Sam & Max Save the World

Review

posted 7/15/2009 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: 360
Holy jumpin' Saints aplenty riding sideways on a candy pink fat boy, Telltale Games has FINALLY published the first season of Sam & Max on the Xbox Live Arcade. Coming a year and a half late, this downloadable console game packages all six of the first season episodes into one $20 chunk. That's just over three dollars an episode, making it the second best deal on the Xbox 360 (second only to The Orange Box). Not sure if Sam & Max Save the World is the right game for you? Then let me spend the next thousand words nagging you about how amazing this first season is.

In case you have somehow sheltered yourself from famous video game comedy duos, Sam and Max are two freelance police officers (read: private investigators) who stumble through their cartoon world solving crimes and getting in to trouble (not always in that order). Sam is a giant dog who walks on his hind legs; he wears a trench coat and appears to be doing his best Sam Spade impersonation. Max, on the other hand, is a rabbity-thing and a loose cannon. The way he acts, the things he says, his whole devil may care attitude. It gives off the impression that either he has a wicked sense of humor ... or he's a sociopath that should be locked away for the rest of his life.

Much like the original Sam & Max Hit the Road, this Xbox Live Arcade compilation is a point and click adventure game. That means, you move a cursor around the screen and tell Sam where you want him to go. You can also direct him to items you want to pick up, all of which will be kept in a storage box. From time to time you will need to aim your gun and even drive, but for the most part this is a tried and true point and click graphic adventure. If you've played Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island or any of the other SCUMM games, then you should feel right at home in Sam & Max Save the World.

As the title suggests, our bumbling heroes have their hands full. The problem is, they don't know it just yet. The game's first episode (Culture Shock) features our heroes trying to solve a case that involves a colorful religion, brainwashing and child stars. Although there is a solid story found in the game, this episode is the way to get reacquainted with Sam and Max's neighbors and friends. But don't let the introductions fool you; on top of introducing all of the characters, it also introduces the mystery that will link all of these six episodes together.

Next is Situation Comedy, the Sam & Max episode that takes on modern television. Yet again, this is a story about mind control, only this time around it involves you becoming the stars of a long-running TV show, earn a record contract and even win big on a game show. It all culminates into one of the wackiest sit-down interviews I have ever seen in a video game. Situation Comedy proves that Sam & Max aren't afraid to take on the likes of American Idol, According to Jim and Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

After taking on the major TV networks, Sam and Max get themselves caught up with the mob. In the third episode, The Mole, The Mob and the Meatball, our heroes have to win ten million dollars, recover a meatball sandwich, kill two friends and force a local business owner to stock hypnotic teddy bears. Wait ... hypnotic teddy bears? By now you should be sensing a theme. But do our private dicks?

By episode four you should already expect the unexpected, which is why I didn't even bat an eye when I saw the title Abe Lincoln Must Die. If you're going to take on TV, the mob and child stars, then why not go after politics? This episode has you speeding your way to and from Washington, D.C., solving mysteries and ... debating Abraham Lincoln? It's true. This is one messed up episode, complete with a musical dance number that will knock you to the floor. Unfortunately this is also one of those episodes I can't say much about without spoiling everything. Needless to say, with a name like Abe Lincoln Must Die, you're about to play something extra special.
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