Day of the Tentacle

Made by LucasArts, released in 1993

Let's Get Crackin!



Current Zar note: I did this LP in 2006! I left my write-up mostly unchanged.




It amuses me that Sierra Quest games, Starcon2, and DOTT are some of the games that I hold really close to my heart and they're all so different.

Day of the Tentacle is the sequel to Maniac Mansion, a very old Commodore 64 game that was also ported to the NES and various operating systems back in the day. I never beat Maniac Mansion myself (I got close tho, but I never went all the way *badumching*) but you really don't have to to understand DOTT. My fragmented memories of Maniac Mansion were enough to let me understand the characters in DOTT.

The animation in DOTT is completely stunning. It's smooth and cartoony and really, it's beautiful. I, like I do with most of these games, really recommend you play the game yourself. There are so many small animations and details that get lots in these. The animation in DOTT in particular is so well-done, it's a shame that I can't show you more of it more easily.

As usual, first, some history! Maniac Mansion was made by an entirely different company than any other game we've done so far. What company? Why, LucasArts of course! LucasArts games are notably different than most Sierra games, and this is mostly because of their engine and their philosophy behind it.

Maniac Mansion first came out in 1987 and it ran on a script called SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion). I'll explain more on how this system works when we get into DOTT, but it's vastly different than how Sierra does their games. Maniac Mansion, for one, supported a mouse among other things.

The thing about LucasArts games (at least, the ones that I've played) is that most of the time, they have very non-lethal puzzles. There's a bit in the DOTT instruction book which basically sums up why...it went something like "We don't think that a player should be punished everytime they make a mistake or click something they aren't supposed to. Therefore, feel free to experiment without the threat of death hanging over your head!"

I liked this a lot because while I DO love Sierra games, dying can get old REAL fast. I liked being able to goof around and do random stuff without saving constantly. Maniac Mansion wasn't forgiving, but DOTT, Monkey Island, and Sam & Max Hit The Road were merciful in this department. It's refreshing! Maybe you weren't entirely safe, but most of the time you wouldn't die for making a mistake.

Problem arose later when the SCUMM system (which was later used as the foundation for almost all of LucasArts adventure games) wasn't exactly compatible with newer systems. Leave it to the fans to make a work-around...you can now use ScummVM to run old LucasArts games, but I've found that thankfully, DOSbox works just fine.

Day of the Tentacle is entirely done through speech (and done very well, I might add) but for the sake of the screencap adventure, I turned off speech and sound so you can see the text. I don't recommend doing that because the sound and speech in this game are great. Seriously.

So let's get this party started!

Here's the music for the intro sequence.

Ah, the old LucasArts logo.

Here you can get a good feel for the style. All the lines and angles in this game are loopy, which is part of why I love it so much. It's all so stylized.

GOOFY BIRD AHOY

I'm sure you have an idea of where this is going, right?

HURRAY TOXIC WASTE

Green and Purple! When a tentacle moves, they make this great shhhluck sound.

Purple has this deep, evil voice. It's great.

Green has this kind of surfer dude voice. It's cute. I always liked Green.

I still occasionally bust out an imitation of how Purple says this.

I didn't really capture it here but you can imagine Purple thrashing around and being silly.

GASP

DUN DUN DUUUUUUN lightning flash

MEANWHILE

THERE'S LAVERNE I love Laverne. More on her in a bit.

THERE'S HOAGIE I love Hoagie as well.

Those who played Maniac Mansion know the hamster well.

Laverne is rather bizarre. She's not like a total psycho or anything, but she just seems a little unhinged. You'll see more of what I mean later. She's an overworked med student if I recall. Her voice is kind of hard to describe...it's kind of like...floaty.

Hoagie is your typical non-too-bright roadie. He's got a kind of accent...I can't think of exactly where it's from...maybe Californian. But I'm pretty sure that you can imagine what he sounds like from how he looks. Hehehe.

BERNARD YAAAY darn it. Imagine the most nerdy voice ever and VOILA BERNARD. Bernard Bernoulli is just a great big nerdy doofus. He was in the original Maniac Mansion too. His walk is hilarious.

Darn it I can still hear them saying this in my head aaaa

Their reactions are beautifully timed with the speech. Shh.

DRAMATIC FANFARE

WOOOOO this title sequence is great. You should watch it on Youtube for the full effect!

These sequence is lots of fun to watch. The animation like I said is really smooth. I dunno if it really comes across here.

Pwiiiing

WATCH OUT FOR THE BARN

BAM into a tree

Cow: Pfff screw this.

NURSE EDNA IS WATCHING YOU

Alright, now we're talking!

You giant nerd, Bernard.

WHERE INDEED

Alright, here we go! I didn't think this would be so darkly colored so this might be a bit hard to see, but this is how a SCUMM game tends to work. On the bottom of the screen there's a list of verbs. You can see Look At there. There's also Push, Pull, Open, Close, Pick Up, Give, that kind of thing. What you do is mouse over a part of the screen (here, I'm mousing over Chuck the Plant) and see if you can do something with it. If you can, it'll show the name of the object. Then you click the verb you want to use (let's say, Look At here) and click on Chuck. Then you look at Chuck! Simple stuff. This can be tricky to get used to, but once you get the hang of it it's very intuitive. In DOTT, most objects have a "default" verb attached to them. for most it's Look At, but for doors and the like it's Open. for people it's Talk To. In that case, you just right click and it'll automatically do that action for you.

I didn't know this game was at 320x200. Maybe DOSbox is messing with me.

Look at Flier! Simple stuff.

Even tho it has Look At highlighted, you can see the sentence I constructed above it, "Pick Up Flier"

You can make fairly long sentences, like "Use brush with soapy water on carriage" or something like that. It depends on what you hafta do.

Might as well pick up this stuff while I'm here.

Most of the challenges in these games come from missing small details. I know I got stuck on the first Monkey Island for a LONG time because of that. You can miss this drawer pretty easy if your not paying attention.

YEAH WHITE OUT FLUID YEAAAH

Bernard, Laverne, or Hoagie will comment on most of the things they see. I didn't do too much of that here, but if you download it and play it yerself feel free to experiment with it. Fun stuff.

Can you make out the Vader on the Calendar?

NURSE EDNA IS WATCHING YOU

HMM.

Yeah, let's crack this sucker open.

Change of music! Tadaaaaah.

Smooth, Bernard.

MEANWHILE, UPSTAIRS

Hoagie says this like, "Upstaars" hehe

WATCH OUT LAVERNE

Dr. Fred! I love Dr. Fred. He's constantly wringing his hands and he has this great angry mad scientist voice. Dr. Fred's voice is perfect in my opinion.

For those who didn't skim the Maniac Mansion thing, Dr. Fred was possessed by a space meteor in that game that made him do crazy stuff, including kidnapping some doofus named Dave's girlfriend Sandy, prompting him and two friends to go after her. Bernard was one of the potential people you could bring along. NOW YOU KNOW.

Would you want a tentacle as a pet? I'd like having Green around.

Here, Fred's started his handwringing thing.

OH NO

Bernard says this in this great way. Hee hee.

WE'LL SOON FIND OUT

This always made me laugh because it says Click, but the sound effect for it was the sound of someone getting punched in the face. BAM.

A bit underwhelming? NONSENSE.

An appropriate reaction.

I love the Sludge-o-Matic machine because it's only purpose is to dump toxic waste into the river. For some reason I find that hilarious. One function - POLLUTE.

NOW THINGS ARE REALLY STARTING TO PICK UP

Laverne sounds so annoyed when she says this. Hee hee. I'll hafta see if I can rip some voice clips for you guys later.

:D

zap zap

This sequence is also really fun to watch.

Familiar swirls!

I love Bernard's face.

Hee hee.

I didn't get this for a while until I was doing my impression of this line for Mom and she was like "Hahaha, that's great." and explained it a bit more.

Einstein was a swirl.

Nurse Edna looks a little psycho back there.

HI PURPLE

This line amuses me way too much.

Aaaaand

HI HOAGIE

Dr. Fred ignores him. Hehehe.

I knooow wheeere

I love how Dr. Fred says this. Hee hee.

AND SO OUR TIME-TRAVELING ADVENTURE BEGINS.

Next up, getting those plans to Hoagie!

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