DescriptionDeep 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.
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BudgetThe budget of the game was $130.000.
CD versionThe 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.
Concept noticesOne 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.
Copy protectionThe 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.
Demo versionThe demo version features story, dialogues and puzzles not present in the main game. More information can be found in its game entry.
DistributionAccording 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!
DOS versionsThere are three different versions of the game: 16-color EGA disk version, 256-color VGA disk version, and 256-color VGA CD-ROM version.
Guybrush ThreepwoodGuybrush 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.
Herman ToothrotThe 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.
InspirationThough 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 mythos.
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.
Mono IslandDid 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 releaseA 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
Ron GilbertStan is reportedly Ron Gilbert's favorite character in all of the Monkey Island games.
SalesAccording 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 IslandTHE 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 portThe 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.
Software ToolworksThe CD version of the game was distributed by Software Toolworks at one point - with one of their computer map programs.
Speech versionDespite the rumours, no speech version was created.
SpiffyThe 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 GameThe "FUNCTION AND COMMAND KEYS" section of the enclosed reference documentation listed a somewhat peculiar option after the more conventional game interface options:
- Quit Game (CTRL+C or ALT+X)
- Win the Game (CTRL+W).
Apparently some permutation of this easter egg is revisited in distant sequel Escape From Monkey Island.
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Terok Nor (17660) added The Secret of Monkey Island (FM Towns) on Mar 08, 2011
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