Day of the Tentacle Remastered Review

dottremaster

Back when my family purchased their first ever PC (a bygone era, were music lovers listened to tunes on cassette tapes) my favourite genre of video game had to be point and click adventures. Puzzle solving was right up my alley, as I grew up playing the Dizzy series during the age of 8-bit home computers, and I especially loved the witty humour found in many a LucasArts title. Some of my favourite adventure games include Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Flight of the Amazon Queen and Day of the Tentacle… the latter which has recently been remastered, courtesy of DOTT co-creator Tim Schafer’s new studio Double Fine Productions. I seldom revisit completed games (I have a huge backlog of unfinished stuff to tackle after all) but I think we can make an exception for Day of the Tentacle. It’s been twenty years since I last played it and my floppy discs have long since been misplaced so cut me some slack.

OVERVIEW

Day of the Tentacle is the 1993 follow-up to the eighties classic Maniac Mansion. The game stars a trio of college students that have temporarily ceased their studies in order to pursue the titular purple tentacle, who harbours desires of world conquest after it feasted on some IQ boosting toxic sludge. To foil the genius appendage’s plans, our heroes decide to travel to the past on some time travelling porta potties (toilets are more original than the overdone phone boxes used by Dr Who, Bill and Ted.) Unfortunately the temporal trip goes awry, marooning chubby rocker Hoagie in 1700 AD and med student Laverne in a distant future where Purple Tentacle’s brethren have enslaved humanity. Due to the unexpected snafu, players will need to aid poindexter Bernard in returning his chums to the present before they can resume their tentacle-capturing escapades.

Rescuing the globe from invasion by slimy creatures will require that players use items, procured through exploration, to solve a multitude of conundrums. You’ll also be expected to converse with a quirky cast of characters that include a mad scientist, some goofy motel patrons and even America’s founding fathers. Originally designed for play on a computer, I was impressed by how well the Vita version’s controls work. Much to my surprise, the handheld’s analogue stick adequately replicates the functions of a PC mouse. The new user interface also helps, as it eliminates the need to constantly select commands from the SCUMM menu (SCUMM stands for Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion… I am not actually calling the menu a scumbag.) In this remastered edition, interacting with the environment simply requires that you click on an object and then pick the appropriate action from the handy icon wheel that appears.

VERDICT

My rating for Day of the Tentacle Remastered is four and a half stars. My opinion may be influenced by nostalgia, but as far as I am concerned DOTT remains one of the best point and click adventures money can buy. The comedy has stood the test of time (although rodent lovers may disapprove of the constant hamster abuse) and Double Fine has done a great job updating the visuals for a modern audience. Although the original graphics have a retro charm they do look rather blocky on a high definition screen, so the decision to redraw them is much appreciated. I also welcomed the inclusion of extra features such as a director’s commentary and the ability to highlight usable onscreen items by pressing up on the D-Pad. Highlighting vital objects with a translucent glow can really help in spotting items if you suffer from poor eyesight. Curse my poor vision – sitting too close to monitors and masturbating really does make you go blind.

Only a few technical niggles prevent me from awarding Day of the Tentacle full marks. The most noticeable quirk is that there are a few occasions when the audio doesn’t quite sync up with the lip movements of a character. Even more bothersome is how long it takes to manually save your progress, which is weird given the age of the game. DOTT’s duration also influenced my scoring, as you can complete the game from beginning to end within three hours (should you happen to remember all the puzzle solutions.) Overall however I think the download is worth purchasing, especially when you consider that you are getting two games for the price of one. Yes, I can confirm that DOTT’s predecessor Maniac Mansion is included in the package as a hidden in-game Easter egg. How awesome is that? Needless to say, just like a Japanese schoolgirl, playing around with this tentacle left me well and truly satisfied.

7 thoughts on “Day of the Tentacle Remastered Review

  1. Playing it right now, love classic Lucas Films / Arts adventures. My favorite is Monkey Island saga, specially second one. Can’t wait for Double Fine’s next remaster, Full Throttle.

  2. “Needless to say, just like a Japanese schoolgirl, playing around with this tentacle left me well and truly satisfied.”

    That’s where my mind went immediately after reading the title of this post. I don’t know which one corrupts you more, the Internet or the stuff that comes from Japan…

  3. Never played this game before, but got it for Vita. Pretty impressed. The only other LucasArts adventure game I’ve played is Secret of Monkey Island (the XBLA remastered version), and I think this game is probably way better than that. It’s really impressive how well the redrawn graphics captures the look of the original pixelated version.

  4. I somehow never got round to playing either DOTT or Maniac Mansion back in the Day, but fully intent picking this up on Vita very soon – especially now I’ve read your positive review.

  5. I never played Day of the Tentacle when it first came out, so I was super excited to hear about the remaster. Excellent review; can’t wait to play it myself!

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