By Vogel (800 by 600)
Below are three images that LucasArts made public during their 20th Anniversary Online Party.
Salvaged from the Internet, here are the Mansions' blueprints through the years.
Top 20 Adventure Games of All-Time feature
Written by Evan Dickens - 02-04-2004
#1: Day of the Tentacle (CD-ROM verison)
"But now, I know that I must go...back to the mansion!"
Release date: 1993
This Top 20 list has been through multiple drafts and revisions over the last four years, as I try to somehow come up with the perfect list, or at least the most fair. Through all the revisions, as you can imagine, games have been shuffled endlessly, constantly switching positions, being knocked off the list and back on repeatedly. But through every revision, from the original all the way to this 2003 edition, the #1 slot has never changed. It's never been a question for me. It's never been any sort of a dilemma. Day of the Tentacle, not a doubt in my mind, is the ultimate adventure game, the greatest ever.
Last week I said the Top 6 were virtually deadlocked with each other. That was actually a bit of a lie; #6-#2 were deadlocked. DOTT exists on its own level. I referred to those five games as "virtually flawless" but for this game, I drop the virtually part of it. The 1993 CD "talkie" version of Day of the Tentacle is a perfectly flawless adventure, the rarest of rare games, that which did nothing wrong. Nothing. There is no weakness in this game, no sieve. Stop waiting for the "but" because it won't come. This is the perfect adventure game, the one adventure that brought every aspect of great adventures together and created such an enjoyable masterpiece, it almost seems to transcend the level of computer games.
It's so great, from bottom to top, that it makes a case in every single possible area for being the greatest. The gorgeous cartoon graphics and the dazzlingly creative animation never stop amazing for the entire game. Ten years later, the opening animation of the bird flying over the mansion still looks fantastic. The musical score is perfectly suited, the voice acting is top-notch and captures the humorous essence of all the characters more accurately than most CD-ROM games could ever hope for. The jokes quite simply never miss, and hit right square in the belly most of the time. I don't know if I've ever laughed harder at a game than when the dazed and confused Laverne, the main female character, was travelling through a swirling time vortex and said, "This must be that Woodstock place Mom and Dad are always talking about." If you don't find that funny, you either haven't heard it in the game, or...well, I don't know. That kind of humor is just a standard in a brilliant script easily on par with any Monkey Island or Sam & Max, if not surpassing them both.
And of course, adventure games are all about characters and plot. I've commented earlier that I am a sucker for time travel, and no adventure game has ever utilized the concept better than this. The game begins with the funniest introduction sequence ever as Bernard, the nerd from the original Maniac Mansion receives a message (via hamster courier) from his good friend Green Tentacle, asking for assistance in dealing with the Purple Tentacle, who has drank some of Dr. Fred's radioactive sludge and become mad with power (he's grown arms too). Bernard, in heroic glory, stares out his window and declares that he must go "back to the mansion!" in another incredibly funny pop culture reference. What follows is the greatest opening credits sequence ever, as Bernard and friends Hoagie and Laverne jump in the jalopy and proceed to burn tracks to the mansion, driving through barns and around sharp curves. There's certainly no other game that I watch the intro to every time I boot it up, not even King's Quest VI or Full Throttle, but I laugh every single time at the sounds of our heroes driving chickens out of their home.
Through a series of events too amusing to really do justice, our three heroes end up in different eras. Hoagie finds himself dropped right into the site of the Constitutional Convention, alongside an arrogant George Washington, a snivelly John Hancock, a snooty Thomas Jefferson, and an insane Ben Franklin. Laverne is vaulted two hundred years into the future, where she unfortunately is suspended from a cherry tree. How do you get her down? Simple. Have Hoagie talk George Washington into chopping down the tree, probably my favorite adventure game puzzle of all-time and just another of hundreds of examples of this game's sparkling irreverence and brilliance. The puzzles are innovative and brilliant throughout, challenging but never once becoming frustrating, and always making clever use of the time travel ideas.
Words fail me; the words have not been invented for Day of the Tentacle. I've exhausted my meager vocabulary. All I can say is that from the moment I was enchanted by it nine years ago, the joy has never been lost. Replaying this game last month gave me the same magical feeling I had the first time, and reminded me why I love adventure games so much. In every aspect, every area, this game is one of the greatest. The greatest introduction, the greatest characters, the most innovative graphics, the greatest voice acting (certainly the best in a comedy), the greatest humor, the greatest story, by far the most creative and ingenious puzzles, and the greatest ending, a final touch that left me laughing for what felt like an hour. Laughing was all I could do during this game when I wasn't admiring the beautiful graphics.
There isn't a greater game, adventure or otherwise, in existence than Day of the Tentacle; I believe that with all of my heart, and if you have not experienced the game, you don't understand the heights that an adventure game can attain. Strong words? Absolutely. That's how strongly I feel about this game.
It's been fun counting down and reliving the great games, but amongst a magnificent array of great adventures, there is one that sits on the throne, head and shoulders above every other adventure, and seems to snicker as others try to reach its peak. None ever will. Day of the Tentacle is the #1 adventure game of all-time.
Evan Dickens is the editor-in-chief of Adventure Gamers.
The Only Good Tentacle Is a Green Tentacle
Day of the Tentacle
Platforms: PC | Genre: Adventure
Publisher: LucasArts | Developer: LucasArts | Released: 1993
There was a time, about a decade ago, when LucasArts was best known not for its Star Wars games, but for its graphical adventure games for the PC. Most all of these were very good, but some were so extraordinary that they remain uniquely remarkable to this day. In fact, we've already inaugurated LucasArts' Grim Fandango into the ranks of GameSpot's Greatest Games of All Time. Now we are imparting the same distinction on Day of the Tentacle, another LucasArts adventure influenced by the same designer as Grim Fandango, Tim Schafer, who served as co-designer on DOTT along with Dave Grossman. Day of the Tentacle is one of the funniest, wittiest, most charming, and most inventive adventure games ever made.
It also features one of the greatest video game villains ever: Purple Tentacle, whose name is self-explanatory. At the beginning of the game, Purple Tentacle takes a sip of some toxic sludge, grows a couple of stubby arms, and turns incredibly evil. So when the hapless trio of nerdy Bernard, spacey Lavern, and portly Hoagie unwittingly free the tentacles from their master, all hell breaks loose...sort of. In short, the freakish Dr. Fred ends up dumping Hoagie 200 years in the past and Lavern 200 years in the future in a pathetically failed attempt to have the three friends undo the damage they caused. It's up to you, at that point, to play as all three of the characters in their respective time periods, flushing items back and forth through the future via a toiletlike time machine and eventually thwarting Purple Tentacle's plans.
Day of the Tentacle is continuously amusing if not laugh-out-loud funny to watch and listen to. The game's exceptionally good voice acting stands out even to this day, and the excellent character animation and bizarre cast of characters--including the mummylike Dead Cousin Ted and none other than George Washington--make the game as memorable as they come. LucasArts pioneered a brand of adventure game in which you could never die--you would just get stuck for a while if you couldn't figure out a puzzle--and Day of the Tentacle is a perfect example of this carefree, frustration-free style of gaming. This is a genuine classic--very few games have matched or exceeded the quality of Day of the Tentacle's production.
Inside the Maniac Mansion
Not only is Day of the Tentacle a work of genius, but it also features one of the single coolest Easter eggs of any game. In one of the rooms of the mansion in which the game takes place, Bernard can use a computer to play a pixel-perfect port of Maniac Mansion, the 1987 adventure game to which Day of the Tentacle is a sequel. Many subsequent sequels have gone on to feature versions of their predecessors as hidden bonuses, but Day of the Tentacle did it first and built it straight into the gameplay for good measure.
|The irreverent humor, the inventive and interesting puzzles, and the cast of characters make Day of the Tentacle an unforgettable game.|
|Note from Greg Kasavin: I think it was the voice acting in Day of the Tentacle that really blew me away. This stuff was at least at the level of the big-budget Disney productions of the time. Plus the writing in Day of the Tentacle was razor sharp. It's like a better version of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, and I don't level such compliments lightly. Very few games have ever succeeded at making me laugh, and none have quite like Day of the Tentacle.|