Review: Sam and Max Save The World


Telltale delivered us a great adventure game to Xbox Live Arcade recently in the name of  Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures. But before the developer started playing with the Wallace & Gromit universe, it resurrected Lucas Arts’ Sam & Max franchise as an episodic PC series. Well, I got the chance to play Sam & Max Save the World on my XBox 360, and I thought i’d tell you all about my epic adventure.

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When it comes to graphic adventures, Sam & Max are simply the superstars of the genre. The original Sam & Max: Hit the Road, was, and still is a time served classic. The titular dog and peculiar rabbit, respectively, are infact freelance police, who spend their days investigating bizarre crimes and trading funny one liners. These episodes share some recurring characters and locations between them, but, each has its own story arc. All of them are available from the start, so, if you get stuck on one, you can always skip around and come back to it later.

Sam & Max Save the World is a very traditional type of adventure game. The gameplay is about solving puzzles and by interacting with objects and people in the environment. In adventure games like this, you usually have an inventory system so you can also interact with objects that are crucial to solving the puzzles.

The series begins with Sam and Max getting a call, but someone’s stolen their phone! Cue a story of epic proportions consisting  of washed up former child-stars, paranoid shop assistants and giant robotic presidents of the United States. It’s more than a little quirky at times, often flitting between the realms of the crazy and the downright ludicrous, but it’s presented with such an undeniably unique personality, that it grabs players and sucks them into the game-world, promising never to let go again.

Visually, Sam & Max is vibrant and colorful, with graphics appropriate to the series. It looks like a big, 3D cartoon. That being said, there are certainly better looking games with a very similar style to them.

Almost everything in Sam & Max is a dig at real life. From the internet to the White House, nobody is safe from the game’s surprisingly dry sense of humour. Though it’s all still brilliantly funny, there are sections of the game that are specifically aimed at certain subject matters, that, over the period of time it took the game to appear on Xbox 360, begin to lose their relevance. Take episode four, for example; ‘Abe Lincoln Must Die’ sees the duo solving the recent mental breakdown of the president of the USA. Most of the episode takes place at the White House, and although completely fictitious, draws heavy influence from the Bush administration. Playing the game post-democratic takeover, the scenes in episode four seem to lose their edge, and jokes that would have been classed as satire two years ago now rely purely on the context of the episode rather than their real life application.

With six episodes translating to about 30 hours of gameplay for $19.99/£13.60, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth with Sam & Max Save The World. Unfortunately, most of that length is related to wandering around figuring out which peg goes into which hole, as neither Sam nor Max does a very good job of leaving you hints, especially if you can’t figure out what to do next.

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