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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Adventure

 

Developer / Publisher

LucasArts

 

Released

1993

 

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Day of the Tentacle

 

day of the tentacle        day of the tentacle

Imagine being able to control a motley group of unlikely heroes in an effort to thwart the maniacal plans of an evil looking purple tentacle. Now imagine that youíre given the chance to "flush" items across time and space via a time machine that looks like an outhouse. Imagine no longer! Day of the Tentacle has all this and more!

For those familiar with Maniac Mansion, Bernard, Dr. Fred and the tentacles will be very familiar. (For the uninitiated, the introduction and subsequent conversations with characters in the house gives a pretty accurate history.) Trouble starts when one of Dr. Fredís tentacles sprouts crude arms after drinking toxic waste. Purple Tentacle quickly starts his plan to "RULE THE WORLD!" Dr. Fredís plan is to send the hapless heroes back in time to stop Purple Tentacle from drinking the toxic waste. However, the three heroes get separated. Hoagie, a rock & roll roadie, finds himself in colonial America; Laverne winds up in a future controlled by Purple Tentacle; and Bernard falls back to the present. (Switching between characters is easy to do and can be done at any time.) Not only do you have to stop Purple Tentacle but you also have to reunite the characters.

 

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Puzzles are very integrated into the story. Each character has their own challenges to overcome in each time period but can be helped by the other characters. Small inanimate objects can be "flushed" back and forth through time to characters that need them. The principle of "the past affects the future" has to be taken into account, too. To solve some of the puzzles in the present and future, things in the past need to be changed. Chop down a tree in colonial America 

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and the future tree will disappear. (If youíve seen Back to the Future you know how this works.) Designing the puzzles to be integrated into the story is hard to do properly but Tentacle is a great example of how to do it right. Veteran adventure players shouldnít have too many problems but for the first time player there is plenty of challenge. Fortunately, this is a LucasArts game so you canít die no matter what you attempt. The emphasis is on fun and the writing reflects this. There are jokes to be found all over the house in each time period, most of which are laugh-out-loud funny. Itís all enjoyable right up to the 7-10 split ending.

Graphics are great and the comparisons to a Chuck Jones cartoon are justified. (And yes, Chuck Jones was involved with Tentacle) Animation is smooth. Characters are big and distinct. Architecture is consistently bizarre. Inventory icons are good and are always displayed at the bottom of the screen. Sound is terrific. The sampled sound effects match up with all the action. The "slurp POP" of Purple Tentacle hopping around never gets boring. If youíre fortunate enough to play the CD version youíll appreciate the excellent voice acting.

The original Maniac Mansion is available to play as a game within a game. Itís a blast to see how far graphic technology has traveled.

Itís hard to find something bad to say about Tentacle.

What else is there to say? Drop everything, find this game and play it!

- Omni

 

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