Game Reviews

Day of the Tentacle Remastered Review - It's still Kraken

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Day of the Tentacle Remastered Review - It's still Kraken

Remastering any classic game - let alone one widely considered to be among the best ever made - opens it up to immense pressure.

Its reputation is immediately brought into question, and the entire project comes under intense scrutiny, with sceptics intent on proving the game isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Fortunately, Day of the Tentacle Remastered not only feels as relevant today as it did back in 1993, but the experience has been enhanced to such excellent extent on Vita that it has never felt so slick, seamless, or more satisfying to play.

Let's do the timewarp again.

As with previous Lucasarts remakes, you can play the game as it was originally intended using the vintage SCUMM verb system, or with a completely retooled UI .

Remarkably, not only does the new UI feel completely native to the game, it will be immediately familiar to anyone who has played modern adventures like Broken Age with its context-sensitive actions.

Should you wish, you can also play DOTT: Remastered with its original graphics and sound, all while using the new interface.

There's even a Director's Commentary that can be played over the top of the action. It features Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer - among others - all of whom are keen to share a few secrets. Just wait until you hear what was left on the cutting room floor during development.

The attention to detail in this remake is striking. When you consider how DOTT looked when it originally launched, the painstaking efforts of the art and sound team soon become apparent.

Compared to last year's efforts with Grim Fandango - its effects and controls appearing quite resistant to change - DOTT Remastered has adapted very well.

It is a much more refined experience, lending itself favourably to Vita's crisp portable screen, and comfortable button mapping.

Ok, it's good, but where are all the maniacs and why are they in a mansion?

Originally released as a sequel to Maniac Mansion - another classic adventure game you can play within the game - DOTT has a self-contained narrative, and can be played without any prior knowledge of the Edison family.

After inadvertently freeing power-crazed Purple Tentacle from captivity, Bernard, Hoagie, and Laverne are sent back in time travelling toilets to try and stop his evil schemes from ever hatching.

But when the cubicle-powering diamond disintegrates, Hoagie ends up hanging out with George Washington in the 1700's, and Laverne is trapped in a Tentacle terrorising future where all humans have been enslaved.

Lucky Bernard ends up back where he started.

You must find a new diamond, as well as additional power-sources for the Chron-O-Johns so the house-mates can reunite in the present.

You have to take advantage of the game's four-dimensional puzzle-solving by both flushing inventory items to your counterparts, and altering the past to affect events in the future.

This style of play has yet to be matched or bettered. DOTT is unlike any adventure game you've played, and has some of the toughest, yet most entertaining puzzles you'll ever had the privilege of solving.

It's never unfair, though. The game always has clever clues sprinkled in the dialogue, and hints subtly placed in the background to keep you on the right track.

Even the game's wit still feels razor sharp, from Dr Fred Edison being tied up with red tape by the IRS, to the game’s portrayal of cult figures like Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.

Some jokes do fall a bit flat though, with one or two feeling a tad inappropriate in 2016.

There are also some minor issues with dialogue and subtitle delay, as well as the unlocking of concept art which can cause the game to freeze for up to several seconds at a time.

But overall, the time you'll spend with DOTT: Remastered will be memorable and magical.

A truly wonderful celebration of one of gaming's finest eras. This is everything a remaster should be, and then some.

Day of the Tentacle Remastered Review - It's still Kraken

DOTT: Remastered is an almost perfect marriage of well-written story, devious, yet genius puzzles, mesmerizing art, and succulent, soulful symphonies
Ray Willmott
Ray Willmott
When not objecting to witnesses in Phoenix Wright or gushing over Monkey Island, Ray does social things for Steel Media. He also pretends to look like Han Solo in his profile picture.