Considering that the last time Sam and Max appeared in a full game computers were steam-powered and/or made from mammoth pelt, it’s a little funny to see them adventuring away so happily on the thoroughly modern Wii. Not that it isn’t an obvious match: a point and click adventure on a console made to point and click. Released as a series of episodic PC downloads throughout 2005 you may think that stitching together six sleuthing tales would make for a rather wonky overall adventure. Each episode sees the droll canine detective and his mentalist rabbit buddy go through the same motions – look around office, meet crazy neighbors, visit wacky location – and yet somehow déjà vu never quite sets in.
Much like a television sitcom you begin to recognize characters and enjoy them for their endearing quirks. It’s not as if you’d sit down to watch Friends and moan about it being about the same six people in the same stupid flat, is it? And so, loopy conspiracy theorist Bosco and job-harvester Sybil go from being lazily recycled characters to some of Sam & Max’s shining stars. Those weaned on Monkey Island may find the puzzles a tad pruned – you rarely have more than four items in your inventory – but this is largely to keep the pacing up in each episode. With less focus on combining bark chips and cutlery to make hot air balloons, you’re then free to enjoy the game as a more relaxed comic experience, much appreciated when a title is as loaded with gags as this is.
Sam has something surreal to say about everything and Max has a psychotic comment to follow. Most people you meet have nuggets of gold hidden in their conversation branches and a few may even have song and dance numbers squirreled away. It’s this search for every last quip that really makes Sam and Max. That you get to do it from the pleasure of your sofa with a remote in hand is the cherry on a rather fine custard pie.
Oct 08, 2008