Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle is a sequel to the 1988 Maniac Mansion. Designed by veteran game designers Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman, Day of the Tentacle is considered one of the best adventure games ever made. Originally released in June of 1993, Day of the Tentacle soon gathered lasting critical acclaim and a dedicated fan base.
Day of the Tentacle begins with Green and Purple Tentacle standing next to a stream of contaminated water behind Doctor Fred's mansion. After drinking some of the contaminated water, Purple Tentacle gains a pair of arms and a vastly-increased intelligence, and resolves to take over the world. Green manages to inform his friend, Bernard (who was one of many possible protagonists in the original game), who immediately sets out for the mansion with friends Laverne and Hoagie in tow.
Doctor Fred plans to send the three of them back in time to yesterday to turn off the contamination machine and prevent Purple's mutation from occurring, but each of the three characters become trapped in a different time period due to a fake diamond-related mishap. Here is where the majority of the game takes place, with Hoagie trapped in colonial times, on the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Bernard stuck in the present, and Laverne thrown in the distant future, where Purple has succeeded in conquering the world, which is now run by intelligent tentacles who keep humans as pets. In order to save the world Bernard, Laverne, and Hoagie must interchange items and find the parts to fix the time machine in order to return to the present time and stop Purple Tentacle.
Day of the Tentacle was one of the first games to feature a puzzle structure based on time travel and alternating characters. In order to solve puzzles it may be required to exchange items with characters in different time periods in order to solve puzzles. For example, the player must freeze a present day hamster in order to retrieve and revive it in the future to power a machine.
As in other post Loom LucasArts adventure games it is impossible for the player to die or get into an unsolvable solution. The game runs on the sixth version of the SCUMM engine, which requires the player to select actions or items from the bottom of the screen and then select a point of interest in the world to interact with.
Day of the Tentacle is arguably one of the best point-and-click adventures released by LucasArts, utilizing the SCUMM engine originally conceived for Maniac Mansion. The game still remains fun today thanks to its funny and interesting premise and extremely sharp writing. It's also worth noting that the game included the original Maniac Mansion, which was playable inside the game by accessing a computer found in Weird Ed Edison's room in the mansion, albeit with reduced graphics quality compared to the real game. A very inventive and extremely generous Easter egg.
- In the SNES and Genesis game Zombies Ate My Neighbors a level titled "Day of the Tentacle" can be unlocked with a password as a bonus level. The enemies are tentacles identical to the ones featured in this game.
- In the adventure game A Vampyre Story, there is a Day of the Tentacle reference by looking at the windows in the study.
- The original Maniac Mansion is included in the game. It is accessible by using the computer in Weird Ed Edison's room.
- The original CD-ROM release of the game came in a large triangular box instead of a standard one.
- When Hoagie suggested to use Ed Edison's pet hamster for his band to "bite its head off," it was a tribute to Ozzy Osbourne, famed Heavy Metal musician who was known for chewing a dead crow's head off on stage.
- When Laverne sees Purple Tentacle in the future, she says "Great Scott," which is referring to the famous Doc Brown from Back to the Future.
- When Bernard, Hoagie and Laverne entered the same Chron-o-Jon at the same time, Dr. Fred Edison said, "didn't you see The Fly?" He was referring the movie of the same name where a scientist's molecular structure had been fused with a fly through an experiment and became a fly monster. The three protagonists eventually became a three-headed monster, despite Dr. Fred's warning.
- In the game Ben There, Dan That, The cover art Of DOTT can be seen in the living room.
- "Chuck the Plant" first seen the the original Maniac Mansion is featured in Day of the Tentacle in other SCUMM games as well as Lone Survivor.
In The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, an intriguing Easter egg led many to speculate that a special edition of this timeless classic may be in the works. On Monkey Island, in front of the Great Monkey Head, a tentacle statue stands in place of the "Sam and Max" statue featured in the original game. Purple Tentacle also replaced a Max costume in Lechuck's Revenge: Special Edition.