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 once in a while I’ll even leave you one of my own for you to solve. If you do, I’ll find a way to reward you! This week has a new riddle, just for you!

“He’s old and patient, always moving but never wandering. He’s rough, has seen all branches of life and will share the fruits of it with you if you wait long enough.”

For this week’s puzzle we look to Escape from Monkey Island, the last title in the series ever released by LucasArts and my least favourite title of the series. Yet despite my issues with the plot and some of the mechanics (looking at you Monkey Kombat), the game did have its fair share of clever puzzles. But none of them better than the paradox sequence in the Mystes O’Tyme.

Looking to prove his innocence from a bank robbery, Guybrush tracks Pegnose Pete to the swamp, but has no way of traversing its treacherous waters, until he finds the directions in town and straps a clock to his raft. He comes across a strange silver gate in the middle of the bog and on the other side of it is…himself? Guybrush from the future comes to him, tells him a few things and provides some items, then leaves but not before warning his past self he must do the same thing should he meet his past self as well.

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If you’re really me, what number am I thinking of?

That is exactly what happens. A few screens later you come across past-Guybrush and you have to repeat the actions of your future self to the letter or risk causing a horrible paradox. It’s a funny exchange that will test your memory. It’s easy to remember lines to say and what items were given but it’s much harder to also remember the order in which they were said and offered. It’s not only a very clever puzzle but also shows that particular LucasArts humour.

Monkey Island has been part of the list a couple of times now. Do you have a favourite puzzle in the series?

 

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