Posted in Gaming

Sam and Max Season One Review

I can’t look at rabbits the same way anymore.

Hello all. It’s been a little while, but I’m back again. Slowly, I’ve been working at my next essay for the site, but in the meantime, I figured it would only be fair for me to also put out my regular stuff so you have something to chew on while you wait.

I’m not entirely sure why I am writing as if I expect someone will read this, but I suppose writing expecting that no one will read it is just a complete wash.

Anyways, let’s move right along. Today, I bring you a quick and dirty review of Season One of the Sam and Max point-and-click series. For those who don’t know, Sam and Max is a series of point-and-click adventure games made by Telltale games around the mid to late 2000’s. In it, we are introduced to an anthropomorphic dog and rabbit pairing named Sam and Max. Sam is an oddly loquacious dog dressed as a detective running an operation he refers to as “the freelance police”. His partner is a, surprisingly undressed and mostly unhinged rabbit named Max. This pairing, which makes the Odd Couple look like the Dionne Quintuplets, fights to put an end to such dastardly plots as the hypnotic manipulation of former child stars, the destruction of the United States via the resurrection of Abraham Lincoln, and the takeover of the Earth by way of rainbows shot from the moon. You know. Stuff that the local freelance police usually take care of.

The game is your typical point-and-click in terms of gameplay. The fun comes from the superb writing, hilarious voice-acting and completely insane characters. The general main setting for the Sam and Max games is the office where the duo run their little operation from, and the street which the office is situated. On the street, you regularly visit two establishments. The first is Bosco’s Inconvenience, an aptly named convenience store run by an extremely paranoid, (usually) male owner named Bosco. He believes… well, he believes different things at different times, but usually he is afraid of just about everything. However, rather than come off as cowardly, Bosco just creates the strangest schemes to stay one step ahead of his fantasy predators. For example, he claims at different points to be a Soviet defector, a half-elf, and his own mother. I can’t imagine what it would look like if he claimed to be all three at once. Well, maybe I can. It would be cool.

The other establishment which you frequent is run by a chronically unemployed woman named Sybil. Much like Bosco, her focus tends to change quite a bit. Originally a tattooist, she dropped this profession to become, among other things, a legal consultant, a professional trial witness and at one point the Queen of Canada. Both Sybil and Bosco play major roles in helping you get through the games, and unlike some point-and-clicks where the conversations can get long and tiresome, the number of in-jokes and the wittiness of the writing make almost every conversation more than bearable.

I would say the only real downside of these games is the lack of much variety. I am used to much longer and more drawn out single adventures, which is the formula that most point-and-clicks follow. However the Sam and Max seasons don’t follow that. The season is basically one long point-and-click that is chopped up into mini-stories. There is an overarching plot for the season, but each episode deals with its own story that builds towards a climax in the final episode. Since each game felt like a standalone, there wasn’t enough time to feel like you went to too many places. The sense of world-building was limited by the artificial barrier of separating the games. Even though the world was shared and interrelated between episodes of the season, it felt as if I was playing a bunch of different games but seeing the same old settings and clicking the same old things. The creativity in the character changes of Bosco and Sybil really helped keep me going, but it wasn’t like the new settings introduced in each episode weren’t cool.

All in all though, I really did enjoy these games. It wasn’t the greatest, but it was definitely a fun little experience. I will definitely get around to the other two seasons and the standalone adventures at some point. However, until next time, thanks for reading and have a great day.

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Corgi down, CORGI DOWN!

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