Day of the Tentacle (LucasArts, 1993)

I loved Maniac Mansion. I played it on my trusty C64 back in the day, and it was probably my first graphic adventure ever. Well, it simply blew my mind.

Hello, green!

It was, first of all, a new way to tell a story. A way were you didn't simply lay there, passively absorbing what was thrown at you. You took part in the story development, partially decided the turn of events. All of that without typing a single word. I've got nothing again typing or text adventures in general (I love them!), I simply don't enjoy spending 10 minutes of my precious time to perform an action just because you need to find the right phrasing. Not if you can do the same thing, tell the same story, with a graphical interface.

Playing Maniac Mansion with a joystick was a pain, mind you, but I didn't know that at the time. I was just happy to explore that creepy mansion, filled with horror film and B movie clich├ęs, even if it took ages because of the controls and the loading times. I still remember the wtf I shouted when I first met the green tentacle blocking my way to the upper floor. The crazy sense of humor is what made the game.

yeah!

So, a few years later, here comes a sequel. And as with every sequel, it's equal part excitement and fear. Excitement for the new chapter of a game I loved; fear to be disappointed.

Day of the Tentacle was the title. I liked it. A lot. The tentacles were the most iconic characters in Maniac mansion after all.

So here I am, playing Day of the tentacle for the first time, after reading loads of enthusiastic reviews.

My first reaction was one of puzzlement. That caricatural, cartoony graphics was so different from the blocky 8-bit one from Maniac Mansion that it didn't feel right. I'm not saying that I didn't like it, just that it felt too different.

Then I started playing. I saw Bernard, Laverne and Hoagie smirking out the Chron-O-John portholes and I couldn't stop the laughter. The crazy sense of humor was still there, even crazier than before if that's even possible. So I felt I was really playing another Maniac Mansion, and the initial bewilderment melted away.

Well, that should be interesting Well, that should be interesting

I recently played Day of the Tentacle alla over again. Lucky for me, more than 10 years had passed since my first play, so I remembered close to nothing. I chose to play the original version, not the remastered one with enhanced graphics, because I simply came to love the original pixel art. It grew on me while playing. I consider it some of the best I've ever seen, so I playing an enhanced version just didn't feel right.

They have a thing for hamsters, at Lucasarts They have a thing for hamsters, at Lucasarts

Well I can state without fear to be contradicted that the game hasn't aged a single day. It still feels fresh and funny as the first time. And hard as hell. Some of the puzzles in my opinion can only be solved by random tries. But that's fine, because there's no risk to get bored. And when you finally figure a certain puzzle out, you cannot help but think well, that's a clever one. There's some really smart (and funny) use of the different timelines here, connected via the Chron-O-John, that allows you to exchange items between the three characters (by flushing them down the toilet, of course). It's a little annoying to continually go back and forth to the Chron-O-John, but the end results when you change something in the past and see the unexpected effects it has on the future is just exhilarating.

And don't get me started about purple tentacle. Suffice to say I've got a plush purple tentacle on my desktop.

I feel like I could take on the desktop I feel like I could take on the desktop

Buying a copy of the original Maniac Mansion was out of the question, since it would have involved selling a kidney or something, but I felt I needed it in my collection, so I chose The Day of the Tentacle. Not the talkie CD version, but the original floppy version.
Not that prices were even close to reasonable, but they were at least affordable.

The box contents isn't exceptional, just the game floppy disks, the manual and little else. But still, it's something i needed to have in my collection.

box content