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Did Curse destroy Monkey Island?

posted by Ash735 on - last edited - Viewed by 1.5K 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
  • @StarEye said: Curse is a fantastic game, no way around it. But it took the series in a new direction... whereas the first two blended a more serious tone with comedy, Curse became all cartoon comedy.



    The seriousness of the first two is highly overstated.

  • @SHODANFreeman said: The seriousness of the first two is highly overstated.



    I know they're not really serious, but they give the illusion of having a more serious tone and hid the comedy better. Curse made it much more evident that it was a comedy, and Escape took that element to the extremes (I have no problem with self-parody, but there's a difference between that and disrespecting it's legacy). Tales was more in line with Curse again.

    It may be something as simple as Curse onwards having speech and more cartoony graphics, but the reason is completely irrelevant since it's the outcome that counts. And the outcome was that the illusion of a more serious tone disappeared after MI2. .

    Just to be clear, I don't agree that the Curse destroyed Monkey Island, that's ridiculous. I do believe, however, that Curse CHANGED the series from the illusion of a serious game sprinkled with comedy elements to a comedy sprinkled with serious elements. Wether you like that change or not is a personal preference. I'd prefer to have kept the illusion, but that doesn't stop me from screaming with joy like a little girl every time a new Monkey Island game is announced.

  • @StarEye said: I know they're not really serious, but they give the illusion of having a more serious tone and hid the comedy better. Curse made it much more evident that it was a comedy, and Escape took that element to the extremes (I have no problem with self-parody, but there's a difference between that and disrespecting it's legacy). Tales was more in line with Curse again.

    It may be something as simple as Curse onwards having speech and more cartoony graphics, but the reason is completely irrelevant since it's the outcome that counts. And the outcome was that the illusion of a more serious tone disappeared after MI2. .

    Just to be clear, I don't agree that the Curse destroyed Monkey Island, that's ridiculous. I do believe, however, that Curse CHANGED the series from the illusion of a serious game sprinkled with comedy elements to a comedy sprinkled with serious elements. Wether you like that change or not is a personal preference. I'd prefer to have kept the illusion, but that doesn't stop me from screaming with joy like a little girl every time a new Monkey Island game is announced.



    You know, StarEye, I was thinking about what you said. You're right, three to five is a little more different than one to two. Yet, they are all funny games that don't take themselves too seriously. I love all the MI games for different reasons, and they all have that MI feel. Yet, maybe the difference is that MI 1 and 2 had more of a Terry Gilliam kind of feel to them. We look at movies like "Time Bandits" and The Adventures of "Baron Munchousen" which are all incredibly silly. I feel like Monkey Island one and two almost have a Terry Gilliam was here kind of feel, especially the surrealism of 2: LeChuck's Revenge. I can't describe three to five's feel. Yes, I call Tales five. Yet they are all very funny, none of them are to be taken seriously, yet the first two have a slightly different feel than the last three.

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    Syd

    I don't think MI3 ruined Monkey Island at all. To the contrary, I quite enjoyed it. When it comes down to how it treated MI2's ending, I personally think that it's probably fairly close to how Ron Gilbert had it planned. I don't believe at all that MI1 and 2 were the result of a kid's imagination (and if it was it would feel like a massive slap to the face. I detest "It was all a dreeeaaaammm!" endings with every fiber of my being because it makes the entire work in question feel utterly pointless and leaves me feeling somewhat empty inside. Besides, Ron had planned out his own MI3 and a kid in an amusement park wouldn't make for much of a Monkey Island game now, would it?). I think the evil glint in Chuckie's eyes combined with the shot of Elaine wondering if LeChuck had cast a spell on Guybrush (With a big emphasis on 'spell') was supposed to be a hint of sorts that LeChuck did indeed trick Guybrush one way or another. The brother thing was probably to get Guybrush to lower his defenses enough for LeChuck to successfully cast his spell on him. They could still have some sort of ties to each other, though (I recall Ron saying in an interview something along the line of "In a way, they are brothers, in a way, they are not." leading me to believe that they might be brothers in a much more metaphorical sense).

    My personal guess is that, if we ever see a MI game made by Ron himself, he'll probably find a way to work MI3-5 into his canon. He had said before that he thought Curse was quite good (though I don't know what his opinion on Escape is) and he collaborated a bit with Telltale to create Tales. It'd be almost cruel in my eyes to write all of those games out of the overarching story and completely invalidate such a large portion of the series.

    For MI3 itself, I really found little to complain about. I loved the cartoony art style, the choice of voice actors, the writing, and the gameplay overall. The only complaint I can think of is that LeChuck didn't feel like much of a villain overall and I think he could have been a bit more threatening. I agree that Curse had a somewhat different tone overall compared to the previous games and marked a shift towards a bigger focus on comedy in the series, but it definitely still felt like Monkey Island to me.

  • Oh man, bringing up Terry Gilliam in regards to the first two Monkey Island games.. I can totally see where you're coming from there. If anything, Monkey Island 2 especially reminded me of Monkey Python, especially the "what the hell" ending reminiscent of the suddenly modern/surreal ending of "Holy Grail".

    Now, I love Monty Python to bits and it was part of my youth, but wow did I always find the ending to suddenly jar me out of whatever spell I was under. In fact, comparing MI2 to just that movie is probably a good metaphor. You have this one story/setting/etc and suddenly boom, unexpected ending leaving people scratching their heads and drawing their own conclusions.

    However, in keeping with the comparison between MI and TG, I'd also have to say that some of the humour is definitely out there and/or an acquired taste. A number of the jokes in MI 1 and 2 took me a little while to fully digest, where as in MI3 and beyond I never felt like I'd missed the point of something except on maybe a very obscure reference I wouldn't notice until later.

    Hmm.. here's a thought for you all, having recently come out of the King's Quest forum feeling a bit.. odd:

    Could one of the reasons people are divided between MI1-2 and MI3 be the same reason that people are torn between previous KQ games and KQ7? The switch to more cartoony graphics, more humour, and an overall lighter tone compared to earlier games. I am seeing a similarity here.

    Oh, and something I remembered. Somewhere I read that Ron disliked Guybrush marrying Elaine, saying in his mind Elaine never saw Guybrush as more than a brother. Yet then why were there so many romantic tones to their interactions in MI1? When I thought about all the games, and what he said about his ideas for her and why she was pushed back as a more background character in MI2.. I'd almost say that MI2 is the odd-card out. Guybrush has that mustache, Elaine just up and leaves both Guybrush and her job as Governor, LeChuck's beard was apparently not ghostly despite the game telling you outright he was a ghost. Then again, there was the whole "skeleton under the ghost" when you beat him..

    I dunno.. the more I think about it, the more I feel that MI2 just didn't sit right with me. It wasn't a bad game, but like... I felt like a lot was missing. maybe I'm too tired and thinking to much...

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    Syd

    @Hiroshi Mishima said: Could one of the reasons people are divided between MI1-2 and MI3 be the same reason that people are torn between previous KQ games and KQ7? The switch to more cartoony graphics, more humour, and an overall lighter tone compared to earlier games. I am seeing a similarity here.



    From what I've seen, it's that and/or because Ron Gilbert wasn't involved. Also, those in the latter camp often have their own interpretation of MI2's ending, and it doesn't always match up with the way Curse handled it.

  • I like Curse just fine.

    Now, it would be totally honest to say that Escape destroyed Monkey Island. Nothing good about that one. Anyway, LeChuck was even less of a villain in that one, largely in part due to Ozzie Mandrill.

  • I feel that Escape was a decent continuation except for some glaringly stupid portions (Monkey Combat). I really don't believe GRIME was the worst thing about the game or the progression. I mean after all, Grim Fandango, easily one of the best adventure games ever created, was built using GRIME, so you can't blame the overall game on the engine alone. I imagine part of the problem with Escape in GRIME is partly due to the limitations that they were put under being required to build the game for multiple platforms (Playstation 2).

    I chalk Escape's comparatively lackluster appeal more to changes in writing staff over the years, catering to the lowest common denominator in terms of platforms, and a general lack of story direction.

  • Jambalaya Island. The entire area was trying too hard to be funny through anachronisms and failed at it. Yes, I get that it fits with the corporate takeover plot, but that just makes it part of a bigger problem. Things like Starbuccaneer's are not funny, nor do they fit in at all with the rest of the established Monkey Island universe.

  • @jawaj said: The only complaint ive ever heard about escape is monkey combat. Please think of other reasons to hate that game please



    I love the game (apart from Monkey Kombat) but I can think of resions to hate it. Herman Toothrot stupid retcons less Piratey settings and Guybrush looks like a bell hop. But I ignore it all hehe cos I love the jokes in it and I genraly do love playing it.

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