The Weekly Puzzle – Underhanded Recruitment

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.

Every week I’ll bring you a new puzzle, 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!

As promised and overdue, here’s the new puzzle from my noggin and for yours to decipher. A simple riddle. I’ll admit I’m not the best at making there. I love solving them but they’re not my creative forte. But I wanted to create one as a challenge so here it is. I do apologise, I think I made it a bit too obscure. As always, drop the solution in the comments or wait two weeks for the solution:

“We rarely meet, but when we do, the party’s astronomical. Everyone is welcome to see us, but if you pry, we’ll hurt you.”

Now for this week’s puzzle I’m going back to LucasArts for a three-part puzzle. It’s from The Curse of Monkey Island: the Recruitment. As with every title in the series, the great hero and Mighty Pirate, Guybrush Threepwood needs to find a crew and a worthy vessel. Thankfully for him there’s a trio of pirate barbers in Puerto Pollo. The barbers are Haggis McMutton, Cutthroat Bill and Edward Van Helgen.

The big puzzle is to get them all to work for you, but each of them has a requirement. Haggis won’t go with you unless he respects you, and he won’t unless you show him how strong you are. Being Scottish, he goes for caber tossing and that is too much for spindly Guybrush. You need to challenge Van Helgen to a duel and beat him, and he’s just too good with a pistol. Finally, Bill wants to know how good you are at treasure hunting, and no, those wooden coins in your pocket won’t be enough.

The finest Pirate Barbers in all the seas!
The finest Pirate Barbers in all the seas!

The three puzzles are all about cheating. For Haggis it’s finding a light and bouncy log that doesn’t require much strength. For Van Helgen it’s choosing something non-lethal for the duel and then change the rules midway, to prove to him just how much of an underhanded bastard you can be. And Bill, well, you just need to be extremely friendly, get his jawbreaker candy and use that to relieve someone else of the pressures of jewelry teeth.

What I loved about this sequence is how ridiculous it gets. Bill’s starts out simple, just Guybrush screwing over someone to take advantage of the situation, but when you get to the end, you’ll have met a guy terrified of a giant chicken, El Pollo Diablo. Haggis’ challenge can go on forever unless you realise how to bend the rules to your advantage. And nothing beats Ven Helgen’s banjo solo…until you interrupt him.

Time to jam Guybrush!
Time to jam Guybrush!

The Curse of Monkey island is not my favourite Monkey Island game, but I will always remember it because it was a game that led me to a really good friend. We’d been discussing games and we discovered our mutual love for Monkey Island, so he lent me his copy of Curse, and we spoke about it at length for the next few days. And we both laughed while talking about the crew.

I’d love to know if any of you have fun memories with a Monkey Island title, or any other game for that matter!

Published by


I love everything readable, writeable, playable and of course, edible! I search for happiness, or Pizza, because it's pretty much the same thing! I write and ramble on The Mental Attic and broadcast on my Twitch channel, TheLawfulGeek

2 thoughts on “The Weekly Puzzle – Underhanded Recruitment”

Leave a Reply