Video Game: Day Of The Tentacle

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, he receives a letter from the Edisons' friendly pet Green Tentacle desperately calling for his help again. It seems that Green's vicious brother, Purple Tentacle, had imbibed some toxic waste carelessly dumped by Dr. Fred Edison, and has mutated into an insane genius. Dr. Fred managed to capture the two tentacles, and is now going to put them both down. Bernard gathers his wacky roommates, Laverne and Hoagie (a spaced-out medical student and a fat heavy-metal roadie, respectively), and charges to the rescue. Unfortunately, when Bernard finds Green and releases him from captivity he also frees his evil brother Purple, who is now 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 one day, to shut down the toxic dumping and prevent Purple Tentacle from drinking it in the first place, 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.

Double Fine announced a remaster for PC, PS4 and PS Vita.


This game has examples of tropes such as:

  • Aliens Steal Cattle: Parodied, as Purple Tentacle indulges in some Cow Tipping as the beginning of his crime wave. He even makes the headlines for this.
  • Alliterative Name: Bernard's last name is revealed as Bernoulli.
  • Always Identical Twins: Ned and Jed. As with all identical twins, one of them is right-handed and the other is The Southpaw.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The hamster is bright red. His owner, Ed, says that it is "brown".
  • Ambiguous Syntax:
    Bernard: That hamster really should get some exercise.
    Ed: Well, Dad puts him to work down in the basement sometimes. But then he starts sweating, and then he gets wet... ...and then he gets cold, and then he refuses to work.
    Bernard: Your dad or the hamster?
  • Amusing Injuries: Lots of slapstick humour.
  • Ascended Extra: Bernard is promoted from one of several characters that could team up with Dave in Maniac Mansion to one of the three canonical heroes and the hero of this game.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Laverne is a Cloud Cuckoolander, and thus has an equally unhinged appearance, complete with different colored eyes and a Mad Eye.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: The game actually has Green and Purple Tentacles as living, independent tentacle-people.
  • Attractive Bent Species: When Laverne disguises herself as a tentacle a guard starts flirting with her. Not enough to neglect his duties, unfortunately.
  • Ax-Crazy: Oh Laverne... She never uses her scalpel as a weapon, however, claiming she and her therapist have an agreement.
  • Badass Mustache: The Mustached Tentacle who guards the mansion in the future. Described as a persistent human-hunter.
  • Bad Dreams: Dr. Fred doesn't sleep because he has recurring nightmares of a ruinous business decision he made years ago.
  • Bad Future: Tentacles have taken over the world, and they keep humans as pets or slaves.
  • Bag of Sharing: The game has the characters in three separate time zones, but they can share items by putting them into the time-travelling port-a-johns that are central to the plot. One of the first puzzles for the girl trapped in the future is how to GET to the port-a-john.
    • However, you can't pass every item (sometimes requiring a different method of getting them through time), and some of them change when you do this.
    • You can't pass living things (requiring you to freeze them). For two other items, you actually need them to change, requiring the Slow Path (the sweater needs to be washed a hundred thousand times in order to fit a hamster and wine needs to spoil and turn into vinegar).
  • "Bang!" Flag Gun: Needed to solve one of the puzzles.
  • Bathroom Break-Out: Laverne in the bad future.
  • Beard of Evil: Purple Tentacle has one in the future.
  • 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.
  • Big Bad: Purple Tentacle. President Evil + Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence (humans) variety.
  • 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.
  • Bound and Gagged: Happens to Green Tentacle and Dr. Fred.
  • 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.
  • Building of Adventure: Dr. Edison's manor.
  • Call Forward: Hoagie gets stuck two centuries in the past and, in an attempt to get back to his own time, aids Ben Franklin in the discovery of electric current. In return, Franklin promises to name one of his inventions after him.
  • 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.
  • Close Enough Timeline: The plan of the heroes is to change the past yesterday. They end up changing the past quite a lot, but manage to save the world. The Stars and Stripes ends up tentacle-shaped, though.
  • 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.
    • Seriously though, Cloudcuckoolanders in the Do TT-verse are the rule rather than the exception.
  • The Colonial Period
  • 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.
  • Companion Cube: This game features yet another appearance -the last in a LucasArts game- of Chuck the Plant, this time a cactus.
    • Dead Cousin Ted, who is as dead as it gets, which doesn't prevent you from holding entire conversations with him. In fact, you get force him to join in your adventure twice, saving Dr. Fred and then participating in a pet show.
  • Concealing Canvas: Doctor Fred's safe is hidden behind a portrait of him (wearing a powdered wig).
    Bernard: Handsome, in a way, but I'm glad he finally accepted his hair loss.
  • The Constant: The same house exists for over 400 years, from the days of the Founding Fathers to the future where the tentacles have taken over the world, although it's much more metallic in the future. Also, many objects in the house can be found in more than one time period. This is often used by the main characters to affect one or more future time periods. For example, since only inanimate objects can be passed through the Chron-O-John, the only way to send a hamster to Laverne in the future is to put it in the freezer, which is still around 200 years from now. Apparently, no one has bothered to look inside in all this time. The time machine is still in the basement in the future (though it's broken and useless), and the laundry room doesn't change in the slightest - the coin-operated dryer Bernard sets running in the present is still going two hundred years later (he fed it a lot of change).
  • Copy Protection: One of the tasks you must do in order to actually start playing the game for real is to pass a small task that can only be solved by using diagrams included in the manual. Nowadays, it takes less than a minute to find the manual on Google.
    • 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.
  • Correlation Causation Gag: One of the puzzles invokes the "it always rains after you wash your car" universal law.
  • 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.
  • Cow Tipping: Purple Tentacle indulges in some cow tipping as the beginning of his crime wave. He even makes the headlines for this.
    Rash of Cow Tipping Baffles Police - Triangular Man Spotted at Scene.
  • Creepy Monotone: This trope has Laverne written all over it.
    • 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.
  • Day of the Jackboot: Purple enacts a totalitarian takeover of America and the world.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Dead Cousin Ted, in all three time periods. Also, it appears to be the same dead guy.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: In the final sequence, you can attempt to go up to the attic and close the door, but Bernard will say that Purple Tentacle might lock it and trap them up there. There is no reason to go up there in the first place, so it's surprising that there's a specific line to deal with such a situation.
  • Dilating Door: In the future part, the doors open vertically with the original Star Trek sound.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The ten Purple Tentacles blocking the Sludge-O-Matic in the finale are arranged in a manner you need to recognize to work out the solution. The solution is a bowling ball.
  • Don't Try This at Home: Don't attempt to revive a frozen hamster in a 20th century microwave.
  • Driven to Suicide: The first time the player meets Dwayne, he is attempting to shoot himself in the head. Fortunately, he fails at this just as he fails at everything else in life.
  • Dual-World Gameplay: The three characters are in three different time periods and they have to work together to solve the problem.
  • Easily Conquered World: Just because one Purple Tentacle sprouted tiny arms and feels "smarter" and "more aggressive" he believes that he can Take Over the World and enslave humanity. He succeeds.
  • 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.
  • Evil Laugh: MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
  • Evil Old Folks: Future Purple Tentacle.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Chron-o-John is a time-traveling outhouse.
  • Explosive Cigar: You solve a puzzle to get one, and you use it in a second one.
  • Expressive Mask: Bernard has expressive glasses, as shown in the intro.
  • Expy: Bernard has an expy in the form of Jackson in the amateur adventure game No-Action Jackson.
    • He also appears with slight variations (but with the exact same voice) as the three Stuckey's employees in Sam & Max Hit the Road.
  • Exty Years from Now: The game was made in 1993. Therefore, the events in the past are set in 1793, when the Constitution was drafted, and the events in the future take place in 2193.
  • False Reassurance: Just about to go back in time, Bernard asks Dr. Fred:
    Bernard: "Have any people been hurt in this?"
    Dr. Fred: "Of course not! This is the first time I've tried it with people!"
  • False Teeth Tomfoolery: George Washington. And the horse. And dead cousin Ted.
  • Fan of the Past: There are two rooms in the future mansion that seem dedicated to The American Revolution and another to The Seventies.
  • Fan Sequel: Maniac Mansion Mania, a series of fan sequels set in the world of Maniac Mansion and Day Of The Tentacle, consisting of over a hundred games (although they vary strongly in terms of quality and length). Every person is allowed to contribute a game (called 'episode'), as long as it adheres a few rules. Most of the episodes are only avaliable in German, although a few where also released in English, French and Spanish.
  • Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence: The mutated Purple Tentacle rules a Bad Future where he and his most loyal followers blame all humans for Dr. Fred's creation of their "ungainly forms" and so wish to exterminate them all.
  • 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.
  • Free Wheel: The intro sequence has the car wreck offscreen with a bouncing wheel.
  • Game Within a Game: This game contains the original Maniac Mansion in the game. It can be accessed from Weird Ed's computer.
  • Geek Physiques: Bernard and Laverne.
  • Genius Ditz: Bernard.
  • George Washington: He's got wooden teeth (and later, chattering novelty ones), and he seems obsessed with cutting down cherry trees! Never Live It Down...
  • 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.
    Dr. Fred: You can't have a lab like this and not spew poisonous filth! All the other evil scientists would laugh!
  • 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.
    • Bernard picked up enough quarters to keep the dryer running for 200 years. The drier ran half an hour for every quarter inserted, and there are about 1,753,200 hours in 200 years. Bernard would have had to insert 3,506,400 quarters into the drier, weighing about 19881kg and totalling $876,600 dollars.
    • 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.
  • Hand Rubbing: Dr. Fred, the Mad Scientist, has a sprite whose static animation consists of this. Although in Fred's case, there's nothing particularly sinister about it — he's just jittery from the permanent caffeine high he submits himself to so as to avoid sleepwalking (by avoiding sleeping).
  • Harmless Freezing: That poor hamster...
  • Heavy Sleeper: The sleeping conventioner.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: The hamster meets microwave oven incident from Maniac Mansion is canon and Ed was mentally scarred by it. In this game you apparently ruin his only valve of escape, a book of stamps. He doesn't take it well but letting him know the book is fine is optional. The fragile ego of a sculptor is also smashed.
    Bernard: Well, you know what they say, if you want to save the world you got to push a few old ladies down the stairs.
  • Hidden Eyes: You will never see Hoagie's eyes.
    • Also, the IRS agents.
  • High-Pressure Emotion: Wild Ed Edison gets this when Bernard messes with his stamp collection.
  • Hitler Cam: During Purple's "Take on the World!" speech. picture
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The future Purple Tentacle is hit by his own shrink ray and squished by the heroes.
  • Human Popsicle: Or rather, a hamster popsicle. The Chron-O-Johns are incapable of transporting organic matter, which means that a hamster from the present day gets the popsicle treatment to be used in the future. Restoring the hamster requires nothing more than a microwave and a sweater that's been forced to take The Slow Path by spending two hundred years in a tumble dryer. Although the microwave is of (presumably) more advanced tentacle manufacture, and may operate differently. Laverne even lampshades this, pointing out that under normal circumstances, putting a hamster in the microwave leads to horrible consequences, and children who do that are taken away. Her monologue is also a reference to the game's predecessor, Maniac Mansion, where putting a hamster in the microwave causes it to explode. No cryogenics involved in that game, though.
  • 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.
  • I Can't Reach It:
    • Hoagie will not look inside a drawer inside Ben Franklin's room, saying that he doesn't "look inside other people's underwear"
    • If Bernard puts the sweater inside the washing machine without setting it, and Laverne in the future picks it up, she will say that it is not her size and she will immediately put it back in.
  • 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, as any time you try, she simply says "I can't, my therapist and I have an agreement".
  • Labcoat of Science and Medicine: A puzzle-related object in Red's lab.
  • 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.
  • Live Item: Weird Ed's hamster. Twice.
  • 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.
  • Lost Forever: The hubcap, if you put it in the Recyclatron. Not that you'll ever need it.
    • It is the only item Laverne will accept to put in, since she knows of its... utility.
  • Mad Doctor: Dr. Fred. Laverne is a mad doctor-in-training.
  • Mad Eye: Laverne has one of these. Thanks to sprite mirroring, it's always facing the player.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Fred Edison, obviously.
    • He even states that he owns the Sludge-O-Matic to deliberately just create polluting slime, so that the other mad scientists don't make fun of him.
  • Meanwhile, in the Future: Numerous events are shown as events in the past change elements of the future.
    • 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.
  • Microwave the Dog:
    • The original incident is canon and the owner of the animal needed years of therapy to overcome the trauma.
    • A puzzle is solved by really using a future microwave to dry a live hamster (yes, it does survive, and Laverne remarks out loud that kids trying to imitate the gesture would have bad things happen to them).
  • Mirrors Reflect Everything: Instrumental in defeating Purple Tentacle. The protagonists convince Purple Tentacle to use his shrink ray on Dr. Fred. The ray reflects off Dr. Fred's surgeon's head mirror, shrinking Purple Tentacle to the size of a worm.
  • Mirror World: Done to great effect. The game's three protagonists are stuck in the same mansion, but one is in the present, one is 200 years in the past and one is 200 years in the future. A number of puzzles involve taking advantage of various objects that exist in the mansion in more than one time.
  • Monster Clown: Inflatable clown Oozo, in the eyes of Bernard.
  • 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.
  • Most Definitely Not a Villain: Laverne disguising herself as a tentacle and announcing she is one.
  • Multiple Head Case: Near the end, the three protagonists appear to get turned into a three-headed hybrid by a time machine accident. It later turns out they had simply gotten stuck inside one set of clothes.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: For an example with a literal mummy, there's Dead Cousin Ted, the permanently-deceased-and-mummified member of the Edison family, who the Edison family love to hang around various places in the house, repurposing him as a bird bath, a receptionist and a dress-up mascot. Laverne even remarks that he's her favourite out of the Edisons.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Dr. Fred drinks coffee to keep himself awake. All the time.
    Bernard: How's Dr. Fred?
    Nurse Edna: He's doing much better now that he's stopped sleepwalking.
    Bernard: How did he stop sleepwalking?
    Nurse Edna: He stopped sleeping.
    • Later, if given decaf instead of regular coffee, he immediately falls asleep (standing up) and begins sleepwalking.
  • Mythology Gag: Laverne has to put a frozen hamster in the microwave, an optional event in Maniac Mansionminus the frozen part - that could get you killed. She even points out how screwed up this is if you do it in Real Life. Basically, the hamster survives because Technology Marches On in the 22nd century, and of course the Rule of Cool.
  • Never Wake Up A Sleepwalker: Bernard won't wake up sleepwalking Dr. Fred because he has heard it is very bad to do so.
  • 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!
    Bernard: Oops.
    • Let's not forget this line.
    • 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.
  • No Canon for the Wicked: Averted, the game assumes the player put the hamster in the microwave in its predecessor, Maniac Mansion.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The only reason Doctor Fred even has a machine that spews toxic waste is so the other mad scientists won't laugh at him.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Bernard needs Dr. Fred to sign a contract in order to receive millions of dollars necessary for Bernard's save-the-world plans. Dr. Fred, however, refuses to sign, as he is too busy trying to think of a way to save the world.
  • Object Ceiling Cling: There's a slab of fake vomit stuck to the ceiling of the hotel lobby. The characters comment on it with varying shades of distaste. Eventually you have to get it loose to solve a puzzle.
  • 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.
  • Opaque Nerd Glasses: Bernard's. The only time we get to see his (tiny) eyes is during his Idle Animation, where he takes his specs off and cleans them. We also get to see them among his look-alikes in Sam & Max Hit the Road.
  • Orphaned Punchline: In a Bad Future where walking, animate tentacles rule the world, you can overhear a tentacle judge ending some anecdote with "...And Then I Said to her, 'That's not my suction cup'!"
  • Our Time Machine Is Different: The "Chron-O-John", a contraption that includes a car, a huge diamond, traffic lights and three portable toilet cubicles.
  • 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.
  • Point-and-Click Game
  • Pony Express Rider: Hoagie has to send a letter via Pony Express so that Bernard can finish his part of the quest. This ignores the fact that Hoagie was in the late 18th century and the Pony Express only existed in the mid 19th century. Not so much ignorance as artistic license, as the game has several other deliberate historical inaccuracies.
  • Posthumous Character: Played with. Dead Cousin Ted, who briefly appeared in Maniac Mansion, is now found in all three time periods (apparently he's been dead for centuries). His presence throughout history actually turns out to be very beneficial.
  • President Evil: The Purple Tentacle manages to become POTUS and then enslave all the humanity.
  • Puzzle Boss: Use the bowling ball on the tentacles, then trick old Purple Tentacle into shooting Dr. Fred.
  • Recursive Canon: Doctor Fred never saw a penny from the TV series or the video game based on his family.
  • Red Boxing Gloves: Spring-mounted boxing glove, which is powerful enough to knock a main character across the room. Fortunately she was a bit loopy to start with.
  • Red Herring: The hubcap, the recyclatron, and the Medula-Oblongator
  • Reflecting Laser: The shrinking ray bouncing back off of Dr. Fred's otolaryngologists mirror.
  • Ret Gone: Laverne lands 200 years in the future, awkwardly hanging by her underpants caught in a tree. In order to free her, the tree has to be cut down before it can grow that size, causing it to disappear underneath her.
  • 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.
  • San Dimas Time: The game seems to utilize this trope to an extent: The three main characters are stuck in the present, 200 years in the past, and 200 years in the future respectively, and events that happen in the past affect the characters in the future. For example, one character in the past can convince George Washington to cut down a tree in the yard, causing the tree to vanish into a stump in future timelines and another character (who is stuck to the tree by her underwear) to fall on her ass.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out: Many, as it is customary in LucasArts games. For instance:
  • Shrink Ray: The Purple Tentacle invented one of these, and used it on the heroes while chasing them. They finally convince him to take out his anger on Dr. Fred instead, but the ray is reflected on his medical headband onto Purple, and that's how they manage to defeat him.
  • Shrunk In The Wash: Used in the puzzle where you must put a wooly sweater in a drier for 100 years so it'll become wearable for a bald hamster.
  • Skunk Stripe: Laverne uses white correcting fluid to make a black cat get a white stripe so that it'll pass as a skunk.
    Laverne: Who says you can't learn anything from cartoons, eh kitty?
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Even Laverne can get violently punched in the face by a mechanical boxing glove.
  • Slasher Smile: Bernard has one very briefly before slashing an inflatable Oozo the Clown. picture
    • He'll do it again if one tries to stab the explosive cigar salesman.
  • Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: The tentacles are mutant-not embodied to a monster sentient beings, with human-like mouth, facial hair, personality and slightly lower size. The plot kicks in when Purple becomes more mutant-ish growing two little arms and getting smarter and bolder.
  • The Slow Path: Objects can frequently be flushed through time directly and immediately by the Chron-O-John, but living organic matter needs an alternate transport; thus, a hamster travels the slow path as a Hamster Popsicle. Some objects can change form with slow pathing, too - a bottle of wine left in a time capsule for four hundred years isn't going to be much like wine by the time it reaches the other end, and a sweater left in a tumble dryer fed with a mountain of quarters will have somewhat dramatically shrunk.
  • 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:
  • Stable Time Loop: If you take the right dialogue options in the very last conversation, Purple Tentacle will reveal that he was the one who sent Dr. Fred the Sludge-O-Matic in the first place using the Chronojohn.
  • Suicide as Comedy: A depressed novelty salesman attempts to kill himself by shooting himself in the head, except he's using a flag gun instead of a real one. He then gets more depressed, saying he can't even properly kill himself.
  • Swiss Bank Account: Dr. Edison has a Swiss Bank account that's almost completely depleted. One of the more significant puzzles in the game requires you to get access to the account through trickery, then find a way to get a lot of money into it, so that you can use the money to buy a really big diamond.
  • Take Over the World: Purple Tentacle, when he gets mutated:
    I feel like I could... like I could... TAKE ON THE WORLD!
  • Talking Animal: The horse in the Past mansion. No explanation how he is able to; he just explains to Hoagie that other horses probably had nothing to tell him.
    • The tentacles may also qualify, although they are only parts of an animal (octopi).
  • Teamwork Puzzle Game: Three characters working four-dimensional puzzles no less.
  • Temporal Paradox: There are several examples. Thought temporal paradoxes are mostly averted during the main game, where the protagonists are scattered through three periods, some sever paradoxes occur after the second time-travel where the protagonists (and the tentacles) travel to yesterday.
    • The whole point of the plot is preventing an event from happening, thus erasing the need for the time-travel. However it is an essential part of the gameplay that timetravels do affect the present.
    • During the endgame (that is set one day before the present) it is possible to remove the "Help Wanted" sign from the window, that will be picked up from Bernard in the present. Also the bowling-ball should be in a different place.
    • According to the dialogue between the protagonists and Purple Tentacle, the Sludge-O-Matic, what made purple tentacle an insane genius, was invented by himself, who send it back to the present to Doctor Fred. (This makes their heads hurt)
    • Purple Tentacle brings a lot of future versions of himself back to the day before the present. So if one of them get hurt or can't return to the future, this would create some horrible paradoxes.
  • The Theme Park Version: In the Revolutionary America period, the developers clearly threw away the history book whenever it was funnier or more made the game better to do so:
    • 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.
  • Theme Twin Naming: The Edison twins of the past, Jed and Ned.
  • Thing-O-Matic: The sludge-spewing machine, Dr. Fred's Sludge-O-Matic, which had no purpose except to pump out a sufficiently impressive stream of toxic sludge. (No mad scientist's lab is respectable without one).
  • Thomas Jefferson: He likes logs to a disturbing degree.
  • 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.
  • The Three Trials: The entire game between the prologue and the endgame. Interestingly done in that each task is set in its own time period and pursued by a different character.
  • Time Capsule: A wine bottle placed into a time capsule results in a bottle of vinegar hundreds of years later.
  • Time Machine: Obviously. Appears to be built around three portaloos, an old car, and a honking big diamond.
  • Time Travel: The point of the game.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Pretty much the only way to take the wacky events of the game. It runs on San Dimas Time to allow the characters to flush small, inanimate objects to each other through time via their time machines. When the time stream is altered, any changes are visible to the characters and happen with a "magic" effect and sound, and at the end of the game, the characters travel back in time to yesterday to turn off the machine that caused the Big Bad to become evil, thus causing a huge paradox and defeating the point of them even disembarking on their adventure in the first place. But that's okay. Doctor Edison's original plan (not taking into account the diamond breaking and the trio ending up in different eras) was for them to simply go back in time and turn off the aforementioned machine.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Bernard is much braver than he was in Maniac Mansion.
  • Took a Shortcut: When you find the super-battery plans in Day Of The Tentacle, Dr Fred appears from a corner of the room with no access. After he goes off to the time machine, Bernard asks "How did you get over there?"
    • That's a tame example too: people constantly walk off one side of the screen and reappear on the other. It's occasionally given an "Um..." beat, but no one really says anything.
  • Two Beings, One Body: The Fly was brilliantly spoofed in the climax: three characters use a time machine at the same time (Dr. Fred even mentions the movie by name as they did this), and end up fused into a three-headed, six-armed freak; at the end of the game, however, it is revealed that they weren't mashed up at all, but instead during the rough ride through time two characters had ended up inside the third one's shirt — given their appearance after they stepped out of the time machine, they had assumed they'd been fused together.
    Laverne: Great. Stuck here the rest of my life...listening to Bernard talking and watching Hoagie eat. Mom warned me there'd be days like this.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The Moustached Tentacle doesn't seem the least bit impressed by a huge cherry tree vanishing right in front of him. And he never mentions it again. Because it was never there to begin with.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Averted, as with the majority of LucasArts' adventure games.
  • Useless Item: There's a hubcap late game, which is useless.
  • Verbal Tic: Laverne will sometimes giggle psychotically mid-sentence.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Laverne can trap the cat inside the kennel by activating the barrier and will then mock the cat with an Evil Laugh. For fun, of course.
    • Subverted when Laverne revives the frozen hamster in a 22th century microwave oven, while delivering a Fantastic Aesop. (She explains that in her century kids who microwave their hamsters are taken away and put up for adoption, so don't do it.)
  • 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**).
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Laverne infiltrates the tentacle-controlled future by wearing a tentacle-shaped Star-Spangled Banner.
    • 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.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?:
    Bernard: Well, what possible harm could one insane, mutant tentacle do?

    Dr. Fred: It works! I can't believe it! And they said imitation diamond wasn't good enough!
    [Loud BANG! - the diamond crumbles]
    Dr. Fred: Uh-oh...
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Green Tentacle is last seen tied up and at the mercy of an army of Purple Tentacles.
    • Makes you wonder why no option is given for the heroes to untie him...
  • What's an X Like You Doing in a Y Like This?: The tentacle guard to disguised Laverne, and... Hoagie to the talking horse.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough: Dr. Fred tells Laverne and Hoagie that he tied up Purple Tentacle in the basement. Lucky no-one's stupid enough to let him go..... (See Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.)
  • 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?
    • They also say: "A friend will help you move house. A good friend will help you free a man from the clutches of the IRS by replacing him with a dead body."
  • Worrying for the Wrong Reason: Just before Bernard and his friends are sent to the past by Doctor Fred:
    Bernard: Have any people been hurt in this?
    Dr. Fred: Of course not! [trio look relieved] This is the first time I've ever tried it on people! [trio panic]
  • Writer's Block: The constitutionalists are in the middle of one, so they set a suggestion box.
  • You and What Army?: At the end of the game, the heroes face down an entire army of Purple Tentacles that the future Purple Tentacle pulled from other parts of the timeline.
    Bernard: You and what army?
    Purple Tentacle: Why, this army, of course!
    Laverne: ...yikes...
  • You Can Talk?: Hoagie is surprised to discover that horses can talk. The horse explains that "maybe they never had anything to say to you."
  • You Can't Make an Omelette...: One character uses the equivalent, "If you want to save the world, you got to push a few old ladies down the stairs." ...having done just that.
  • You Get What You Pay For: In the beginning, the Chron-O-John fails because Dr. Fred used a synthetic diamond instead of a natural one.
  • Zillion-Dollar Bill: You manage to make the Edisons fabulously wealthy by obtaining the back royalties Lucasarts owes them for Maniac Mansion. Naturally, the money must immediately be spent to buy a giant diamond to repair your time machine.