15 Great Games: Monkey Island 2 (1991)

Monkey Island 2

This might not be the best way to start my list. Some might ask: why a game from 1991? Is that really the oldest game you can think of? Nothing from the NES era? The answer to those questions would be, as I already said, that it’s not exactly a list of all my favorites. I will definitely miss a few games here and there. Still, I feel fairly confident, upon playing a number of NES and C64 games again, that I wouldn’t put many of them among my favorites. That’s just how I roll. And to think the C64 was my first games device!

With that out of the way, why Monkey Island 2? Well, as a sequel it improved on the predecessor in every possible way. The hand-painted backgrounds look just amazing, and as the first Lucasarts game to use 256 colorsright from the beginning, you can see its effects – especially compared to the clearly digital landscapes of Monkey Island, or the scenery in Loom which was obviously created with EGA dithering in mind.

Just look at that. Is it not the best thing 1991 could have produced?
Just look at that sky and laguna. Is this not the best thing 1991 could have produced?

Graphics alone do not make a game, but MI2 has everything else in spade: an amazing seamless soundtrack – an astounding feat for the time – and it was much larger in scope than its predecessor. The puzzles were also logical, for the most part (the team regrets the monkey wrench puzzle, since it created a lot of trouble to non-English players). And the humor was darker too. Who doesn’t love a great black comedy full of pirates, zombies, voodoo, and grog-drinking contests? Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge still is among the best adventure games you can play today, and it’s quite a feat to stand out among the best of Lucasarts’ golden era.

Playing todaythe game has been published on Floppy Disk and later on the new CD-Rom format. The latter doesn’t contain any extras, they simply put all the floppies on a single disc. It’s, unsurprisingly, compatible with ScummVM, so that’s a good option if hunting down a copy doesn’t worry you. And it shouldn’t, as it’s a fairly common game. If you aren’t that much of a purist, a Special Edition has been made available a few years ago on digital services such as Steam and on consoles. Though I found the updated graphics okay enough, you can still play with the original graphics, with optional voices (or even commentary!) on top, making it pretty much the definitive version of Monkey Island 2 today.

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