Day of the Tentacle Remastered Review – do the improvements make for a more playable experience?
Day of the Tentacle: Remastered, is as you can guess, a remaster of the adventure game, Day of Tentacle which released originally in 1993, which itself is a sequel to another cult favorite, Maniac Mansion. This remaster was developed by Double Fine Productions, founded by Tim Schafer. Tim was also one of the scriptwriters of the original game as well.
As with point and click adventure games, the story is pretty much the most important aspect. As someone who didn’t play the original game so I went into the remaster completely blind. You play as a trio of characters which also happened to play a role in the aforementioned Maniac Mansion. The story revolves around time travel — using a time machine built by their friend, Dr. Fred. Dr. Fred built the machine in order to save the world from an evil purple tentacle that he created himself. This tentacle has, unfortunately, come into contact with a toxic substance which has given the tentacle a nasty personality and with that, gives him a plan to take over the world!
The plan that this purple tentacle concocts seems pretty much fool-proof, so the only way that the characters can foil it, is of course, to travel back in time in order to alter the events that brought this tentacle into the world. Although any plan that a protagonist comes up with is going to have bumps on the way, and unfortunately the time machine breaks and the three characters get separated across different historical periods.
The remastered version of the game gives it a nice facelift. Everything has been redrawn in higher resolutions with also an enhancement in terms of animations. As you can see from the screenshots below, there is definitely an obvious improvement.
The game can be played in full screen with a hugely improved user interface to bring it up to the standards of modern day gaming. What’s nice, though, is that if for whatever reason you don’t like these enhancements you can drop into the options and turn them off and play it as the original game.
As well as the visual improvements; there has also been a huge amount of work been done on the audio side. All voice dialog is completely crystal clear without all the background hissing and strange noises that the original had. Day of the Tentacle also has a pretty catchy soundtrack too, in which all of the scores match the scenes in-game. After watching clips of the original game on YouTube and listening to the difference in sound, whilst there is that improvement, those that played the game initially will still get the nostalgic hit.
Whilst there is definitely an improvement with the voiced dialog, there is actually a slight delay between the audio and the subtitles shown on screen, which was fairly off-putting at points but you can turn off the subtitles in the options if this gets too much of a problem.
You control the three main characters in the three different time zones, whilst this may sound like a real ballache in terms of progressing the story; it’s actually quite easy to navigate. All three of the characters can still interact with each other even though there is that time gap. As you explore the world, like you do in other adventure games, you will collect items that you need to combine, interact and use with other items in the world in order to complete puzzles. Different items appear in different timelines. But what happens when the item you find in the present day needs to be used in the past? Well quite simple really. You flush them down the toilet (read: it’stime machine). This mechanic gives you the ability to combine items that you wouldn’t usually encounter in that era of time. For instance gaining access to a battery 200 years ago to power your time machine.
Other than a compelling story, a point and click adventure game needs to have interesting and fun puzzles for you to figure out. Day of the Tentacle has plenty, and most of them have resolutions which I have to admit, I needed to look up the answers to on more than one occasion. Unsurprisingly there is no way I would have figured out what to do on my own since the answer was so far out there that I think you need to have a really special kind of brain to naturally just understand. (shout out to the guys at GamerWalkthroughs for the help!).
The swapping between the characters is quick and simple. Just opening up the inventory and clicking on their portrait transports you to their dimension. Being able to interact with plenty of objects in the world and get some form of dialog from the character is also a mainstay in any adventure game. Day of the Tentacle is no different and does it extremely well with humorous remarks oozing out of every interaction.
For the Aficionado
As this was my first experience with Day of the Tentacle, my only knowledge of the game came through reading about it and knowing it is a cult-classic so my expectations were high. Thankfully those expectations were met very quickly and I can quite honestly say that the six hours that it took me to finish the game were an absolute dream. its price and brilliantly humorous story and interesting gameplay mechanics, Day of the Tentacle Remastered is a must play for any point and click adventure fans.