Day of the Tentacle Remastered (PC) Review

By Ofisil 21.03.2016 9

Review for Day of the Tentacle Remastered on PC

Tim Schafer may be known to the younger generation of gamers for titles such as Psychonauts, Brütal Legend, or the lesser known Massive Chalice, but he is actually a veteran of the industry, with a resumé that includes Full Throttle, Grim Fandango (read about its remaster here), as well as one of his biggest accomplishments yet, and sequel to Maniac Mansion, the hilariously wacky point-and-click adventure Day of the Tentacle. The good? This work of genius is back. The bad? None, actually, since this might very well be one of the finest examples of what a remaster is supposed to be.

Every respectable mad scientist must find a way to produce bio-waste, and Dr. Fred's solution to that problem is the Sludge-O-Matic (TM)… but, uh-oh! It seems Purple Tentacle has tasted its fine juice, resulting in it going into full Hitler-Stalin-Darth-Vader-Donald-Trump mode and wanting to "Take over the world!!!" Who will stop this madman (or is it mad-cephalopod-limp?) from creating the First Tentacle Reich? The charmingly crazy and edgy Laverne, the waaaaaay laid-back roadie, Hoagie, and the one who set the villain loose in the first place, the one and only Bernard the über-dork.

Dr. Fred's plan? Send them back in time to prevent Purple Tentacle from drinking the toxic sludge that powered his squishy body. The problem? Being the cheapskate that he is, he used an imitation diamond for his time machine instead of the real deal, resulting in Bernard staying in the present, Laverne going 200 years forward in time (during Tentacle rule), and Hoagie ending up in the time where the American Founding Fathers were thinking about what the heck should they include in the constitution.

Screenshot for Day of the Tentacle Remastered on PC

Thus begins one of the zaniest adventures ever; an adventure that can only be described as a mix between Looney Tunes, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, and the Toontown from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (minus Jessica's mammoth breasts, unfortunately). Really, the biggest compliment that could be given to Day of the Tentacle is that it's a cartoon brought to life; full of over-the-top, wacky characters, physics that break every two minutes, distinctive visuals with skewed perspectives, weird, exaggerated angles and shapes, bright colours, and fantastic animation (especially for the time it came out), and, finally, tons of pleasantly silly and meta-heavy humour… in other words, a LucasArts early '90s adventure.

One great feature is the ability to flawlessly go from the - still wonderful - old-school visuals and music, to the, surprisingly well-done, upgraded HD graphics and fully orchestral score of the new remastered version, with the push of a button; a transition that takes about half a second. Of course, it's the gameplay that matters most, especially since the plot isn't really a plot in the traditional sense. At its core, this is a typical point-and-click adventure, requiring two things: gathering information via conversations or by observing the surroundings, and using the various items that can be collected to go over this quest's many obstacles - but things aren't so simple this time around.

Screenshot for Day of the Tentacle Remastered on PC

Similar to Maniac Mansion, having to control a three-member party complicates things a bit, especially since the protagonists are lost in time. The good thing is that their world is geographically congruent, with each separate period offering a different incarnation of the mansion, room placement and all. At first, this will be the reason why this is generally quite a challenging journey, as well as the main source of annoyance. Solving the various puzzles requires exchanging items through the time-traveling portable toilets(!?), or Chron-o-Johns, which can lead to a lot of trial-and-error, with characters having to return to the time machine again and again to leave or take an object.

Luckily, even with this small flaw, the puzzles themselves are great, but only for those who have experienced a similar title, like The Secret of Monkey Island, Leisure Suit Larry, or Full Throttle. In other words, this isn't Myst, since most puzzles follow a cartoon logic - like finding a way to make George Washington's teeth chatter in order to convince Thomas Jefferson that it's cold so that John Hancock can get to warm up near the fireplace - and that's just a simple example. Don't worry, though, as although rarely in plain sight, hints are aplenty, and the puzzles are, as mentioned before, great, requiring the use of both grey matter and good 'ol imagination.

Screenshot for Day of the Tentacle Remastered on PC

A simple search on the Internet will make it pretty clear that this is one of the best adventure games ever. Correct? Yes. Is it for everyone? Without a single doubt, the answer is 'No.' Why? Well, while great, it's full of the things that have made a portion of the gaming community avoid point-and-click adventures at all costs, and especially those that are less about well-thought out storylines and tough but logical puzzles, and more about cartoony humour and equally cartoony puzzle solutions. The low replay value, the short length, the fiddling with inventory items business, and so on - it's an adventure for adventure connoisseurs, not for everyone.

Those into this type of digital fun, however, are in for a treat, since this breaks the tradition of taking a popular title from the past and just sticking the word 'Remaster' on the front cover. Besides the obvious audio-visuals improvements, besides the fact that it's possible to play the original vanilla version or even Maniac Mansion via an in-game PC, and, finally, besides the fact that there's a Director's commentary option, as well as lots of concept art to unlock, there are no glitches, no bugs, no rough edges, no lack of options, and generally, no problems at all. Kudos to team Double Fine, kudos in spades.

Screenshot for Day of the Tentacle Remastered on PC

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Want to experience the original bundle of cartoony wackiness known as Day of the Tentacle, as well as its upgraded, Remastered version? Well, look no further, because this is it. The best iteration of the classic gem of the genre, and a lesson in remasters. As for the question of who should get this, the rule is simple: adventure game haters, the exit door is on the right. The rest, please form a nice line over there and ready those wallets for some purchasing.

Developer

Double Fine

Publisher

Double Fine

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

It's sat, waiting to download on my Steam Client. I can't wait, especially after reading this glowing review Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Adam Riley said:
It's sat, waiting to download on my Steam Client. I can't wait, especially after reading this glowing review Smilie

I know that you are a major Adventure fun, but have you played the original?

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis

Nope - I love the genre, but ashamedly I've not played some of the very old classics.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
croc (guest) 21.03.2016#4

Regarding items, it's been a while since I last played it, but couldn't you just use "give _item_ to kid's picture" rather then going back and forth to the chronojohn?

croc (guest) said:
Regarding items, it's been a while since I last played it, but couldn't you just use "give _item_ to kid's picture" rather then going back and forth to the chronojohn?

Actually... YES!
*hides in a corner in shame*

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis

Ahhhh...I tried it and don't like it after just 10 minutes Smilie It uses that horrible old menu system to interact with objects/people/etc, and the updated version of the system is still a bit too clunky for my liking. I'll try to persevere and hopefully it'll grow on me :sad:

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Adam Riley said:
Ahhhh...I tried it and don't like it after just 10 minutes Smilie It uses that horrible old menu system to interact with objects/people/etc, and the updated version of the system is still a bit too clunky for my liking. I'll try to persevere and hopefully it'll grow on me :sad:

Why is the updated version annoying? It's not perfect, sure, but it didn't bother me at all.

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis

It just didn't seem as intuitive as other games I've been playing recently...but, like I say, I need to perhaps give it another shot Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Well, true to my word, I persevered and came away enjoying it more than expected, as you'll have seen if you read the PS4 review that popped up only recently Smilie Only took me a year to get round to it... Smilie Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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