Saturday, 8 August 2009

A pirate I was meant to be!

This should be a lot of fun. I'm a big fan of the Monkey Island series. I wonder how close they'll stick to the original script - new material would be good but I'm also hoping to hear the now-familiar voice of Guybrush performing lines like "You must have mistaken me for someone else, I am not a farmer."

I remember playing Monkey Island 2 when I was a kid - the version which had about 20 discs which you had to keep on taking out and putting in. I never reached the end of it, which was probably a good thing because you kind of need to be familiar with the climaxes of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi to really "get" the ending, two films I wouldn't see for a few years...

But that wasn't my introduction to piratical computer games. That would have been away back in about 1990, when we had a BBC Basic computer, and one of the games we installed was called simply "Pirate". I loved that game. There was no mouse on that computer, and you could give the game only six commands (expressed by six of the function keys) - north, south, east, west, yes and no.

Level one took place in a small sea (actually, I guess it was more of a lake - it was surrounded by coastline after all). Locations included dragon island (where you'd only survive if you had already acquired a sword earlier in your travels) and cat island, where a black cat would tell you its name - a name which would be required as a password to reach the land-based level 2.

Things which could happen to you included:

Killed by the dragon of dragon island
Cursed by a man who you refuse to rescue
Overthrown by your crew and ordered to "walk the plank" (a crocodile, or possibly a shark, eagerly awaiting your arrival in the sea)
Dashed against the rocks in that omnipresent coastline
Losing a battle with an enemy crew of pirates
Shipwrecked on an island and unable to signal for help because you hadn't captured any flags to signal with

That was in level 1. In level 2 you might get stampeded by a boar or struck by lightning... "and your boots smoke!" I never got any further than part way through level 2 so who knows how many wonders awaited later in the game?

Of course, as various characters point out in Monkey Island 3, you can't die in a LucasArts adventure game (unless they're trying something new) so I'm unlikely ever again to read (or hear) the following pronouncement:

"Cap'n, we are done for! The dogs are too much for us."

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