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Day of the Tentacle Remastered review: Sludge-o-Matic sucker for love

Hayden Dingman | April 25, 2016
Next up: Full Throttle. Right?

And for the most part, it works. Day of the Tentacle isn’t nearly as straightforward as most modern point-and-clicks, and this is LucasArts’s pun peak, but the game’s surprisingly decent at prodding you in the right direction. Plus you now have the ability to illuminate hotspots if you think you’re missing something obvious.

Day of the Tentacle

Some of the puzzles though...oof. And Double Fine knows it. I’ve never seen a game more willing to poke fun at its own shortcomings as Day of the Tentacle Remastered. Achievements for certain puzzles are titled things like “Obvious, really” and “I forgot this is a cartoon”—tonally appropriate, but also seemingly indicators that Tim Schafer and Co. recognize the leaps in logic required by some of the game’s more ridiculous moments.

There’s no way to fix it, of course. Or, rather, if it was “fixed” then Day of the Tentacle purists would rage until they sprouted arms and enslaved humanity.

But keep it in mind if you’ve never played Day of the Tentacle before: This is most definitely an adventure game from the 90s. Brilliant, but don’t be afraid to look up a puzzle solution if you’re feeling frustrated.

Facelift

That’s not to say this is a one-to-one port of the 1993 original. Like Grim Fandango, Day of the Tentacle has received the “Remastered” treatment and in this case Double Fine’s done some pretty extensive work.

Most obvious is the art. The original’s pixel art has been, it seems, traced over frame by frame in a cleaner, more modern style. Thus you retain the weird (charming) herky-jerky animations of the pixel art but done up for 2016—all smooth lines and soft shading.

Day of the Tentacle

Day of the Tentacle

Personally I like the pixel art (the bottom image) more, but that’s a subjective matter and anyhow you can cycle between both old and new by tapping F1. Which I did. A lot.

Hitting F1 also swaps between the old and new music (chiptunes versus orchestration) and between the two verb (read: action) inputs. The old method is the classic LucasArts grid in the bottom left, which gives you a lot of freedom to try nonsense answers but necessitates a lot of mouse movement. The alternative is the more modern Dial interface, where right-clicking brings up a list of suggested verbs for each object and then you mouse over to choose.

Best of all, you can mix and match the two Day of the Tentacle editions in the menu. I ended up running most of the game with the new art, the dial interface, and the old chiptune music—its off-kilter sound felt more faithful to the game’s tone. But you could choose any combination, which is a nice touch for 1993 purists and newcomers alike.

 

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