Thursday, 29 May 2014

Game 43: The Secret of Monkey Island - Won!

Guybrush Threepwood Journal Entry 12: "I've defeated the evil LeChuck and saved Elaine! The key to it all was a root brew, created for me by the cannibals of Monkey Island. Once I had it I was able to get to the Melee Island church in time to stop LeChuck from marrying Elaine, simultaneously setting in motion events that would lead to the undead pirate exploding in a shower of light in the sky! I couldn't be happier, and with Elaine finally by my side, my future is very exciting indeed. I just hope it doesn't involve voodoo or ghosts! Is that too much to ask?"

Let's go see what this key gives me access to!

I’ve completed The Secret of Monkey Island, and boy was it an enjoyable ride! I was actually a lot closer to the end than I realised when my last session ended, so I don’t imagine it will take me all that long to finish this off. You may recall that I’d just figured out how to get the key off the wall in LeChuck’s cabin. Well once I had it, I was able to go back into the ship's underbelly and through the hatch that had previously been locked. Within I found a room filled with ghost rats, behind which I could see a large tub of cooking grease. It seemed obvious to me that the grease would be used to open the creaking door up on the deck, but how was I going to get past the huge, vicious rat guarding the way? There was an empty dish in front of it, suggesting that it was hungry or thirsty, so when I noticed that one of the other rats looked drunk, I thought I’d try filling the dish with grog. The rat drank it up immediately, and then rolled onto its back, unconscious. This allowed me to walk over and collect a glob of the grease, which I immediately took with me back up to the ship’s deck. As expected, I was able to use the grease on the door to stop it from squeaking, and then opened the door without drawing any attention to myself.

Because I know a drunk ghost rat when I see one!

It's Grease frightening!!! (sorry)

What's behind door number two?

Through the door I found a sleeping ghost pirate lying in front of a locked door. I had to assume that Elaine was in the room beyond, but there didn’t appear to be any way to get past the pirate. There was however a collection of ghost tools on the wall next to him, which I was able to add to my inventory. Once again I had a fair idea what this new item might be for, so made my way back to the glowing crate beneath the deck. I used the tools on the crate, at which point Guybrush set to work breaking through the numerous forms of protection that LeChuck had placed on it. When it was finally open, I grabbed the root within, surprised that I’d gotten my hands on the downfall of LeChuck so easily. Surely I wouldn’t be able to just wander into his cabin and destroy him?! It was at this point that I recalled that I needed to take the root back to the cannibals to have it mixed into a batch of “enzymatic ghost-dissolving solution”. I tested this theory by trying to use the root on the drunken pirate that was lying on the steps between the lower and upper decks. “I don’t think it’s very useful in its present form” was the response, so clearly I was thinking the right way. I left the ship and prepared to make my way back through the catacombs.

Undead tools!? Reminds me of Twilight!

An old root? That doesn't sound very appealing!

It sure feels good to take that eyeball necklace off!

I was just thinking how it would be really nice if the game didn’t make me find my way back to the surface of the island when a message popped up saying: “A long walk, a brief row, and a short hike later...” The game had gone one better, taking me all the way back to the cannibal’s village without making me go through the motions of travel! I informed the cannibals of my success in stealing their root back for them, then handed it over so they could get to work. “Wow! Look, he’s not kidding! Here it is! He’s not such a wimp after all!” The three cannibals went off to make the brew, asking me to wait for their return. As I stood waiting, the three headed monkey that someone mentioned on the blog appeared for no particular reason! It ran off just as the natives returned with the brew: “There it is. One squirt of that stuff and the ectoplasm really hits the fan! And if you have any left over, it’s delicious with a little vanilla ice cream.” I was super keen to go and try out the mixture, so thankfully I was automatically transported back to the ship as soon as I walked out of the village...only there was no ship there anymore!!! LeChuck’s first mate was standing on the cliff face overlooking the lava, so I asked him where the ship had gone. His response was more than a little concerning: “They all left for the wedding.” I asked him for more information regarding the wedding, despite knowing exactly what he was going to say. “LeChuck is marrying the Governor of Melee Island.” Yep, that’s what I thought he was going to say. Damn!

The Elder Scrolls could really learn from this.

Good times ahead!

Well at least I got to see it eventually!

Um...that seems unlikely.

I was pretty intrigued as to why Bob had remained beneath the surface of Monkey Island rather than go to the wedding, so asked him. “My head fell into the lava there, and I had to chase after it, and when I came back they had gone! Shame, too. I hate to miss the wedding.” There was only one more thing I needed to know, which was where the location of the wedding would be. Fortunately Bob had no qualms in revealing that LeChuck and Elaine’s wedding was to be held in the church on Melee Island! Well that explained the church’s purpose, which was something I’d wondered about earlier in the game. There seemed nothing else to talk about, but as I was about to head back through the catacombs, my crew arrived on the scene! Apparently they’d been looking everywhere for me, but I was more interested in how they’d managed to get through the catacombs without the head of the navigator. Much to my enjoyment, they claimed complete ignorance on the subject, making me look completely insane when I tried to describe the horrible things I’d seen and the use of the severed head. Clearly the game had no intention of explaining how they actually got there, and before I knew it the words “Last Part: Guybrush Kicks Butt” were on the screen! Things were being pushed along rapidly at this point, and all of a sudden I found myself standing on the dock back on Melee Island. My crew had run off to find more sunscreen, so once again the task of saving the day was left entirely up to me.

To think I had to find this crew to be able to sail to Monkey Island. They've been completely useless to me!

Haven't I been kicking butt up until now?!

If you want something done...

I immediately noticed that there were now only two items in my inventory, being my pieces of eight, and the magic seltzer bottle containing the ghost-dissolving solution. I began walking in the direction of the church, only for a ghost pirate to confront me! I had a few dialogue options available, but all of them seemed to involve spraying the solution on him. I chose “I’m selling this fine mouthwash”, and then watched as Guybrush dissolved the ghost with a single spray! I did the same thing to a ghost that was requesting invitations to the wedding in the centre of town, giving me a clear path to the church. On entering I found a priest at the lectern, clearly in the process of marrying LeChuck and Elaine: “...if there be any man with reason that these should not be united in blissful matrimony, let him speak now or forever hold his peace.” This was my chance, so I yelled out “STOP THE WEDDING!!” Unsurprisingly this interruption did not impress LeChuck, and when I informed him of my intentions to stop the proceedings, he demanded to know how I planned to achieve this goal. While I had noticed that Elaine hadn’t turned around throughout all of this, I was still pretty surprised when another Elaine dropped down from the ceiling attached to a rope! What the hell was going on?! LeChuck was just as surprised as me, as was the priest. Elaine cleared things up: “Oh, Guybrush, you mad fool! I’m impressed that you came to rescue me, but it really wasn’t necessary. I had everything well in hand. Unfortunately, your arrival has made it necessary for me to tip my hand early.”

Who you gonna call?

Why yes I's right here in this bottle!

I just noticed now that there are "people" sitting in the right pews but not the left. Nice!

How can you not love a woman that can make an entrance like this one!?

Thankfully one of my dialogue options at this point asked the question I was desperate to ask: “If you’re here, then who’s that in the dress?” Right at that moment the wedding dress dropped to the ground, revealing two monkeys! The larger one had a bottle not dissimilar to my own in its hands, but Elaine warned me not to move too quickly: “Don’t scare them! They have my ghost-zapping root beer bottle!” Guybrush being Guybrush, he offered to get the bottle for Elaine, scaring the two monkeys away in the process. Elaine wasn’t pleased: “Nice going, Guybrush. Now I’ve got to chase them down to get my voodoo root beer back.” With Elaine off chasing the monkeys, LeChuck turned his attention back to me: “You dared to come here and confront me! I can’t believe your audacity!” I of course still had my own bottle of ghost-melting liquid, so tried to use it: “Take THIS, you vaporous voodoo vermin! You’ll never menace decent, tangible pirates again you billowing bag of...of...of something that begins with b!” Clearly all the insult lessons had amounted to nothing, but even worse, the damn pump on the bottle was jammed with pocket lint! LeChuck took his opportunity, his Popeye style punch knocking Guybrush high above Melee Island. For the next period of time, I laughed as LeChuck launched Guybrush from location to location, with our poor hero finally lodging within the grog vending machine at Stan’s Previously Owned Vessels.

What's this monkey business?!


Rarely is it so entertaining to watch your own character get repeatedly bashed!

Never one to miss an opportunity, Stan wandered out and began another sales pitch, ignoring the fact that I was completely submerged in the vending machine: “Good to see you, son. How’s the ship? If you’re interested in trading up, I can give you a fair price for it.” He even tried his pitch on LeChuck when he arrived on the scene, only for the undead pirate to smash him into orbit also. Once Stan was out of the way, LeChuck turned his attention to the vending machine, twisting it this way and that in an attempt to get me out. Finally he pulled me out through the slot at the base, which can’t have felt particularly pleasant. As LeChuck prepared to punch me in the face again, I noticed a green bottle of root beer had fallen out of the vending machine alongside me. I picked it up, and used it on LeChuck, not completely certain whether or not root beer would have the same effect as the brew the cannibals had mixed earlier. As theliquid hit LeChuck in the face, he began to choke and then scream in pain! His head exploded upwards into the sky, leaving nothing but a headless skeleton on the ground, which then dissolved before my eyes! LeChuck was gone! To my utter delight, the words “Instant Replay” then flashed at the bottom of the screen, and I was given not one, but two replayed views (with the second one being Blimp-Cam) of the ghost pirate’s demise. As his head reached a certain distance above the island, it exploded into numerous colourful fireworks!

Um...I wouldn't stand there if I was...actually, never mind...carry on!

This seemed a bad time to lose one's head!

Blimp-Cam: Brilliant!

Hmmm...where have I seen this before?

Emmanuelle!!! Clearly LucasArts plagiarized this classic game!

At this point Elaine wandered up to join me, and the two of watched the light show above us. Guybrush made a fine observation: “You know, LeChuck was a deviant, obnoxious, slithery, creepy-crawly sort of a guy, but I’ll say one thing for him. He sure looks nice exploding against the night sky.” Elaine agreed, stating how romantic the whole scene was, and offered to buy Guybrush a root beer. Our hero approved of the idea, but his suggestion that there might be more in Stan’s vending machine made him wonder what had become of the overly-enthusiastic salesman. I was then very briefly shown Stan crashing into the ocean way out to sea, having finally returned to Earth after his LeChuck-induced orbit was complete. This wasn’t the only loose end tied up though, as Guybrush then commented that he’d forgotten all about his promise to bring Herman Toothrot back to Melee Island. The view once again changed, this time showing Herman standing on one of the Monkey Island beaches, questioning whether or not Guybrush had left without him. There’s no doubt that Guybrush was now a hero, but he was still a pirate, and that meant not always living a life of honour and loyalty. As funny as all of this was, it was the game’s final moments that made me laugh out loud. Guybrush commented to Elaine that at least he’d learned something from this whole experience, and when she asked what it was, I was given the chance to choose between three dialogue responses. I chose “Never pay more than 20 bucks for a computer game”, just to see what would happen. Elaine asked me what I was talking about, and the game’s fitting final sentence was “I don’t know, I’m not sure why I said that.” Love it!!! Final Rating post to come on the weekend...

Aaawwww, what an attractive couple! You might want to keep this one away from Larry, Guybrush!

I'm sure comic timing in a computer game is not always easy, but LucasArts continually nailed it in this game.

I absolutely love this final line. I'll have to go see what the other two dialogue options produce though...

Well at least we have YouTube!

A fair demand, and one I must comply with now...

Session Time: 0 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 9 hours 30 minutes

Monday, 26 May 2014

What's Your Story? - xyzzysqrl

I can't even remember the last time we had a What's Your Story post. They ran dry after an initial burst of entries. There are a whole bunch of newer readers though, and one of them sent their answers through a few days ago. It's xyzzysqrl that has decided to share his story (and gain 20 CAPs in the process), so without further ado, it's over to our resident squirrel...

Ooooohhhh, isn't he cute!!!!

My home country is… The United States of America.

My age is… Oh lord, can I skip... no? Okay. I am 32 years old and aging a little more rapidly every time I answer that question. (Tricky: Given that I turn 37 today, your reluctance to reveal your age makes me feel very old indeed!)

The first adventure game I played was… Unknowable to me. When my father brought home a TRS-80 Color Computer from Radio Shack I was still in my delicate formative years. I learned to read sitting in my father's lap playing strange text adventures with simple names like HAUNT and BEDLAM and PYRAMID 2000. Eventually we upgraded to a Tandy 1000 and I started in on the Sierra line of adventure games, and soon had Black Cauldron, King's Quest, Space Quest, and Leisure Suit Larry under my belt. (Yes, at that age. No, I snuck that in when no one was home. No, I didn't know what MOST of that meant. Yes, I was smart enough not to ask.)

"Dad? Excuse me dad! Um...if you were in a brothel...and a pimp wouldn't let you go upstairs to see a hooker...what would you do?"

My favourite adventure game is… Difficult to say. The moment I discovered Infocom I fell completely in love with them, and I still think A Mind Forever Voyaging may be their best work. However I also adore the Gabriel Knight games, particularly the second: Beast Within. And Zork: Grand Inquisitor gets replayed once a year or so. I really have to go with... Sam and Max Hit The Road. Warner Brothers antics distilled into an insane road trip across a warped but familiar America. I've played it so many times the CD needed replacing.

When I’m not playing games I like to… I'm fond of Japanese children's programming. Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, Sailor Moon. As well as cartoons in general, my favorite of all time being Mysterious Cities of Gold with runners-up in Animaniacs and Freakazoid. I also read a lot, mostly science-fiction (although lately I'm re-reading Dumas' Three Musketeers). I spend time with the boyfriend in our comfortable apartment. I also hang around online chatting to whoever will talk to me, reading blogs (yo!) and playing dumb flash games... yes, when I'm not playing games I play games.

Mysterious Cities of Gold: This show was amazing! I'm so glad that it is so fondly remembered by so many people these days.

The thing I miss about old games is… The sense of mystery and the unknown. There was always that feeling like Daventry was supposed to be bigger than the simple grid of boxes it turned out to be. Text parsers let you throw ANYthing at the game in the hopes it would know what you meant. Metroid had weird glitch-rooms outside the game space you could accidentally stumble into. Now it feels like there's guides and youtube videos showing all the secrets just hours after a game comes out. You're less likely to get a sense of "Oh man, I stumbled on something and I'm not sure I was meant to".

The best thing about modern games is… There's room for so many of them. In the last few hours I've dabbled in Nintendo's goofy life sim Animal Crossing, slain a few thousand ancient chinese warriors in Dynasty Warriors 8, enthusiastically campaigned for futuristic-city-skating game Hover: Revolt of Gamers, checked out how La Mulana 2 is progressing, and installed Divinity: Original Sin for later. All of these are different genres of game, from weird bobble-headed life sim to retro platformer to gorgeous RPG to big-budget beat-em-up. There are SO MANY games out there now you can nestle into a niche and never come out, or you can take in a little of everything and leave the buffet stuffed. It's fantastic.

My favourite movie is… The absolutely ridiculous Bruce Willis crime caper comedy Hudson Hawk.

I do recall enjoying this as a teenager. It's probably one of those films that I shouldn't try to revisit now though.

I like my games in (a box, digital format)… Any way I can get them. I hoard digitally because they're cheap, but I'm not above buying boxed games, particularly for consoles or handhelds. I admit to being a steam junkie though.

If I could see any band live it would be… They Might Be Giants. ... Okay, if I could bring a band back and make them reform for one last show, it would be Moxy Fruvous.

The one TV show I never miss is… I never can remember to actually watch TV at the proper times. But the BF and I have been loyal followers of Bones, Castle, Phineas & Ferb, Once Upon a Time, Sleepy Hollow, and I never need an excuse to dig out the DVDs of Due South.

Once Upon a Time: I'm mildly interested in this. Opinions?

One interesting thing about me is… I keep a game blog as well, mixed in with other posts about my RL and various things. I draw random game titles from my collection out of a hat and play them, often with commentary.

If there's anyone else out there that would like to share, or get their hands on 20 sweet CAPs, please send your responses to

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Game 43: The Secret of Monkey Island - Bite of the Navigator

Guybrush Threepwood Journal Entry 11: "As if having to board a ghost ship in search of a voodoo root isn't horrifying enough, to even get there I had find my way through a fiery maze filled with bloody body parts and...mushrooms!!!!!!! I hate mushrooms! To add to the creepiness, the only way to get through the maze was to follow the directions of a crusty severed head. Please be close Elaine! My feelings for you are unquestionably strong, but my bravery is being severely tested right now."

Monkey Magic...Monkey Magic...Monkey Magic...

Readers will note that I’ve had a fairly unobstructed path through The Secret of Monkey Island so far. Sure, I’ve had to backtrack a bit to find things I’d missed the first time around, but I haven’t got stuck anywhere for particularly long. That all changed with my last session! There have been two sections in Part Three where I've been pretty much stumped, with one in particular very close to making me request assistance. My last post finished with me gaining entrance to the gigantic monkey head. This one started with me wandering aimlessly around inside, trying to figure out a way to get through what appeared to be a maze of torment! It had all seemed okay to begin with. When I’d entered the monkey’s mouth, I’d reappeared in the lava filled underground where I’d seen LeChuck’s ghost ship in the cut scenes. There were mushrooms everywhere, causing Guybrush to comment: “I had a feeling that in hell there would be mushrooms.” I read somewhere that one of the three main designers really hates mushrooms, so their appearance clearly represented his feelings towards them. I walked across a couple of thin natural bridges, looking worriedly upon the horrifying faces that were frozen in agonised screams in the rock face around me. Eventually I reached a cave, and on entering it I found myself on a pathway that curved around to the south. It was there that I discovered three bloody heads emerging from the ground! I was actually grateful when Guybrush refused to touch them!

Holy testicle Tuesday Batman! Is this thing supposed to be a real monkey?

Adventure Game Competition: What one thing would you expect to find in hell? Best answer gets CAPs!

Clive Barker would approve!

I walked to the west, where I came upon two bloody hands reaching out of the ground. Once again I wasn’t able to touch them, nor was I able to interact with the numerous mushrooms that were everywhere around me. I continued on in this fashion, exiting one cave and making my way to the next one, walking past a giant nose, a dripping heart, and a hellish looking face on the way. I could find nothing to do on any of the screens, and the worst thing was that turning around and heading back in a direction I’d just come from did not take me back through the same locations. This wasn’t just another maze. It was a randomly generated one!!! There was no chance of mapping it out, and I continually found myself back at my starting point with no idea how I got there. I must have entered the maze about fifteen times, determined to find the secret to getting through, but after around twenty minutes of trying, I was convinced it wasn’t possible. The idea entered my head that I should pay the cannibals another visit. They’d told me to come and see them if I needed anything, and well, I couldn’t think of anything else to try! I found them waiting for me in their village, and things looked promising straight away: “Have you come back to let us repay you for your fine gift?” I told them I had, but sadly, my dialogue options didn’t include anything about the underground maze.


Oh come on Guybrush, stop being such a wuss. Wait...are they eyeballs? (vomits)

I want something else! *sigh* Where's the parser when I need one?!

I chose to tell them that I was looking for someone, and when they claimed to be the only civilized people on Monkey Island, I explained that I was “looking for 30 dead guys and one woman”. They quickly realized who I was talking about, and began whinging about the ghostly pirates. “Those jerks have been bugging us for months. Zooming around here in that creepy ghost ship of theirs, wailing and moaning until all hours of the morning, scaring away all the cruise ship business. Normally, when we have problems with the undead, we just cook up our standard potion of exorcism and be done with it.” This of course got my attention, and I asked them why they didn’t do that this time. “Well, the main ingredient of the potion is a very rare root. In fact, there’s only one in existence. We only use a little bit at a time you see. But LeChuck stole the whole thing!” I asked them where LeChuck was hiding the root, and it was then that the conversation went in the direction I’d hoped it would. “He’s in a place beneath this island. Somewhere in a huge system of catacombs...a hellish place filled with the wailing of tortured souls trapped forever in the rock... where the walls bleed and the air is thick with the rancid smell of pure evil.” Yep, that sounded like the place I’d just been exploring! I asked the cannibals why they didn’t just go and kick LeChuck and his crew out of the catacombs, but they explained that they’d loaned their key to the Monkey Head to Herman, and that he hadn’t returned it.

Doesn't everyone do this?

Crusty old pantless weirdo. Yep, that pretty much sums up Herman.

Just when I thought the conversation would result in something useful, I found the only dialogue option I had left was “I’m off to find LeChuck and get the root”. Thankfully, when I chose it, the cannibals informed me that it wouldn’t be as simple as that. “Trying to find LeChuck could be very dangerous. You’d never find your way through the catacombs without the...” Suddenly Red Skull interrupted Sharptooth, who was clearly about to tell me exactly what I needed to know: “Ixnay on the Eadhay of the Avigatornay!” I understood his pig Latin, and responded in kind: “Oday ouyay avehay away apmay ofway ethay atacombscay?” (For those of you that don’t know pig Latin, this means “Do you have a map of the catacombs?”) They didn’t have a map, but the cannibals did have some sort of head, which used to be attached to a navigator, and which they’d kept alive magically so they “could take advantage of its innate sense of direction.” They claimed that it was impossible to get through the catacombs without the head of the navigator, which explained why my attempts had been so futile. As exciting as this revelation was, the cannibals refused to give the head to me, since it was the only one they head. I tried giving them back their key, since I’d recovered it from Herman in exchange for his banana picker. They were very grateful, but still wouldn’t give me the damn head!

Caption contest

At this point I did what any decent adventurer in need would do. I begged! When even that failed, I began looking through my inventory, trying to give random items to the cannibals to see what would happen. To my great surprise, when I gave them the pamphlet, which was one of the bits of seafaring literature that Stan had given me after our sale was complete, Red Skull accepted it! “Well, look at this. It looks like instructions on how to get a head!” I scoured through my older screenshots, trying to find out what the pamphlet’s title had been. It was “How to Get Ahead in Navigating”! I hadn’t looked at the literature in quite a while, so no wonder I hadn’t thought of the title when needed. I guess this was a clever little puzzle, but I doubt I was the only one that stumbled on the solution by accident rather than through any sort of logical deduction. Regardless, the cannibals seemed very pleased with my gift: “We could give him our head, and use these instructions to get ourselves a new one!” They gave me the navigator’s head, at which point I was shown a close up of it. I immediately recognised it as the image I’ve been using for one of The Adventure Gamer "annual" awards (The Severed Head Tag). I wish I’d called that award The Head of the Navigator TAG now.

Um...yes...the aahhh...feeling's mutual...

Interestingly, Red Skull told me that they’d been keeping the head wrapped in a magical necklace (that was made up of eyeballs), which makes the head invisible to ghosts. Invisibility to ghosts seemed a very useful skill to have given my quest, but in the short term I was much more interested in navigating my way through the catacombs. My conversation with the cannibals finished with them telling me to return the root to them if I could manage to retrieve it from LeChuck. “We’ll mix up a batch of our special, enzymatic ghost-dissolving solution. You can pour it on LeChuck like salt on a slug!” Feeling quite chuffed with myself, I rushed back to the Monkey Head and entered with my newly gained navigation tool. As soon as I was in the catacombs, I tried using the head. This caused Guybrush to hold the head out in front of him, but nothing else happened at this point. I tried using the necklace, but was told I couldn’t while I had the head whipped out. I put the head away temporarily and tried using the necklace again, only to be informed that I didn’t need it as there were no ghosts around. When I wandered into the maze itself, the head of the navigator began swinging around to face the direction that I needed to go in. Awesome! Surely things would be straight forward from here, right? Nope! On that very first screen I found that the head was telling me to go left, only to say right when I took a couple of steps in the suggested direction. It seemed to want me to get myself across to a piece of rock that was floating in the middle of the lava!

This has to be the best maze-solving device in the history of games.

Seriously, make up your mind!

Clearly, wading through lava wasn’t an option, so I eventually ignored the head and made my way to the screen to the east. From here on in I had a bit more luck. There were plenty of times where I was asked to go back in the same direction I’d just come from, but that made sense when I remembered that each screen was randomly generated. After a couple of minutes of moving from one screen to the next I finally arrived at LeChuck’s ship! Putting the head away, I climbed onboard, assuming that Guybrush would make some attempt to do so stealthily. Nope! He climbed up right next to four undead pirates, including LeChuck’s first mate Bob. They were playing instruments, and as soon as I walked a couple of feet, the music ceased. Bob confronted me, clearly wondering why someone would be so stupid to board the ship of the mighty LeChuck. I announced that I’d “come to interrogate the prisoner”, hoping they might be as stupid as they looked. Sadly they weren’t, and Guybrush was forced to make a quick retreat back up onto the cliff overlooking the ship. I figured the necklace that the navigator was wearing would be the key to avoiding the undead, since the cannibals had informed me that it made the navigator itself invisible to ghosts. I tried to pick up the necklace, only for the navigator to tell me I couldn’t have it! I’d had no idea that the severed head could speak at this stage, so this defiance came as quite a shock. I tried a couple more times, but the navigator was clearly going to be stubborn about it.

Nice head job! Um...I mean...nice job head!

Man, I'm really going to stand out as a tourist here!

Oh great! An item that refuses to let me use it!

Looking at the head turned out to be the key, as a conversation ensued. “Okay, we’re here. Now what do you want from me?” I decided to be nice, thanking the navigator for leading me to the ghost ship. His response was surprisingly sociable: “Hey, no problem. When you only have one job, you do it well. Know what I mean?” With the small talk out of the way, I asked the ugly cranium whether I could have the eyeball necklace. “No, but thanks for asking so politely. I’ve got a bad feeling about this place. I think I might need it.” I continued to ask him in slightly different ways, but clearly he wasn’t going to just hand it over. It was time to get violent, so I threatened the head with “Maybe I’ll just take it”! This unsettled him, but it took further threats of violence, including “If I wanted to I could dropkick you into the lava”, to finally convince him to hand over the necklace. As soon as I’d separated it from its previous owner, I used the necklace to put it on, then hopped back onto the ship. I was invisible! Not only could the undead pirates not see me, but even I could only see a glimmering light that outlined my body as I walked around. I was now free to explore the ship! The first thing I noticed was that there was a ghost dog blocking my way to the upper deck on the left, and a drunken ghost sailor blocking my way to the upper deck on the right. The dog lifted its head when I came near, suggesting it sensed my presence, but I didn’t appear to be able to interact with either of these accidental guards.

Well, it's time for bad cop to come out then! Don't say I didn't warn you!

By definition, I'm pretty sure ghost dogs cannot be cute!

The next thing I took note of was that there were two doors, one at either end of the deck, and a hatch leading down. I decided to try the door on the left, and suddenly found myself standing right behind the villainous LeChuck in his cabin!!! Fortunately he appeared to have no idea that I was there, which gave me the opportunity to investigate the various items in his cabin. I was told that there were “little wriggling blue hairs” in his bed, but couldn’t do anything with them. There was a map of Monkey Island on the wall, but once again I couldn’t interact with it. Of most interest to me was the key hanging on the wall, but as soon as I walked even remotely close to the captain, he turned around quickly and shouted “Who dares to enter the cabin of the Ghost Pirate LeChuck? You’d better fear.” He turned back around moments later, and since I knew I couldn’t die in the game, I tried creeping around at different angles. It became apparent that there was no way I was going to get close enough to grab the key, nor to open the chests that were sitting on the floor next to LeChuck. I left the cabin for now, intent on trying the door at the other end of the deck. As soon as I tried to open it, it creaked loudly, attracting the attention of the ghostly musicians! Bob wandered over to see what caused the sound, but since he couldn’t see me, soon went back to his fellow apparitions and continued playing.

You've got a bit of an ego there mate, you know that!?

Let's hope I find some WD40 around here somewhere!

The only option available to me was to go down the hatch, where I found a pirate ghost fast asleep in a bunk. He had a bottle of grog in his hand, but he was keeping it close to his chest. It was only when I walked across the room that his arm fell to the side of the bed, giving me a great opportunity to grab the grog. To my dismay, every time I got close to him he would pull the bottle back to his chest, only to extend his arm again as soon as I walked away. I tried a few things, but couldn’t find a way to get it. I made my way into the next cabin to the right of screen, and there I found a few ghost chickens wandering free and a couple of ghost pigs in a pen. I tried to pick up one of the chickens, but all I managed to get was a single ghost feather. As soon as I had it though, I knew what its purpose would likely be. There was more to see in my current location though, and after failing to find anything to do with the pigs, turned my attention to the glowing crate behind them. When I looked at it, Guybrush had the following to say: “I don’t see anything special about it. Except that big glowing voodoo antiroot inside.” It was the root I needed to defeat LeChuck! I highly doubted I was just going to be able to open up the crate and get it, but I tried anyway. “It’s nailed, chained, bolted, roped, glued, and welded together.” Clearly I was going to have to work hard to solve that little puzzle!

Man it would be awesome to be invisible! That's the outline of my head on the left by the way.

You can actually watch the food the pigs are eating go from their mouth to their stomach!

I still don't see why my gunpowder didn't work on this!

The only thing left in the room to check out was a trapdoor to the left of the glowing crate. Since it was also locked tight, I made my way back to the sleeping ghost pirate. As soon as I’d picked up the feather, I’d assumed its use was to tickle the ghost’s feet, as they were noticeably sticking out the end of the bed. It worked, and the ghost dropped the bottle of grog onto the floor without waking up! I picked it up, and had a think about where I might be able to make use of a bottle of grog. I couldn’t think of anything, so walked between the five screens on the ship trying to find something to do. I did this for forty minutes!!!! This was by far the most time I’d been stuck on a puzzle in The Secret of Monkey Island, and to my shame I have to admit that I finally stumbled on the solution through trial and error. I honestly can’t tell you why I didn’t think to try using the magnetic compass to attract the key hanging on the wall, but it simply never crossed my mind. I guess I’d just assumed that the compass would play a role later in the game when trying to find my way back to Melee Island, that I never thought about what other use it might have. Eventually I was convinced that getting the key was the...ahem...key to progress, so I tried using every item I had on it, resulting in the magnet drawing the key across the room and into my possession. The good news is that I didn’t need to request assistance, and am now ready to go see what’s waiting for me beneath the trap door. Oooh, exciting!

Thanks for the heads up!

I hope this stuff is better than the crap they serve on Melee Island!

Did anyone else get stuck on this puzzle? I feel a bit ashamed about it.

Session Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 9 hours 00 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!