Sam & Max Hit the Road
LucasArts at their most bizarre humoured; LucasArts at there very best
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Released in 1993 (wow, is it that long ago already??), Sam And Max is a classic comedy adventure game from LucasArts, ranking right up there with Day Of The Tentacle and the God-like legend that is Monkey Island.
As much as I love just about all the classic Sierra adventure game series (the Space Quests, the Kings Quests, the Leisure Suit Larrys, etc.), this game has more "laugh out loud" material than many of those titles, particularly late ones where Sierra just seemed to run out of steam.
Even by LucasArts' often bizarre standards, Sam And Max is REALLY weird – when a game stars a big overgrown canine and a hyperactive, occasionally psychopathic little bunny, you just KNOW your in for something not exactly run of the mill!
There’s some truly bizarre humour that has to be seen to be believed, and as with most bizarre humour, much of it has an underlying dark side to it. But I loved it. Its strange sideways humour, laced with many various pop-culture references, is great is what makes it so memorable.
Many of the gags are of the so-bad-they’re-good variety, but they’re done so knowingly, so tongue-in-cheek and rather self-mockingly that they work.
The often laugh-out-loud material continues throughout the game and barely lets up the pace at all. Even if you hit a spot in the game-play where you're not quite sure what to do next or how, the comical dialogue, supported by top-notch voices, ensure that the game never gets boring.
Asides from the main game, there's also a number of great sub-games tucked around in various areas of the game, such as Wak-A-Rat, Highway Surfing (Max stands on top of the patrol car and has to jump on-coming signs), a very crazy game crazy golf game involving crocodiles, and a wonderful Battleships-type game, Car-bomb (that should be developed into it's own game!). Some have to be completed in order for a certain outcome to somehow advance the game; Others are there for the pure fun of it.
As with most LucasArts games, there’s several nods to other LucasArts characters – IS that Bernard from Day Of The Tentacle working in one of the Snucky’s stores??
The voices on the CD-ROM version bring the characters to life superbly, and are particularly spot on for the two leads.
The graphics look great (especially taking into account the age) and hold up well age-wise.
One of the notable things about the whole game and it's packaging was the instruction manual. Far too often companies dish out a few-paged handbook just with installing instructions (that are usually apply to multiple games anyway), but with this game, the whole book was a little comedy publication of it's own. Complete with little gems like "Make your own Max out of an old paper bag", and a hilarious Sam And Max board game, the instruction manual was a joy in itself. If only more games were as creative with their packaging and extras.
I completed this game a couple of weeks after I got it (it’s one of those games I just had to keep on playing until I completed it). I was actually really sad when the end finally came - I had such a great time playing it, I wanted it to go on forever!!
Even though pretty much linear as to the puzzle solving, the game has re-playability value, as it’s great just to hear the unlikely duo’s comments and responses to everything – especially when you deliberately try something wrong.
All-in-all, a classic, VERY bizarre, VERY funny adventure game; one that ranks right up alongside with the mighty Monkey Island in terms of greatness, and one that will stick in your mind. I'm a HUGE Monkey Island fan, but, dare I say it (shock horror) I think I may like Sam & Max even better - and that's really going some!!
The only bad thing is that it has to be that it eventually had to come to the end. I wanted it to go on forever!
The one big problem I did have was not game-wise, but on the technical side. I found this one particularly hard to get up and running happily, particularly with regards to the sound. On my old 486 system (with a SoundBlaster 16 card), it took a boot-disk with LOT of poking and tweaking of Autoexec.bat and Config.sys files to A) run without coughing and spluttering, and B) to get it to run with any sound at all!
Some players might find the humour in this game a little too dark and too far out – even by Day Of The Tentacle and Monkey Island standards (but personally, I loved it!)
But the worst thing about this game - there's never been a sequel! Criminal! Come on LucasArts, it's never too late (and the adventure games market isn’t exactly crowded these days)!!