Review: The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition

In 1990, LucasFilm Games, now LucasArts, released The Secret of Monkey Island, still widely considered to be one of the best point-and-click adventure games ever.  In 2009, LucasArts released The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition on the Xbox Live Arcade and PC.

Oliver Motok (right) begs Shawn, Ashley, and I (sitting from left to right) for his job back
Oliver Motok (right) begs Shawn, Ashley, and I (sitting from left to right) for his job back

The game places the player in the shoes of Guybrush Threepwood on his quest to become a great pirate.  The special edition remake includes updated 3D graphics, the addition of voice acting, streamlined controls for the XBox, and the ability to seamlessly switch to the old school version.  This ability is one of the more interesting parts of the game, as a simple button press switches back and forth between the versions with no load times between.  There is even an achievement on the 360 version for switching to the original version.

The updated graphics and the addition of voices are both excellent improvements to this already wonderful game.  The goofy art style adds to the comedy feel of the universe.  As the older graphics may turn off some new players, the 3d graphics will help add new fans to the series.  The well-done voice acting adds to the overall feel of the game, and includes some humor not found in the older version.  Another positive addition to the new version is the streamlined controls.  The new controls allow a single button press for the default action when the pointer is over certain objects on screen, such as talking to characters and opening doors.

Overall, this is a great game that is made even better with the addition to new graphics, voice acting, and controls.  As none of the puzzles or dialogue have been changed, the original humor of the game has been kept the same.  The only negative aspect to the game is the short playtime, but the addition of achievements make it worth a few playthroughs.  Still one of the funniest games ever, this is a great choice for anyone looking for a goofy but challenging adventure game.


  1. I thought there was a talkie version of Monkey Island? Else what’s the difference between the floppy and CD-rom versions of the original?

    Does the new one still have the Loom joke?

  2. @SN: I don’t remember them adding voices until The Curse of Monkey Island, but I honestly could be totally wrong. Other than the voice acting and the new graphics, nothing really. Plot and puzzles are still the same. And yes, the Loom joke is still there. Now with voice!

  3. The original script of Final Fantasy VII, which was written by Sakaguchi, was completely different from the finished product. Tetsuya Nomura recalled how Sakaguchi “wanted to do something like a detective story”. The first part of the story involved a “hot blooded” character named “Detective Joe” who was in pursuit of the main characters.

  4. @Bup- I could be wrong also, I just know that they released a CD-rom version, and assumed that it would have had at least some voice acting.

  5. I still have an old LucasArts Monkey Island collector’s pack (circa 2002, I think) that contained the first three games in CD-rom format. Neither of the first two games had voicework, as I recall.

    Also, a recent LucasArts podcast indicated that CoM was the first game where they attempted to find voice actors.

  6. How are us mere mortals supposed to compete with NATE LILES!!! I only supposed it had VA because it was on CD, and I saw little reason else for it to be on CD.

    It appears that CoMI was the first Monkey Island game to feature VA.

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