The 10 Best Original LucasArts Adventure Characters

By Jason F.C. Clarke in Daily Lists, Video Games
Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at 8:08 am
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While the Star Wars franchise slumbered in geeky obscurity during the late '80s and early '90s, George Lucas became interested in the nascent world of videogames. In 1982 he founded LucasFilm Games, which became LucasArts in 1990. Though the company collaborated with Atari to produce a few games in the early-to-mid 1980s, in 1987 it had its first major hit with the graphic adventure game Maniac Mansion. Maniac Mansion ushered in the golden age of graphic adventure games, most of them created by LucasArts. Mansion was followed by Zak McCracken & The Alien Mindbenders, The Secret of Monkey Island, Loom, Indiana Jones & The Fate of Atlantis, Sam & Max Hit the Road, and Day of the Tentacle, while Grim Fandango closed out the era on a high note.

Unlike other adventure games in those early years, in LucasArts games you couldn't walk off a cliff accidentally and die, or get to the end of the game only to discover you'd missed picking up a crucial item fifteen overwritten saves ago. But more than that, LucasArts games were marked by quality writing, great dialogue, creative gameplay and perhaps most of all, memorable characters. Of course, some of LucasArts's adventure games featured established characters, such as Sam & Max and Indiana Jones. This list celebrates the top ten characters who originated in LucasArts adventure games.

10) Zak McKracken
Zak McKracken (no relation to Phil) was the star of his own 1998 game, Zak McKracken & the Alien Mindbenders, which featured the tabloid reporter and his pals racing to prevent the evil alien Caponians. The aliens had infiltrated the phone company and planned to take over the world with a special telephone tone that makes people dumber (20 years later, the producers of the movie Pulse would try something similar, attempting to make the world dumber by releasing the movie Pulse). The sarcastic and resourceful Zak would serve as a precursor to Guybrush Threepwood, hero of the more successful Monkey Island games.

9) Murray the Demonic Skull
1997's The Curse of Monkey Island, the third game in the series, introduced one of the franchise's most memorable characters: Murray the skull. The evil skull. Once a member of the ghost pirate LeChuck's undead crew, Murray's vessel was blown apart (by Guybrush) and left without a body. A complete megalomaniac, Murray's hilarious dialogue and unrelenting threats to Guybrush despite his utter immobility have made him a fan favorite character and won him a cameo in every game since.

8) Bobbin Threadbare
One of the few non-humorous LucasArts graphic adventures, Loom was an epic fantasy. The 1990 game featured a complex mythology centers around the Great Loom, which can actually weave the fabric of reality, and the Guild of Weavers who are responsible for it. When a rebellious Weaver plants a gray thread in the Loom, it results in the creation of a mysterious child. The game's story follows this boy, named Bobbin, as he attempts to save the world from the legions of Chaos.

7) Adrian Ripburger
While it never achieved the fame of Monkey Island or Maniac Mansion, 1995's Full Throttle has its own devoted coterie of diehard fans. The game was set in a Mad Max-like dystopian future, where motorcycles are gradually being replaced by hoverbikes. Ben, leader of the biker gang the Polecats, finds himself at odds with Adrian Ripburger, the evil vice-president of Corley Motors. While protagonist Ben was a typical loner-badass, Adrian Ripburger made for a memorable villain. Not only did he beat the elderly president of Corley Motors to death with his own cane, but upon taking over the company, planned to make minivans instead of motorcycles. The dirty bastard! Perhaps best of all, Ripburger was voiced by Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill.

6) Purple Tentacle
A minor threat in 1987's Maniac Mansion, the Purple Tentacle becomes the primarily antagonist of its 1993 sequel, Day of the Tentacle, after drinking toxic waste spewing from behind the mansion. The sludge causes him to grow arms (of a sort) and develop a sudden thirst for world domination. His intelligence is so great and his plan so flawless that the only way to stop him is for our heroes to go back in time to prevent him from mutating in the first place.

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