Day of the Tentacle Remastered

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Out of all the classic LA adventures, DoT was like one of three I never played. So this remastered version was my first contact with the game. Of course I wanted to play it for years, but… the too many games™ issue struck again.
So without the bias of nostalgia I only saw the actual game. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it didn’t dethrone Monkey Island 2 for me. I also don’t know if it was a drawback maybe that it has been 20 years since I played Maniac Mansion (and I barely remember anything about it, I’m ashamed to admit).

On the plus side it is very safe to say, that the whole adventure genre hasn’t really done anything like this again; I’m talking about the various characters who have to interact so much with each other’s respective situations (and in this case timelines). It’s really weird that the oldest adventures have the most innovations in gameplay. You’d expect newer entries to add to the formula (as it is often the case in other genres), not loose as much features as possible to create the lightest version of the classic experience possible.
Day of the Tentacle is actually the perfect example for showing why some people criticized the depth of Broken Age so much. DoT is longer, has more unique locations, more characters, more playable characters, more puzzles, more inventory items, more interaction between the playable characters, […]… And the funny thing is, that DoT, as it stands since its original release, is already a toned down version of its initial design. As the commentary mentions, the game was supposed to have 6 characters, but 3 of them were cut. That really makes sense here though, I don’t see what 3 more characters could have added to the gameplay. It probably would have ended in a situation where the player doesn’t even use several of the characters and they would have offered some variations for additional playthroughs at best.
Whatever the case may be, I really have no idea why these old LA titles are pretty much the sole games in this genre, which managed to pull all of this off. I can’t think of another genre of games that has only taken steps back instead of evolving into something more. While there are countless adventures and tons of good ones among them, I don’t really know any new ones which move beyond the minimalist design of one character and strictly linear puzzle design along the typical inventory. It’s almost strange, why so many games claim to be inspirations of especially these LA games, while consequently ignoring what always set LA adventures apart from the rest. Just think of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis for a second, with its three distinct paths and all that. It’s again basically a unicorn.

So hamster cruelty aside (I thought this puzzle chain was hard to figure out), I think the game holds mostly up, especially the design feels even fresher than that of many adventure games that were made 20 years after DoT… I wish I was kidding. Most of the puzzles are fair, there aren’t really many bad examples here that no one could ever guess and could only solve by sheer coincidence. And looking at the new graphics, I feel like this exactly how the game would have looked, if they would have drawn it today or if they would have had today’s possibilities back then. Whichever.

I’m a huge fan of commentary and additions like concept art in general, so this is working for me here as I expected it would. The only thing I could complain about, is that I would have liked even more.

As I said, MI2 and Indy 4 will remain my LA favorites, but even without strong nostalgic feelings from the last millennium, I can easily see that this is (still) a solid game. I’m glad I bought it, this mechanic of being able to seamlessly switch between the original and the remake works like magic. It is ideal for such a project. What I wouldn’t give for such a remake of Indiana Jones 4 or The Dig, sadly these games don’t seem to have ties to anyone with his own studio like Tim Schafer. That’s why the next remastered version that is supposedly happening, is Full Throttle. IMHO an okay game that I’m not nearly as anxious to experience again in such a remastered version as the other examples I have given. But we can’t always have what we want.

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  1. 1 Technobabylon | adrift

    […] regressed, in comparison with really old adventures, when I wrote a few lines concerning the Day of Tentacle Remaster. This isn’t the case here. It’s so weird how it’s now necessary to play the low […]

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