Return to Monkey Island, video game, box art, pirates, Guybrush, LeChuck, Elaine

LeChuck: role model more than villain

Have you played Return to Monkey Island yet?

Although I’d managed to stay away from all articles until I’d tried it for myself, it didn’t escape my attention that the review headlines were generally favourable. News outlets were awarding the title four or five stars in their reviews and calling it a ‘triumph’.

I got my hands on it a couple of days after its release last month. I’d heard from a friend that some players were complaining about the new style of graphics but I quite liked the artwork myself, and I loved the way the experience made me feel like a kid playing The Secret of Monkey Island for the first time all over again. It was also great to see the return of Murray, my favourite character from the series.

This post isn’t a review of any kind. I don’t feel the need to write about the game in that way, because the experience of playing it was solely for ‘me’ if that makes sense. Monkey Island fans have been waiting so long for this to happen so it’s special now that it has arrived. I would however still like to celebrate the series here at Later Levels, and I think I’ve come up with the perfect way to do that.

Demonic skull Murray will always have my heart but there’s another guy who deserves some attention: LeChuck. It can’t be easy being a ghost-zombie-demon-god-pirate. As he laments in his diary in Return to Monkey Island, he constantly has to put up with a nemesis with a stupid name, who stole his love and gets much better press. LeChuck’s experiences and the way he handles them are things we can all learn from, so much so that perhaps he should be considered a role model rather than a villain.

Everything you do, do it for love

Return to Monkey Island, video game, screenshot, ship, pirates, Guybrush, LeChuck

Elaine means everything to LeChuck and there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for her. It’s therefore not surprising then that when she told him to drop dead, he did. He was supposedly killed after encountering a storm while searching for the secret of Monkey Island, a quest undertaken to show her how much he cared. His feelings for the Governor were strong enough to bring him back from beyond the grave because he couldn’t bear to be parted from her – even in death. This has to be one of the most romantic things you could ever do for someone you love.

Everyone deserves a second chance

Return to Monkey Island, video game, screenshot, pirates, ship, LeChuck

The series may paint Guybrush to be the hero, but we all know it deep down in our hearts: he has made some really poor decisions over the years and isn’t a particularly good pirate either. So surely LeChuck choosing to help him out by giving him a second chance at life was a noble gesture? At the end of Monkey Island 2: LeChucks’s Revenge, he casts a spell on Guybrush to return him to his childhood. The useless buccaneer can now start all over again and perhaps even make some better choices this time around. Maybe.

Real heroes never quit

Return to Monkey Island, video game, screenshot, temple, pirates, sword fighting, LeChuck, Lila

LeChuck has been killed so many times during the Monkey Island series that it can be difficult to keep track of his deaths. But this doesn’t stop him because he just keeps on fighting: knock him down and he’ll get right back up again in a different form. He’s constantly getting blown up by Guybrush both mentally and physically, and yet he still comes back for more. This is a sign of resilience and inner strength, and determination is the mark of a true protagonist. LeChuck teaches us that real heroes never give up.

It’s what’s on the inside that counts

Return to Monkey Island, video game, screenshot, pirate, LeChuck, ship

You know what they say about beauty being only skin deep and never lasting? LeChuck understands that it’s what’s on the inside which really matters and is keen to point this out to Guybrush in Tales of Monkey Island: ‘Har! My outer shell is meaningless, you fool! Within my decaying flesh courses more voodoo power that your pitiful mind can possibly imagine!’ Forget all those fake influencers you find all over social media because here’s a true role model to remind us of what’s important. Hashtag body positivity.

Innovate and inspire

Return to Monkey Island, video game, screenshot, ship, pirates, cauldron, LeChuck

Reinvention is the process of learning new skills and adapting to new situations. It’s key to both professional and personal success, and LeChuck knows this. As well as his constantly changing form, in Return to Monkey Island he regularly tries out new catchphrases to stay fresh and inspire his demonic crew. How can you not feel uplifted after hearing cries of ‘Plunder my quivering bilges’ or ‘By my bristling beard’? He gets how important it is to innovate and break new ground for the evil pirates who will follow.

Be more like LeChuck

Return to Monkey Island, video game, screenshot, LeChuck's diary, writing, book

Hopefully I’ve been able to prove today that LeChuck isn’t the evil villain he’s always made out to be. He’s simply misunderstood. A man deeply in love with a woman who can’t stand him, in competition with a bumbling pirate who’s beneath him, and in a body which changes from one day (or death) to the next. He doesn’t let these obstacles stand in his way though, and he’s constantly putting himself out there while working towards his goals. We can all learn a valuable lesson or two from LeChuck.

I won’t be writing a review of Return to Monkey Island any time soon, but Mr Wapojif has you covered: check out this post over on Professional Moron. And if you’d like to have a good, long chat about LeChuck, Monkey Island and that ending, you know where I am.

2 thoughts on “LeChuck: role model more than villain

    • Oh, I see what you did there…

      I think I enjoyed it more now than I did while playing, if that makes sense? It took a couple of days for the premise and ending to really hit, and for the message to leave its mark. It was good to see Murray again too!

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