After a 13-year absence from videogames, amoral dog-and-rabbit crimefighting duo Sam and Max made a triumphant comeback in late 2006, with a series of six surreal adventures that took them from the seediest streets of New York to the depths of outer space. Originally released online for $8.95 a pop, their criminal-squashing escapades have been bundled into one $30 collection and peppered with cool extras, giving those who've managed to avoid the series thus far one less reason to do so.
If you're any sort of fan of point-and-click adventure games, though, you owe it to yourself to give Sam & Max Season One a try. Filled with weird humor and occasional gunplay, each short episode puts you in control of fast-talking, level-headed canine Sam, who's followed everywhere by Max, a violent, hyperactive rabbit wiseass. The basic gameplay is simple: walk around, click on stuff, grab everything that isn't nailed down, use it to solve simple puzzles and chat up anyone who crosses your path with multiple-choice dialogue selections.
While the gameplay holds few surprises, however, the episodes themselves are all over the map; over the course of the season, Sam and Max star in a failed sitcom, destroy the internet from the inside, bring down a cabal of toy-obsessed mobsters and publicly debate a giant robot Abraham Lincoln for the US presidency. Oh, and also destroy a rainbow-barfing megalomaniac who threatens the world with eternal peace and happiness. It's all very silly and absurd, and although the gags aren't always that funny, they come at a steady enough clip to keep even jaded players smiling throughout.
Aside from the six adventures, Sam & Max Season One comes packed with a bonus disc that features trailers, a behind-the-scenes video, character bios, concept art and the series' jazzy score on MP3. The only things missing are the machinima shorts, developer commentaries and a few other extras that developer Telltale produced during the series' online run, although those things and more can be found atTelltale's website.