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Old 07-19-2011, 02:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Squash and Stretch with Day of the Tentacle

Last Friday's feature on Telltale Games got me thinking about Day of the Tentacle -- then again, I'm always thinking about Day of the Tentacle, but that's a problem for the brain doctors to solve. Anyway, LucasArts' 1993 follow-up to Maniac Mansion isn't just a fan favorite for nostalgia-related reasons alone; it remains a beloved classic for its offbeat story, memorable characters, time-bending puzzles, and unique presentation.

I'd like to focus on the latter, since Day of The Tentacle's graphics and music unite as a brilliant love letter to classic Warner Brothers cartoons -- quite a feat for a game that fits on six tiny diskettes. Since CD-ROM drives hadn't yet become standard, LucasArts couldn't rely on the format's expanded storage space -- the "enhanced" version of Day of the Tentacle adds spoken dialogue, and nothing else. Even with these limitations, the creative team (notably, lead artist Peter Chan and iMUSE developers Michael Land, Peter McConnell and Clint Bajakian) at LucasArts managed to craft a technical marvel that still holds up to the scrutiny of our spoiled eyes.

Here's the introduction; if you've never played the game, it should give you a good example of the look and feel they were going for. If LucasArts ever decides to remake Day of the Tentacle, I really hope that they're able to translate the same bouncy, off-kilter style to the HD generation.

And as a bonus, here's an orchestrated version of the same theme, performed by the FILMharmonic Orchestra Prague at the 2007 Game Convention opening concert in Leipzig, Germany; this version does the original justice, and adds just a touch of Elfman-esque gravitas into the mix. I don't know who I need to kill to get the entire soundtrack in this format, but you can bet that I'm going to spend the rest of the week performing important research on this topic. We can only hope that it's not you.
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