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Day of The Tentacle Remastered (PS4, PC)

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Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Windows, OS X, and Linux
(Played on PC for Review)


With release set for March 22nd, this graphic based, point and click, puzzle adventure from Lucas Arts is one you shouldn’t miss.
Let’s start with a bit of history:
Maniac Mansion started its life in the mid 80’s on a Commodore 64 based OS, quickly picking up popularity with fans of graphic adventures. The first installation was a text based control system and allowed control of 6 different characters. When Maniac Mansion II was released in 1993 the game was simplified to a 3 character model which allowed for better game flow and became mouse controlled, the player selecting actions via grouped text shown on screen using the SCUMM engine.


Now co-developers Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer have brought this game full of colour and humour back to us polished once again, and it is spectacular.
The first thing you are going to notice about Day of the Tentacle Remastered, especially if you’ve been a fan of the series before, is just how smooth the animation is compared to its predecessors. It’s appealing to the eye and combined with the soundtrack and fast paced story you are instantly pulled into this world of chaos.

Original 1993

Remastered 2014

I had not played the original games but it took me no time to figure out just what was happening. Purple Tentacle and Green Tentacle arrive quickly on the scene of a rather nasty contamination site and Purple Tentacle wastes no time in consuming some of this toxic waste, much to Green Tentacle’s dismay. Purple Tentacle is instantly mutated and acquires his own set of arms. So what is left for him to do? Why, “TAKE OVER THE WORLD” of course…



We are instantly snapped over to Bernard Bertolli and his friends Hoagie and Laverne, both somewhat lacking in the smarts Bernard so obviously prides himself in. They receive a letter of distress from Green Tentacle asking for their help at once to stop Purple Tentacle and his evil plans of world domination. To do this they will have to team up with Bernard’s arch nemesis Dr Fred and travel through time using his newest invention, the Chron-O-John- which is essentially an upgraded port-o-potty.

No story would be complete without something going wrong and this is no different as while Bernard successfully returns to present time, Hoagie is transported to the Revolutionary War and Laverne to the future. The friends must work together to bring about Purple Tentacle’s downfall using instantaneous time travel portals and cause and effect. This is a thoroughly clever idea and really brings this game into its own.

The player is asked to switch between time periods and friends, working each one together to help the others navigate the world they find themselves in. The puzzles are fairly straightforward, but not always obvious and require a bit of thought and sometimes a bit of dumb luck. Knowing which item needs to go to which character is tricky from face value, and is a revelation of the obvious in hindsight. But the game is forgiving and will never allow you to become stuck or “break” the game, so you can afford to have a good play around with every item and idea.

Whilst the earlier games were text based, controls in the remastered version are almost completely by using the mouse. Walking around is a simple click navigation and interaction with items is a right click which brings up a circular menu of actions you can choose to take- from “open” and “close” to “use”, “push”, “pull” and “talk”. When you enter a conversation with someone the game offers you multiple choices in text and in some moments this is a puzzle itself- say the right thing to get the outcome you are after.

Once you have your head around the controls it is simple and effective, and very easy to use. Each character’s inventory will pop up as you move your mouse to the bottom of the screen and you can switch from one character to another from here, or simply by pressing 1, 2 and 3 on your keyboard (which is laid out in chronological order I might add…nice touch). As well as navigation being simple, each character works within a similar map with only slight changes so it’s simple enough to find your way around and you will never get lost.


Overall the difficulty is not high with this game, but is fairly plateaued. The only struggle is figuring out puzzles. But the game is patient with you and allows you the time to do this at your own speed. Guaranteed you might have a few moments of frustration as you get stumped by what to do next, but that’s all part of the fun, isn’t it?

Replayability is pretty limited in my opinion as once you figure out the puzzles you can only do them faster. However the game gives you a few extras to explore that can only be accessed before you have finished the story. In Bernard’s present day world there is an archaic computer on the third floor which features the Maniac Manor game. A neat touch for those who are avid fans and a nice insight into just how far the game has come. It is almost a shame this isn’t available as an extra from the main menu once you have completed the story.

All up Day of the Tentacle Remastered will offer about 5 hours of gameplay but this can be shorter or longer depending on your own puzzle solving skills. Although it is a fairly short game it is full of humour and isn’t shy to laugh at itself. Lucas Arts have done a wonderful job of keeping the 90’s feel alive in the game through every detail but the polishing does not go without notice. Day of the Tentacle is a very well made tribute to the series. I give it one shiny mummy trophy…


-Remutha
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