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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!
When we last left the wacky Edison family, a bunch of teenagers had freed them from the influence of an evil meteor. But unfortunately for Bernard, one of the heroes of the last game, the mansion has not forgotten about him. Five years after the first adventure, he receives a letter from the friendly Green Tentacle begging for help. Bernard and his wacky roommates Laverne and Hoagie race to the rescue. They swiftly find and free the captive Green and his evil but slow-witted brother Purple. However, thanks to Doctor Fred's careless dumping of toxic waste into the river, Purple Tentacle has drunk some of the waste and gained arms, super intelligence, and become even more evil and aggressive than he already was. And now he's free to TAKE ON THE WORLD!! Nice job freeing the megalomaniac, Bernard.
After a botched attempt by Doctor Fred to send the three back in time to prevent Purple Tentacle from drinking the polluted water, Hoagie is stuck in colonial America during the creation of America as we know it, Laverne is in a Bad Future where Purple Tentacle Took Over The World, and Bernard is racing around in the Edison manor of the present day trying to fix the broken time machine so as to bring them 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 Lucas Arts adventure games of all time, and probably better known than its predecessor.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- "BANG!" Flag Gun: Needed to solve one of the puzzles.
- Bad Future: Tentacles have (somehow) taken over the world, and they keep humans as pets or slaves.
- Beard of Evil: The 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.
- Biological Mashup: 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. Seemingly Fridge Logic, until you remember that they're not the brightest people in the universe. And anyway, it's a good laugh.
- Bound and Gagged: Happens to Green Tentacle and Dr. Fred.
- 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.
- 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.
- Chivalrous Pervert: The tentacle guard at the Pound, who is ultimately loyal to his wife even though he flirts outrageously with Tentacle-Laverne.
- Companion Cube: This game features yet another appearance of Chuck the Plant, this time a cactus.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- Keep in mind the manual outright states there was no historical accuracy policy for this game. Considering the release date, this was 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, making the third kid either Syd or Razor.
- It HAD to be Syd or Razor. Syd and Razor are also the only ones that can get Green Tentacle the recording contract, which leads to him befriending Bernard and Green Tentacle and The Sushi Platter being the hit band it is by the events of the second game.
- 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 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.
- Efficient Displacement: 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.
- 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!!!
- 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.
- 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 and 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.
- Fan of the Past: There are two rooms in the future mansion that seem dedicated to The American Revolution and another to The Seventies.
- Fat Idiot: Hoagie is not really supposed to look like the brightest of the bunch.
- Although he's mostly ignorant about history -- he obviously has a practical mind, and a lot of the puzzles call for him to be clever.
- Genius Ditz: Bernard.
- George Washington: He's got wooden teeth, 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: Quite a number of the game's puzzles are not very intuitive. Who on earth would guess you have to break a candy machine with a crowbar except by randomly guessing or experimenting with every item in your inventory?
- The worst is closing the door of a room you've just entered to get a set of keys. It's extremely rare for a game to require the player to shut a door after opening it.
- 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.
- Heavy Sleeper: The sleeping conventioner.
- Hidden Eyes: You will never see Hoagie's eyes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Incredible Shrinking Man: Purple Tentacle eventually designs a shrinking ray that he decides to use on the protagonists.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mirror World: The game takes place in the same mansion, though spread out over three different time periods.
- Mirrors Reflect Everything: Instrumental in defeating Purple Tentacle.
- Mismatched Eyes: Laverne again.
- Monster Clown: Inflatable clown Oozo, in the eyes of Bernard.
- Most Definitely Not a Villain: Laverne disguising herself as a tentacle and announcing she is one.
- 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 Mansion -- minus 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.
- 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 and Max Hit The Road.
- 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!
- Let's not forget this line.
Laverne: This is all your fault, Bernard.
- 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.
- 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.
- Thankfully, they're just bloomers.
- 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".
- Reflecting Laser: The shrinking ray bouncing back off of Dr. Fred's otolaryngologists mirror.
- 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.
- 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 Lucas Arts games. For instance:
- Star Wars, with a Darth Vader calendar and a Stormtrooper helmet around. The number for the TV shopping channel is 1-800-STARWARS (Lucas Arts' customer support number at the time).
- "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 vs. Tie Fighter.
- Monkey Island, where Hoagie talks about a live-action The Secret of Monkey Island movie and the "three-headed monkey" distraction.
- Sam and Max Freelance Police, where a portrait of Max appears in a hallway in the past. Bernard from this game even makes an appearance in Sam and Max Hit The Road.
- "Wait! You can't all go in the same stall! DIDN'T YOU SEE The Fly?"
- Star Wars, with a Darth Vader calendar and a Stormtrooper helmet around. The number for the TV shopping channel is 1-800-STARWARS (Lucas Arts' customer support number at the time).
- 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?
- Slasher Smile: Bernard has one very briefly before slashing an inflatable Oozo the Clown.
- The Slow Path: The hamster, the sweater, and the bottle of wine.
- Snipe Hunt: Subverted -- the player actually has to locate a left-handed hammer.
- Spinning Paper: Used over the course of the game to show the Purple Tentacle's rise to power in the present day.
- 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. The tentacles may also qualify.
- 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 Twin Naming: The Edison twins of the past, Jed and Ned.
- Thing-O-Matic: The sludge-spewing machine, the Sludge-O-Matic.
- Thomas Jefferson: He likes logs to a disturbing degree.
- 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.
- Took a Level In Badass: Bernard is much braver than he was in Maniac Mansion.
- Took a Shortcut: Lampshaded by Bernard after Doctor Fred appears from a corner of the room with no access.
- 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.
- Of course he isn't bothered. It was never there to begin with.
- Unwinnable by Design: Averted, as with the majority of Lucas Arts' adventure games.
- Verbal Tic: Laverne will sometimes giggle psychotically mid-sentence.
- Visual Pun: The IRS ties up Dr. Fred in red tape. Literally.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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]
- 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!
- 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.