Day Of The Tentacle

    Genre: Graphical Adventure
    Developer: Lucas Arts Games
    Publisher: Lucas Arts Games
    Audience: Everyone
    Multiplayer: No
    Price: $19.95
    3D Accelerated: No
    License: Commercial
    Platform: DOS (playable under Linux)
    Graphics: 10 / 10 Penguins
    Sound: 10 / 10 Penguins
    Plot/Development10 / 10 Penguins
    Game Play: 10 / 10 Penguins
    Overall Rating: 10 / 10 Penguins
[IMAGE: Day Of The Tentacle Box]

Minimum Requirements:
None listed, but order of magnitude estimates:

Beautiful, smooth animation.
Quirky, intelligent plot.
Very playable. Puzzles are well thought out and make sense.
A definite breath of fresh air; a truly novel adventure.
No native version for Linux.


The Day Of The Tentacle is the sequel to Manic Mansion, although you don't need to play the prequel to enjoy this game at all.

Purple Tentacle, one of crazy Dr. Fred's creations, drinks contaminated sludge dumped into a river by one of Dr. Freds machines. He mutates into an insane genius who plots to take over the world and enslave humanity. In an effort to stop him, Dr. Fred sends his three insane friends, Bernard (the nerd), Hoggie (the rocker) and Laverne (the dizzy geek girl) back in time to prevent the sludge from spilling into the river. The cheap doctor uses a fake diamond over a real one in his time machine, which blows up sending Hoggie 200 years into the past and Lavern 200 years into the future. You need to get everyone back to the proper time and prevent Purple Tentacle from enslaving humanity.

I'm going to discuss the game's main strengths: animation, originality and playability.

  • Animation
Remember Bugs Bunny? That's Day Of The Tentacle. The artists did a superb job of creating a game that belongs more on Loony Toons than a shelf in a computer software store. The art itself is not spectacular. Forget 32bpp color; this game is 8 bit all the way, baby. But in a quirky way, this game would be diminished with more color and glitzy graphics. You would love this game the way you'd love a Monty Python movie. We're not talking about a polished piece of art. We're talking about camp. So sit back and just enjoy the story unfold. You're about to watch an old `B-movie'.
  • Originality
This game was written by some pretty creative people. If you take away the graphics, it might be equal to an Infocom game. In this game you play both Bernard, Hoagie and Laverne in different time periods. You can pass items between them using the temporal porta-potty machines. The characters in earlier time periods can do things that affect the characters in later time periods. So if something in Laverne's time period (200 years in the future) seems hopeless, perhaps you can do something in Bernard's period (modern day) or Hoagie's period (200 years in the past) to change history and have the change propagate itself to the future.
  • Playability
Some adventures aren't well thought out, like some of the earlier Leisure Suit Larry games. Doing something wrong can make the game unfinishable, and often the player has no indication that something bad happened. You can play for a years and not know that the game is in an unfinishable state. Not so with Tentacle. The game is very forgiving and won't let you spoil the play by allowing actions which ruin your chance of finishing the game.

Also, poorly written games can have puzzles which are unreasonably difficult or don't have many clues on how to solve them. Here again, Tentacle is brilliant. The puzzles all have logical answers. The game is solvable without a trips to the cheat sites. And there are plenty of clues everywhere. Pay attention to what people say and descriptions of rooms. Just about everything is peppered with a clue; sometimes it's obvious, and sometimes it's subtle. But it's all there.

Playing Under Linux

This is a DOS game, and there's no port to Linux. However, this game was written using Lucas Arts's scumm adventure scripting language. Many games written under this language (including Tentacle) are playable using scummvm, a scumm emulator under Linux which is available from To play, take the files tentacle.000, tentacle.001 and monster.sou from the CD, put it into a directory with the scummvm executable and type ./scummvm tentacle. scummvm has a number of useful options, so make sure to read the readme file. Definitely use -f which starts the game in fullscreen mode. You may need timidity for the music, which is all midi. Emulation was perfect, and the game suffered no speed, sound or graphic artifacts, although YMMV.


This is a light hearted game, suitable for people of all ages. It's a parody of itself and B-movies everywhere. I suspect that adults will enjoy this game as much as, if not more, than the kid audience it was intended for. If you are an adventuring fan, this is an example of a game which reaches its full potential. It is a top-notch graphical adventure which you're bound to fall in love with. It's worth the $20 that Lucas Arts charges for it (average price on ebay is about $12); you won't be disappointed.


[DOTT screenshot] [DOTT screenshot] [DOTT screenshot]