Escape from Monkey Island

aka: EFMI, Flucht von Monkey Island, Fuga da Ilha dos Macacos, Fuga da Monkey Island, Houdao Da Taowang, La Fuga de Monkey Island, MI4, Monkey Island 4
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Description official descriptions

Guybrush Threepwood has finally defeated the zombie pirate LeChuck, and married his sweetheart Elaine Marley. The happy couple is returning home from an exciting honeymoon. But as they arrive on Melee Island, they notice some very strange changes. A mysterious stranger who calls himself Charles L. Charles is organizing a campaign to become the next governor. The Australian businessman Ozzie Mandrill is turning the Caribbean into an attraction for tourists. And on top of that, Elaine's mansion is being demolished! Naturally, it's up to our hero to revert the things back to normal, even if that means traveling to exotic islands and solving puzzles on the way.

Escape From Monkey Island is a direct sequel to The Curse of Monkey island, and is the fourth game in the Monkey Island series. The gameplay relies mainly on inventory-based puzzles and branching dialogues, just like in the previous installments. The interface is similar to that of Grim Fandango: mouse is not used, and the interaction is done via context-sensitive commands that appear on the screen whenever you navigate Guybrush close to an object. The game utilizes pre-rendered backgrounds and 3D character models.


  • 猴岛大逃亡 - Simplified Chinese spelling
  • 猴島小英雄4:逃離猴島 - Traditional Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

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Average score: 79% (based on 67 ratings)


Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 192 ratings with 15 reviews)

Somewhat fun, but too uncertain of itself.

The Good
I wasn't going to buy this game; I hated Monkey 3, and the fact that this was 3D made me surer in shying away. After all, I thought, Grim Fandango only worked because they elegantly sidestepped the problem: Everyone looking stylized and acting sort of stiff and lifeless was an integral part of the setting. But when I saw a used copy, I knew I couldn't resist seeing just how close it came to the mark.

The 3D characters actually work out better than I had expected - they're full-body caricatures in varying degrees of exaggeration, which mostly works allright. The best example of this is one of the first characters you meet, a man whose spine is absurdly curved from carrying heavy rocks. As usual with 3D characters, the sticking point is the way they move; it's either too stiff, or too fluid and liquid-like, but the suspension of disbelief required is not too great. Monkey 4 follows Grim Fandango in using practically the same quality of rendering for cutscenes as for in-game action, which means the transition goes almost unnoticed.

The pre-rendered backdrops go some way towards avoiding that cliché look, but don't quite get there; there's a suspicious absence of dirt and grime, and wherever there's a large flat space, the texture tiling becomes obvious. Combined with an overt fondness for round corners and happy pastel colors, the game often looks too much like an amusement park made entirely out of candy.

Also like Grim Fandango, Monkey 4 uses an Alone in the Dark-style control system, which can be annoying when you've come to know an area and just want to get around quickly. The controls are exceptionally awkward on the map scenes, where you're aching to just point to where you want to go, but instead have to direct Guybrush with the arrow keys, carefully navigating the turns and twists of the paths.

The inventory is a bit more abstract this time around. Pressing "I" brings up a carousel of the items currently stuffed down your pants, pressing "U" while looking at an item will make it drop out of the carousel; you can then select another item to combine it with. (Thank Shub. Wouldn't be Monkey Island if you couldn't try to make a longbow with a plunger and a fishing pole.)

It appears that the team have spent quite a bit of manpower on the conversation, which is one of the better things about this game; at several points in play I found myself unable to choose between conversation lines because I couldn't make up my mind which one would make the funnier joke, and there are many trains of conversation which are pure whimsy.

The references to previous games are actually not that imposing this time around, the recycling of known characters being kept to a reasonable level. The problem, though, is still the same; most of the new characters aren't very memorable. Now repeat after me, kids: "Milk & Cheese" is funny. "I. Cheese" is not. I'd commend the reference to the Monkey 2 puzzle that comes around twice, except that it's one of the worst puzzles in this game.

A nice touch is the variety of roaming characters: In a couple of towns there are random wandering people, you get to see Elaine campaigning around Mêlée Town, and characters can follow you. This goes some way towards helping the emptiness often felt in 3D games.

The Bad
It doesn't begin with "deep in the Caribbean..."

But seriously, the things that really spoil this game are the anachronisms and out-of-place refs to US consumer/pop culture. In the first two Monkey Islands, there were plenty of anachronisms, but they were scattered and adapted to not spoil the pirate-era feeling too much; in Monkey 4, practically half the game is a blatant anachronism - especially jarring are the references to Starbucks and microbreweries. It doesn't become it, it feels like the designers really wanted to make a modern-era game.

The excuse for pulling these anachronisms is that the villain of the day plans to turn the Caribbean into a harmless, family-friendly tourist trap. It's ironic that the game seeks to lampoon this, while at the same time turning out to be the most harmless and uncontroversial of the series. Think about it: in Monkey 1 we have burglary, a decapitated talking head and a lunatic castaway cracking jokes over the corpse of his shipmate, in Monkey 2 voodoo dolls, necromancy and crossdressing, in Monkey 3 piracy and skin grafting without a license... Monkey 4 is an unceasing barrage of pastel shades and Guybrush being fickle and well-meaning, at most resorting to petty theft, serving alcohol to animals and reviving the occasional childhood trauma. I mean, they don't even dare use the word "hell." What the heck is that?

All this could be forgiven if the jokes were hilarious enough. And although there are laughs, they seem to have turned the 'wacky' screw one turn too far in. Now, the first Monkey Island refs Monty Python, whose comedy secret was not only absurdity, but deadpan; people performing absurd tasks with utterly solemn faces. And Monkey 1 & 2 were partially the result of understanding this. Monkey 4, however, goes for camp rather than subtlety, dangling things like steam-driven brass monkeys in front of you and shouting "Look, monkeys! Monkey funny! Laugh, damn you!"

True, they got it right that Guybrush bumbles about and gets insulted a lot, and Elaine seems more in character than in #3, but it's still not quite there.

The puzzles are a bipolar blend of well-hinted, fine-crafted, funny problems and awkward, out of place, poorly hinted ones. I'd say only about one-third of the puzzles are of the good kind: In particular, I disliked most of the puzzles on Lucre Island - even though the ideas behind them are very original, the execution fails badly. Not to mention the whole 'free prosthetic' puzzle, which made no sense at all. But, when the puzzles work, they work beautifully; finding the bronze hat, illuminating the seabed and stopping the demolition man are all memorable moments.

There are a few arcade-flavor sequences, which can get annoying, though they're mostly exercises in taking notes rather than split second timing. And there's one annoying time limit: At one point, the time you have in a location is barely enough to discover all the objects within it.

The music is okay, though it seems to aim to please a bit too much; I only found it noticeable when it recalled themes from the first two Monkey Islands. The modern incarnation of the iMuse sound system doesn't seem to make much of itself; nowhere did I notice any of the smooth transitions that were so brilliant in Monkey 2. On the other hand, the voices are pretty good; even though Guybrush's voice annoyed me in Monkey 3, I thought it worked nicely here. It's a shame though, they seem to be using some voice compression tech that mangles the high tones.

And finally, the last two chapters form a steep downhill slope, ending somewhat over-the-top, strained and hurried (though it's not nearly as pathetic as Monkey 3).

The Bottom Line
The end result is a mixed pleasure, fun in parts, but... I just wish the effort could have been spent on something where they didn't have to lean on past greatness, microwaving a dead monkey and jiggling it to make it look alive: Monkey Island without Ron Gilbert just isn't right.

Bonus point for allowing latin-1 characters in savegames.

Windows · by Ola Sverre Bauge (237) · 2004

More fun than a barrel of monkeys!

The Good
There is one thing you can always count on in a Monkey Island game -- laughs, and this is no exception. Escape From Monkey Island is revamped with 3D environments and the control system has been streamlined and simplified. I like the new controls, a mouse is no longer used and there is no more of the hunting and clicking that plague adventure games. The environments for the most part are okay but it is really the characters that shine. They skins are really wacky and suit the characters. The voice acting (like most Lucasarts games) is top notch. The game is hilarious and will have you playing over just to hear all the jokes.

The Bad
A few of the puzzles in the game were near impossible but they were rare. At times I thought some of the environments felt cold.

The Bottom Line
If you are not familiar with the piratey goodness of Monkey Island I highly recommend getting the first three. If you have played the first ones this one is just as good.

Windows · by Ryan Prendiville (689) · 2000

Collapsed under the weight of too many monkeys

The Good
Escape can still be funny. The humor in the dialogues does get stale very soon, but there are some situations that, while not necessarily reflecting the unique Monkey Island tone, can be amusing. The Scumm Bar turning into a sushi bar is a typical example of the new humor, its symbolic representation: the time of the pirates has passed, modern consumer culture takes over. No, I didn't like this direction either, but at least the game is consequent enough to base a large part of its story on it.

There is nothing wrong with 3D graphics. They have a certain cartoony edge, and some of the character models are appropriately disproportional. Sure, the game loses an even larger chunk of the mysterious Caribbean atmosphere than its predecessor with the perpetual brightness, but it does fit the new colorful locations and themes.

The puzzles of Escape are truly a coin with two sides. There are some really good ones. I enjoyed the bizarre clock puzzle in the swamps of Lucre Island. The diving competition was tricky and fun. One of my favorite ones is the puzzle with the two parrots on Jambalaya Island. It's a pity those interesting activities co-exist with obscure tasks that often make little sense.

In general, the parts that had nothing to do with previous Monkey Island games were the best. Clearing your name on Lucre Island, diving against Marco, figuring out how to get the bronze head on Jambalaya Island. Those parts were fun and refreshing. But Escape wanted to outdo its predecessors in everything, and that was a big mistake.

The Bad
How do I say this... Something's missing here... let's call this something a soul. Everything seems to be in place, but nothing feels fresh, and the series' unique charm is gone. Escape tries to be holier than the Pope himself - to be more Monkey Island than Monkey Island. The result is remarkable: the game becomes a parody of itself. There is so much recycling here that any new and creative idea can't be perceived anymore. Or, better to say, it is forgotten once the mechanical routine of Monkey Island-ness takes over again. The good parts of the game are drowned in the monotonous mumbling of endless Monkey Island mantras: "You fight like a cow... I'm Guybrush Threepwood, a mighty pirate... Yes, darling... Swashbuckling sea scum..." and so on. There is too much of it. Too much to bear and too much to digest. Those phrases have been recycled so many times that they became meaningless. They are not funny any more, because repetition is the worst enemy of humor. Strangely enough, Escape suffers precisely from what it laughs at - consumer mentality.

This kind of thinking leads me to believe that the game was conceived as some sort of a fan tribute, where elements are used and re-used with the happy, blind stubbornness of a neophyte. Phrases from earlier games are quoted verbatim and characters make totally unnecessary cameo appearances. The game thus becomes an empty container for all possible Monkey Island stuff. Characters who were funny become pale shadows of themselves: they finally managed to ruin Stan, and the hilarious skull Murray is degraded to the level of a harmless curiosity.

This is connected to another aspect that suffered in Escape: the atmosphere. In the previous games the exotic Caribbean setting was treated halfway seriously, the occasional well-placed anachronisms only emphasizing the romantic flair of sea adventures and treasure hunting. This game doesn't feel like that at all. Of course, its whole idea was to show the influence of capitalism and globalization on "authentic" pirate stuff, but the result was an almost complete loss of true Monkey Island spirit. This series was never strictly a comedy, it always had place for real feelings and real pirates. In Escape, everything is a caricature. Pop culture references have lost their former subtlety and are now on full rampage. Voodoo and ghosts are treated with toothless negligence. Pirates have turned into friendly gimmicks for tourists.

The puzzles are a mixed bag. Some of them are way too obscure, while others are surprisingly easy and not rewarding enough. The "pinball" puzzle on Monkey Island is a pain to solve, as there are no clues provided. On the contrary, the manatee puzzle on Jambalaya Island is disappointingly simple, although it was supposed to be one of the central issues in that part of the game. Monkey Kombat is a nice idea, but the moves are too hard to remember unless you write them down, and the whole thing becomes boring even before you realize that the entire finale of the game is based on it. The elegance and smoothness of gameplay, shared by the three earlier games, cannot be felt anymore.

The Bottom Line
I had a tough time with this review. I finished the game two times and there were moments I enjoyed quite a bit. But truth has to be told: the magic is gone. Escape is deceptively familiar, luring fans into a sponsored orgy of recycling that casts a shadow over the series. There's too much Monkey Island in it, and not enough true creativity.

Windows · by Unicorn Lynx (180491) · 2014

[ View all 15 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
*Alarm bells ringing, sirens wailing...* DJP Mom (11318) Jun 21st, 2007



Escape from Monkey Island emulates the controls of Alone in the Dark right down to double-tapping the up arrow to run; according to its manual and readme, this was in Grim Fandango as well, but was removed at the last minute.


The PC version came with a "quick-path" walkthrough that explained how to beat the entire game. However, not much detail was put into it, and no secrets were revealed (both to try and persuade the player to buy the full strategy guide). The walkthrough that came with the PC version was written entirely in bright blue ink, screenshots and all. This was probably to deter "helpomaniacs", people who look up what to do next, and then regret they did.


  • The "bad guy" of the game is an Australian named Ozzie Mandrill. A mandrill is a kind of a monkey.
  • There is a character named Marco Pollo in the game. Beside being a parody on the famous traveler Marco Polo, the name also has another meaning: "pollo" is Spanish for "chicken".
  • On Melee Island (TM), if you ask I. Cheese about his family, he'll eventually tell you about his aunt who was so ugly people turned to stone when looking at her. He also tells her name: Gorgon Zola Cheese. "Gorgonzola" is a kind of cheese, while "Gorgon" is a name of a monster in Greek mythology: whoever looks at it turns into stone.


  • The SCUMM Bar and LUA Bars appearing in the game are named after two programming languages. SCUMM is the language developed by LucasArts for creating Maniac Mansion (and then many other games), and LUA is a language developed in a Brazilian university.
  • In the Place of Prostheses, with the machine if you enter the right code then you can get one which has the name as 'Manuel J. Calaverus'. This is obviously referring to Manny Calavera in Grim Fandango.
  • Escape from Monkey Island features a mini-game (obligatory to finish the game) called "Monkey Combat". No need to say it is a parody on the Mortal Kombat series.
  • When you are in Lucre Island jail, if you look at the iron maiden, Guybrush would say, "Iron Maiden! Excellent!" This is refering to the movie Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, where they get arrested in ancient England, and the king says to send them to the iron maiden. Thinking they mean the rock band, Bill and Ted reply "Iron Maiden. Excellent!" then play the air guitar.
  • On Lucre Island (TM), the parfume stand is entitled "Scents and Sensibilities". This is a reference to Jane Austin's book Sense and Sensibility.
  • On Lucre Island, inside the swamp, you can see a crashed X-Wing there.


  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 04/2009 - One of the "10 Most Terrible Sequels" ( It changed the handling to annoying keyboard controls and many puzzles defy every logic and have to be solved through trial and error. The atmosphere suffers from sterile backgrounds and modern consumption criticism. Because of its humour and the lack of competition it is still the best adventure released in 2000.)
  • PC Player (Germany)
    • Issue 01/2001 - Best Adventure in 2000

Information also contributed by James Isaac, Jiguryo, J. Michael Bottorff, Ol Sverre Bauge, Unicorn Lynx and Xoleras

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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Ryan Prendiville.

Macintosh added by Corn Popper. PlayStation 2 added by Grant McLellan.

Additional contributors: Terok Nor, Swordmaster, Itay Brenner, Adam Baratz, Kirschsaft, Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, chirinea, Sciere, Ghost Pirate, Solid Flamingo, Paulus18950, Patrick Bregger.

Game added November 10th, 2000. Last modified August 27th, 2023.