The Giant Monkey Head: A Visual History The Giant Monkey Head of Monkey Island fame has looked different in each of the three games that featured it. This page chronicles the changes in its appearance over the years.

The Secret of Monkey Island


Steve Purcell's concept art for the Giant Monkey Head. There's a hellish glow coming from its eyes and open mouth.


The first sight (besides the box cover) that a player gets of the Giant Monkey Head. It has a rather grayish-green tint here, as opposed to the brown of the concept art, and its eyes aren't red.


A closer-up image of the monkey head.


By inserting the key in the left ear, Guybrush unlocks the head's mouth.


Beneath the head is a vast network of hellish catacombs. By the way, the orientation of the bones suggests that the caverns here extend forward, so they're beneath the ground in front of the Monkey Head where the idols are.

The Curse of Monkey Island


In CMI the monkey head was a mix of the MI1 game and concept art versions. It had the greenish tint and stripes down the face from the first game, plus the red eyes from Steve Purcell's drawing.


Here the caverns extend backwards from the mouth of the Monkey Head, as evidenced by the position of the entrance.

Escape from Monkey Island


Concept art for the Monkey Head in EMI.


This is how the Monkey Head appeared in the intro of the EMI demo. It's silver like the final version, but the design is much more stylized.

The odd-looking area covering the mouth was apparently a 3D model that could open and close without triggering a cutscene.

Also, the giant cotton swab isn't visible in the ear.

Click this link to see another image of the initial EMI Monkey Head, this time with the mouth open, hosted at GameSpot.


The Monkey Head as it appears in the final game. Since the whole thing is a prerendered 3D object, the artists had to render cutscenes of it opening and closing.


The Monkey Head with its mouth open in the final game. The cotton swab is in the wrong ear, by the way.


In the Playstation 2 port of EMI, the prerendered Monkey Head was replaced by a 3D model. This allowed the artists to once more open and close the head in-game, without cutscenes.

Look closely and you can see the outlines of the original Monkey Head behind the 3D model, including the edge of the giant Q-tip.


The controls to the Giant Monkey Robot.


The Monkey Robot in action.

According to Dave Grossman, the Giant Monkey Robot was an idea originally conceived for The Secret of Monkey Island. LeChuck's ship was supposed to transform into a giant robot at the end of the game. Then the Monkey Head would have become the Giant Monkey Robot, under Guybrush's control, and there would have been a battle.

So the bizarre ending of EMI is not entirely Sean and Mike's fault.

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