea? Well, it's real name is Mono Island, but the word "mono" means "monkey" in Spanish.
PC Gamer release
A complete version of The Secret of Monkey Island
is available on Classic Games Collection CD featured in the July 2000 issue of PC Gamer Magazine.
References: LucasArts employees
- The original closeup of Elaine (where Guybrush is speechless) was supposedly based on Avril Harrison, an artist who was working for Lucas Games at the time.
- Carla, the Swordmaster, was a likeness of Carla Green who was at that time in charge of Lucas Games Product Support.
- The guy who was in the Troll suit on the bridge was meant to look like George Lucas.
- The name of Guybrush's archnemesis LeChuck was born after Steve Arnold, the General Manager at Lucasfilm Games in 1989, had been telling Ron Gilbert (the series creator) how he really liked the name "Chuck" and would like some character in one of their games to be called "Chuck".
- Lucasarts makes a stab at Sierra adventure games when Guybrush walks off the ledge of the outcrop containing the projectile device on Monkey Island. A standard Sierra adventure death dialogue box emerges saying that your character (Guybrush) has died and you can now choose to Restore, Restart or Quit the game.
- In the SCUMM bar, one of the pirates is wearing a button with the word LOOM written on it. All he says is "Aye," but if you ask him about LOOM, he will give you a full and lengthy advertisment to LOOM - the Idea was re-used again in Monkey Island 3 with Manny Calavera ( from Grim Fandango)
- Just like other games from LucasArts, this has also a reference to Sam & Max. Just look at the idols neat the big monkey head.
- In the demo of the games, when you went to the fortune tellers place, you could touch the chalice...and you would turn into Indiana Jones.
- The troll on the toll bridge saying 'none shall pass' was inspired by Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
- The SCUMM bar early in the game is obviously a reference to the SCUMM game engine (which stands for "Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion"), created by Ron Gilbert of Lucasfilm Games/LucasArts, and which has been used in several other adventure titles including The Secret of Monkey Island.
- In order to practice insult swordfighting, Guybrush stops pirates on the road and says the line "My name is Guybrush Threepwood. Prepare to die!" This is probably taken from the duel between Inigo Montoya and the six-fingered man in The Princess Bride. During that duel Montoya repeats "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!" 5 or 6 times.
Stan is reportedly Ron Gilbert's favorite character in all of the Monkey Island games.
According to an interview with Ron Gilbert in the German magazine PC Games 01/2013, the game sold more copies in Germany than in the USA.
Secret of Monkey Island
THE Secret of Monkey Island has never actually been revealed by Ron Gilbert, but some people believe that it has to do with the anachronisms in the games.
SEGA CD port
The Secret of Monkey Island
saw a Sega CD version in 1992, soon after the system was released on the U.S. The Sega CD version is based on the 256-color VGA version of SOMI...even the layout of the CD Audio is exactly the same as the PC version.
Except there is a mastering error for the background sound effects. Specifically, the night time forest sound effect on track 24 is only two seconds long, and this track continues on to the next three tracks, also cut off in seconds. Also, because of this error, there is no jungle background sound effect that should be present in track 25. Indeed, it’s curious to hear night time ambiance heard at Melee Island during the daytime when Guybrush is in the jungle on Monkey Island.
A fix to this problem can be done by taking the last two audio tracks from the PC-CDROM version (tracks 24 and 25) and, usually through an extraction of the data and individual audio tracks of the Sega CD disc (except tracks 24, 25, 26, and 27) and a creation of a proper cuesheet (complete with the 2 second pregap for all audio tracks) for burning through CDRWin, restore the correct sound effects playback for the game at the points affected for the Sega CD version.
The CD version of the game was distributed by Software Toolworks at one point - with one of their computer map programs.
Despite the rumours, no speech version was created.
The back cover of some versions of the game has a screenshot with a close-up of Spiffy the Dog. The image is however not available in the original game. It was cut to save space on the floppy disks, but the marketing team had already chosen it for the artwork. The image of the close-up was added in the 2009 game The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition
Win the Game
The "FUNCTION AND COMMAND KEYS" section of the enclosed reference documentation listed a somewhat peculiar option after the more conventional game interface options:
- Reposition Instantly (CTRL+R)
- Quit Game (CTRL+C or ALT+X)
- Win the Game (CTRL+W).
Enthusiastic game-players who jumped in before fully reading the manual might never have encountered that little easter egg. When the key combination was entered, the game would prompt the player: "Are you sure you want to win? (Y/N)
" If the player responded Y, the screen would blank, then triumphantly flash"You Win! You scored 800 out of 800 points
", regardless of how much (if any) of the game had been completed, all the while tootling the goofily festive music from the Fettucini Bros. circus tent. The regular closing credits (with more than a few joke titles there also) would follow, the entire interactive remainder of the game having been neatly bypassed. Truly here was proof that the playing of the game is far more satisfying than the mere winning of it.
Apparently some permutation of this easter egg is revisited in distant sequel Escape From Monkey Island
Information also provided by
William Shawn McDonie and
- Computer Gaming World
- December 1993 (Issue #114) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
- November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) - #19 in the "150 Best Games of All Time" list
- November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) –#2 Funniest Computer Game (together with Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge)
- November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #2 Most Rewarding Ending of All Time
- GameStar (Germany)
- Issue 12/1999 - #12 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
- PC Gamer
- April 2005 - #49 in the "50 Best Games of All Time" list
- Power Play
- Issue 01/1991 - Best Adventure in 1990 (Amiga and DOS versions)