The remaster of 1993’s Day of the Tentacle adds new graphics and a great commentary track to one of the most beloved adventure games from the genre’s golden age.
The adventure games produced by LucasArts in the 1980s and 1990s have gone on to define the genre that they helped popularize — they’re simply that good. Day of the Tentacle Remastered puts a fresh coat of paint on one of these classic experiences, but the fact that it’s gameplay holds up so well is more of a tribute to the work done back in 1993.
Following on from the legendary Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle was originally released at a time when LucasArts was truly the top dog in the adventure game genre. Combining tricky puzzles, excellent production values and bags of personality, the studio’s output was consistently very strong.
After several years working their way through the ranks of LucasArts working on titles like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Secret of Monkey Island, Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman were given the opportunity to lead development of Day of the Tentacle. It’s very evident that the pair set out to impress.
From the attention to detail present in every single location, to the sheer amount of jokes packed into the game’s script, Day of the Tentacle is a game where elbow grease can be found anywhere you look. It’s a lovingly crafted experience, and that sort of effort is easy to appreciate even more than twenty years after its initial release.
The game casts the player as three friends; straight-laced Bernard, burnout Hoagie and the unhinged Laverne. The trio are quickly thrust into very different time periods, able to communicate and reassign inventory items via the use of the time machines that they used on their journeys.
Notably, Day of the Tentacle was the first LucasArts title to adopt the philosophy that players should never reach a dead end. Anyone who’s been frustrated by other adventure games in the past would be wise to use this title as their induction into the genre.
The remastered graphics produced for this release will no doubt upset purists, but they’re a good option for anyone looking for more contemporary visuals. The charm of the original’s animation is preserved even with the new art, and of course players can switch back to its classic look at the touch of a button. The effect is very slick, in line with other releases that use this method, like Halo: Anniversary.
Players that are already familiar with Day of the Tentacle might be looking for a reason to run through the game again, and the commentary options included in the remaster are as good an excuse as any other. Conversation between Schafer, Grossman, and others that worked on the game ranges from humorous to very insightful, and is a great addition to the overall package.
It’s difficult to find fault with a well-crafted remaster of one of the best adventure games ever released — especially at the bargain price point of $15. As with any game released in the 1990s, some aspects of the experience are a little dated, but those minor issues are far outweighed by the sense of fun and creativity that drips from the screen at every turn.
With attractive new graphics and sensible tweaks to the game’s interaction interface, Day of the Tentacle Remastered is the definitive version of a classic. This is a title that can easily engross someone that’s never played the original, with enough extra content to qualify as an instant purchase for longtime fans. The only reason not to give it a try is a staunch dislike of the genre — but even then, it’s good enough to break down that barrier.
Day of the Tentacle Remastered is available now for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and PC. Game Rant was provided a PC code for this review.