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Monkey Island 1: The Secret of Monkey Island logo

Für viele ist es wahrscheinlich die beste Nachricht des Tages: Gerade eben ist die Amigaversion der geheimnisvollen Affeninsel fertig geworden – und der Joker hat auch schon eines der ersten Testmuster aufgetrieben!

Monkey Island 1: The Secret of Monkey Island Lucasfilm hatte ja schon immer einen guten Ruf, was Adventures anbelangt, aber diesmal haben die Leutchen verschärft zugeschlagen: Die Grafiken und die Benützerführung wurden verbessert, es gibt mehr Puzzles, witzigere Dialoge, einen Haufen kurzer Filmszenen, noch viel mehr animierte Personen und massenweise Sound. Also ungetrübter Abenteuerspaß? Genau!

Die Hauptfigur des vier Disketten starken Games ist ein unternehmungslustiger Jüngling namens Guybrush Threepwood. Der schippert eines schönen Tages zu der Karibinsel Melee Island, um sich dort seinen Herzenswunsch zu erfüllen – der Knabe möchte ein berühmter Pirat werden. Im Prinzip liegt er da mit Melee Island ganz richtig, denn Seeräuber gibt’s hier in rauhen Mengen. Bloß daß die Jungs momentan gar nicht daran denken, ihrer gewohnten Arbeit nachzugehen; stattdessen stehen sich verschüchtert in der Gegend rum oder lassen sich in der Kneipe mit Grog vollaufen. Verantwortlich für ihre panische Angst ist Le Chuck, seines Zeichens Ex-Pirat und jetzt als Gespenst tätig. Vor ihm zittert die ganze ehrwürdige Branche, aber natürlich nicht unser junger Freund. Der läuft lieber in die örtliche Piratenschenke, um dort seinen Berufswunsch vorzutragen. Im Gastraum sitzen die Herren Freibeuter dicht an dicht – einer besoffener als der andere!

Sie haben auch etliche kleine Tips und noch viel mehr dumme Sprüche auf Lager, aber so richtig weiterhelfen können sie dem guten Guybrush nicht. Das kann erst der große Piratenhäuptling, der sich im Nebenzimmer verborgen hält. Sobald Guybrush sein Begehren losgeworden ist, erläutert ihm dieser, wer man es anstellt, in die Piratengilde aufgenommen zu werden. Die Aufnahmeprüfung besteht aus drei Teilen: Als erstes muß man den besten Schwertkämpfer der Insel im Zweikampf besiegen, dann eine wertvolle Statue aus dem Haus der Gouverneurin stibitzen (ohne sich dabei vom finster dreinblickenden Sheriff erwischen zu lassen), und schließlich noch einen verborgen Schatz auf Melee Island finden.

Amiga Joker Hit Das wäre ja nun alles nicht weiter schwierig. Probleme gibt’s erst, weil sich Guybrush in die Gouverneurin verliebt, und diese kurz darauf von Le Chuck (dem Geisterkapitän) auf die Insel Monkey Island verschleppt wird. Wer sich auch nur ein bißchen im rauhbeinigen Seefahrergewerbe auskennt, weiß, was jetzt zu tun ist: Schnellstens die drei Prüfungen absolvieren, eine Piratencrew anheuern, nach Monkey Island schippern, dort Le Chuck aufspüren und die Geliebte befreien – fertig! Von wegen... Schon auf der Überfahrt tauchen die ersten Schwierigkeiten auf, weil die Herren Piraten sich lieber im Liegestuhl räkeln und Drinks schlürfen, als ihre Arbeit zu erledigen – Selbermachen heißt die Devise. Auf Monkey Island darf man sich dann mir höchst skurrilen Typen herumschlagen: Beispielsweise laufen da Kannibalen herum, die wegen des hohen Cholesteringgehalts von Menschenfleisch zu Vegetariern geworden sind! Oder ein Schiffbrüchiger, das sich schon längst sein eigenes Schiff zusammengebastelt hat, es aber nicht benutzt –ein richtiger Schiffbrücher muß schließlich auf seine Rettung warten...

Monkey Island 1: The Secret of Monkey Island Monkey Island ist witzig, fesselnd und dank der nochmals verbesserten Benutzerführung auch ausgezeichnet spielbar. Um Guybrush Befehle zu geben, kann man, wie gehabt, erst eines der Verben am unteren Screenrand und anschließend den gewünschten Gegenstand im Bildfenster anklicken. Es geht jetzt aber auch einfacher: Bewegt man den Mauszeiger z.B. auf eine Tür, leuchtet in der Verbenliste der nachliegendste Befehlt auf, in unserem Fall „Öffnen“. Mit der rechten Maustaste akzeptiert man diesen Vorschlag – und spart so auf Dauer eine Menge Klickarbeit. Die Grafiken sind nunmehr vollen 32 Farben zu bewundern, und der Held läuft perspektivisch richtig ins Bild hinein und wieder heraus. Apropos Perspektive: Während bei „Zak McKracken“ oder „Indiana Jones“ alles nur von der Seite zu sehen war, werden die Orte hier von oben, von der Seite in einer Schrägansicht gezeigt. Damit man sich größere Landschaften aus der Vogelperspektive anschauen kann, haben die Programmierer noch einen „Overhead“-Modus eingebaut. Selbstverständlich dürfen auch in Monkey Island die berühmten „Cut Scenes“ nicht fehlen, jene kurzen animierten Filmszenen, die man anschauen, in die man aber nicht eingreifen kann. Beim Sound hat Chris Hülsbeck höchstpersönlich für den guten Ton gesorgt, das Ergebnis kann sich hören lassen: Zahlreiche Geräuscheffekte, Reggae- und Calypso-Klänge umschmeicheln das Ohr.

Bis zu zehn Spielstände lassen sich auf Harddisk oder einer formatierten Extradisk abspeichern. Warum erwähne ich diese Selbstverständlichkeit? Nun, besonders häufig braucht man hier gar nicht abzuspeichern, denn bei Monkey Island ist es praktisch unmöglich zu sterben! Es sei denn, man legt es wirklich darauf an und fordert etwa die Kannibalen mehrmals und ausdrücklich dazu auf, daß sie einen doch bitte fressen sollen... Außerdem gibt es keine Sackgassen bei der Lösung: Wer z.B. mal einen wichtigen Gegenstand verliert, braucht nicht neu zu starten, sondern findet an anderer Stelle wieder einen neuen!

Mit Monkey Island hat sich Lucasfilm förmlich selbst übertroffen: es ist noch humorvoller und wesentlich komplexer als seine Vorgänger – und es schöpft die Grafik- und Sound-Möglichkeiten des Amiga weitgehend aus. Kann man von einem Computerabenteuer eigentlich noch mehr verlangen?
(C. Borgmeier)

Amiga Joker, January 1991, pp.??

Der Amiga Joker meint:
"Monkey Island ist eindeutig das bisher beste Lucasfilm-Adventure überhaupt!"

Amiga Joker
Das Geheimnis von Monkey Island
Grafik: 83%
Sound: 80%
Handhabung: 95%
Spielidee: 90%
Dauerspass: 93%
Preis/Leistung: 90%

Red. Urteil: 93%
Für Fortgeschrittene
Preis: ca 79,- dm
Hersteller: Lucasfilm Games
Bezug: Frank Heidak

Spezialität: Komplett in deutsch, kein Kopierschutz, Codewheel-Abfrage, Kleiner Gag für Angeber: Drückt man Ctrl. – W erscheint der Abspann, als hätte man das Game gelöst...



Monkey Island 1: The Secret of Monkey Island logo

Game: The Secret Of Monkey Island
Publisher: Lucasfilm/US Gold
Price: £25.99
Author: Ron Gilbert
Release: Out now

Monkey Island 1: The Secret of Monkey Island Ah, Lucasfilm adventures. Never something I really got the hang of, or took a shine to, to be honest. I found the earlier efforts distinctly C64-like in style, with the mouse-controlled input system as much of a hindrance as a help. To cap it all, I found it hard to get out of my head the idea that using moving graphics in an adventure wasn't much more than a gimmick, doing little or nothing to help gameplay at all.
That was an easy enough line to take with the early efforts. By the time Loom came along, with its stronger plot, improved graphics and easier player interface, my position was starting to look a little tenuous however. The game may have been far too easy and a little ragged around the edges, but it was undeniably good. A quiet triumph for Lucasfilm, then – but nothing compared to what they've come up with now.

With The Secret Of Monkey Island, the mouse-controlled, graphic-adventure comes of age. This is a truly excellent game, easily the best I've seen this year. It's hard to think where to start with describing it, so let's take the traditional route and begin with... the plot.

Monkey Island 1: The Secret of Monkey Island Unlike so many adventure games, Monkey Island doesn't simply use the scenario as an add-on, easy changeable backdrop to the game – here the pirates/treasure/ghosts/island atmosphere so permeates every aspect of the game it would be impossible to imagine it without them. It sets a new standard of mutual-dependence between location and game that others will find bloody tricky to follow.
Specifics then. You play this helpless little guy called Guybrush Threepwood, a wannabe pirate, all-round turkey, and general starting-from-the-bottom everyman. You know the type. The game opens with his arrival at Mêlee Island, the idea to guide his stumbling steps towards true piratehood, and beyond. (Beyond? Well yes – as things unfold, you'll discover that achieving the status of swashbuckler is only the beginning. There's much buckling of the swash and, erm, swashing of the buckle to be done after that. This isn't Skull And Crossbones, that's for sure).

One of the very best things about the game is the way a fairly sophisticated sense of humour is incorporated into the game. I know what you're thinking – humour and computer games go together like Prince Charles and Sam Fox – but think again. As much as it can be said that anything does, it's the humour that really makes Monkey Island. It's intrinsic to everything. From the way just about every character in the game gets your name wrong ('Threepwood, my name's Guybrush THREEPWOOD!' you find him screaming for the zillionth time), to the patter of the used ship salesman (whose arms seem to jump about in time with his over-used mouth), who would rather give you his granny than his lower prices, it's packed with characters and situations to make you smile or simply burst out laughing. I particularly laughed some of the commands possible ('Talk to men of low moral fibre' becomes an option when you confront some pirates), and the way you can even hold what is probably an intelligent conversation with the dog. Apparently, Fido actually gives the solution to the whole adventure away, but unless you know the doggy-lingo, you'll just have to fathom it yourself. Then there's the... but no. I'm not going to give you any more examples of the humour, partly because it will spoil the whole experience for you when (not if) you buy it and partly because, like all great comedy moments, you really do have to be there.

Monkey Island 1: The Secret of Monkey Island So leaving atmosphere, plot and the like aside for a moment, how does it all work in a more technical sort of way. Well, for a start you have to take on board that none of this character control lark is done by typing. Most of you will realise that already, of course, but just in case you've just tuned in to the Lucasfilm channel and aren't familiar with their thang, you many be pretty amazed to learn that the whole thing is done with the mouse, using a point-and-click interface. This means that at any point in time, the computer will display all possible options on-screen. Even when holding conversations with other characters, all you have to do is move the mouse onto one of the various possible lines on offer, then click the mouse button. Hey presto, your character speaks. It may sound a bit limited, but in fact it's anything but – because these options are so context-sensitive, that the command system comes across as being very comprehensive, while at the same time splendidly smooth and easy to use. Lucasfilm have managed to find a compromise between the fluidity and flair of a rigid storyline, and the intelligent realism of more freeform adventures – it's a system that allows you to more or less forget about the specifics of what you're actually physically doing (sitting at a desk with a computer in front of you, presumably) and loose yourself in the adventure instead.

GUYBRUSH SHOT THE SHERIFF
Oh, did I tell you about the music yet? No? Well I sure hope you like reggae – this is one program that really skanks (translation for non-music types: It's got a rather spiffing Jamaican beat). Bob Marley would be proud of these tunes (well, fairly proud). And that's about it for presentation. Great atmosphere, pleasing humour, lovely sound, the best input system we've seen yet, not to mention the pretty stupendous graphics (I thought I'd let you take that as read), there's only one aspect of the game we haven't really touched on yet – just how well has the actual adventure been designed? It's the sort of thing that can really sink (sorry, accidental pirate pun) an otherwise excellent game.

Which is why I'm pleased to say Monkey Island has been designed better than any adventure I've ever seen before. (Had you worried for a minute there, eh?). Everything shows such attention to detail and consistency of form that you are completely drawn into the whole piracy experience – it would be no exaggeration to say that no matter how you progress through this game, the resultant series of events could easily be used as a script for a pirate movie. And what a box-office smash it would be! (Okay, so a couple of the jokes have been ripped out of The Princess Bride, but they were worth telling anyway).

Just think for a minute – how many times have software companies boasted that their product really is 'Just like taking part in a film', and 'A truly cinematic experience'. And how many times have you thought 'Hmm, well, sort of' and been vaguely disappointed? Well, be disappointed no longer – her is the first game I've ever seen which really justifies such claims (even though – to Lucasfilm's credit – nobody's actually making any!). We're not just talking about screen displays that look as if they were done under the guidance of Ridley Scott, all eerie blues and arty angles, either -–it goes further than that. Move your guy, and he'll actually react correctly to the 3D-ness of the scene, the camera panning all the while. And of course that groovy music I've already mentioned actually changes to suit the scene too.
The lastability of the game is the only sticking point, but this is a problem that can't be avoided with adventures. A projected 30 hour play time may not seem much for £30 hours of pure fun and satisfaction, it's not much of a grumble.

If this review seems just too enthusiastic, there is a very good reason for it. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed playing a computer game so much. Even the fighting sequences are done with flair, insults being much more important than sword-fighting skills. Forget all those milestone adventures (Zork, The Hobbit, Lord Of The Rings et al) – for sheer enjoyment and general all-round perfection The Secret Of Monkey Island creams 'em all in style. I just can't wait for the sequel. MARK RAMSHAW

Amiga Power, June 1991, p.p.22-24

PARSERS OF EIGHT
Getting the hang of pirate-ese is no mean feat. Thankfully those swarthy types at Lucasfilm know how to meet the demands of the adventurer about town, and have come up with what has to be the ultimate in text-without-typing parsers
Monkey Island 1 SCUMM-interface explained
a. This is the main action screen. The 'camera always keeps Guybrush in the picture.
b. Anything spoken or any noised made are shown on the main action screen.
c. This is the command area.
d. On the left all possible options for sentence construction, or things to say are displayed.
e. The top line shows the full command ready to be executed.
f. The list on the right shows all of Guybrush's objects. Once the list exceeds five objects, arrows appear, allowing the player to scroll the list up or down.
1. Simply highlight the word you need with the cursor, then click the left mouse button.
2. By doing this a few more times quite complex sentences can be constructed.
3. The default command is WALK, so simply clicking an area of the screen with the left mouse button will instruct Guybrush to walk there.
4. Depending what you've chosen on the screen, the computer might highlight a suggested word (such as open, if you select a door). Simply clicking on the right mouse button will select this suggestion.

"The Secret Of Monkey Island creams 'em all in style"

CAST OF CHARACTERS
No tale of piracy and buried treasure is complete without some, erm, interesting characters. The Secret Of Monkey Island is no exception.
Monkey Island 1 character
Just don't ask what happened to his eye!
Monkey Island 1 character
Don't ask him either! (Actually, he proves useful later on).
Monkey Island 1 character
Erm, nice pair of ear rings, missus.
Monkey Island 1 character
Can you read that badge? It says 'Ask me about Loom'.

"This is one program that really skanks"

Upper UPPERS
It's taken ten years, but the first truly accessible adventure is finally with us. Keep this game in a plastic bag, because the atmosphere really does drip from it. Graphics, sound, and plot – everything gels perfectly.
Downer DOWNERS
Erm, I can't really think of any. Except perhaps for the sluggish way in which the parser scrolls, and for the oh-slow save and load screen. 1 meg required.

THE BOTTOM LINE
If you love adventures, buy it. If you don't buy it, buy it anyway. In fact even if you don't own a computer, rush out and buy your copy now (and get yourself an Amiga while you're out). A ripping yarn and no mistake.


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