Day of the Tentacle Remastered (2016), a remaster done right


 Remaking or remastering a beloved classic like Day of the Tentacle must have felt like a daunting task despite the company doing the remaster is Double Fine helmed by Tim Schafer, one of the original designers of the game. It must have been daunting despite Double Fine had access to original, uncompressed audio files, original concept art, original artist Peter Chan and original musicians. I know it would have felt a daunting task to me, as people do love Day of the Tentacle. I'd go even as far as to say that many people think it's one of the best adventure games ever made.

Thankfully Day of the Tentacle Remastered is a job done right. It's not a lukewarm attempt at rekindling a franchise like Gabriel Knight remake Phoenix Online Studios did with the lead of original designer Jane Jensen. It's not a hit and miss attempt like how the two remasters/remakes of the two first Monkey Island games are (the first has a lazy art design and a horrible Guybrush, while the second one is, and I know people will scorn at this, the one I prefer over the original).

The purple tentacle in the future is so evil. that he has managed to grow a beard despite tentacles have no follicles.
Double Fine has taken a classic, looked at it from every angle and then proceeded to lovingly re-create it from the ground up to be a polished version of the original. They've taken the fantastically lovely loony tunes artwork of Peter Chan and turned it into a high-resolution presentation of what used to be pixel art. They've taken once hissing and popping and crackling compressed voice audio and changed it to a high-quality version remastered from the original tapes recorded back in the 90's. They also breathed new life to the soundtrack and changed the verb-UI into a modern point and click interface.

But that's not all. They also allow, just like the Monkey Island remakes do, the player to switch freely between the original pixel art and the newly created high-resolution art. And if you prefer to listen to the old music, as it was back in the day, you can do that as well, not to mention the possibility to play the game with the original verb-UI as well. And if you really want to, you can mix up the remastered and original elements, like playing the high-resolution game with the verbs or low-resolution game with the modern UI. The way I see it, Double Fine has gone up and beyond in order to make sure that new and old players alike can play the game the way they see fit.

If there's something to nag about in using the old verb-interface, it's the fact that the screen aspect ratio is then switched to original 4:3 view. 
If you are a new player to the game, I think saying something about the plot of the game is in order as well. Day of the Tentacle is an independent sequel to an older game Maniac Mansion. From that games main playable characters (there was 6 in all) only a nerd Bernard returns. The two other playable characters Hoagie and Laverne were made just for DotT. Other returning characters from Maniac Mansion is the Edison family: crazy scientists Dr Fred, his wife Edna and their son Ed. The game also takes place in the Edison mansions, which this time around is a motel.

In  Maniac Mansion a guy named Dave lead two other kids to the mansion in order to save his girlfriend from the clutches of Dr Fred, who himself was in the clutches of an evil Purple Meteor. In Day of the Tentacle Dr Fred's creation, also seen in the first game, Purple Tentacle mutates and begins plotting world domination. A much more mellow Green Tentacle asks help from Bernard in order to stop the evil Purple. This leads Bernard, Hoagie and Laverne into the mansion, where they make a time jump and end up solving the case in three different time zones: 200 years in the past, 200 years in the future and in the present day. And if you haven't played Maniac Mansion before, DotT Remastered includes it as well, just like the original did. You just need to find a computer from Ed's room and start cracking away.

Typical, depressing motel room
The game design itself has stood the test of time pretty well. Unlike many other adventure games of its era, Day of the Tentacle was very fair, and even modern in its approach. There are no dead ends, you can't die and you can't mess up things. In a word, there are no unwinnable states in the game and you can take as much time as you need to solve the puzzles. As you can switch freely, after you've opened up all the characters, between three locations and characters, you can always jump to an another location if you get frustrated by a puzzle, try solving something else and then go back to a puzzle that stumped you previously. It's a very relaxing way to play, despite some of the puzzles are pretty zany, but that goes very well with the overall style of the game.

A great testament to how well the game has endured time really is the fact, that the gameplay itself hasn't been changed at all. Not even the new radial UI alters things in any way. All the actions, necessary and unnecessary alike, are presented in both forms of UI. All the puzzles are just as they were back in the day. All the dialogues as well. In short, it still is the same game, even under all the polish.

Modern UI. Unlike many other modern adventure games that utilize two option smart cursors, DotT uses all the possibilities the original verb-interface had for each item.
So yeah. If you haven't played Day of the Tentacle before, or just want to play it again, you can't go wrong if you get the remastered version. You can get it from GOG and Steam as well as for Playstation.

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