And, the lack of map variety hurts Chariots more than a similar paucity has hurt previous episodes, because Chariots is, overall, a bit slow. It%26rsquo;s not that there aren%26rsquo;t some good jokes, but there%26rsquo;s an inordinate amount of flat dialogue to get through %26ndash; and you%26rsquo;ll need to get through it to solve the puzzles %26ndash; featuring many more bad puns than witty repartee. All adventure games feature dialogue trees to some degree, but Chariots%26rsquo; conversations feel less engaging and less important than previous iterations. Maybe it%26rsquo;s just that familiarity breeds contempt, and we%26rsquo;ve become pretty used to Sam and Max%26rsquo;s respective personalities by now.
On the plus side, the game%26rsquo;s content is helped tremendously by the continued excellence of the Sam %26amp; Max series%26rsquo; original score. It%26rsquo;s a sad truism in the gaming industry that music is something of an afterthought, but here the jaunty jazz and charming country genuinely add a feeling of lightheartedness and fun - which actually makes the jokes funnier. Sounds far-fetched, but it%26rsquo;s true: try playing the game with your speakers off, and you%26rsquo;ll see the difference.
Bottom line: Chariots does a heck of a lot more right than it does wrong, and has put the series back on the right track after a couple of slips in episodes two and three.
Mar 14, 2008