If I keep comparing these games to Monkey Island, it’s because it’s really striking how pervasive its stylistic influence is, especially compared to other popular point-and-click adventure franchises like King’s Quest. Touché! The Adventures of the Fifth Musketeer is possibly the most obvious Monkey Island wannabe I’ve ever seen. The opening scenes of Rouen at night are a dead ringer for the town on Mêlée Island, and I swear that the player character has the same walk animation as Guybrush in Monkey Island 2.

And yet I dropped it, back in the day, because I was finding it dull. What few puzzles I saw were prosaic, and the humor, which is mainly based around pointing out foibles, seemed relatively soft and safe. Much like “dad jokes”, it seems to exist more to fill a social function than to actually provoke laughter.

And, when you come down to it, the whole musketeer fantasy is a lot more… square than the pirate fantasy. Pirates are criminals. Guybrush, in the first game, is basically a nerd who wants to join a dangerous gang. Sure, his first challenges are all about proving himself to some older authority figures (the Pirate Leaders), but he never actually finishes that. When he completes the tasks necessary for his pirate certification, the Leaders are nowhere to be found. He goes and starts being a pirate anyway. The musketeers, meanwhile, are supporters of monarchy. Geoffroi Le Brun, Touché‘s player character, is already an ensign in the musketeers when the game starts (unlike d’Artagnan in the novel, whose introduction is a lot more like Guybrush’s). His first main goal is to hunt down an assassin who killed a nobleman. So he’s basically a cop. Before long, he hires a manservant! Guybrush also hired some help, a crew for his ship, but they never really accepted his authority or obeyed his orders. Whereas Henri slides firmly into the role of comical sidekick, like Sancho Panza, complaining a lot and openly expressing an inordinate desire for food and wine but always staying by his master’s side and never really questioning his rule.

So, my first impression is that this is the conservative authoritarian reply to the Monkey Island games. But I’m still only a little way in, and that could change.

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