Hi there, I’m a member of a few adventure game groups, and one common topic of conversation is “what’s the worst puzzle?”. The MI2 waterfall/monkey wrench puzzle always makes an appearance
I know this puzzle has been mentioned several times here, and by now everyone just remembers the thing fondly, but I would love it if @RonGilbert could finally publicly address it
I’ve heard a rumour that MI2 was originally planned to include a “Normal” mode that would have sat alongside the “Easy” and “Hard” modes the game shipped with. I don’t know if there’s any truth to that, but it would certainly make the monkey wrench puzzle fit better if it was a “Hard” mode puzzle.
There’s also a rumour that the German translator begged Ron to change the puzzle, as it was impossible to make sense of in German. Ron apparently stuck to his guns.
It’s interesting to dissect the puzzle because it seems to break Ron’s rules of adventure games on several levels.
To begin with, the player isn’t even aware that they need to turn the bolt in the pump. There’s no indication that there would be any reward for doing so. (The pump may have existed to help with something later in the story, or with another item, for example.)
There’s nothing in the game that tells the player that monkeys can be hypnotised. (They can’t in real life.) Or that a hypnotised monkey would become rigid. (Not true of humans who are hypnotised in real life.)
There’s no clue to as to why a hypnotised monkey could be used in place of a wrench, other than thinking afterwards, “Oh! A monkey wrench!”
So the player isn’t even aware a lock exists. And if they did, there’s no clue that a key needs to be constructed. It’s true that the “key before lock” problem is unlikely to arise, but that’s small consolation for not knowing the lock even exists
How does Ron feel about this now? Was it a mistake? Is he happy with that design choice? Was there really a “normal” mode planned?