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Low-Spoiler Guide to Curse of Monkey Island

Welcome to my Curse of Monkey Island hints page. (-: If you're new to this series of low-spoiler computer game walkthroughs, the idea behind them is to point gamers towards things they might not have tried in each game rather than giving step-by-step instructions or divulging puzzle solutions. There's not much point in playing an adventure game if you know the puzzle solutions in advance, after all, and there's no point at all in playing a humor game if you've already had all the jokes spoiled.

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So these pages are as close to spoiler-free as possible while still providing some valuable Curse of Monkey Island hints and tips. If you are looking for the solution to a particular puzzle, I recommend the UHS site--due to the way their pages are set up you can only see one hint at a time, so you can get the answer to one pesky puzzle without ruining all the others for yourself. Here's the UHS page for Monkey Island, if that interests you. My site, meanwhile, focuses on exactly the things UHS and other traditional walkthroughs don't: the non-critical parts of the game, little detours you can take, extra details you might miss if you did only what was strictly necessary to complete the game. If you want even fewer spoilers--you're considering whether or not to buy the game, for example--please try my Curse of Monkey Island Review page to find all the pertinant information in one convenient spoiler-free package.
Now, on with the game!

Curse of Monkey Island Hints and Tips
Curse of Monkey Island Walkthrough
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Curse of Monkey Island Hints and Tips

Curse of Monkey Island is a relatively recent adventure game put out by LucasArts. It's a third-person puzzle-adventure, using a simple and extremely intuitive 3D point-and-click interface to guide you through a sequence of inventory-combination puzzles and an entirely linear plot. There are also a few action interludes, though they're all quite easy and you can try them again as often as you like. There are no bugs in this game (at least, none that I found), and no serious gameplay issues. However, there are a few things you may want to be aware of before beginning to play in order to get maximum enjoyment out of the game. Without spoiling anything:

Time Management: Time does not pass in Curse of Monkey Island. Even when your character is explicitly told to wait until an NPC is done with something else, waiting will have no effect whatsoever. You will always have to take proactive action if you want anything in the gameworld to change.

Chapters: This game is broken up into six chapters, but you can't even vaguely gauge the length of the game by the chapters. Chapters 1 and 6 take less than ten minutes to solve apiece and are made up mostly of cutscenes, while Chapters 2 and 4 are long, extended chapters with multiple parts to each of them. Chapter 3 is a tactical interlude, with ship combat and a rhyming game, and Chapter 5 is just a long conversation with one puzzle tacked onto the end. Don't try to judge where you are in the game by where you are in the chapters.

Mega-Monkey Setting: There are two settings you can play this game on, "Regular" and "Mega-Monkey." The "Mega-Monkey" setting simply has more puzzles. There's no other difference between the two. I'm not succeeding in thinking of a reason why anyone would want to play a low-puzzle version of a puzzle-adventure game. Unless you can, "Mega-Monkey" is the one you want.

Quest Order: Unlike many graphic adventures, quest order is a total non-issue in Curse of Monkey Island. Either there will be only one possible progression and it will be impossible to do it wrong, or it will be equally acceptable to complete tasks in any order you choose and none of them will have any effect on any of the others. Any time you arrive at a dead end, you can be confident that it's simply because of an inventory item you haven't picked up or haven't figured out how to use yet. It will never be because you chose to take or not take an earlier action.

Main Character: You control one character, Guybrush Threepwood. You will never have any input into his personality, attitudes, or reactions to anything, so if you want to enjoy this game you will need to think of him more as a character in a cartoon movie you are watching than as 'your' character.

Movement: There is a shortcut exit from every screen in this game to every other screen it adjoins. In most cases, the shortcut will appear in the most sensible place (i.e. the edge of the screen closest to the new one.) In a few cases, though, there's a "mysterious" door which you can enter and find yourself on the next screen. In either case, double-clicking the shortcut will teleport Guybrush there instantly, without having to wait for him to walk there. Get used to these controls as quickly as possible. Navigation is extremely easy in Curse of Monkey Island once you've located the shortcut hotspots.

Conversations: Conversations in Curse of Monkey Island can be a real pain. It's impossible to skip a section or line of dialogue in a cutscene; no matter how long it is, you have no option but to sit there and listen to the whole thing, since the plot does not make any sense without seeing the end of most of them. In a regular conversation, though, it's possible to skip a line of dialogue using the "." button, so you can hurry up a dragging conversation by skimming the subtitle and paging forward to the next line. Unfortunately there's no way to scroll up or review a previous line (though the NPCs will sometimes recap the salient points for you if you give them the same prompt.)

Saving: Curse of Monkey Island does not let you name your savegames, so if you're used to saving them every five or ten minutes, you could easily wind up confusing yourself. Since there is no way to die or lose this game, no bugs, and no mistakes that can be made, you don't actually need to worry about saving your game very often. One savegame per chapter is fine. More than that, and you're likely to get confused and waste time loading and playing an old game before realizing you don't have all the items you should.

Problem Spots: Curse of Monkey Island is the smoothest-running graphic adventure I've played in a long time. You can really just go and put it in your computer and figure it out as you go along; there are no dead ends, pitfalls, bugs, glitches, or other problem spots. There are no audio puzzles (there is one puzzle about banjos, but the sound the notes make is irrelevant to the puzzle) and the entire game is captioned. There is one realtime puzzle (a ship-to-ship combat), but you can repeat it as many times as you need to without ill consequences and can even ask your crew to handle it for you if you need to. If you want to make sure you don't miss anything interesting in the game, try my Curse of Monkey Island walkthrough, but otherwise, just go ahead and play. There really is nothing else you need to know in advance. :-)

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