First released in 1993, when adventure games from LucasArts were at the height of their popularity, Day of the Tentacle was a sequel to Maniac Mansion and even makes several references to it. If you missed Maniac Mansion, you can actually play it from within Day of the Tentacle -- but it hasn’t been remastered in the same way, so looks as awful as it plays. That’s nothing against Day of the Tentacle Remastered, which is a shining gem of 90s point & click adventuring, and if you can play it alongside a FAQ then being able to play a game inside a game isn’t too shabby at all.
I played Day of the Tentacle decades ago, so it was a perfect case of ‘I remember this game was awesome’, meets ‘I forgot how to solve these puzzles’. I enabled the developer commentary during my playthrough, because I love stuff like that, but they didn’t discuss the remaster, which I thought was a missed opportunity. It was still quite informative.
You play as Bernard, Hoagie and Laverne as they travel to save their friend, Green Tentacle, from certain death. Unfortunately, by stopping Dr Fred Edison from executing Green Tentacle, they inadvertently help the crazy Purple Tentacle escape on a quest for world domination!
Luckily, Dr Edison had previously created three time travelling porta-potties (named Chrono-Johns), and sends the three young adults back to yesterday. Unfortunately, something goes wrong and strands Hoagie in the past, and Laverne in the future. Working together with Bernard in the present, they have to somehow re-power their Chrono-Johns and reunite.
With Hoagie stuck in the distant past -- before the signing of America’s Declaration of Independence -- you need to make a battery and somehow charge it. Admittedly, I feel his portion of the game is the weakest, as walking to and from the Chrono-John is a pain. Also, being in the past means that you need him to make changes, he isn’t affected by anything the other two do.
The future where Laverne is stuck, is one ruled by Purple Tentacle. Humans are kept as pets, but heading for extinction should Purple Tentacle have anything to do with it. Her section is the most fun, aided by Laverne being an absolute basket case, and voiced as one perfectly.
There are fewer characters to interact with in Bernard’s part of the game, given that it’s night time at a motel with only five people in. However, he’s still somehow a jerk to almost all of them. This doesn’t feel right as it’s pretty much his defining character trait, and although it’s all to solve puzzles to save humanity, he doesn’t even show remorse.
That doesn’t stop the game being hilarious, though. I played it with my 10 year old daughter, and even she was laughing through most of it. Hoagie’s idle animation of a loud burp didn’t sit too well with her, probably because it happened far too often. Still, the script was tight, and the visual gags really benefit from the newly remade graphics.
The art is actually really faithful to the original pixel art. You can freely switch between the original and new, and I liked doing so when I wanted to see how an effect looked in 1993. The music was also redone, and is instantly recognisable.
Day of the Tentacle Remastered a solid point & click adventure, as much now as it ever was. I’m very happy to have replayed it after all this time.