Day of The Tentacle Remaster Review

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Leaping Lab rats! The Remaster we’ve all been waiting for!

This generation seems to be the time for upgrades and remakes, which is all fine and good, but finally, I get the one I really want. I’ve been waiting for Day of the Tentacle for a very long time.

I remember playing this game as a child on our first family computer; I’ve actually still got the original CD-ROM.

I really am a huge fan of the original game and upon learning of the impending re-master months ago, had high hopes that this would do it justice. I thought it was brilliantly funny back then, well constructed and hoped it would still hold up today. A small niggling fear in the back of my head – what if DOTT doesn’t actually hold up today and it doesn’t turn out to be as great as I thought it was 20 odd years ago.

Luckily, I’m happy to say that isn’t the reality.

Now in case you had a very deprived gaming childhood or just missed it entirely, DOTT is about a mutated tentacle that turns evil after consuming toxic sludge and decides to take over the world.

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DOTT is a classic ‘point and click’ puzzle adventure game, filled with funny dialogue, weird and wonderful characters you meet along the way.

You play as three very different and unlikely friends who have to stop him from taking over the world, the only problem being they’re all stuck in different times, thanks to mad scientist Dr. Fred Edison’s botched time travel machine.

Our three protagonists are – Hoagie the rock roadie. He is 200 years in the past, Laverne the oddball is 200 years in the future and geeky Bernard is stuck in the present. Their only form of contact – three toilets converted into Chron-O-Johns and the help of a mad scientist.

Double fine really have given DOTT the care and attention it deserves in this update. The lines are smoother, the colours are vibrant and they haven’t changed the art style and have kept true to the origins of the game. They have also re-mastered the audio.

The puzzles still hold up today, they’re funny, clever, well constructed and don’t feel shoehorned in. Some are also head-scratchingly difficult. Having played this game many years ago some of the answers evaded me. You will find a time when you feel like you’re aimlessly hopping between all 3 kids and just repeating yourself but, there’s no greater feeling, after all the pointing n’ clicking for half an hour when you get the “Eureka” moment and it all comes together nicely.

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The dialogue still works today as well as it did in 1993, it’s witty, funny and sometimes just a bit dark. There are also some great one-liners, especially when trying to use certain objects with other objects in the puzzle solving. With some pretty comical achievements popping up along the way. I watched all of the cut scenes and used most of the dialogue choices and at times there were proper laugh moments out of me.

Playing across all three playable characters is simple and easy enough, you play as much with whomever, but there are moments when certain actions affect certain times, this works really well across all three characters. The inventory system is super simple and does a good job swapping between each kid and playing across the different time periods.

With DOTT given the enhanced and updated treatment, you can switch back to the original style so you can see the difference. Personally, I didn’t remember the game being that pixelated, but hitting the button will show there’s a huge difference in graphics, 20+ years obviously goes a long way and it really shows the effort and care Double Fine put into making this re-master look as good as it does. The only bad point I noticed was some of the dialogue didn’t match up to the speaking animation, a bit like poor dubbing. It’s not enough to ruin it, but it is noticeable – I suspect this is down to the voices and sounds being improved to a higher bit-rate.

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DOTT been completely redrawn in high definition 2D graphics and it really does look marvellous, you can also mix and match audio, graphics and UI to whichever you prefer.

Throughout the adventure, you will also collect concept art and you can turn on the developer commentary which really adds to the heritage of the game.

To summarise, DOTT is still great today. It’s a great point and click game with genuine laugh out loud moments, clever and well-made puzzles. The remake looks gorgeous and the writing is still as fantastic now as it was back then. Whether or not you played the original, this is a classic point and click adventure game that will keep you entertained and challenged while laughing and smiling throughout.

Pros

Amazing work re-mastering looks gorgeous.

Still holds up as a classic point and click

Laugh out loud funny.

Cons

Vocal Animation can be a bit off.

If you’ve not played before, some of the puzzles can be very challenging
Score: 9/10

Costume Quest 2 Review

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Costume Quest 2 Review

PC

Dev. Double Fine Productions

Pub. Midnight City, Majesco

 

How in the hell did we make friends as kids?

From what I remember, I sort of wondered up to people and went, “bogies and bums!” and was then accepted within the group as the thrillingly dangerous one.

Costume Quest 2 is the story of a group of children who have to save the best bits of Halloween from the dismal Doctor White, who is determined to screw up the party for everyone. He has his reasons of course, and is slightly more than just a generic git-villain. Still, whatever it is that motivates him, you are forced into some time travelling shenanigans in order to save the day and return the right to wear costumes and eat sweeties to everybody.

CQ2 is an RPG where you guide a small party of children around a set of environments on the hunt for candy to grab and monsters to bash. Little children obviously make for puny fighters, but fortunately by donning various costumes that you find throughout the game they are able to transform into the character represented by the costume for the purposes of fighting. Dress up as a superhero and you become one at rumble-time, able to punch the holy hell out of robots and monsters and also hurl buses at them. Dress up as a clown and you end up as a freakish oversized buffoon who uses his girth to great effect in the fight. Apart from normal attacks, each costume type has its own special ability; the Clown’s is called ‘Laughter is the best Medicine’ and is a party heal. This basically causes the costumes to become character classes, so you can have a tank, healer and damage-guy in your party – or whatever you feel most appropriate to the stage you’re on.

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Using the delightful cartoon style that will be immediately familiar to anyone who’s played the first Costume Quest game, you once again return to your home-town to find it pumpkin-bestrewn and seasonal. Things soon go wrong however when Dr. White shows up and, engaging the help of a Time Wizard, kicks off this second foray into costume questing. What changes things up a little this time is the environments; future cities, the bayou, even a reform school for naughty candy-eaters staffed by Grubbins, all make an appearance in the new game. It’s a little darker in style graphically, but just a fraction and still retains the humour and light-hearted sense of fun from the original game. The friendly people you find around the place are still just the right side of silly, without becoming obnoxious, and your interactions with everyone keep you smiling throughout the modest 6 hour play time.

If you’ve never experienced the Costume Quest game previously, you should prepare yourself for something of a charm offensive. Nearly every character dialogue, name of attack, place and interactive element in the game is gently funny and cute, leading to the sense of almost overbearing pleasantness in the game. It ought to be something that sits naturally, people just being generally polite to one another, but it actually almost is slightly unnerving for a while until you realise that the game is simply ‘nice’. It’s almost so alien to get a proper game that doesn’t trade on gore, pain or other forms of human misery that it can be awkward to adjust.

CostumeQuest2_Screen_04Some decisions have been made to change up the game this time, that have had mixed results. On the positive side, battles are a little more active now, featuring timed button presses as part of the turn-based combat for every character. This forms part of both the attack and defence portions of combat, so once all the mechanics are introduced, you’re never just sitting back and watching the action unfold. There’s also a risk/reward element to the combat in the form of a new counter system whereby you can choose to begin blocking with a defender before the enemy declares who it’s attacking. Guess correctly and you’ll deal counter attack damage, guess incorrectly and the character actually hit comes off a little worse. It’s a nice idea that adds a little level of strategy to things – purposely having a character feint raises your chances with the other two to 50/50 and a lone character always counters.

On the other hand, one major bugbear of many forum users and reviewers is the decision to change from auto-healing at the end of a battle to forcing you to return to a drinking fountain in a level in order to heal your party. It’s just pointless back-tracking since there are no random encounters in the game, there’s no risk to returning to these save points, it simply artificially elongates the time you spend in the level due to all the back and forth. A shame, because otherwise all the time you spend in CQ2 is otherwise fun, unless you find yourself stumped by a puzzle.

3Yes, Costume Quest 2 does have puzzles, but they are pretty straightforward (with one notable exception). Nothing in it should seriously trouble you too far, battles included. Unfortunately, the cumulative effect of its niceness, length and at-best-moderate challenge results in the game feeling a little too lightweight overall. Whilst it is a solid recommendation if you played and enjoyed the first Costume Quest game, newcomers to the series might do better to visit the more robust original. Familiarity with the characters from the first game will help with your enjoyment of the second in any case.

Now, GET INSIDE READERS… IT’S TIME TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH AGAIN.

 

Karlos Morale

7/10

Costume Quest 2 is out now for PC (Reviewed), PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and XBoner.