Hello, Double Fine! So, I just finished Day of the Tentacle: Remastered for PS4.
Overall, long story short, loved it, guys! You did such a great job with the remaster of this. Being as obsessed with the game as I was back in the day, I was able to play it all through in one day and I still remembered each puzzle. Still, was very much fun to revisit the game in a different light!
I had some reservations about the HD art, but in game, honestly, I thought it looked beautiful to see the game in HD. It looks exactly as I remembered it, and switching back to the pixel-ised art really made me realise how much of an upgrade it actually is. I did notice one or two "oversights" with the art (i.e. the black foreground art in Red Edison's lab doesn't extend all the way to the edge of the screen), but nothing even remotely close to the visual oversights and shortcuts found in the Monkey Island Special Editions. Of the three SCUMM SE's, this is probably the best looking of them all. And that's saying a lot given that it's probably the smallest "stylistic" upgrade, since it's very faithful to the original art, and a testament to how good the art was in the original game to begin with.
The music in the game is outstanding as it always was, but I really do wish we could've had live instruments in the remaster. Such a shame as I feel like this would've been the ideal time to see it, and now I think the chance for one is lost forever. I understand budgets and I understand time constraints, but if there was only one shot at upgrading this game, I would've hoped this game would've followed suit like the Monkey Island SE's did. The game's music had to be re-programmed anyway to adapt it from MIDI to digital, so I just would've hoped for some live orchestrations in there. That being said, though, the game does sound nice. The synthesised instruments still do the job, and now I've got the soundtrack stuck in my head, I just feel like live instruments would've really elevated the audio experience further.
The audio quality of everything else was absolutely spot on. Loved hearing the voice acting sound as crisp and clear as other modern titles, and the new sound effects compliment the HD nicely. I actually would rather have HD quality sounds that sort of match the originals than low quality duplicate sounds that bring the overall quality down. In fact, one sound effect seemed to be left in (the "Dingaling!" sound when Dwayne gets his letter and the vacuum appears in the basement) and it actually stood out as being low quality. Wouldn't have minded seeing that one replaced.
A completely geeky and minor thing, by the way, I noticed alternate takes of the lines "I said come down from there at once!" from the guard Tentacle, and Purple's "I'll be back, and next time, the world… shall be mine". Not a problem at all, it was cool to hear (could have maybe even done with hearing a few more!) Everything else seemed to be identical to the takes in the game. Kudos to the team for being able to locate them! (Also, when Bernard reads Nurse Edna the manual, her following lines seemed to drop back to low quality.)
The commentary and art galleries were excellent to hear and see. I would've liked a little more commentary interspersed in there, but what we got was very interesting and insightful (I found about 15-20 mins worth). And the art gallery really highlights how great the art in the original game was to begin with.
I did have a few niggles. Most of them minor but one or two that could maybe be fixed in an update, or could perhaps be quality checked for Full Throttle. First a couple of bugs (I played the PS4 version):
- The music in the mansion foyer in the past (and George Washington's music) sometimes only played half the instruments, strangely. i.e. Washington's theme played the instrument and drums playing "Yankee Doodle", but not the rest of the instruments. I get the feeling there are two files of the orchestration that are supposed to play alongside each other, but only one of them did.
- Two or three times, the music disappeared in the mansion foyer in the future. I had to exit the room and re-enter for it to begin.
- After getting punched in the basement in the future, the music stopped for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, then started again out of nowhere.
Also, the audio looping was a problem. It kind of broke the illusion to have the music randomly stop and pick up again a second later. I know it might not be fixable, but I would've hoped that there was a workaround. Can't remember any specific times when the music wasn't on queue, it all seemed in the right place for the most part, but the music gaps, while not a game breaker, did kind of make me think "ehhh" when they happened.
Only final niggle was the loading times. I think it mostly had to do with when Concept Art was unlocked, but after Laverne said goodbye to Ted, I was stuck on that screen for about 30 seconds. Again, with a HD game, I guess it's kind of unavoidable, but again, kind of puts a damper on it a bit.
But anyway, all nitpicks in the grand scheme of things!
But to sum everything up, playing Day of the Tentacle: Remastered made me feel like I did ten years ago when I played the game for the first time. Loved rediscovering an old favourite in a new light and I can't wait to see what you guys do with Full Throttle!
Honestly, I wouldn't be against you guys picking up Monkey Island 3 and 4 after this and giving them similar remaster treatments to Tentacle and Grim respectively. I know Tim Schafer didn't work directly on those projects, but I really have faith that you guys could pull them off and bring them back after seeing how well Grim and Tentacle were handled. Right now, only Monkey Island 1, 2 and Tales are available to "modern" gamers, so with the gap in the series there, I would really be hopeful that those other two games could make a comeback.
So overall, thank you so much to Double Fine for handling the game with such care and love, and for bringing this game back into the spotlight as it deserves to be.
Good luck with Full Throttle!