The holy grail of adventure games, Monkey Island has been a mainstay of video games for the last three decades. Its charming humor, surprisingly rich history, fantastic voice-acting, and general joie-de-vivre vibe helped it endure the test of time. Return to Monkey Island gives those of us who missed the boat (pun intended) the chance to right our wrongs and see what makes this series so unique in the first place.
And, like any great series (possible) ending, Monkey Island leaves us with a fair amount of questions. Of course, some questions may never be answered, considering that this may be the last foray with Guybrush we ever experience. But that’s totally fine – what’s life without a few questions, anyway?
In case it wasn’t clear: Spoilers for Monkey Island ahoy!
6/6 So, Did Any Of This Really Happen?
Return to Monkey Island uses Guybrush telling a story to his son, Boybrush, as its overarching framing device. We start the game in Boybrush’s shoes as he explores a nautical-themed park with his friends before he sits down for some storytime with his dad. Even when we return to saves, Guybrush will kindly ask Boybrush (and us) whether he remembers where the story left off. It’s all adventure, all the time.
But, when the game ends, the framing device becomes the overarching reality, and it becomes unclear whether Guybrush ever went on any adventures or if he was just weaving a tale for his young son. The fact that we see Le Chuck as an animatronic, with birds on wires above and flashing lights surrounding Elaine and us, lends to the idea that Guybrush was, ultimately, just a dude who worked at a theme park.
5/6 What Was The Secret?!
We’re really never going to know this one. That’s okay – as Elaine says, nothing could ever compare to what we imagine it to be. Still, our curiosity eats at us like termites at wood. We just want to know what the deal is! What lies at the center of this decades-spanning series? Can it really be so simple as a novelty t-shirt in an amusement park of…dubious quality?
Boybrush shares our feelings, though – he expresses his discontent at the lack of concrete answers. We’re not sure if Boybrush is as prone to theorizing as we are – but we can definitely side with the kid when he’s venting his frustrations. At the same time, this is Monkey Island, and we should expect light-hearted goofiness above all else. We’re still going to wonder about it, though,
4/6 Where’s Carla’s Book?
Guybrush is a pirate-type, after all, and they’re not exactly known for their adherence to laws. When you visit Carla, the governor of Melee island, you can peruse her expansive collection of books, with a button prompt appearing to “borrow” them after inspection. Carla will then inform Guybrush and us that he never returned the last book, and she has resolved not to forgive him for the slight.
You need to borrow a book from her to proceed in the quest, which involves giving her a “forgiveness frog.” She accepts your offer, but the question remains – what happened to the last book Guybrush borrowed? And, more importantly, will he be able to return the book he just borrowed? It passes hands to the cook of Scumm Bar, which is a heap of debris when you return to Melee Island – here’s hoping, for Carla’s happiness and Guybrush’s health, that the book returned to her before calamity struck.
3/6 Will We Have Another Adventure?
Mercifully, Return to Monkey Island does not end on a cliffhanger. After you tell your swashbuckling story to Boybrush, Elaine will come and tell you that she’s found a treasure map for Mire Island. Guybrush, of course, immediately decides that they must pursue this new adventure.
If not for the fact that the theme-park revelation throws the entire series into a state of ambiguity, we’d assume this would be a lead-in to another sequel. We don’t really need a follow-up, honestly – Return to Monkey Island does a fine job of wrapping everything up. But we kind of want one, anyway. What can we say? Guybrush and his friends are irresistible, and we’re fully prepared to pretend that his potential status as a former theme park employee makes him an actual pirate.
2/6 What Really Happened To The New Pirate Council?
Presumably, they met untimely ends…presumably. But we don’t know what happened to this salty, somewhat rude trio by the end of the game. There are allusions to them being killed offscreen, but in a world where LeChuck is an undead pirate who captains a ghost ship, we can’t exactly trust that they’re gone for good. Not that we’d mind, considering how they ran Melee Island’s economy and people into the dust.
Of course, considering we see Lila as an animatronic battling LeChuck in the ending, it may be that she’s the only one who exists (in terms of having a physical presence of some kind), while the others are just embellishments to Guybrush’s story. Who knows! Not us.
1/6 What Was The Meal The Chef Had To Prepare?
The triumphant return of the chef of Scumm Bar is undercut slightly by his absolute nightmare of a night. Forced to replicate a meal that a fussy, upper-class customer cannot recall the color, look, or even the taste of – the best he can give is “it is made of ingredients,” the chef exudes stress. You can provide him with the cookbook the caterer who prepared the original meal used. Except, the recipe is still unknown. So, naturally, the chef decides to make all of them.
We never find out what the food was or how difficult it was to prepare because, by the time you return to Melee Island, Scumm has been lost. We just wanted to know what meal this extremely fussy customer was demanding. A mystery for the ages, indeed.
NEXT: Things Everyone Completely Missed In Return To Monkey Island