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Sam & Max Hit the Road (DOS)

88
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.1
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Zokolov (66)
Written on  :  Jan 02, 2012
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Summary

The "Life of Brian" of video games

The Good

The best aspect of the game is something that will never go old: it's hilarious. The dialogue is, if possible, even wittier than in Monkey Island and Grim Fandango. And the characters: Sam is a tough-as-nails detective dog who loves big words and inexplicable metaphors. Max is a hyperkinetic, psychotic and violent rabbit. How can you go wrong with a pair like this? The humor, mostly an excellent combination of insane dialogue and creative slapstick, may not be intended for the kiddies, but I still think that this game can be enjoyed no matter what your age is.

Somehow, the game's colorful graphics, animation and music seem to be timeless, and make the game feel like an interactive animated movie. The voice acting is great, especially the voices of the leading duo, Bill Farmer (Sam) and Nick Jameson (Max). Jameson also plays the hilarious lead villain: Conroy Bumpus, a country-western star with an unconvincing British accent and even less convincing hairpiece.

The interface is better than in the earlier LucasArts adventures. The verbs at the bottom of the screen are gone, replaced by a simpler but more effective method. Your options are limited to "use", "pick up", "talk", "walk to" and "look at", but it works fine. Even better is the redesigned dialogue: you can no longer see what you're about to say in advance, so the joke isn't killed by having to read it and then hear the character say it.

Finally, the minigames that you can buy from the "Snuckey's" stores offer a great change of pace, especially if you get stuck. The minigames are something that I'd like to see in more adventure games.

The Bad

It's not perfect, though, and not even the best LucasArts adventure there is. My main problem was with the puzzle design. Though the puzzles in Monkey Island were somewhat absurd, they were still logical. Sam and Max don't care about logic, which sometimes forces you to try pretty much everything until you get the right option. There are also cases when the item you needed to pick up blended into the scenery or was impossible to find. I don't want to spoil the game for anyone, so I'll just use one example: how on earth was I supposed to know where Sam and Max keep their money? Illogical puzzles are a problem in almost every adventure game, but it's still annoying.

The story, featuring Sam and Max hunting a missing Bigfoot, becomes way more interesting than it sounds, but I still would have appreciated something more memorable. Also, the music, despite being made by the same composers, is less memorable and more annoying than in, say, Monkey Island.

Finally, the game somehow feels shorter than other LucasArts games, which was unfortunate.

These are just minor issues and don't ruin the game at all, though.

The Bottom Line

A great adventure game full of madcap, anarchistic humor that can be enjoyed by just about anyone.