Escape from Monkey Island is a computer adventure game developed and released by LucasArts in 2000. It is the fourth game in the Monkey Island series.
Production was headed by Sean Clark and Michael Stemmle who had previously worked on Sam & Max Hit the Road.
The game centers on the pirate Guybrush Threepwood, who returns home with his wife Elaine Marley after their honeymoon, to find her erroneously declared dead, and her office of governor up for election. Guybrush must find a way to restore Elaine to office, while uncovering a plot to turn the Caribbean into a tourist trap, headed by his archnemesis LeChuck and Australian conspirator Ozzie Mandrill.
Sean Clark and Michael Stemmle were the lead designers, both of whom worked on previous LucasArts adventure titles. The soundtrack encompassed contributions from five different composers, including Michael Land, composer for the previous Monkey Island games. Escape was the last of LucasArts' adventure games to be released. It was also the second and last game to use the GrimE engine, which was upgraded from its first use in Grim Fandango.
Escape from Monkey Island is an adventure game that consists of dialogue with characters and solving puzzles. The game is controlled entirely with the keyboard or alternatively with a joystick.
A new feature of the game are action-lines. Guybrush will glance at any items that can be interacted with; the player can use 'Page Up' or 'Page Down' to select the item that he wants Guybrush to look at.
One of the hallmark aspects of the Monkey Island games, the insult swordfighting — the witty sword duels which were won by knowing the appropriate insults and responses — is briefly touched upon in the game as "insult armwrestling", and in an unwinnable insult duel against Ozzie Mandrill.
In the second part of the game, the insult games are replaced by "Monkey Kombat", the name being a parody of Mortal Kombat with a symbol to match. Monkey Kombat is a sub-game akin to rock-paper-scissors, where you need to memorize lines of "monkey insults and retorts" which consist of per-game randomized compositions of "monkey words" like "oop", "chee", "ack" and "eek".
The game begins with Guybrush Threepwood and Elaine Marley returning to Mêlée Island from their honeymoon, which they embarked on in the epilogue of The Curse of Monkey Island. Here they find that Elaine has been declared officially dead, her position as governor has been revoked and her mansion is scheduled to be demolished. The governorship is up for election, and suddenly a person known as Charles L. Charles presents himself as the lead candidate. As Elaine begins her campaign to recover her position, Guybrush hires navigator Ingacius Cheese in a game of insult arm-wrestling, meets again with three of his old "friends", Meathook, Otis and Carla, (see Minor characters in Monkey Island) and heads out to recover the Marley family heirlooms and obtain the legal documents to save her mansion. During his trip, Guybrush learns of the Marley family's greatest secret: a voodoo talisman known as the Ultimate Insult, which contains an insult so insidious, it destroys the spirit of those who hear it. He also winds up being framed for bank robbery by crook Peg-Nosed Pete at the hiring of the Australian land developer Ozzie Mandrill, but manages to prove his innocence.
After acquiring the legal deeds and returning to the manor, Guybrush and Elaine soon discover that Charles L. Charles is really the Demon Pirate LeChuck, having been freed from his ice prison of the last game and seeking the Ultimate Insult. As Elaine continues her campaign, Guybrush searches the Caribbean and recovers all but one of the pieces of the Ultimate Insult. Upon returning home, he is ambushed by LeChuck and Ozzie Mandrill, who steal the pieces from him. The two villains are revealed to be working together, Ozzie to rid of all pirates and turn the area in a resort and LeChuck out of debt to Ozzie for freeing him and to use the Ultimate Insult to break Elaine and marry her. Feeling they might need Guybrush as a hostage, the two decide to dump him back on Monkey Island.
Despite temporary discouragement, Guybrush sets about making his escape, learning the art of Monkey Kombat from the elder monkey and discovering Herman Toothrot is Elaine's grandfather, having contracted amnesia twenty years prior due to being pushed into a whirlpool by Ozzie. After discovering a giant monkey robot on the island, Guybrush manages to disable an Ultimate Insult amplifier made by Ozzie before returning to Melee. During this time, Ozzie has managed to capture Elaine and assemble the Ultimate Insult. When it appears to fail due to the lack of the amplifier, LeChuck takes matters into his own hands and possesses a statue of himself he had built shortly after his gubernatorial victory. Before Guybrush can stop him, Ozzie uses the Ultimate Insult to take control of LeChuck's statue form and engages the monkey robot in Monkey Kombat. During the duel, Guybrush forces LeChuck to perform the move invoking by repeated ties, causing LeChuck to smack his head in exasperation, crushing Ozzie and destroying the Ultimate Insult. LeChuck explodes in defeat, Guybrush and Elaine are reunited and Grandpa Marley resumes being the governor of Melee Island, so the two can go back to being pirates.
The game was made with Sean Clark and Michael Stemmle as lead designers, both of whom worked on LucasArts' previous adventure titles Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Sam & Max Hit the Road. Sean Clark also worked on Loom and The Dig. Escape uses a slightly improved version of the GrimE engine introduced by Grim Fandango. Compared to the rest of the series, the SCUMM scripting language was replaced by the Lua programming language.
A new version of the iMUSE interactive music system incorporating MP3 compression, among other changes, was built and used for the game. Interactive programming of the music and ambiance streams in the iMUSE system was done by lead sound designer Larry the O. Escape's introductory music is identical to that of the third game, unlike the earlier sequels which featured newly-composed remixes of the well-known Monkey Island theme. The soundtrack itself consisted of pieces from five composers: Michael Land (who wrote the music for the previous "Monkey Island" games), Peter McConnell, Clint Bajakian, Anna Karney, and Michael Lande (often confused with Michael Land).
The voice cast saw the return of Dominic Armato as Guybrush, Earl Boen as LeChuck, Leilani Jones Wilmore as the Voodoo Lady and Denny Delk as Murray. The only major voice not to return was Alexandra Boyd who voiced Elaine in the previous game. She was replaced by Charity James. Stan is also voiced by a different actor, Pat Fraley. Additionally characters who had previously appeared in The Secret of Monkey Island such as Carla, Otis and Herman Toothrot are heard with voice actors for the first time.
The game was also released on PlayStation 2 in 2001. Apart from obvious control differences, the PS2 version only varies by a slightly higher polygon count and use of less pre-rendered material. Escape is the second Monkey Island game to have a console release, with The Secret of Monkey Island being the first as it was also released for the Sega CD.
As EMI uses a new engine that was programmed with the Lua programming language instead of the SCUMM engine, Guybrush returns from a journey to find the "SCUMM Bar" originally featured in The Secret of Monkey Island replaced by the tourist-oriented "Lua Bar." The game makes many references to a "five game contract," it took nearly ten years for the sequel, a five part PC and WiiWare game named Tales of Monkey Island, to be released.
In a reference to LucasArts founder George Lucas' movie Star Wars: A New Hope, Guybrush finds the model of a "ACME Prosthetic Proboscis" model to be TK-421. TK-421 is a reference to the call number of the Stormtrooper that Luke Skywalker ambushes in A New Hope. Another Star Wars joke is that one of the possible names to Pegnose Pete is "Obi W. Kenobi". Another option in the game allows the users to ask Ozzie Mandrill if he was "the one who was to restore order to the force" which is a clear reference to the Star Wars Saga. Another LucasArts reference appears when typing S-K-U-L-L during gameplay while on the second disc. This will cause a large Murray to appear on the screen and laugh manically, similar to the "B-L-A-M" joke in LucasArts game Grim Fandango. Similarly to the previous code, typing M-U-R-R-A-Y-B-A-L-L after repeatedly trying to pick up Murray will start a Pong clone featuring Murray as the ball. Also on Lucre Island, when traveling through the Mist O' Tyme swamp, in one of the backgrounds is Luke Skywalker's X-Wing.
The game includes a number of call-backs to the earlier games in the series. The joke that Guybrush can hold his breath for ten minutes, which is repeated throughout the Monkey Island series, can be put to the test when the game presents a chance for him to dive. After about 8 minutes underwater, Guybrush says "I'm running low on air." If kept under water for another 2 minutes, he decides to head back up to the surface. If tried again, after ten minutes he will drown, ending the game.
In the Palace O'Prostheses location, the records system harbours a number of in-jokes; as well as Obi W. Kenobi (see above), the system also contains alter egos named Sam N. Max and Manuel J. Calavera. A musical reference to Sam & Max Hit the Road is also featured in the Lua Bar, which uses a track based on Hit the Road's bigfoot party music.
On Knuttin' Atoll, Guybrush has to trick the deranged Admiral Casaba into firing a cannon at a rock with puppets of Guybrush and LeChuck to obtain the Bronze Hat of Tiny LaFeet. Guybrush obtains Casaba's attention by getting his puppets to insult each other, which quickly devolves into general name-calling (i.e., "Jerk! Idiot! Nimrod! Dork!"). Guybrush then remarks to himself, "I've obviously got some deep-seated issues to work with here," referencing the ongoing feud between Guybrush and LeChuck which composes most of the conflict in the series. Also, a humorous reference to the previous Monkey Island adventures is made when Guybrush gets dumped on Monkey Island, where he laments, "I feel like my life is a series of... of puzzles!"
Popular culture references
The title of the first chapter "Things to do on Melee Island When You're Dead" is a parody of the film and song title Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead.
At one point, Guybrush has to go to a coffee shop called Starbuccaneer's, a parody of Starbucks. Also, Planet Hollywood is parodied as the Planet Threepwood.
Monkey Kombat, a feature in the third act of the game is a parody of Mortal Kombat, a line of fighting games.
When Guybrush walks by the grassy knoll on Lucre Island, he says, "I better get out of here before I'm accused of another crime I didn't commit," a reference to the grassy knoll of Dealey Plaza and the John F. Kennedy assassination. If you try to use it, he says "Triangulation of crossfire. That's the key!", a line reused from a similar joke in the previous game.
When Guybrush examines the brass monkey in the Lua Bar kitchen, he says, "Hey a brass monkey". This is responded with an unseen crowd of people yelling "that funky monkey!". This is a reference to the Beastie Boys song "Brass Monkey".
When Guybrush uses the Rat in the Lua Bar kitchen, he says, "So what are you gonna do tomorrow night?", replying to himself "The same thing we do every night - TRY TO TAKE OVER THE CARIBBEAN!". It is a reference to the Pinky and the Brain animated series.
When Guybrush sits in the bench in Lucre Island, he pronounces a sentence that is reminiscent of the film Forrest Gump.
If you examine the Iron Maiden in the dungeon on Jambalaya Island Guybrush will exclaim "Iron Maiden, excellent!", followed by "...I have no idea why I just said that". This is a reference to the film Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and the band Iron Maiden.
When Guybrush follows Ozzie up to the secret basement in jungle and Australian goes back to his mansion, Guybrush hides in the grass and says to player: "Quiet! I'm hunting Ozzie here...". This is a reference to a catchphrase by Looney Tunes character Elmer Fudd, "Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm hunting wabbits!".