- Fantastic point-and-click adventure game with remastered graphics and sound, and also includes developer commentary (++)
- You control three characters like in Maniac Mansion, but you don’t get to choose who
- Most puzzles are pretty straightforward, but there are a few whoppers that will have you clicking around aimlessly
- Around 15-20 hours of content
- Recommendation: Buy
Thankfully, the sequel, Day of the Tentacle (Remastered) didn’t take me quite that long. But the real question is, does the sequel still hold up after all these years? And is the remastered edition worth it?
I’m happy to report that the answer is a wholehearted yes to both, and not only does Day of the Tentacle still hold up today, it’s what I would consider one of the best games in the genre. The remaster looks stunning and really captures the original’s utterly over-the-top art style.
Day of the Tentacle’s story begins with Dr. Fred, the mad scientist from Maniac Mansion, releasing toxic sludge into the river next to his mansion. No big deal. That is until one of his “creations” aka lab assistant, Purple Tentacle – who’s an actual tentacle – decides to drink some as a fun experiment. This causes him to grow hands, become super smart and suffer manic delusions of taking over the world.
Dr. Fred quickly ties up Purple Tentacle and his brother, Green Tentacle (who’s actually a good
guy tentacle just trying to make it in the world with his band) and prepares to execute them. But! Green Tentacle sends a letter over to science nerd Bernard Bernoulli, one of the heroes in the first game, asking for help.
Bernard arrives on the scene with two of his friends, the grungy rocker Hoagie and med student Laverne, and frees both Tentacles. Whoops! Turns out this is a horrible idea, as Purple Tentacle is now free to go out and conquer the world.
Dr. Fred is understandably pissed at Bernard and sends the trio back in separate time machines to the day before, in an attempt to shut off the toxic sludge machine before Purple Tentacle can get his hands on the sludge. Unfortunately, the fake diamond that powers his time machine console breaks as the machines are floating around in some netherspace, and Hoagie finds himself stuck 200 years in the past while Laverne is stuck 200 years in the future. Bernard lucks out and returns to the present.
Believe it or not, that’s just the intro sequence, which includes a very short playable part (fun fact: Tim Schafer mentions that this was done to break up the intro so the player wasn’t sitting there for 7 minutes).
If you’re familiar with the original Maniac Mansion (or even the original version of DotT), the remastered interface has been simplified quite a bit, with the actions and inventory area being removed in favor of a right-click menu and a separate inventory pull-out drawer (mousing over the bottom of the screen opens it up automatically, or you can manually open it with a key). You have the option of reverting to the original interface at any point during the game – the same also applies for audio and graphics as well. Try switching the graphics from remastered to original to REALLY see the effects of the remaster: it’s pretty drastic.
I found the difficulty to be, much like the game, a bit wacky across the board. Many of the puzzles have fairly obvious solutions, though Day of the Tentacle manages to add some whoppers here and there that will have you pulling your hair out. Those times I found myself completely stumped, in true ’90s era adventure game fashion I went through my items and just tried using them with everyone and everything. Try to give a hamster to George Washington? Sure, why not? And more often than not, this actually worked. [author’s note: you can give items to your other characters in the inventory screen by clicking on an item and then clicking on a character portrait. I didn’t find this out until the last 10% of the game. Don’t be like me]
There’s a very, very basic hint system where the characters voice their thoughts to a mummy and give a rough idea of what they should be doing. However, these were always more big-picture hints rather than specific ways to solve a current puzzle.
You can actually play the original Maniac Mansion, start-to-finish, by using the computer in Weird Ed’s room.
And here’s another: you can actually play the original Maniac Mansion, start-to-finish, by using the computer in Weird Ed’s room.
Day of the Tentacle Remastered is available for PC/Mac, PS4, Xbox One and iOS. It took me a little over 20 hours to finish it, but I was screwing around for a good bit (and/or stumped) – I’d say 15-20 hours is probably a good estimate for most players. Highly recommended.