The Curse of Monkey Island is the third game in LucasArts' Monkey Island franchise. The game is the first in the series to feature voice acting and a completely hand drawn graphics. It is also the first to include a new control interface lifted from Full Throttle. It picks up the story of Guybrush Threepwood following the events of Monkey Island 2, and follows his quest to reverse a curse he inadvertently places on his fiancée, Elaine, turning her into a solid gold statue. The game features two difficulty settings: the standard adventure, and a Mega Monkey mode featuring higher puzzle difficulty and puzzles not found in the other mode.
The game starts out with Guybrush adrift at sea in a bumper car, following the events at the finale of Monkey Island 2. He inadvertently drifts into the middle of a battle in Plunder Island harbour between LeChuck’s army and a resistance headed by Elaine, who is rebuffing LeChuck’s advances. On seeing Guybrush, LeChuck blasts him out of the water and has him thrown in the hold.
Part I: The Demise of the Zombie Pirate LeChuck
Guybrush is captive in the hold, guarded by the pirate Bloodnose, who is operating a cannon. Guybrush realizes this pirate is actually Wally, who says he was won over by LeChuck’s seminars and motivational talks. Guybrush learns that LeChuck’s plan is to use his secret weapon, a voodoo cannonball, to kill Elaine in the belief that she will become his undead bride.
Guybrush convinces Wally that he’s a failure as a pirate. With Wally distraught on the floor, Guybrush uses the cannon to defeat LeChuck’s fleet of undead skeletons. He then cuts the cannon restraint rope with a sword he finds among the flotsam, and fires the cannon. This propels him through the locked door of the hold. A cutscene shows LeChuck about to use the voodoo cannonball, when Guybrush’s explosion rocks the ship and causes him to drop it. The cannonball explodes, vaporizing LeChuck. Guybrush scrambles into LeChuck’s treasure hold where he finds a huge diamond ring and uses it to cut the glass from a porthole, flooding the hold and allowing him to escape.
On shore, Guybrush meets up with Elaine and proposes with the ring he found. However, a reformed Wally shows up and informs them that Lechuck’s ring was cursed. Elaine draws back to punch Guybrush, but is frozen in place and turns into a solid gold statue.
Part II: The Curse Gets Worse
Guybrush walks into a swamp. After an encounter with Murray, the demonic talking skull, he enters a stranded ship and discovers it’s the new home of the Voodoo Lady. He tells her about the curse, and she tells him the first course of action is hiding Elaine. Guybrush races back to the beach, but is too late; Elaine is gone and a mysterious ship is sailing away.
The Voodoo Lady then tells him that to break the curse, he must replace the ring with one of greater value. Legends speak of a giant diamond ring on Blood Island; to go there Guybrush must find a map, a ship and a crew. She also issues a stark warning: she has foreseen that Guybrush will die on Blood Island.
Exploring Plunder Island, Guybrush meets the three retired pirates of the Barbery Coast, who are now barber-pirates with dreams of barbershop quartet success. He also encounters Captain Rottingham, an arrogant French pirate. Guybrush tricks the barber pirates into thinking Rottingham has lice; his hair is then ‘amputated’, leaving him bald and infuriated. Guybrush convinces the barbershop trio to become his crew after meeting their desired qualities in a captain. He impresses Haggis McMutton with his strength by rigging a caber toss, Cutthroat Bill with his ability to find treasure, and Edward van Helgen by besting him in a banjo duel.
At the Cabaña Beach Club Guybrush meets a sunbathing theatrical agent, Palido Domingo, who has travelled to Blood Island so often that he had the route map tattooed on his back. Guybrush tricks Palido into thinking his front is sunburned, convincing him to roll over. Once Palido is asleep, Guybrush actually burns his back with cooking oil, allowing the map to be disgustingly peeled off.
After traveling to the swamp the Voodoo Lady tells Guybrush that Elaine was likely stolen by the mangy pirates in Danger Cove. Guybrush heads there, only to find that the crew are all monkeys. The only exception is Mr. Fossey the first mate, who is so delusional that he believes Captain LeChimp (a gorilla) is his superior and gives him orders. Mr. Fossey tars and feathers Guybrush as punishment for boarding the monkeys’ ship, the Sea Cucumber, then sends him on his way. His feathery appearance causes Guybrush to be mistaken for El Pollo Diablo (the man-sized Devil Chicken), the
mythical scourge of Plunder Island. Blondebeard, who owns Plunder’s fried chicken restaurant, thinks El Pollo Diablo has come to take revenge on him for killing and cooking Plunder’s chicken population. Blondebeard knocks Guybrush out and, being the only chicken he has left, sends ‘El Pollo Diablo’ as Mr. Fossey’s delivery order of chicken. Guybrush, having thus gained entry to the captain’s cabin, mimics LeChimp’s ‘voice’ and orders Mr. Fossey to disband the crew. Guybrush discovers that the monkey crew hid Elaine in an onstage grave in Puerto Pollo’s theatre. After bringing an early end to the featured entertainment, Guybrush digs up Elaine and sets sail in the abandoned Sea Cucumber.
Meanwhile, an unnamed ship is looting the wreckage of the earlier battle. One of the crew finds LeChuck’s still-smoking boots and brings them on board. LeChuck somehow regenerates, seemingly as a zombie- ghost now, complete with flaming beard. He turns the crew into his skeletal servants and sets sail for Monkey Island, planning to unleash his entire army of the undead on Guybrush and Elaine.
Part III: Three Sheets to the Wind
Whilst the crew are distracted, the Sea Cucumber is boarded by Captain Rottingham, who wants Guybrush’s map in order to find the fabled Blood Island Diamond for himself. Rottingham defeats Guybrush in an insult swordfight, explaining that in naval combat, insults can only be countered by a rhyming response.
After an extended musical number by the barbershop trio that boasts of their pirating prowess, Guybrush sets out to master naval combat by taking on the crews of nearby ships. After learning a repertoire of insults and upgrading his cannons several times, Guybrush attacks and defeats Rottingham to regain the map.
Part IV: The Bartender, the Thieves, his Aunt, and her Lover
With the map back, the Sea Cucumber sails off toward , and into a terrible storm. The ship crashes on the beach, and Haggis tells Guybrush that the barbershop trio have mutinied and will leave as soon as the ship is repaired.
Guybrush sets off in search of the Blood Island ring. He meets Madame Xima, a fortune teller who becomes terrified when Guybrush’s tarot reading turns up five Death cards. He also meets Griswold Goodsoup, owner of the Goodsoup Hotel and Plantation Resort. After curing his hangover, Goodsoup tells Guybrush that the ring he is seeking for Elaine was his aunt’s engagement ring. Her husband-to-be stole the diamond and left her at the altar. She died of a broken heart and, with the band still on her finger, was interred in the Goodsoup Family Crypt. Goodsoup then tells Guybrush that the only way to get into the crypt is to die. Guybrush drinks a cocktail spiked with hangover cure, which simulates death.
Guybrush wakes up interred in a crypt. He finds that another still-living occupant of the crypt is Stan, who was still in a coffin that Guybrush trapped him in during Monkey Island 2. The time interred has given Stan time to think and realize that he wants to sell life insurance. Guybrush buys a policy.
Guybrush then heads back to the hotel and asks Goodsoup why he wasn’t buried with Goodsoup’s aunt. Goodsoup tells him that the crypt is for family only. Guybrush tricks Goodsoup into thinking he is a long-lost nephew and then fakes his death once again.
Inside the Goodsoup Family Crypt, Guybrush meets the ghost of Griswold’s aunt, Minnie Stronnie Goodsoup. Minnie was the most eligibl e debutant of Blood Island, but her suitors all bored her. She fell for a pirate, LeChuck (still alive at this point). They were set to be married, and she wore the ring that was a Goodsoup family heirloom. But at the last minute, LeChuck pried the diamond from the ring and sold it to smugglers on to the ironically named Skull Island. Guybrush asks if he can have the band, but Minnie tells him it will stay on her finger until she is married. Guybrush asks if she was attracted to any other suitors and Minnie says there was only one, a man named Charles DeGoulash, but he vanished. He checked into a room in the hotel and was never seen again.
Guybrush heads to the room and finds the skeleton of DeGoulash who had apparently become trapped and died when his Murphy Bed slammed back into the wall. Guybrush catapults his corpse into the cemetery, where he is reunited with Minnie. They agree to elope, and disappear, leaving the ring for Guybrush to take. Guybrush then cashes in his life insurance with Stan, and finds out from Goodsoup that there used to be a ferry to Skull Island, but the ferryman became lost in the mists when the Blood Island lighthouse burned out. Guybrush repairs the lighthouse and meets the ferryman, the Flying Welshman, who agrees to take Guybrush to Skull Island after Guybrush improvises a compass for him.
On Skull Island, Guybrush meets the smugglers, King André and Cruff. André tells him that he can’t afford the ring, but he can try and win it through a hand of poker. Guybrush buys in using his life insurance money. Guybrush ends up beating the smugglers by switching the cards with his tarot card hand (5 of a kind). A fight breaks out, and Guybrush runs off with the diamond.
Back on Blood Island, Guybrush combines the diamond and band to make the uncursed ring. He places this on Elaine’s finger, breaking the curse and turning her back to normal in time to land the punch she started to throw at the end of Part I. After Guybrush explains the situation they embrace, only to be captured by LeChuck’s skeletal horde.
Part V: Kiss of the Spider Monkey
LeChuck has Guybrush trapped in a cable car at his carnival of the damned and Elaine is tied up nearby. Guybrush realizes he’s at Big Whoop, and says he thought the last time he was there (the surreal ending of Monkey Island 2) was a dream. Guybrush asks why LeChuck’s stronghold is a carnival to which LeChuck replies that the treasure of Big Whoop is actually a portal to a demon netherworld, which grants immortality. The carnival is to attract pirates who crave entertainment after months at sea. When they ride the roller coaster (the Monkey Mountain, which goes into the giant monkey head from the original Monkey Island), they are killed in a lava pit and become LeChuck’s undead army. LeChuck then says he’s going to take Elaine through the Big Whoop portal and once she’s undead she’ll become his bride.
LeChuck then explains that once he realized Elaine wanted nothing to do with him, he set off to find the secret of Monkey Island. His ship was caught in a storm, and some friendly sharks dragged him ashore on Blood Island. After some time, Captain Marley’s ship docked on Blood Island. LeChuck got the first mate, Rum Rogers Sr., drunk and he let slip that Marley has the map to the treasure of Big Whoop. LeChuck planned to beat them there and steal the treasure, but he needed a ship. LeChuck then charmed Minnie Goodsoup, stole her diamond and sold it to King André to finance the purchase of his ship. He overtook Marley’s crew and reached Big Whoop first. LeChuck then reveals that Big Whoop is actually on Monkey Island and that Dinky Island is an atoll, connected by the underground tunnels that Guybrush navigates at the end of Monkey Island 2. Marley and his crew arrived in time to see LeChuck pass through the Big Whoop portal, fled in terror and divided the map in four. Lechuck hunted them down and arranged their fates as Guybrush discovers them in Monkey Island 2. LeChuck also admits that he doesn’t actually know the Secret of Monkey Island. Guybrush becomes bored and says he won't listen any more to which LeChuck suggest that he get in the mood and promptly curses Guybrush.
Guybrush realises he has been shrunk to the size of a 7-year old by the curse. Left to wander the carnival, he finds the ingredients to make the same hangover cure as before, and restores himself back to normal. He sets off into the roller coaster of the damned after LeChuck and Elaine.
Part VI: Guybrush Kicks Butt Once Again
On the roller coaster, Guybrush goes past various dioramas showing scenes from LeChuck’s past. LeChuck catches up and says he has lost Elaine, who went off to ‘powder her nose’. LeChuck says Elaine must have rerouted the tracks to save Guybrush from being killed in the lava pit that the coaster usually goes through. Guybrush sets an explosive trap using objects he finds on the various dioramas. He then forces LeChuck to sneeze a cloud of fire that ignites the fuse of his trap, and dives into the passing roller coaster car to escape. LeChuck is buried under an avalanche by the ensuing explosion.
A cutscene shows Guybrush and Elaine some time later, wearing wedding clothes. They sail of into the sunset with a ‘just married’ sign hanging off the back of their ship, whilst characters from the game wave them off from the shore.
The game that cuts to a shot of Murray, abandoned on a merchandise stall in the carnival.
After the credits roll, a stinger appears with a shot of the roller coaster tracks leading into the monkey head. We hear a father pirate telling his son of a legend that the man who created the carnival is buried there, and that his frozen body remains in the tunnels somewhere beneath the amusement park. The first bar of the LeChuck theme plays, ominously…
The Curse of Monkey Island was the first game in the series to not be headed by series creator, Ron Gilbert. Instead it was lead by Larry Ahern and Jonathan Ackley who had previously worked on Tim Schafer's Full Throttle. During the production of the game the role of Murray changed drastically. Although originally just a minor character featured in only the first act of the game his role was later changed to encompass the entire game.
Curse of Monkey Island was also the first Monkey Island game to feature voice acting and a cartoonish graphic style. The game's art director, Ben Tiller, was largely responsible for the game's unique art style. At one point, there was a plan to create a Monkey Island movie that used this art style - but the only thing to come out of it was some concept art. Many fans of the series consider these changes a great step forward while others believe they lacked the charm of the first two installments in the series.
The Curse of Monkey Island was positively recieved when it was released.
Curse of Monkey Island remains a fan-favorite among many Monkey Islanders. The voice acting in Curse of Monkey Island was well recieved by the fans and the main voice cast for the game was brought back for Tales of Monkey Island and The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition.
- Wally fills us in on his past from the last time we saw him, tied up in Lechuck’s dungeon at the end of MI2.
- Stan is still in the coffin that Guybrush traps him in during MI2.
- The Barbery Coast pirates mention that in their attempts to start a barbershop quartet, they once had a tenor named Dominique. This is a reference to MI1, in which Guybrush states he once had a barber named Dominique.
- The clock in Puerto Pollo chimes the hour as set by your PC clock (Guybrush will actually read off your time to you). The chime is the first bar of the Lechuck theme.
- There is a secret button on the bridge leading to the fort on Plunder Island. Pushing it fires a cannon on the fort, with no other effect.
- When asking Palido Domingo how long he’s been sunbathing, he always replies ‘Since (6 months ago)’ according to your PC clock.
Setting your clock to significant dates will make Palido add a relevant line, for example ‘By the way, happy new year’.
- While stuck in the quicksand in Puerto Pollo, if you read the information plaque about the native word "papapishu," (which means "youch") Guybrush will use it consistently instead of "youch" for the rest of the game.
- Blondbeard's Chicken Shack has a walk-thru speaker outside. Drive-thru obviously hasn't caught on by this point in time.
- If the player attempts to pick up the spittoon in the Goodsoup hotel, Guybrush states that his days of carrying other peoples’ spit around are over, a reference to his scraping up Largo’s spit in MI2.
- By hitting Ctrl J during insult sword fighting, the sword clash sound effects will be replaced by lightsaber sound effects.
- By the ferry landing on Blood Island, telling Guybrush to use the seawater results in a response of ‘I really don’t want to go in the ocean.’ However, if the player repeats this instruction 24 times, Guybrush says ‘well, if you insist’ and walks into the ocean, where he sees the drowned corpse of SMI-era Guybrush tied to the idol. Music from the first game plays and Guybrush says ‘Hmm. That guy probably couldn’t hold his breath underwater for very long. Too bad’ and walks off. On re-emerging at the beach, Guybrush turns to the camera and says ‘I hope it was worth it for you.’
- Examining the crack in the Goodsoup crypt causes Guybrush to partially emerge in an area in the woods of MI1. SMI-music plays and Guybrush mentions that he feels like he’s been here before, maybe in a dream.
- If you "use" the crack in the Goodsoup crypt, you'll be treated to Guybrush exclaiming, in a German accent, "Aiii! My hand is stuck! You'll have to cut it off!" This is a reference to Brink from The Dig.
- Inside "Mutual of Stan" on Blood Island, after examining the spider web in the upper left-hand corner, and exiting and entering between 30-40 times, you'll be treated to an animation of Maggie (from The Dig) stuck in the web.
- Playing with the lights in the theatre enough will result in a Sam and Max illumination on the stage
- Mort has a book entitled ‘ Zombies ate my neighbours’
- In Blondbeard's fried chicken restaurant, there is a skeleton that looks like Manny Calavera and he has a button that says "Ask me about Grim Fandango".
- Guybrush attempts to get past the Cabana Boy by using a Jedi mind trick on him ( "I'm not the pirate you're looking for..." ).
- Guybrush and the Flying Welshman have a Star Wars-referencing conversation, with Guybrush saying ‘I’m not afraid’ and the Flying Welshman saying (Yoda-like) ‘You will be. You…will be.’
- Guybrush introduces himself to King André in the surname,-firstname-surname style of James Bond, with a Sean Connery-like accent.
A later conversation choice references a famous line from the Bond film Goldfinger, with Guybrush asking ‘Do you expect me to talk?’ and André replying ‘No Mr. Threepwood, I expect you to buy.’
- The post-credits stinger conversation about the owner of the theme park (Lechuck) being frozen underneath the park is a reference to the well-known urban legend that Walt Disney's body is preserved cryogenically underneath Disneyworld.