Nov 9, 2007
It's been just six months since dog-and-rabbit detectives Sam and Max wreaked their particular brand of havoc on the point-and-click adventure genre, and already they're back again to deliver more punishment. Christmassy punishment. Santa's gone crazy and started shipping out presents that are either useless, deadly, or both, and it once again falls to Sam and Max to hurt people and ruin things by way of response.
Sam & Max Season Two, Episode 1: Ice Station Santa (available for $8.95 from the publisher's website) continues the amorally weird antics of the first season's six-episode run, with players piloting six-foot-tall canine gumshoe Sam through a series of silly conversations and point-and-click puzzles. The production values are noticeably higher this time, and there's a lot more stuff to look at and interact with - some of it useless, but most of it fun.
More interestingly, the game world has been shaken up a bit since the last season. As the game begins, Sam and Max witness their beloved goldfish (and most of their dismal urban neighborhood) being vaporized by a fifty-foot killer robot who confuses the lyrics to forgettable pop ballads with deep existential philosophy. Despite the rampant destruction, though, their city block has actually been expanded, and now includes Stinky's Diner (previously only visible in the background from Bosco's Inconvenience store) and the heretofore-unseen "PIMPLECAR" (pronounced "Pimp Le Car") garage, run by a familiar quartet of obsolete electronics.
If all this sounds weird to you, then you probably haven't played the last six episodes of this bizarrely funny series. (You should.) And if you have, then you can expect to see a lot of returning characters (including the slightly less-annoying-than-usual Soda Poppers), although most of them have been relegated to less prominent roles so that more attention can be paid to the new characters, including Stinky (a haughty know-it-all waitress who runs a crooked trivia contest), a pair of creepy-looking elves and Flint Paper, Sam and Max's thug-punching, dame-smooching private-eye neighbor. And then there's Santa Claus himself, who seems to be suffering from a bad case of demonic possession and has holed himself up in his workshop with a mean-looking submachine gun.