Sam & Max Season One

12Sam & Max have been around for some time. The comic books date back to 1987, but the first computer game featuring the crime-fighting duo came out later in 1993 (Sam & Max Hit the Road). A sequel was promised but never delivered, and the episodic remake that came out of nowhere in 2006 was hailed with surprise and almost unanimous praise. It appeared at a time when people have left the series for dead. Even if you’ve never played any previous Sam & Max games, you will still enjoy Season One if you hold any love for old school adventure gaming.

As fans of the series already know, Sam is a six foot tall anthropomorphic dog dressed in a stereotypical detective outfit. His sidekick, Max, is a hyperactive, psychotic white rabbit. They are private eyes, but amusingly like to call themselves the “freelance policeâ€. As with the comic books, the animated series and the 1993 game itself, Sam & Max Season One is whimsical to the extreme, with jokes and characters that are genuinely funny throughout all six episodes.

14About the episodic format… rather than releasing the game as one linear story, Telltale divided it all in six parts. Each part has a beginning, middle and climactic end, but the overarching story progresses throughout each episode. Characters are introduced, do their bit and occasionally make surprise returns in future episodes, and the environments (from your office to the streets) change ever so slightly. You can play any of the episodes in whichever order you wish, but it’s strongly recommended that you go through them one by one so you can understand the story.

In all, Sam and Max Season One is structured as an adventure title. All of the usual game elements we’ve come to expect from adventures are there, including collecting and using inventory items in creative ways to solve problems and conversing with characters to learn new things and advance the plot. A good portion of the game also consists of interacting with the environment in which the characters are placed. Whether it’s Bosco’s paranoid security systems at the local store or the War Room at the White House, there’s almost no end to the clicking and the interacting and the resulting zany humor.

Puzzle items are kept at workable numbers (you won’t be carrying around 10 items all at once), and the puzzles themselves aren’t obtuse or nonsensical. Most are pretty easy to solve if you can spot the clues around them. Their difficulty, for one thing, has been noticeably decreased since Hit the Road, but are still fun and always have some comedic effect. The end result is a gaming mini-series that you will adore, and enough hilarious adventuring to last you several days.

System Requirements: Pentium IV 1.5 Ghz, 256 MB RAM, 32 MB Video, WinXP

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