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#18: Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge

"Well well well, Guybrush Threepwood. You do turn up in the strangest places."

Image #1History is filled with examples of sequels that fail miserably to live up to the high standards set by their predecessor. Brilliant movies like Men in Black and Analyze This have their names diluted by pathetic cash-cow sequels, and the odds for success are only slightly better in computer gaming. A sequel, to be sure, is always a dangerous and delicate proposition.

But it's even tougher when that sequel is the follow-up to such a brilliant, bonafide classic like The Secret of Monkey Island. The humor and brilliance of that game left multitudes of fans anxiously awaiting the further adventures of Guybrush...and thankfully, they were not to be disappointed.

LucasArts was fully aware that the center of Monkey Island, the element that any future game must be built around, was the humor, and without exception the humor in MI2 succeeds, usually emphatically so. It is equally as funny as its predecessor, perhaps moreso.

Image #2Monkey Island 2 also succeeds in an area many adventures have failed in: it is the perfect length. It is substantial, and I felt like I got my money's worth out of it; yet the pacing is excellent and the game never feels unnecessarily protracted. The puzzles are more difficult than the first entry, causing some frustration, but definitely adding to the challenge factor (and to be fair, very few of the puzzles ever sink to the level of absurdity).

Another definite strength of the game is its non-linearity throughout the middle section. Some gamers have not appreciated this, preferring strict Police Quest-style story progression, but for adventure fans who like their freedom, it's hard to find a better example of this than MI2. And of course, MI2 is notable for introducing the LucasArts iMuse music system, and revolutionizing the way music framed a computer game (to great success here, I might add).

Image #3Unfortunately, the game ends with a resounding thud. The much-debated final sequence left the gamer in a state of shock and disbelief...and not a good kind at all, rather the worst kind of shock possible. The feeling that the entire experience of the game has been completely wasted.

The question to this day remains: what was Ron Gilbert thinking? What was his plan? How would he have led into MI3 from his ending? Wouldn't we think of it differently if we could see his vision? The answer, as far as I'm concerned, is no. When I finish a game, especially one as long as Monkey Island 2, I should never feel as empty and frustrated as I felt after the ending sequence was complete. And it's important to remember there was no guarantee of an MI3; rather, the ending led many to believe the series would not be continued. I have never veered from the statement I will make again now: the ending to this game is the single worst in the history of adventure games.

Yet I can not ignore how strong the first 99% of the game is. Therefore, here it is on the countdown, brilliant in every way except the payoff, which could more accurately be described as theft. This is probably one of the hardest games for me to rank, but I have reached the decision that ending aside, it is a bonafide classic, deserving of being known as the #18 adventure of all-time

Last time: I hated the ending just as much then as I do now; however, my response then was to leave it off entirely. The ending, for me, was equivalent to Pete Rose's gambling: an automatic ban, overriding all other achievements. You can attribute its position this year to temperance on my part, not any increased respect for the ending.

Click here for the complete top 20 of best adventure games of all time!


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Community Comments

This game is probably my favorite in the monkey island series... Not counting the remakes - which I LOVE.
Jan 9, 2010
I have just finished this game... Since I am playing all Monkey Island games at the moment there were no way around this game for me ,,,,, It is an odd feeling to play it without voice acting which is one of the major strength of those games... But for those of you that are looking for a tough challenge this game will do just fine.... For others I recommend waiting for the Remake... If a Remake will be made in the future I'm sure there is going to be a very long debate about one of the most controversial ending to a game... My final verdict : To be played for seekers of challenging games...It is a very rewarding satisfying feeling to beat those puzzles...
Sep 4, 2009
I agree that the game is one of the best ever. however i am not sure about your verdict on the ending. im not sure you have seen elaines qoute at the saying: 'whats taking guybrush so long? i hope lechuck has put a [i]curse on him or something' i did shock me when i first saw it though, and i do hope that comments about ron gilbert working on MI5. It says that the original story was known 'too big' and therefore split into three parts, MI5 would be the third allong with 1&2. X
Sep 10, 2008
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