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Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle (DOS)

94
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.2
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  *Katakis* (37691)
Written on  :  Jan 15, 2003
Platform  :  DOS

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Summary

Even funnier than Maniac Mansion

The Good

When you start Day of the Tentacle, you can see why it is the sequel to Maniac Mansion. All the characters are here from the original, including Green and Purple Tentacle, Weird Ed, Nurse Edna, and of course, Doctor Fred. In Maniac Mansion, you selected three of nine people that will rescue Sandy from the clutches of Doctor Fred and stop him from turning her into a zombie

There are a lot of differences between this game and Day of the Tentacle. For example, there are over 100 zany sound effects, which you can hear through your Sound Blaster, not the PC speaker. Also, whereas the original game allowed you to select three of the nine characters to choose from, you can’t in this game. Instead, you control three university students: Bernard, the character you could select from Maniac Mansion and has experience with a lot of technology; Hoagie, a member of an unknown metal band; and Laverne, a feisty medical student whose favorite Edison is Cousin Ted.

They receive a letter from Green Tentacle saying that Doctor Fred is planning to kill both him and Purple Tentacle, so they all go on a rescue mission to save them from execution. Later, after the rescue, Doctor Fred must turn off the Sludge-O-Matic machine to prevent the sludge from intoxicating the river. Realizing it is too late, he attempts to transport Bernard, Hoagie, and Laverne to yesterday to fix the problem. However, due to the fake diamond that he installed in the time machine, the machine malfunctions, sending Hoagie 200 years in the past, Laverne 200 years in the future, and Bernard back to the present. To make matters worse, Purple Tentacle goes out to take over the world and enslave all humanity, and in the process, he manages to steal diamonds and do some cow tipping.

Apart from Bernard, everybody must find a way to transport themselves back to the present. Bernard, on the other hand, must order a real diamond to replace the broken one. You control him at first, but if you get the Super Battery Plans that Doctor Fred asks you to get, you can switch to Hoagie, in the past. And if you do something in the past that will affect the future, you might get to control Laverne. All three characters can exchange objects that will help them in their quest by flushing them down the toilet (known as the Chron-O-John, a device which was used to transport the characters through time).

Only the Edison family may still be living in the present, but a few other characters can only be found in the past and future time periods. In the past for example, the mansion is where the famous presidents live, and the only Edison living there is Red Edison. In the future, tentacles take control of the mansion where the Edisons are prisoners in their own home.

Day of the Tentacle uses the SCUMM interface similar to Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, where nine verbs are displayed to the left of the inventory, and you choose one to perform an action. This type of interface certainly has few less commands than Maniac Mansion. When I first played this game, I found that I didn’t know what half of the commands do, but Tentacle’s interface is easy to use.

Two versions of Tentacle exist: the floppy disk version, and the CD-ROM version. There is not much difference between the two, apart from the fact that the CD-ROM version has full speech, featuring the voice of Richard Sanders as Bernard. The disk version has speech in the introduction, but it’s “text only” for the rest of the game. Back in the present, there is a computer in the mansion, and if you decide to use it, you can actually play Maniac Mansion (in both versions), which has its advantages and disadvantages. It may save you money from buying the game, but the sounds and graphics are not nearly as good as the stand-alone version, and the paths you must take to complete the game are no different.

Chuck Jones, the director of old Looney Tunes cartoons, consulted with LucasArts and helped them design the graphics. The result is beautifully hand-drawn graphics and smooth textures. The game is also very funny. Do nothing in the present and Bernard will pick his nose. Give Doctor Fred a cup of decaf coffee and he’ll sleepwalk and immediately remember the combination to his safe. Blow Washington’s teeth out and give him chattering teeth, and his mouth doesn’t stop moving. More often than not, Laverne walks around with her arms out while she walks, behaving like an airplane.

The Bad

Too short.

The Bottom Line

Day of the Tentacle is even funnier than LucasArt’s past adventures. If you like a bit of comedy, or if you’ve play Maniac Mansion, then it’s worth buying this game. ****½