536th played so far
Year of Release: 1993
I’ll admit, playing Day of the Tentacle today was self-indulgence. The special edition was released a few days earlier and I was really looking forward to experiencing it again.
Although technically the sequel to Maniac Mansion, this game took in a lot of the improvements from later games and (from what I remember) really played a lot better.
I was playing this with Peter – I had played the game before, he hadn’t. It showed soon after. Although initially the puzzles aren’t as complex, later puzzles have some odd leaps of logic that jump out at me, but aren’t obvious to the first time player, and some require some weird leaps of logic. It’s a trademark, almost, of LucasArts games, but it didn’t match with me trying to see what Peter could solve. You can see what you need to do, but not always how to get there (with some oddly unnecessary red herrings).
Still, knowing the puzzles I got to enjoy this more and it shows off so many more elements that work in the game. The graphics are good – even in the old version, a lot is done with, sometimes, very few pixels – the bold designs take care of that. The dialogue is excellent, filled with jokes and well done (but obscure) hints.
There’s a lot of joy in the initial exploration of the mansion, something the game’s time travel mechanics sort of have you do three times over. The looping nature of it in two of the three periods help keep the drudgery down, although there’s still the usual large amount of travel in places. The time travel aspects often comes down to getting and sending items between periods (something easier when I found out about a trick that would have sped up gameplay – items can be swapped from the inventory without traveling to the designated spots), although later eras can be affected in other ways – one I personally like is a puzzle that requires you to change the design of the flag so you can use it as a costume later.
Day of the Tentacle feels as funny and inventive now. The puzzles do feel like they could be a bit less obscure sometimes, but the rsults are usually fun enough to work for me.