Never fear, readers! The Intern has triumphed once more over The British Correspondent. We’ll Let Ryan decide how to deal with him later, but in the mean time, this week has gotten me in the mood for pirates, and I happen to have a new piratey series to begin. Remember the Muppet Treasure Island computer game? No? You didn’t even know such a thing existed? Well, that’s why I’m here to enlighten you.
The Epic CD-ROM Family Adventure: Part 1
Lisa Alexander – In 1996, Activision produced the 3-disc Windows PC game “Muppet Treasure Island” on CD-ROM to tie in with the release of the movie by the same name. I loved this game as a kid and played it endlessly until my family got a new computer that didn’t have the game installed, and my dad said our old games wouldn’t work on this new computer. It was years before I found out that you can adjust some color-settings to make the game work on Windows XP, and by that time, I had already moved on to Vista. Those are the times when some computer repair training would come in handy! Luckily, Mom’s new netbook runs XP.
Getting back to the game after so many years is great. This was really my introduction to The Muppets, and now that I’ve joined the ranks of Obsessed Muppet Fans, I have an even greater appreciation for it. But sadly, it seems to me that even most Obsessed Muppet Fans aren’t aware of the game. It’s chock-full of Muppety goodness, so I thought I would share.
The top of the jewel case proclaims this to be “The Epic CD-ROM Family Adventure,” and it’s just exactly that; it’s family-friendly, it’s an adventure, it’s on CD-ROM, and did I mention that it is totally EPIC? So please, join me as I take us on an Epic CD-ROM Family Adventure.
First we see a rusty-looking door inscribed with Muppet Treasure Island—the fancy script from the opening credits. The cheerful music can eventually get old. There’s also a rusty speaker above the right corner of the door—presumably the source of the music.
Parchment-posters hang to either side of the door on the graffiti-covered wall. The one on the left reads “Starring Kermit the Frog as Captain Smollet” and of course has a drawn picture of Kermit as Smollet. The one on the right reads “Starring Miss Piggy as Benjamina Gunn” and shows Miss Piggy with a pearl-and-feather headdress, peaking out from behind two big jungle leaves. (The diva gets scenery, you see.)
To the left of the door, there’s a blue button that says “More.” I wonder if anyone ever clicks it. To the right, there’s a red button that says “Quit.” On the door itself, there’s a green button that says “Play” (unless you haven’t installed it, in which case it says “Install”) and it’s flashing at us, so we’d better click it.
It’s not the first time we’ve played, so Stevenson the Parrot (Named for author Robert Louis Stevenson, of course) greets us. “Hey Hawkins! Nice to see you again!” Then he slips off the screen and narrates as each button he mentions pops out at us. “If you want start an adventure from the very beginning, tap the “New” button! If you want to load a saved adventure, tap the “Load” button. If you want to explore your favorite world, tap the button for that world! If you want to leave your adventure, tap the “Quit” button.” (The first time you play, you skip all of this and go straight into a New Game.)
We’re obviously in a backstage-sort of area. Most of the buttons are TV screens, except for “Quit,” which is one of those giant switches that should power down everything. There are cords and weights just waiting to go into action… or gathering dust. It’s hard to tell. Meanwhile, whoever’s running the music seems to have ADD (and I can say that, because I have ADD, too). The music keeps changing mid-song between various instrumentals from the game and movie in no particular order. I just heard the same snippet of “Something Better” twice in a row. And then we go back to what’s supposed to be tropical island music.
Let’s get on with it and click “New Game.” The scene suddenly gets much brighter as the “New Game” screen goes to static and (barely) reveals Bunsen and Beaker. Beaker points us out to Bunsen, and the static bounces them up and down the screen as they try to talk. “Oh, welcome! I am Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, and this is my assistant, Beaker!”
The screen goes static again, and a stage-manager-type-voice calls from off-screen, “Yeah excuse me Dr. Honeydew?” (Which sounds more like “Dr. Honday-loo”) “We need Beaker in Bristol RIGHT away!” Beaker promptly shoots across the screen, much like his entrance in the movie. “Opsie-doodle! Thank you sir,” the stage-manager-type voice calls out as Beaker crashes off-screen. “Ah, Mr. Kermit? Yeah, come one out and ah, introduce yourself to Hawkins? Thank you, sir.”
The door opens, but Kermit (dressed as Captain Smollet) slides in from the right of the screen to stand in front of it. He barely says “Hi-ho and WELCOME to The Game” before Fozzie (dressed as Squire Trelawney) comes out from the left of the screen.
“Hey, Kermit! I got some great new pirate jokes for The Game!”
“Well not now, Fozzie, you see we’re—“
“Wait, wait! Did you hear the one about the pirate who kept falling down? They called him—Black-and-Blue Beard! Ahh! Wocka wocka!”
“Any more jokes like THAT, Fozzie, and you’ll wocka wocka the plank!”
“Hey—that’s FUN-NY! Can I use that?”
“Uh, sure. But first you have to take your place in Bristol.”
This time, they actually use the door as Kermit herds a reluctant bear out of the first room and pushes a button to make sure they actually go where they’re headed. In theory, anyway. He moves his arm as if to push a button, but the animation doesn’t quite match up.
The stage-manager type voice makes itself known again. “Okay, now where’s the parrot? Ah ha! STEVENSON! You’re the HELP character! Go and—HELP already!”
Stevenson clears his throat before he pops up in the bottom-left hand corner of the screen (where he will always be if we can see him talking to us). “Hiya, Hawkins! Hey, welcome to The Game! Now I know you’re asking yourself, ‘Self? Why is this parrot calling me Hawkins? Wasn’t he the hero of Treasure Island?’ Right, right, WRONG! YOU’RE the new Hawkins and HERO, and I’m your Stevenson. I’ll be on my perch.” He zooms off, and then hurries back to tell us more. “Here’s something else—just tap on me once if you need any help. Tap on me twice if you’re ready to see your stuff. Anytime you’re ready, I’M ready.”
Stevenson leaves again, and Kermit comes rushing back in through the door, apparently successful in depositing Fozzie. “OKAY START THE OPENING! YAAAY!” he shouts in his oh-so-Kermity-way, and he lets out a little “Bope!” to give the button a sound effect on his way out, which is absolutely adorable because the button already has a sound effect. The opening credits start, and we presumably follow Kermit through the door for a better look.
The opening credits have the same font as the opening credits in the movie. They show against a black screen as Billy Bones tells us the same story he tells just before “Shiver My Timbers” plays in the movie. An instrumental version plays in the background. All of the characters in the game are the same as in the movie, except at the very end:
Your Adventure Parrot
The music ends with the instrumental version of that last, “Dead men tell no tales!” And the screen goes black.
The Game has begun.