Day of the Tentacle Remastered, the new version of the 1993 point and click adventure, one of the best of all times, is already among us. Are you ready to laugh in a time travel adventure with Bernard, Hoagie and Laverne all over again?
Day of the Tentacle Remastered
Available on: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Windows (tested), Mac OS
Developed by: Double Fine Productions
Published by: Double Fine Productions
A bit of context
Day of the Tentacle is the second part of Maniac Mansion, a game created by Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick in 1987. DIt was the first title released by LucasArts (Lucasfilm) and used the SCUMM engine. In Maniac Mansion, Dave Miller went to the Edison’s mansion to rescue his girlfriend Sandy who had been kidnapped by Dr. Fred. It was a huge success, and for all the good reasons.
With that said, it is time to go back to the mansion with a nerd, a medical student and a heavy metal fan to save humanity. Save humanity from what, you may ask? from the attack of a Purple Tentacle that drunk contaminated water from a sewer. But not every mutant tentacle is bad and crazy. This story also has a Green Tentacle called Hamster, a friend of Bernard. It is Hamster who ask our protagonists for help, and how the story begins.
After so many years, the story and mechanics of Day of the Tentacle have aged really, really well. The smart dialogues, the silly puns and interesting puzzles remain untouched for you to rediscover. With that said, it is clear that the only thing this version provides are the enhanced graphics (which you can toggle between the legacy and new ones at any time) and the developer commentary, which is both interesting and funny.
In the game we play as Bernard, Hoagie and Laverne, who after suffering a technical problem in a not so safe time travel machine, each of them end up in different points in time: the present, the time of the Declaration of Independence of the United States, and the XXII century governed by the Purple Tentacle, the villain of the game we must stop.
In our attempt to save the world and get the hell out of the Dr. Edison’s mansion, a not so kind character and clearly unhappy with our presence. Let’s remember that Dr. Edison is the same person who tried to steal our brain in Maniac Mansion, so there is that. To achieve our goal, the game allows us to toggle between the three friends with just a simple button press, each of them in a different point in history, talking with icons like George Washington, solving their own puzzles and helping each other.
How can they help each other, you may ask? Well, they can send objects from the past to the future and back by flushing them in the toilet. This is a key mechanic that both Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer created to make us think out of the box. We will need to combine objects and perform tasks in a specific order to, for instance, send living creatures from the present to the future without killing them. Unfortunately, it is hard to describe puzzles without spoiling them, and by doing so we would do more harm than good: remember that the same game, plot and mechanics from 1993 are still there, which means the game is from an age where to replay value wasn’t the focus. We can’t do multiple things in different ways. Is this something bad? Not really. It is a rather long game, with interesting environments, characters and dialogues, something that games currently lack, most of the time.
Improved gameplay with consoles in mind
A multi-platform release of a game originally designed for computers can be tricky. Especially for a point & click adventure. I must admit though that this has been solved in a flawless manner. With the left joystick we move the cursor to select the objects in the screen, and with just a button we have a wheel with the different actions: push, pull, talk, look… Once we have decided what we want to do, we just need to press another button to confirm the action. It can’t be any easier than that. We can also access our inventory by either pressing a button or moving the cursor to the left corner of the screen. Finally, to move your character around the stage, we point with the left joystick in the direction that suits us and then press the same button we use to confirm our actions. That’s it.
It looks pretty and sounds better
Graphically, Double Fine has taken the original graphics concept and created a 2D HD colorful world. It is hard to not compare the style with cartoon series like Futurama, Family Guy, Simpsons… I had my doubts at first, but I enjoyed them. The quality is there, and as always, you can toggle the graphics with just a button.
The sound has also been enhanced. I believe many effects are from the original recordings, which have been polished. I will need to confirm this, but anyways, the sound is crystal clear, and it will make use of your current speakers. I’ve noticed some out of sync issues with the subtitles, but nothing major.
Bonus: Maniac Mansion
In addition to the graphical improvements and a more modern interface, Day of the Tentacle Remastered gives us some interesting extras as the developer commentary, (this alone is worth the whole price), a gallery of sketches that we will unlock by doing specific actions, a helper where we can highlight the items we can interact with, and Maniac Mansion, the original and first game. We simply need to access the computer to play it.
Day of the Tentacle Remastered is a must for any fan of the genre. It is as simple as that. It doesn’t really matter if you are trying to stop the Purple Tentacle from conquering the world for the very first time or if you are a seasoned player. An adventure like this is still fresh, fun and enjoyable like the first day. If this is your first, you will love it. If this isn’t, go ahead and enable the developer’s commentary. It is worth every single second of your life.