Sam & Max 304: Beyond the Alley of the Dolls
WindowsProbably the most enjoyable episode in the season so far, and enough to ensure that a majority of the season is fun.
WindowsTo make things better, the episode has what is likely the best conclusion in the history of the series. While each episode has left me wanting more, this one had a cliff-hanger so fantastic that I was literally laughing when the credits began to roll, howling at what it meant for the season finale. All in all, Beyond the Alley of the Dolls is not the absolute best episode in the season, but Telltale has kept the quality level high, and delivered an extremely well put together experience that should lead to the most thrilling conclusion in the series' history. Here's hoping.
WindowsWith all the crazy events of this episode, Beyond the Alley of the Dolls feels like Sam & Max with a shot of extra pulp, exactly how it should be. The underground cloning facility and climactic finish at the Statue of Liberty especially push the whole serial comic feel of this episode, making it probably the most memorable installment of The Devil’s Playhouse Telltale’s made yet. Sam & Max has always been a bizarre, goofy mash-up of noir, pulp, detective serial, and sci-fi conventions wrapped up in an adventure game design, and Beyond the Alley of the Dolls is no different. If you like the series or point-and-clicks, you’ll no doubt be entertained throughout this episode (though it won’t make any sense to you if you haven’t played the rest of the season). If the monstrous cliffhanger seen here is any indication, the fifth and final episode will end the season with the kind of zany aplomb we’ve come to expect from the series.
WindowsThe Devil's Playhouse series has thus far been overall, of high quality. The first three chapters have offered up mostly the good and a tad of the not-so-good—the good being some classic Sam & Max humor and some interesting new twists on adventure gameplay, and the less good being some repetitious puzzles and unpolished graphics. Alley of the Dolls represents a still-funny but less creative chapter in the series that for some will feel more like a stepping-stone to the finale than a worthwhile chapter in itself. Of course, it does manage to end fairly spectacularly, and with an intriguing nod toward the fifth and final chapter. In spite of the relatively low drama of Alley of the Dolls, Devil's Playhouse fans should keep the faith and keep playing—especially since we're only a few weeks away from the final chapter.
WindowsIn the first three episodes of Season Three, the game designers did a good job of injecting some new puzzle and game-play ideas, most notably Max’s new psychic powers and a more complex dialogue-tree scheme for Sam. In episode four they kind of ran out of new notions in that department, but there is one honest-to-God puzzle. I almost fell over when I realized I’d stumbled across a puzzle that actually would have to be worked out logically. At first I thought it was a glitch. But, no, by golly it really was a puzzle. Now that would be a welcome new direction for this series, sure-as-shootin.’
WindowsDie dritte Staffel von Sam & Max geht in neuem Stil in die vierte Folge. Das Zombie-Setting ist erfrischend anders als die Vorgängerepisoden, hält aber weniger lange vor, als uns lieb ist. Episode drei nutzte das Film Noir-Flair auch nur in der ersten Viertelstunde, hier begegnen uns zwar die Samulacras die ganze Folge lang, dennoch bleibt die Stimmung einer von Zombies überrannten Stadt nach den ersten Rätseln eher auf der Strecke. Auch die Puzzles haben in der vierten Episode eher an Qualität und Häufigkeit verloren denn gewonnen, Pluspunkte gibt es dafür für die vielen losen Storyfäden, die nun verknüpft werden. Unterm Strich bleibt eine schwächere Episode der vierten Staffel – hoffen wir auf ein furioses Finale!
MacintoshThe writing is sharp and witty, the story is complex and entertaining, and the puzzles are still very satisfying to solve (especially in this episode, in which you’ll need a higher quotient of dumb luck than in the others). Episode 4: Beyond the Alley of the Dolls is a frustrating but involving step towards the final act in this increasingly strange and wonderful series.
WindowsThe writing is sharp and witty, the story is complex and entertaining, and the puzzles are still very satisfying to solve (especially in this episode, in which you’ll need a higher quotient of dumb luck than in the others). Episode 4: Beyond the Alley of the Dolls is a frustrating but involving step towards the final act in this increasingly strange and wonderful series.
WindowsSam & Max aux prises avec eux-mêmes dans une aventure étrange.
PC Gameplay (Benelux)
WindowsHet absurde verhaal mist wat tempo, maar de finale met bijhorende cliffhanger is subliem en er valt veel paranormaal puzzelwerk te beleven.
WindowsOverall, this penultimate episode features more complex gameplay and a much richer story. The climax of the episode is somewhat absurd (even by the series' standard) and makes for a few interesting plot twists. Once more, fans of Sam & Max are left in the dark for the finale. The only reason not to look forward to the finale is the fact that it also means another end to the series, at least for a while. I am confident that Telltale Games will deliver a quality and befitting ending to the latest adventure of the freelance police, considering how good of a job it has done so far in this season.
WindowsAs the third season of Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse approaches its end, it remains the standout of Telltale's adaptations of the comic book characters. If you have an affinity for the characters, the classic Sam & Max Hit the Road adventure game, or the parody of several classic movie genres and Lovecraftian horror, then it really is worth picking up the entire season. Beyond the Alley of the Dolls provides another large piece of the plot's puzzle, and while the gameplay may not have too much new to offer, the episode does have a lot of laughs.
WindowsKurz vorm Finale von 'The Devils Playhouse' gönnt sich Telltale mit 'Beyond the Alley of the Dolls' rätseltechnisch eine kleine Verschnaufpause, dafür führen die Entwickler umso mehr lose Fäden der Geschichte zusammen. Inzwischen wird auch deutlich, warum Telltale die einzelnen Episoden auf der Homepage als Kinoplakate präsentiert: In den vergangenen Episoden erlebten wir Hommagen an B-Movie SciFi, Flashback und Noire, jetzt ist das Genre der Zombie-Filme dran. Wer diese Episode durchgespielt hat, kann sich auch ausmalen, welches Genre uns in der kommenden Folge erwartet. Wir hoffen auf ein furioses Finale mit höherer Rätseldichte, empfehlen aber dennoch dringend, auch diese etwas schwächere Episode zu spielen, denn der Humor stimmt nach wie vor und die Geschichte der Folge birgt so manche Überraschung.
WindowsDie vierte Episode der aktuellen Sam & Max-Staffel wird von einigen serientypischen Begleiterscheinungen geplagt. Anfangs gute Ideen (Spielzeuge der Macht) verlieren an Reiz, Charaktere und Schauplätze wirken abgenutzt und sogar der Humor trifft nicht mehr immer so pointiert wie gewohnt. Trotz allem ist auch Behind the Alley of the Dolls ein unterhaltsames Adventure, das vor allem von seinem abgedrehten Setting, den witzigen Charakteren und dem guten Handwerk der Designer lebt.
WindowsIn context, Beyond the Alley of the Dolls is a great Sam & Max episode. Unfortunately, taken by itself, this is definitely the season's weakest link. We get a lot of setting up and maybe even some answers, but this episode is too light on the puzzles and feels too narrative heavy. Even these problems won't keep me from tuning in to see how this season ends!
WindowsBAD is not the best episode of the series by a long shot, but still keeps the story running towards the finale well. Despite some convoluted puzzles and occasionally missing the comic mark, there is little to be disappointed with here - BAD is the least engaging of one of the best series from Telltale so far. Thanks to this episode doing the donkey work of setting up the players in their final places, next month´s finale should be nothing short of incredible - and hopefully finish up The Devils Toybox in the only way it deserves.
WindowsUntil the last ten minutes, however, Beyond the Alley of the Dolls still feels like part of the (relative) mid-season slump introduced last month. It's fairly long without being overly compelling, wordy without being especially funny. If I had to make a choice, I'd always rather a game that picks up in the latter stages than drop off after a good beginning, and the exciting ending almost compensates for the comparative dullness of the earlier stages. But not quite. It's still worth playing, with its usual stellar production values and increasingly bizarre storyline, but this episode again feels like it's primarily laying the groundwork for a spectacular finale. Whether this season of Sam & Max will be remembered as outstanding now hinges entirely on what Telltale can pull out of the hat for next month's conclusion, but one thing’s for sure: anyone who sees this episode through to the end will be right there to find out.