Our heroes, fleeing in terror at the first sign of danger.
Dr. Fred: Our only hope now is to turn off my Sludge-O-Matic machine and prevent the toxic mutagen from entering the river! Bernard: Isn't it a little late for that, Doctor? Dr. Fred: Of course! That's why I'll have to do it... yesterday! To the time machine!
A LucasArts graphic Adventure Game from 1993 and sequel to Maniac Mansion by Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman, co-designed with Ron Gilbert and inspired by the works of Chuck Jones.When we last saw uber-nerd Bernard Bernoulli, he had just helped save the wacky Edison family from the control of an evil meteor. Now, five years later, the Edisons' friendly pet Green Tentacle desperately needs his help again. Bernard gathers his wacky roommates Laverne and Hoagie and charges to the rescue. They aid Green, but in the process they also free his vicious brother Purple Tentacle (now mutated into an insane genius due to Dr. Fred Edison's careless dumping of toxic waste). Now he's free to TAKE ON THE WORLD!!Oh well, what possible harm could an insane evil mutant tentacle do?As it turns out, quite a lot. Purple Tentacle uses his newfound intelligence to create a Bad Future where tentacles rule the world and humans are their slaves. Nice job freeing the megalomaniac, Bernard.Doctor Fred attempts to send the three back in time to prevent Purple Tentacle from drinking the polluted water, but there is an accident (never use imitation diamond when your time machine recipe calls for the real thing, kids!) which scatters our heroes across four centuries. Hoagie is stuck in colonial America during the creation of America as we know it, Laverne is trapped in Purple Tentacle's tentacle-run Bad Future, and Bernard must coordinate efforts in the present day to fix the broken time machine, bring his friends back, and save the world.The immaculate voice acting, brilliant one-liners, clever puzzles, and memorable characters all conspired to make this one of the most popular of the LucasArts adventure games of all time, and probably better known than its predecessor.
Benjamin Franklin: He likes to play with his kite, or should we say, the "Frank-O-Copter".
Berserk Button: Though Ed has spent years in therapy to control his anger and is now a calm man with a stamp hobby, you can undo years of therapy by "ruining" his stamp album (with disappearing ink). Returning the "fixed" album to him restores his sanity.
Blatant Lies: Why does this shady man wearing a ski mask try to break open a car's trunk with a crowbar? Well, he left his keys in the car. Bernard is okay with that. He even helps him to try getting his keys.
Body Horror: In the endgame, Bernard, Hoagie and Laverne get merged together in one body from travelling in the same time machine, similar to The Fly. Subverted when it turns out they only got stuck in each other's clothes.
Book Dumb: Hoagie is not really supposed to look like the brightest of the bunch but he zigzags the Fat Idiot expectations as he's mostly ignorant about history — he obviously has a practical mind, and a lot of the puzzles call for him to be clever.
Boom, Headshot: Future Purple Tentacle always goes for a headshot, even though his weapon is nonlethal and has the same effect no matter where the blast hits. This habit leads to his downfall.
Bowled Over: How you get past the ten Purple Tentacles guarding Dr. Fred in the endgame.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Laverne revives the frozen hamster in a microwave oven, then turns to the camera and tells the player that this only works in the future, and kids who try it in the present are taken away and put up for adoption. Bernard also lampshades this after "ruining" Weird Ed's stamps, commenting that he sometimes does things without knowing why, as if his body is "being controlled by some demented, sadistic puppet-master".
Brick Joke: Laverne needs a tentacle costume to pass in the future, so Hoagie swaps the plans for the American flag with a picture of a tentacle. In the future, the Stars and Stripes changes to a tentacle outfit. In the end, the characters comment on everything being back to normal... and then a tentacle-shaped flag is run up a flagpole.
The protagonists frequently try to distract other characters using the "look behind you, a three-headed monkey" line from Monkey Island. This pays off if you try it on Future Purple Tentacle in the end, when the protagonists have seemingly merged into a three-headed primate, leading Purple Tentacle to respond: "The only three-headed monkey here is in front of me!"
Broken Bridge: Only Bernard and Hoagie are playable in the early stages of the game; Laverne remains helplessly stuck in a tree until events have progressed to a certain extent in Hoagie's part of the story.
Can't Take Anything With You: Since the Chron-O-Johns can only transport "small, inanimate objects" between them, some puzzles involve getting around this.
Chaos Architecture: Hilariously, the layout of the Edisons' home is much more consistent in the five centuries covered in this game alone than between this game and its predecessor, set only a couple of years apart.
Chekhov's Gun: The bowling ball is available in Green Tentacle's room right from the start, but Bernard isn't strong enough to pick it up. When the three characters get stuck together in the endgame, you can finally take it.
Chivalrous Pervert: The tentacle guard at the Pound, who is ultimately loyal to his wife even though he flirts outrageously with Tentacle-Laverne.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Basically, every playable character from the first game except for Bernard is gone without a mention. Even Dave.
It's vaguely implied one of the Internal Revenue agents is Dave. If you listen to their conversation with each other after they imprison Dr. Fred, one of them remarks his wife's name is Sandy, the name of Dave's girlfriend from the original Maniac Mansion.
Cloudcuckoolander: Laverne. Alarmingly, she's a medical student, but she dreams of becoming a pathologist — as in, someone in the basement who cuts up bodies to figure out how they died, and if cop shows haven't lied to us, they're always weird.
Comedic Sociopathy: You get to do some pretty unpleasant (but hilarious) things in the game, from pranking George Washington with an exploding cigar to pushing Nurse Edna down the stairs.
Commonplace Rare: You have to go to ludicrous lengths to find... a bottle of vinegar. Namely, giving a bottle of wine to Thomas Jefferson so he can bury it in the time capsule, and having Laverne pick it up 400 years later.
Also, only the diskette version required the copy protection; the game was produced at a time when CDs were a fairly new technology and the layman's ability to copy them was limited, if it existed at all, so the CD version didn't bother.
Covers Always Lie: The cover shows Purple Tentacle chasing the heroes outside the mansion with his ray gun. In the game, it is the bearded Purple Tentacle from the future who chases the protagonists with the ray gun, he does it inside the mansion, and this is when the three heroes are "stuck" together.
Frighteningly enough, Ed talks with one in his "sane" mode.
The Cuckoolander Was Right: John Hancock suggests adding an amendment to the Constitution saying the President has to be a human being. Had this been accepted, it would have prevented Purple Tentacle's rise to power, but Thomas Jefferson dismisses it as a stupid idea.
Jefferson also vetoes Hancock's suggestion to illegalize dumping toxic sludge in rivers, on the same grounds.
An optional conversation allows Hoagie to suggest getting to work on the national debt. Jefferson scoffs that America is too prosperous to ever go into debt. (Even though America was in debt even back then.) This was also probably a joke about how the economy and national debt were key issues during the 1992 presidential election.
Cutting Off The Branches: Canonically, Bernard was in the rescue trio in Maniac Mansion. The optional hamster-microwaving event is also canon, as is Green Tentacle's recording contract, making the third kid either Syd or Razor.
Dawson Casting: Fifty-year-old Richard Sanders does the voice of Bernard, who is at most in his early twenties.
Dual-World Gameplay: The three characters are in three different time periods and they have to work together to solve the problem.
Embedded Precursor: The Ur Example. Ed's computer has a fully playable Maniac Mansion. Just like the original version, it only has one save slot.
Everything's Better With Cows: In the introduction, the protagonists run into a barn with their car and get a cow inside their vehicle. They crash again and the cow turns to the camera and raises its hoof in a "blow this" gesture. There is also Purple Tentacle's first appearance in the newspapers about turning upside down cows.
Foreshadowing: When Bernard is talking to Green Tentacle about what Purple Tentacle's plans might be, you can choose between the guesses "throw old ladies down staircases", "perform cryogenic experiments on small animals", and "invent a shrink ray". All of these things happen in the game. Subverted by the fact that Purple Tentacle only invents the shrink ray; the two other things are done by Bernard.
Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: People pedal in the air for a moment before the long drop, or reach up to grab something they left behind.
Green Aesop: The Sludge-o-Matic and the pollution it generates are what start all the problems. Somewhat played with by the fact the Sludge-o-Matic exists solely to create toxic goo to dump into the water.
Guide Dang It: While LucasArts takes a gentle approach to difficulty a number of the game's puzzles may not be very intuitive:
If you don't realize vandalism and craziness is a given in the comical adventures is hard to guess you have to break a candy machine with a crowbar except by randomly guessing or experimenting with every item in your inventory?
Closing the door of a room you've just entered to get a set of keys.
Hammerspace: All three heroes can keep a huge amount of items in their tiny pockets. Particularly outrageous is Bernard picking up a pile of coins which is bigger than he is and probably weighs more too.
When Ned breaks down in tears after he messes up the statue he was carving, his brother Jed cheers him up by offering him a cappuccino. A steaming cup of cappuccino on a plate that he plain pulls out of his jacket.
Humans Are Ugly: The tentacles from the future find humans ugly... Laverne gets it especially bad from a tentacle who instantly describes how he finds her repulsive (then again, she does look weird). Conversely, after she dons her stars-and-stripes disguise, every tentacle around finds her drop-dead gorgeous.
Hyperspace Arsenal: The characters' entire inventory is in their pockets. And pretty much anything can go through the Chron-O-John so long as it's not living matter or too big. Laverne is briefly discomforted when she drops the frozen hamster down her top. Bernard whips a rope into the air and opens his pocket for it to fall neatly inside it.
Identical Grandson: Dr. Fred Edison's ancestor Red Edison looks exactly like him. His descendant looks like him, with a beard. This applies to the descendants of Edna and Weird Ed as well. The cigar salesman looks exactly like Benjamin Franklin, and could be a descendant; the same could be said about Arnold looking like George Washington and Dwayne looking like John Hancock.
Impact Silhouette: Bernard falls off the roof (for a second time) and leaves a Bernard-shaped hole in the ground.
Bernard: It's a hole. Shaped like me. I'm not proud of it, but there it is.
Improvised Lightning Rod: Hoagie is trapped in colonial times and needs a super-battery to power his time machine. He must help Benjamin Franklin perform his legendary kite experiment, hiding the battery in the kite so that lightning strikes the kite and charges the battery.
Incredible Shrinking Man: Purple Tentacle eventually designs a shrinking ray that he decides to use on the protagonists.
Instant Home Delivery: The diamond from Couch-potato Shopping, courtesy of Pronto Post Light-Speed Delivery
Instant Sedation: Of a sort — Dr. Fred is so sleep-deprived and dependent on caffeine that giving him decaf is enough to knock him out.
In the Past, Everyone Will Be Famous: Hoagie manages to run into George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and Betsy Ross, without even leaving the Edison manor.
Intimidating Revenue Service: Dr. Fred discovers that you don't mess with the IRS, because they'll tie you up in red tape (literally!) and leave you in the attic while they audit your accounts.
Irony: Many of Hancock's suggested legislations in the 1790s storyline would have saved the future USA from the tyranny of the Purple Tentacle (strict anti-pollution laws; requiring the President to be a human being...). George Washington shoots them all down.
Knife Nut: Bernard can use Laverne's scalpel to stab, with a maniacal expression, inflatable balloon clown Oozo and the cigar salesman... except for the latter, where he will either give up or be surprised by him noticing.
Implied to be the reason Laverne herself never uses her scalpel.
Leitmotif: One for each character, heard whenever the player switches between them. Bernard's resembles the main theme, Hoagie's is kind of surf-inspired, and Laverne's sounds like a children's tune that's a bit... off.
Letter Motif: Every male member of the Edison family has a name ending in "-ed": Fred, Ed, Ted, Red, Ned, Jed, Zed and Ved. The two female members shown are called Edna and Zedna.
Lighter and Softer: Compared to the original Maniac Mansion, which had some pretty dark and gory parts.
Logo Joke: After the credits, a golden Purple Tentacle scares away and replaces the LucasArts figure
Look Over There: Happens several times in the game. The line "Look behind you, a three-headed monkey" from Monkey Island is the one used the most frequently.
Once you paint the kumquats on the tree to look like cherries (in Revolutionary times), you can get George Washington to chop it down. Four hundred years later, the huge tree that Laverne is hanging from suddenly vanishes.
After Hoagie gives Betsy Ross a tentacle chart as a flag design, we see the modern flag change in a puff of sparks.
When Founding Fathers add an article "Every American should have a vacuum cleaner", it appears in the secret lab in the future.
Making Jed and Ned switch places when modelling causes the statue in the surveillance office to be mirror-flipped, meaning that Edna can't grab on to it when Bernard pushes her down the stairs.
Mirror World: The game takes place in the same mansion, though spread out over three different time periods.
Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: While Dr. Fred is a good guy in this game, he still pollutes the river just to get mad scientist cred, and does some other morally dodgy things (such as planning to kill Green Tentacle for no reason whatsoever).
While Laverne is just a med student, she seems to be heading for one of these.
Nice Hat: The hunter tentacle has a panama and a large mustache to match. The judges wear fezzes. And of course, colonial-era Ted Edison has the best hat of them all, a tricorn. Hoagie can even compliment him on his nice hat.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Bernard decides to free the Tentacles who are being held captive by Dr. Fred. Including Purple Tentacle.
Dr. Fred: What have you done this time, you meddling milquetoast? Now Purple Tentacle is free to use his evil mutant powers to take over the world, and ENSLAVE ALL HUMANITY!
Justified, as for some reason Dr. Fred also wanted to get rid of Green, who didn't do anything. The one who truly deserves this trope is Dr. Fred for causing environmental damage for petty reasons, which caused Purple to mutate after drinking from it.
Obviously Evil: Look at Purple Tentacle and Green Tentacle. Purple has black frowning eyebrows, Green doesn't. Guess which one is evil.
Offscreen Teleportation: When Bernard and Dr. Fred go look for the plans, the latter goes up the stairs. If Bernard immediately picks up the plans that are hanging on the wall, Dr. Fred will then come out from the left of the screen. See Took a Shortcut below.
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Not an accent, but Laverne's voice. If you try to make her look at all kind of objects "flushed" from Bernard and Hoagie, the actress will eventually speak in her normal, deeper voice.
Our Time Travel Is Different: This game follows the "wormhole" time-travel method, in which everyone is essentially in different dimensions and use a time-tunnel of swirling lights and colors to go back and forth.
Laverne: This must be that Woodstock place Mom and Dad are always talking about!
Panty Shot: Laverne, when she is shown hanging from her panties in the future.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Laverne disguises herself as a tentacle by using a tentacle-shaped flag that leaves her head, her arms, and her feet completely visible. Inexplicably, the tentacles think she's hot stuff.
Not to mention that to avoid tripping over her disguise she lifts the bottom half whenever she runs, clearly exposing her legs.
Parental Bonus: Laverne's "goodbye" line to the future Purple Tentacle is "If you'll excuse me, I've got something in the oven." "Anyone I know?" is his reply.
It's pretty bad when the more innocent alternative is that tentacles eat humans.
Player Nudge: The characters will occasionally do this. Perhaps the most obvious is Laverne, who, when she's captured and sent back to the Kennel, will say "If only there was some kind of disguise". The monologues with Ted the mummy are all about this.
Reflecting Laser: The shrinking ray bouncing back off of Dr. Fred's otolaryngologists mirror.
Reused Character Design: A lot of characters (especially Edisons) have at least one near-double, making the number of truly individually designed characters a minority.
Rule of Funny: Trumps sense or realism every time. There's even a paragraph in the manual saying so.
Satire: All of the Founding Fathers are noticeably different from the way history tends to portray them.
Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The premise of the game. Dr Fred sends the trio back to "yesterday" to turn off his Sludge-o-Matic machine, preventing Purple Tentacle's exposure to the mutagen sludge, its Start of Darkness, world conquering darkness that is.
The Seventies: Ted's room in the future mansion is filled with 70's objects such as a lava lamp and an Elvis lamp. Ted even wears a leisure suit.
Star Wars, with a Darth Vader calendar and a Stormtrooper helmet around. The number for the TV shopping channel is 1-800-STARWARS (LucasArts' customer support number at the time). Bernard also makes a jolly remark at finding a Quarter made in the year 1977.
"Help us, Dr. Edison. You're our only hope!"
What appears to be a star shaped model hanging up in Bernard's dorm room is really a space mine from X-Wing.
Snipe Hunt: Subverted — the player actually has to locate a left-handed hammer.
Spinning Paper: Used over the course of the game to show Purple Tentacle's rise to power in the present day. The cutscenes are tied to Bernard and an internal clock so in a game of below-average length some may not be triggered at all. They are in order:
The Franklin lightning experiment took place nearly 40 years before the Constitutional Convention.
The design of the first US flag predated the Constitutional Convention by roughly a decade.
John Hancock and Thomas Jefferson did not attend the Constitutional Convention (Jefferson wasn't even in the country at the time).
The Pony Express didn't exist until about 70 years after the Constitutional Convention.
Theme Naming: All Edisons have a first name containing the syllable "ed". In the present, we have Fred, Edna and Ed. In the 18th century, Red, Jed and Ned. In the 22nd century, Zed, Zedna and Ved. Plus, of course, there's Dead Cousin Ted, who's from Ancient Egypt.
Three Beings, One Body: Seemingly played straight at the end of the game when Laverne, Hoagie, and Bernard use the same Chron-O-John, they get fused into a three-headed monstrosity with Hoagie's arms and Laverne's legs, a la The Fly. However, in the final scenes, Doctor Fred uses an X-ray to show that they were just stuck in the same clothes together and they just thought they had become the same person. Anyway, it's a good laugh.
Time Machine: Obviously. Appears to be built around three portaloos, an old car, and a honking big diamond.
Visual Pun: The IRS ties up Dr. Fred in red tape. Literally. Of course, the pun is lost for foreign audiences. At least it is not the basis for a puzzle, not like some OTHER Lucas Arts games (**cough**monkey wrench in Monkey Island**cough**).
It oddly has a hole for her head to actually pass through a "sucker".
Well Intentioned Replacement: Inverted: Dr. Fred used an imitation diamond in the time machine, which then fails and sets up the main conflict; Bernard must then acquire a real diamond so it'll function properly.
With Friends Like These...: Bernard considers Cousin Ted as his friend, despite Ted being an inanimate mummy. If the player tries to make Bernard harm Ted, he'll refuse by saying this is not the way to treat friends. Yet, this doesn't prevent him from painting him red, throwing him brutally inside an attic with a rope, and using him like a dummy to pose as Dr. Fred.
You know what they say: it is the mark of true friendship to aid in your friend's wacky schemes to save the world. Ted simply can't refuse to help out, you know?