If you’re going to buy only one adventure game this year, make it Day of the Tentacle
Purple Tentacle grew arms and with his new-found mobility, is set on conquering earth – the advent of the age of tentacles. Bernard, Laverne, and Hoagie revisit the mansion to stop him when one of them gets transported 200 years into the past, the other 200 years into the future and one stays in the present. Though in different epochs, the three have to work together to save the human race from slavery and possible total annihilation.
Maniac Mansion Day of the Tentacle (Lucas Arts 1993, Double Fine 2016), also known as DotT, is my all-time favourite point & click adventure game. I played both the German as well as American version of this game so often, that I can rush through this game in no-time. Needless to say, I had high hopes & fears for its remaster.
About the Game
Day of the Tentacle takes place a couple of years after the events of Maniac Mansion (Lucas Arts 1987), which was the first ”real” point & click adventure, thanks to the SCUMM engine. No longer did players have to type in verbs, but verbs to interact with the game environment were given to them through the engine. In DotT players not only get to play with a refined version of the engine, they also get to embark on this adventure that’s superior to The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge in story telling, pacing, puzzle design, as well as the way it teaches its game mechanics.
Similar to Maniac Mansion (MM), players get to control three protagonists, although the roster of playable characters has been trimmed down drastically. Unlike in MM, there are no longer multiple ways to beating the game, nor is there a way to die or fail. The overall maps are a lot smaller than in previous Lucas Arts adventure games, streamlining the puzzle solving process. It’s clear how much more experienced with the genre the developers were at this point as opposed to the first games. While in the remasters of both Monkey Island 1 & 2, I preferred using the old look, simply because it was easier for me to operate the menu and handle my items, in this game, I mostly used the new look as I was finally able to navigate through the options and items properly.
About the Remaster
Like other Lucas Arts remasters, this game runs pretty well on older machines and the remaster comes with the same features that players have come to know and love from Tim Schafer and Double Fine: There’s insightful audio commentary from the original creators, revamped music, and they dug out original artwork from the Lucas Arts archives to include in this game. Unfortunately, the beautifully remastered voiceover is limited to German and English, however, players can take solace in the multilingual interface and subtitles that include all major European languages.
The original art is kept in its 4:3 ratio, yet when players switch to higher resolution, the screen simply expands to a 16:9 ratio without stretching the characters, something that was already done in the remasters of the two Monkey Island games. The achievements are fairly creative and are often rewards for finding easter eggs in the game. As I knew the game pretty well, the only surprise I haven’t seen before was the one attached to the “Voiding the Warranty” achievement.
The one thing that is still as surprising as before is the inclusion of the entire Maniac Mansion game within this game. Day of the Tentacle Remastered includes the PC enhanced version of its predecessor with all copyright protection having been disabled. Sadly, there was no way to save progress within Maniac Mansion and I had to start from the beginning everytime I took a break.
So to anyone asking themselves whether or not they should get this game. If there’s only one adventure game that you’re going to get this year, make it either Grim Fandango or Day of the Tentacle Remastered. They’re that good. But in case you’re wondering, it took me five hours to beat the game and get all achievements. However I do have to say that I spent a lot of time playing and replaying this as a kid.
The game is a solid 9 cherry tree chopping George Washingtons out of 10
Where to get
I played the original Day of the Tentacle on a CD-ROM and got the remastered version on Steam. It is available in several online stores like Good Old Games or the PlayStation Store as digital download for $14.99 USD or your regional equivalent.
Feel free to visit my Steam curator page for other reviews:
All screenshots taken by me during my playthrough and recorded using the Steam Overlay feature.