Day of the Tentacle: Remastered
The original Day of the Tentacle (1993) is a classic Lucas Arts point-and-click adventure. One that fuels nostalgia, is full of quirks and has an idiosyncratic style that all Lucas Arts games have. Though going back to these today, if you can find a way to run these old games, they show their pixelated age with their synthesised soundtracks and blocky visuals.
Move to 2016, and much in the way of The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition (2009) Day of the Tentacle: Remastered (2016) has been given all of the care and attention that was needed to bring it up to the current day standards by Double Fine Productions, the development studio owned by original game director, Tim Schafer.
Day of the Tentacle: Remastered is compared to the original, a wonderful looking game. The art style manages to retain a large part of the aesthetic feel and colour palate from the original, although in the remaster, everything looks smooth and sharp. The characters and all of the environments are hand-drawn in detailed high-definition. On the PlayStation 4 version, pressing the touch-pad will switch you between the standard and remastered edition on the fly, and you can see just how much work has been put into updating the game’s visuals.
The adventure revolves around helping mad scientist Dr Fred Edison try to stop a tyrannical tentacle from taking over the world. You originally aim to do this by travelling back in time to the previous day. The plan goes awry as the three characters are separated over three time spans, each two-hundred years apart, but in the same setting. Using the ‘chron-o-john’, a time machine that resembles a portable toilet, you can flush items back and forth in time to each character and the actions in one timeframe can affect another. This style of story and gameplay still feels fresh, with many of the puzzles based around certain actions being fulfilled in one timeframe before you can complete an action in another, which can lead to a few head-scratching moments.
The interface has been given an overhaul with the action box at the bottom of the screen no longer featured. Instead, an option wheel opens if you press the square button over an item or a character of interest. This provides all the choices that were originally available. The option remains to talk, push, pull, open, close or pick up any given item or person. Removing this makes full use of the 16:9 aspect ratio the game works within and gives it a more streamlined feel.
What did not need updating was the voice work, and thankfully, Double Fine have managed to reuse the original audio master tapes, so the voices of the three protagonists, Bernard, Hoagie and Laverne remain exactly the same. As such, the witty one-liners and smarmy remarks are delivered in their original deadpan glory.
The main concern is whether or not this game would have anything new if you have played it before, and honestly, it all depends on how long ago this was. The puzzles, in typical 90’s point-and-click adventure game style are obtuse and absurd, and if you’ve forgotten how to solve them, they have the ability to test your mind all over again. The game is a relatively short affair for those who are used to longer adventure games, which can take up to four hours if you are unfamiliar with the game, and two hours if you know the puzzles, and falls short of Lucas Arts’ other point-and-click adventure offerings.
In addition to this, there are some nice new features such as developer commentary and artwork collectables, including the original Manic Mansion (1987) which you can still play on the computer in Weird Ed Edison’s room, as you could in the original game.
Based on some timeless writing and varied puzzles, Day of the Tentacle: Remastered is a worthy upgrade to HD and the zany adventure it takes you on with its three oddball characters is just as charming now as it was back then.