Point-and-click adventure games have a tremendous history. In the early days of PC gaming, this genre was at the forefront offering up some of the most exciting and memorable romps available. LucasArts and Sierra Entertainment were two studios on the cutting edge bringing us classics like Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, and Space Quest. Indeed, through the first two decades of computer gaming, story driven adventures were among the pinnacle of the artform.
In 1987, a lesser known title called Maniac Mansion released. Science fiction writer Orson Scott Card hailed it as a step toward “computer games [becoming] a valid storytelling art.” This laudatory achievement never established the game as a hit in the way that others were, but it did net the franchise a sequel. In 1993, Day of the Tentacle released with updated graphics inspired by the art design of Chuck Jones, becoming a fan favorite and cult classic.
What Is It?
In 2016, Day of the Tentacle Remastered is being released on the PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita. Following the success of the remastered release of Grim Fandango last year, Double Fine Studios and Tim Schafer are back at it bringing us to a beloved classic.
The plot of Day of the Tentacle takes place five years after Maniac Mansion. Dr. Fred Edison, a mad scientist, has created a power hungry, hyper-intelligent, sludge-drinking monster called the Purple Tentacle. Purple Tentacle, unfortunately, is hell-bent on world domination. Dr. Edison’s plan is to annihilate Purple Tentacle, and his brother Green Tentacle, once and for all so that the quest to take over the world is stopped.
But Green Tentacle enlists the help of boy nerd Bernard Bernoulli, who frees the tentacles. While this is a nice idea, the side-effect is that Purple Tentacle is free to continue his maniacal plot in global domination. Dr. Edison, now along with Bernard and his gang of friends, must travel through time and stop Purple Tentacle together. The story is more or less the gang hopping in and out of various eras through history doing whatever they can to stop this world take-over. Are they successful? Not entirely.
Why Should I Care?
In its time, Day of the Tentacle was a visual treat. It hosted some of the best animation available in the first half of the 90’s, and was also a highly intuitive version of the point-and-click mainframe which had been popularized in other games. Today, it feels archaic yet still more or less effective. By that I mean to say it still plays well, but if this is your first entry into this type of game, you might find yourself a little put off.
The remastered audio and visual quality is certainly a marked improvement. The game does look and sound quite good. While it looks and sounds good, that is strictly in comparison with the original version, which is inarguably very dated. Another element of it that may seem dated is that it plays slowly. It is a slow-burning game which will test your patience especially when put up against more modern games, or even other point-and-click adventure titles. But don’t let that put you off—Day of the Tentacle Remastered has never been better than it is today. It’s just more for its original fans than any attempt at inviting new audiences to the club.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
If you have played Day of the Tentacle before, this is certainly worth your time and money. It looks and plays better than ever before and, more than that, it has been 23 years since it came out. It’s time to give it another whirl.
On the other hand, if you’ve never played it before here are three reasons you should give it a shot: One, it is a very funny game written by gaming’s premier comedic director Tim Schafer at the early stage of his career. Two, adventure games of this type give a view into a bygone era of gaming’s origins and Day of the Tentacle is one of the best demonstrations of how these games used to be. And three, it is, in its own right, a great game which stands the test of time in virtually every category.
Speaking broadly, if you are on the fence, this could be a game worth picking up at a sale because it will surely be cheap sooner than later. But if you’ve got the impulse or inclination, Day of the Tentacle Remastered is certainly worth your time and money on the day of its release. The added director’s commentary, trophies added, and updated interface which works very well on both consoles and computer platforms makes this the best version of the game for sure.
It is a great value offering the original Maniac Mansion and allows you to switch back and forth between the original graphics from 1993 and the updated interface of 2016. It is a great preview into the announced remastered version of Full Throttle and a glimpse into a genre well worth re-popularizing. You really cannot go wrong.
Don’t you think it’s time you helped stop the Imperial Purple Tentacle? Hop back in this time machine. It’s still double fine.