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Sam & Max Season 1 Review
publisher: Telltale Games
developer: Telltale Games
PIII 800, 256MB RAM, 230MB HDD, 32MB video card
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Aug 28, 07 (released)
|» All About Sam & Max Season 1 on ActionTrip|
Sitting at home and enjoying a classic P&C adventure game was a sensation I nearly forgot existed. After taking a welcomed breather from all the generic shooters that are coming to the market, it was a real pleasure to reminisce the good old days when adventures dominated our geekish way of life.
Apart from making the self-evident leap from the ancient VGA graphics to a 3D environment, the revived Sam & Max franchise now takes on a new episodic form of storytelling. To clarify things a bit, the story of crime fighters Sam & Max now unfolds through a sequence of six-episodes, all of which were fitted into Sam & Max: Season 1. All six-episodes can already able be pre-ordered for 35 dollars. The good news is that each episode costs nine bucks separately, so I guess you can say it's a fair bargain at that.
Episode 1 - Culture Shock
Okay, let's start with Sam & Max Season 1: Episode 1 - Culture Shock. The game starts as Sam & Max discover the devastating truth that someone or something has kidnapped their beloved telephone. Shortly after making the discovery, our heroes receive very specific demand from a tiny hoodlum (or, an extremely arrogant rat to be exact) who occupies the office rat-hole. The incident introduces players to the basics of gameplay, which, more or less, involve puzzle-solving, looking for relevant clues or, if you prefer, just chatting with Max and fooling around. Soon after a successful interrogation of an overconfident rodent (who, after one brief chat with Max changed his mind about not giving up the phone), Sam & Max happily got their property back. What follows is a series of events that leads our two brave crime fighters into a whole new and most dangerous case. Investigating on a few local disturbances, Sam & Max quickly discover that neighborhood is being terrorized by three former child starts of a 70's style TV show, called the Soda Poppers. Later on, it becomes evident that a more sinister character is behind it all.
Anyone familiar with the ways of Sam & Max (anybody who remembers as far as 1993), should also be well-acquainted with their methods of bringing evildoers to justice. The basic idea is that problems are usually solved in uncommonly ridiculous fashion. That's how the Freelance Police handles certain situations. If you're a fan of silly humor and character wisecracks, Culture Shock will provide solid entertainment without question. The problem may arise when you notice solving puzzles isn't all that difficult and solutions to most problems are frequently quite obvious.
Still, this game will surely make you laugh and giggle on a number of occasions and that's why it deserves praise all the way. Our two heroes remain true to the wacky and imaginative characters designed by Steve Prucell. On the technical side of things, the game runs like a charm, without any apparent glitches. Fair enough, the restricted game environment doesn't exactly involve any challenges for the designers and programmers, but it was all done with style and class nonetheless. A few mini-games were thrown in to boot (although I couldn't find myself enjoying the driving sequence, seeing as it was very hard to maneuver the vehicle).
Being a huge fan of the old 2D Sam & Max P&C adventure (i.e. Sam & Max Hit the Road), I also expected to see additional items in the inventory to experiment with and altogether a lot more gags. The game is fun and amusing after so many years of waiting for a decent adventure, but it still doesn't manage to stand up to the traditional and utterly absurd puzzles the old LucasArts game is famous for.
Episode 2 - Situation Comedy
Situation Comedy continues the wacky adventures of Sam & Max, pitting our two main characters against an Oprah-inspired TV show host named Myra, who, for some strange reason, went completely bonkers and is holding her audience hostage. The obvious course of action is to get close to Myra and her show. That may require putting Sam and his partner up for audition to act in Midtown Cowboys, one of the corniest comedy sit-coms ever broadcast. Sam & Max must taste the hard life of super-stardom, making an appearance on other diverse shows as well. Suffice it to say, you'll even be able to get a recording contract by winning a TV song contest show called Embarrassing Idol.
Not to beat around the bush here, Situation Comedy does maintain the humor and spirit of Episode 1 - Culture Shock. In addition to that, Sam & Max get to crash each and every show in the TV studio and enjoy the glamorous life of television and fame.
Sadly, this episode fails to take the series further in terms of humor. Most of the gags seem a bit recurring and, in many situations, it's obvious the development team chose to stick with a specific line of jokes, most of which tend to follow the same pattern. Not that you won't have any laughs. But, overall, after playing the first episode, we've honestly expected a wider variety of options in terms of fiddling around with items and having fun with dialogue.
8.2 Very Good
Comedy gold, first-rate animation, superb voiceovers, reminds us what adventure games are all about;
Episodes are too short and feel a bit light when played separately, overall the series could use more gags and more items to experiment and have fun with.