Puzzles are at the core of Adventure gameplay, they provide challenges for you to overcome with brains rather than brawn. For Action Adventures, they offer a break from the hacky-slashy-stabby-shooty element of title. In this series, I’ll bring you a new puzzle every week, drawn from some of the best and worst adventure or puzzle games I’ve ever played. Every two weeks I’ll even leave you one of my own for you to solve. If you do, I’ll find a way to reward you!
Today’s puzzle also comes from the vaults of LucasArts, from its most popular adventure game series: Monkey Island, specifically the 2nd in the series, LeChuck’s Revenge.
After dealing with Largo LaGrande on Scabb Island, Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirate, sets out to find the four pieces of the map to the legendary treasure of BIG WHOOP. One of these pieces is in Rum Rogers’s shack but to get to it you need to shut-off a particularly impressive looking waterfall. How do you do it? Well, there’s a fire hydrant at the top of it, so of course you need a monkey wrench. Good thing you have a catatonic monkey in your pocket, right? How do you get the monkey? We’ll leave that alone because I don’t want to ruin the puzzle if you haven’t played Monkey Island 2.
Yes, this puzzle is moon logic, and I usually hate these. But this is moon logic at its best, based off wordplay. You need a monkey wrench and you have a stiff monkey, quite easy to make the leap. It shows the strength and weakness of this style of puzzle design. If you’re familiar with the English language, then you’ll figure it out instantly, but if you’re not or you’re playing it in another language, then the puzzle makes little sense.
This puzzle also shows how creative the LucasArts team was when it came to designing silly puzzles. The entire sequence, from finding the monkey, shutting off the waterfall to getting your hands on the map is one ridiculous moment after another.
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge has wonderful and challenging puzzles, but for me the best will always be this monkey business. When I played the game, I finally had enough of a handle with the language that I picked the word-play clue instantly. It didn’t just make me laugh but also made me feel proud of my linguistic ability.
Do you have a favourite Monkey Island puzzle you’d like to mention? Don’t forget to come back next week for two new puzzles, one from a game and one of mine!