Saturday, June 30, 2007

Sam & Max Season 1 (Completed)

So I completed season one of the new Sam&Max series and having played the original. And having loved the original in all it's DOS, midi sound and SCUMM graphics-ness, I have to say the new games are a mixed bag.

Season One of Sam&Max comes as six individual games which are all self contained point and click adventures.

Rarely did I have to go to the Telltale forums and look for a hint as to how to proceed in the game as all the episodes give great hints on what your objectives are and what a possible solution might be to most puzzles. For example on episode one Culture Shock, at the start you have to find some swiss cheese, you find some American cheese, but as Max says "I don't like Swiss, because of all the holes you get less for your money" which is a hint to make holes in the American cheese and solve the puzzle.
Puzzles are general adventure affair, although occasions like in the original Sam&Max where you had to use a severed hand on a golf-ball retriever and a fish magnet, are not to be seen anywhere. Which is disappointing, but those puzzles never had any hints to them and I always ended up having to look at a walkthrough so I guess the world can live without them.

Graphically the game looks great, if it had of been made a few years ago it would look very dated now, but I think where the game is now graphically it will still look good for years to come (although some of the character's oddly shaped heads might not).

A lot of Jazz music, voice actors are great, but sometimes the recording of the voice actors is less so, which is unfortunate because that shouldn't happen and could even be considered as careless.

Point and click only, just like it should be for a point and click adventure game (I am looking at you Monkey Island 4).

Shallow and short, even though the six episodes all have an underlying plot that connects them all, it isn't anything to talk about or anything you will be praising the game for. Although with some excellent characters and dialogue I think the writers where probably constrained by the lack of game environments.

The classic Sam&Max quips are very abundant, although Max doesn't actually abuse anything in the game, so Max is playing kind of like how Lion-O from the Thundercats always manages to escape properly using his sword as a sword, simply because the creators want to maintain the goody-two-shoes image.

I have to say again that it is a mixed bag, very few of the environments did I care about, each episode is completable in about two to three hours and even with few environments some like Bosco's Shop become very routine and is obviously used to reduce the game's art budget.

That all being said I am looking forward to Season 2 and hope that Telltale take a critical eye to Season 1 and actually make Season 2 better as opposed to just telling everyone that it will be better.

If you want to get Sam&Max series one then you can get it from Telltale Games for $34.95 and that includes digital download, but if you need something physical they will also ship you a DVD with the games on and the soundtrack as a bonus for just the price of shipping. I bought from Telltale and found the six installers to be a chore, so maybe a better option would be to buy through STEAM for $39.90 which means you don't have to do the whole multiple installer stuff.