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Did Curse destroy Monkey Island?

posted by Ash735 on - last edited - Viewed by 3.1K users

Clearly there are a few people here that view Curse as the actual down point of the series, really laying into it, saying that the series would be better off dead than to have the Curse/Escape/Tales stories. Now, strong views, could be because of how they perceive the story or it could be something to do with the lack of Ron Gilbert being the main series runner once MI2 ended, but here's a coin flip thread, for anything that was done/explained in Curse, I'm going to take a look at why it was BAD and why it was GOOD. So let's get started:

THE BIG ONE: It was all a Dream/Curse??
BAD: In Monkey Island 1 and 2 we have many modern day references, as Monkey Island 2 progresses further into weirdness at the end we learn that LeChuck and Guybrush are brothers and are really kids at some amusement park, we're lead to believe that the series was actually in the head of a child with an over active imagination, as the credits roll we see Chuckie's eyes glow and somewhat resemble LeChuck facial features, but hey, this is just a cheeky nod to the gamer right? If we believe this route, then there would never be a Monkey Island 3, the idea is out, why would gamers want to play a game storyline they know is just the imagination of some kid, any threatening things in such story wouldn't matter anymore (which is odd seeing as Guybrush can Die in both Monkey Island 1 and 2). There were loads of book titles in the library that mention why Trilogies suck, etc so even though the idea was mentioned afterwards, Monkey Island 2 WAS meant to be the final story, the shock ending was meant to show the gamer that this amazing world they've been in for so long was actually just the dreams of a little boy.

GOOD: But wait, Chuckie's face turns into LeChuck as Guybrush and his parents walk away from him, and let's talk about Big Whoop, in the story, we already know that Four Crewmen and even LeChuck himself have seen Big Whoop and how terrible it is, yet here, in this odd tunnel, the crate is smashed, there is nothing in this crate except for a single E-Ticket, somethings not right here. Then we start seeing things from Melee Island and even the street from Melee Island itself, this is all getting weirder by the minute. Then comes the moment when Guybrush finally rips apart LeChuck, but wait, he's our Brother, our Kid Brother? And this Janitor appears telling us to get out? Then we get our weird ending, with the sinister glance from LeChuck to the player letting us know something is not right. And of course during the end credits we flash back to the Monkey Island universe where Elaine is waiting for Guybrush and comments that she hopes LeChucks hasn't put some kind of Curse on him and this is what Curse and essentially the rest of the series has built upon, has the rest of a series continued on from a throw away joke at the end of MI2, or was Guybrush really cursed and everything from waking up in the tunnels fake?


-- Coming Soon, LeChuck is a Cartoon Villain? The Four Map Pieces Explanation? An Amusement Park?? Continuity Problems? --

195 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • make a movie detailing the carnival,how he escaped and how his memory was lost.

  • Man, and I thought I had the weirdest preferences on these forums (since only a few here seem to agree with me on Escape being awesome or Tales' soundtrack being lacking, for example), but this Barnabus guy easily beats me.

  • Curse was just a bit pointless. MI2 ended the story perfectly, although I realise a lot of people like nice neat conclusions.

    It's not a bad little game, don't get me wrong, but to me it's not Monkey Island. I don't treat it or anything after it as canon. Its feel, its (cartoonish) graphical style, the characterisation, even the fact that the characters are voiced rather than having text, well it all feels wrong somehow.

    I almost group it in the same category as Quest for Glory 5 or Gabriel Knight 2: a graphical adventure from the end of the genre's golden age, when games companies were trying to do new things with them to make them more appealing in a very different landscape and, for the most part, failing.

    @Barnabus said:
    I honestly don't get what was so nonsensical about the MI2 ending. There are hints throughout the games that all isn't quite what it appears, then in a twist it turns out that it was two kids playing in a theme park, with another hint that maybe it's all a magic spell - the player is left to decide. It's really not that hard to understand. Have you people never seen a movie with an ambiguous ending before? I get the sense that gamers have difficulty dealing with even mildly challenging or unexpected storytelling approaches. The painfully literal explanation for MI2s ending in Curse certainly didn't do either game any favours.

    I completely agree. It's quite a daring concept in a computer game, I think. It's almost like some people would rather not have any depth or experimentation in storytelling, from the violent reactions against it.

    @Barnabus said: I honestly don't get why people make the ending out to be this huge deep thing when it was just a corny Star Wars reference and intentionally anti-climactic beyond reason. I'm fairly certain that Tim has even said at some point that it was supposed to be anti-climactic and not mean anything. It's not like Ron, Tim and Dave were like "oh man, this would be so epic if we had this killer ending open to interpretation" It was ridiculous and over the top to make fun of movies that have big "reveals" at the ending (for example, Darth Vader being Luke's father, blatantly referenced in the ending scene of MI2), but it was still a crap ending.

    There aren't "hints" throughout the games. You're finding hints where there are none, because the ending was made as a joke, not some super-serious conclusion to some amazing dramatic storyline. The storyline in MI has always existed solely to provide the possibility of jokes. It was never meant to have some deep serious story that would blow your mind or something ridiculous like that, and if "oh, uh... they're kids in a theme park" blows your mind, you're pretty easy to amuse. (Not to mention that Ron has publicly stated that the whole kids in a theme park thing isn't a correct theory at all)

    It's not meant to be "super serious", and the themepark theory doesn't exclude it ALSO being intended as a funny Star Wars reference. I think the hints throughout actually introduce another level of fun, making you see the games in a new light as well.

    I think you're doing the series a bit of a disservice, to be honest.

  • I'm just gonna ignore most of the posts in here cause really, I don't need to read every last theory out there. Most fans have their own take, and since this thread is called "Did CoMI destroy Monkey Island?" I'll give my own take.

    The short answer: No.

    The long answer: Nooooooooooo- okay, sorry, had to toss that joke in there.

    In all seriousness, I actually enjoyed Curse of Monkey Island the most. It had just the right amount of difficulty, even if a couple of the puzzles left me agonizing for an hour or more before I had to - in frustration - go and quickly look it up, then slap myself on the forehead going "how the hell did I miss that?". Where as when I played Monkey Island 2 Special Edition, I sadly found myself having to get a "hint" on about a third of the puzzles, cause I just wasn't able to put 2 and 2 together on a number of them. They were, again, more of those "how did I miss this?" moments, but a few of them I just didn't even know I could do a couple of those things. I think one of the more humbling ones was not realizing I could use the bucket of mud on Largo's door; I so rarely ever close doors, it never even occurred to me to have anything to do with it.

    Someone I recall once threw out the phrase "Monkey Island Logic", and I think that really does apply. Monkey Island 1, however, I never needed a single hint. That felt good. I felt .. well, I honestly felt like I was trying to run up a very steep hill with Monkey Island 2, and the tedious back-tracking was rather annoying. I enjoyed the commentary where they even admitted that "having to visit all islands to solve all puzzles" was something they weren't super happy about afterwards.

    Honestly, if you listen to the commentary, you'd quickly realize that Ron Gilbert not only was okay with the sequels, but they all even stated that Monkey Island 2 is listed as both one of the Top 10 Best Endings AND Top 10 Worst Endings. They pretty much stated they simply came up with an idea over dinner one night and started putting several twists onto it and came up with the ending. They were both rather pleased with it, but also disappointed because they knew, later on, that it was gonna divide the fans down the middle. That wasn't what they'd intended, but it was what happened, and they were saddened by it.

    I will also make a confession. While I had played all the King's Quest games in the late 90's via the King's Quest Collection, I never was able to get copies of Monkey Island or Grim Fandango, or many other great games of the genre. So the first game I finally got to play (although I'd long known about the series) was Escape From Monkey Island.

    To sum it up, I loved the game, hated Monkey Fu or whatever it was called, and desperately wanted to play the others. Sadly, it wouldn't happen for years. While I chuckled and even laughed out loud playing Monkey Island 1 and 2 on the Xbox 360 for the first time, Curse of Monkey Island made me laugh the hardest, really sealed up most of the plotholes, and enjoyed poking a bit of fun at the ones that remained. I loved the artwork, the voice acting was great, and I loved all the nods and references to the previous games.

    In no way did Monkey Island 3 hurt the series. If anything, it saved it, because love it or hate it, there's no question that Monkey Island 2 had.. as TVTropes would call it.. a GAINAX Ending. Where there are almost NO answers to the many questions, more questions are made, and in general the player is left feeling unsatisfied, disappointed, and likely wanting to know WTF just happened.

    Monkey Island 2 is essentially like Monty Python & the Holy Grail. It's super, fun, and great all the way up until the heavily WTF ending, and it just feels.. almost like a cop-out, I guess. If anything, it feels like the odd man out in the series. I loved playing it, I enjoyed the humour, and I still like the notions and theories that have sprung up to explain it..

    But guys (and gals), you have to face facts. Curse, Escape, and Tales ARE official canon. Ron was in no way upset by their creation, and unlike Metroid when it's creator left, the sequels to Monkey Island have only made the characters more interesting, more endearing, and given the series exactly what it needed.


    EDIT: Noticed someone mentioned Lucas and StarWars in conjunction with Ron and Monkey Island. I should point out that Lucas has pretty much destroyed StarWars with constant retcons, remakes, and expanded universe crap which, in my opinion, watered down so much of what made the original trilogy great.

    Don't always say the creator would do better, or that the creator always knows best. The example of Lucas and StarWars is the other side of the Author Coin. I personally think Nintendo has destroyed the Metroid series after Gunpei was dishonoured and left the company. I did find Fusion to be good, but after knowing that Sakamoto had Other M's storyline in mind back when Fusion was made.. I can't even play it without thinking of that abomination, and what the bastard did to a series (and a character) I loved growing up.

    So yeah.. be careful what you wish for guys. Ron seems like a pretty intelligent guy, I doubt he'd make all the mistakes some have made, and I would think he's happy people still play new Monkey Island games and love the characters he created.

  • I don't know who you are, but I love you.

  • @SHODANFreeman said: I don't know who you are, but I love you.

    I second that. A post like that make me wish this forum had a 'like' option.

  • @SHODANFreeman said: I don't know who you are, but I love you.

    me too!
    Can you make a new tomi happen?
    Purty please?

  • The thread title threw me off, so it's nice to see other folks consider the third game their favorite.

    Man, that game ruled.

  • Responses like those make me feel all warm and demonic inside. :D

    In-joking aside, if I can make a post like that and not only remain unflamed, but actually agreed with, it certainly makes me feel better about the MI community. I've been in other communities where people just don't know how to handle posts like mine. Many thanks.

  • I also liked and heartily agree with it.

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