Sam & Max: Hit the Road

Moby ID: 745
DOS Specs
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Description official descriptions

Sam and Max - a canine shamus and a hyperkinetic rabbit - are the freelance police: private investigators who receive missions from and are answerable to "The Commissioner". Upon the completion of a rescue mission from the clutches of a mad scientist, the duo drives through the opening credits and immediately receives a new assignment: Bruno the Bigfoot is missing from the circus and seems to have kidnapped Trixie, the Giraffe-Neck Girl. Sam and Max are on the case and will follow the mystery all across the United States, even if it takes them to such locations as The World's Largest Ball of Twine and The Mount Rushmore Dinosaur Tarpit.

Sam & Max Hit the Road is a puzzle-solving point-and-click adventure game. The player directly controls Sam, though Max will usually follow closely behind and is even available to use directly as an item in the inventory. Sam is able to be directed anywhere on the screen, look at objects, try to use objects, try to speak to objects and use items from his inventory on objects. Sam and Max must unravel the mystery piece by piece in order to unlock new locations on their map. They can travel between these locations at any time by using the car keys on their police car.

During conversation, the player is able to make Sam ask questions of persons, speak non-sequitur exclamations, or ask about specific objects, people, and locations (which are also unlocked as clues are discovered). The verb interface from previous LucasArts adventure games has been modified to icon-based commands, allowing the entire screen to be used for the playing area, similarly to Sierra titles.

The game also features a variety of mini-games, which can be accessed at any time once found. These include Highway-Surfing: a game where the player must jump over exit signs on the interstate, Car Bomb: a variant of Battleship, a Sam & Max coloring book, a Sam & Max dress-up game, and a Whac-a-Mole variant entitled Wak-A-Rat. The CD version of the game includes voice-overs for all the conversations.

Spellings

  • סם ומקס מתגלגלים בדרכים - Hebrew spelling
  • 妙探闖通關 - Traditional Chinese spelling
  • 萨姆和马克斯 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

85 People (77 developers, 8 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 88% (based on 38 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 327 ratings with 16 reviews)

The game that was followed by a stupid cartoon show

The Good
Sam & Max Hit the Road is a 256-color point-and-click adventure from LucasArts, which was produced in 1993. Unlike Lucas' previous adventures where you play a human being, in this game, you control Sam, a ferocious dog who acts like a 60's detective, and he is joined his sidekick Max, the bunny with the smartass attitude.

Story: After destroying a mad scientist and rescuing a damsel-in-distress, Sam and Max return to their headquarters to be assigned another mission: find Bruno the Bigfoot and bring him back to the carnival, They must also find Trixie the giraffe-necked girl who may hold the clue to his whereabouts. Furthermore, they must stop country-western superstar Conroy Bumpus, the guy who has a Liverpool accent and is believed to be behind their disappearance.

Gameplay: And so your quest begins. To complete the game successfully, you must travel to locations across the USA. At the very start of the game, you only get to choose between three different Snuckey's convenience stores, where no matter which one you go to, Bernard is always there waiting to serve you. You can also travel to the carnival where your mission begins. More locations will be discovered as you are progressing through the case, just by talking to people or doing certain tasks.

As mentioned above, Sam & Max is another one of LucasArt's point-and click adventures. When you start the game, however, you won't be seeing nine verbs like you did in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, and Day of the Tentacle, but instead, you will just see a box at the lower-left corner of the game screen. Right-clicking the mouse button cycles through different cursors, including walk, look, speak, use, and inventory, which is similar to Sierra's past adventure games. The inventory cursor represents the item that was selected from inventory, which can be accessed by clicking the box. The other cursors are self-explanatory. If no inventory item gets selected, Max's cursor will appear in its place. Clicking this cursor on something will instruct Max to do something with it, so he doesn't seem useless. Clicking the speak cursor on a character will bring up a series of icons. The ?, !, and the rubber ducky icons initiate general conversations with a touch of humor in them, but the icons after that initiate more serious conversations that focus on the case at hand. The commands can be activated by using the keyboard that corresponds to the action that you want by pressing its first letter. You also can see icon that looks like Sam's palm, and clicking on this ends the conversation.

Like most of LucusArts's adventure games, you cannot die in Sam & Max, so you are free to play around and try to accomplish some of the unusual tasks. The outcome can be quite funny, and more often than not, some of them will work. Speaking of funny, the game is supposed to have a lot of humor, starting from the introduction and carrying it right through to the end. In the introduction, for example, Sam found out that he didn't dispose of the bomb on his way to headquarters. He asks Max where he should put the bomb, in which Max replies "Out the window, Sam. There's nothing but strangers out there." Sam will then say "I hope there was nobody on that bus." This was the first thing that made me laugh. Another example of this type of humor would be speaking to the chief's wife at the Bigfoot party, who changes the subject so she talks about her past conversations but never stops.

What I enjoyed most about Sam & Max is the fact that there are loads of mini-games that you can entertain yourself with. You see, you can play games that include Wak-A-Rat, Paint by Numbers, Dress-Up, Car Bomb, a highway game (where the object is to make it to the finish line by making Max jump over signs while you are driving without running out of time), and a shooting gallery. Some of these games are only made available if you buy them at Snuckey's, and you have to complete the game in order to participate in the shooting gallery. My favorite one of these games is Car Bomb, which is just a version of Battleship but adds some twists to the game. You see, not only can you place your vehicles on your board and bomb another person's board, but you can also use trampolines and two nuclear bombs. Also, with Dress Up, you can turn Sam into a chef, or make Max a pizza delivery bunny,

One of the locations that you will discover in the game is a Mystery Vortex. All weird stuff goes on in there, as both Sam and Max will expand and shrink their heights as a result of magnets that are buried deep below the Earth's crust. One of the rooms is turned upside-down as soon as you enter it. There are at least two hidden features inside the game. You see, if you keep Sam & Max idle too long, either a screen saver will be shown or the screen will keep dissolve until you interrupt again.

The game's installation screen requires no copying of files. You just select your sound cards and run the game. (Your settings are stored in a folder called "samnmax.cd", which is amazing considering that DOS doesn't allow the use of names that exceed eight characters in length.)

Graphics: The graphics are in the same line as DOTT: cute, colorful, and appropriateness to the object to that of real life. These graphics are carried right through the adventure. However, much later in the game, you get to enter a virtual reality world to get an object, and the world itself consists of 3-D graphics

Even though the game has to be played in VGA, you can choose to play in b/w mode, giving Sam & Max a film noir feel, which is similar to those 60's detective shows.

Music & Sound: The music in this game is very good, and the sounds are similar to those of DOTT, since both of them are supposed to be cartoon adventure games. The game can be played using the Sound Blaster (including SB16), Adlib, Roland, or Soundscape, but I think that the sound can be played only through the Sound Blaster.

If you have the CD-ROM version, there is speech throughout the game, delivered by some top actors. (Like the floppy version of DOTT, there is some speech only in the introduction of this game.) Furthermore, the CD has four CD-Audio tracks that are worth listening to.

The Bad
No biggies, but I just found a few problems with some games. For example, once you end up playing the highway game, you cannot quit to resume to your adventuring by pressing the [Esc] key, except let yourself run out of time by smashing signs. In Paint By Numbers, it is impossible to paint a specific area without painting the whole portion. when I tried painting the snake's eyes red, the snake itself becomes red.

The Bottom Line
If you like DOTT with its sense of humor and great graphics and sound, you will certainly enjoy Sam and Max. Buy a copy of the game from somewhere, and show some respect to LucasArts.

Rating: ****½

DOS · by Katakis | カタキス (43087) · 2004

Anthropomorphic dog and rabbity thing solve crime

The Good
This game rocks. The main game involves a hare-raising quest to find a missing bigfoot and the giraffe-necked girl that loves him. Along the way, you see the worst of America, aliens, and C&W star Conrad Bumpus!! You'll jump from Mt Rushmore, play golf, laugh at bad jokes, cry at good ones, and see several Star Wars references.

There are also bonus games which, once discovering, you can play at your leisure.

Puzzles are numerous, but are often logical (in their own illogical way). In typical Lucasarts way, they are item based. There are also many individuals to interact with and there are numerous conversation options. This is actually a pretty full and fulfulling game.

Great voice acting, graphics, gameplay, etc.

The Bad
It was literally painful to get this game to run on my souped up PIII system. This is an older game (archaic in computer years) that required running from dos and configuring the sound card. Even still, sometimes the sound would cut out.

Other than that problem, this was a very good game.

The Bottom Line
This is what they mean by a classic game. It has good graphics, sound, story, acting, puzzles- etc. Everything came together and while I wish there was a sequel, I know that they would louse it up.

DOS · by Terrence Bosky (5397) · 2001

Holy jumping mother o'God in a side-car with chocolate jimmies and a lobster bib! THIS GAME ROCKS!

The Good
Hey there! I've decided I'm going to review the Sam & Max games. I'll go in chronological order, starting with this masterpiece and then on to Season 1 & 2. I would review each episode in individual reviews, but I don't want to clutter up MobyGames. Anyways, before we get started, a little history. Back in the late 1980s, artist Steve Purcell wrote a series of underground comics called "Sam & Max: Freelance Police." While the comic had a cult following (Including Chie, my girlfriend at the time- now my wife) it didn't really go as far as it should have. Purcell was hired by the LucasArts corporation, and for the company newsletter he would draw new Sam & Max strips usually parodying LucasArts products. The guys at the office loved them, and prepped Sam & Max for their very own game.

That year, the titanic monster known as " Doom" came out, got me addicted, and held my brain hostage. I began writing game & movie reviews for my high school newspaper thing, and that year I got my very first request. Chie wanted me to review this game. The review was delayed because I had to get my brain back from Doom, but once I had my brain back and lodged safely in the moist confines of my skull, I sat down and booted up this little masterpiece.

What makes Sam & Max so great is one simple thing: The humour. While it is yet another top notch adventure game from LucasArts, there are some more apparent flaws once you strip away the laughs which I will cover below. Yet Sam & Max is easily the funniest of LucasArt's adventure games, and considering they did the hilarious Monkey Island games and other very funny games like Day of the Tentacle, that's saying ALOT. The humour in Sam & Max is hard to describe, but lets just say that if Salvador Dahli was a comedian, Sam & Max would be his brainchild. Calling Sam & Max surreal just isn't doing it justice.

The graphics, while sadly heavily pixelated, are great. Purcell's rather distinct art style is brought to life and the animation is great as well. The game also has some very vibrant colours which please the eyes, especially when replaying the game in the modern era where the only colour necessary in video games is red for blood and gray for everything else. It's also funny to see Max wander around the sets and interact with some of their unique props.

The game sounds great too, from an excellent Jazzy soundtrack, to the superb voice acting which only enhances the funny. Back in 1993, I'd say that Sam & Max was worth buying a CD drive just so you could have those voices. The voices really do make the game funnier, with pitch perfect voices for everyone, especially Sam & Max. They sound just how you would expect them to. There are various good sound effects too, often very cartoony and sometimes just as random as some of the games jokes.

The game has a very simple, user friendly interface and improves upon the classic interface from previous LucasArts games which was a little more cluttered and complex. By having only a few icons and symbols representing each function when you mouse over something usable really helps. The game also does away with red herrings, meaning every item that you stash in your handy box o' stuff will have a purpose at some point or another and there are rarely any dead end stops. Pixel hunting is also not found here, with every object that you might need clear as day and every object you need to use even clearer.

The puzzles are surprisingly difficult, and while many are good and require logic, others aren't so good; something I will cover below. I like the difficulty, but Sam & Max does push it a little, and I will cover that below as well.

The game has a great and relatively lengthy campaign and gives you plenty of bizarre locales to explore and equally bizarre people and creatures to meet. My favourite location is The Mystery Spot, a place where the laws of physics are pummeled to death as horrifically as possible. I also love one of the characters in the Mystery Spot, a gay hippie mole creature that uses a psychic mood ring to find people or things. His part is small, but I thought he was awesome.

The game has great replay value, not just to chuckle at the jokes again, but also to find new dialogue trees and jokes you would've normally missed on your first playthrough.

The Bad
Although there are several good puzzles and there's no question as to the fact that they will boggle your mind, sometimes the puzzles are a little too mind boggling and insane. I know that it ties into the humor, and I definitely found these funny in the end, but the frustration in learning these solutions is ridiculous since they often throw out all logic; something necessary in these games. Would you know without a hint that you are supposed to attach a severed hand holding a fish shaped fridge magnet to a broken golf ball retriever with a convenience store drink cup on the end into the worlds largest ball of twine? No? Didn't think so.

There are also a couple mini-games which are more tedious than they are fun (Although I did like the battleship variant), and the convenience store locations are somewhat copy-pasted and the jokes wear thin, making it an annoyance to have to repeatedly go to them. The highway surfing minigame is also annoying because it will not let you leave until you reach a certain goal, and sometimes a bug will cause it to be impossible to leave and you will have to reboot the game to go back to the locales you need to go to to complete the game.

Speaking of bugs, this game has a surprisingly large amount compared to other LucasArts adventures, and many of them can be game breaking. They can usually be fixed by restarting the game, but they still might happen which is a real pain.

The Bottom Line
Sam & Max Hit the Road is undoubtedly the funniest game I have ever played. It still makes me laugh my butt off, and like I said in my Full Throttle review, these adventure games are like your favourite movie. They may not be immediately replayable, but you'll want to pop it in from time to time and enjoy it all over again. If you like adventure games and if you need a good cure for your depression, Sam & Max hit the Road will do just that.

DOS · by Kaddy B. (777) · 2009

[ View all 16 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Sam & Max TV show on DVD? It can happen! Foxhack (32100) Jun 18, 2007

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Sam & Max Hit the Road appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Cancelled sequel

A sequel to Sam & Max Hit the Road, Sam & Max Freelance Police, was developed, but cancelled on March 3rd, 2004 because LucasArts thought it was "not the appropriate time to release a graphic adventure game on the PC." Despite many petitions and negative feedback about the cancellation, the game was not put back into production.

Sam & Max

During the time in which Steve Purcell worked at LucasArts, Sam & Max (or only Max) made cameos in many other games, including Monkey Island, Monkey Island 2, The Curse of Monkey Island, Day of The Tentacle, Rebel Assault II, Jedi Knight, Full Throttle or Shadows of the Empire.

Sam & Max franchise

Sam & Max were not invented for this game, but are part of a whole franchise by Steve Purcell. The media they appeared include the original comics and a cartoon which aired on FOX kids in 1997/98 (awarded with the 1998 Gemini Award for Best Animated Series). Purcell also made one-page Sam & Max spoofs of LucasArts games for The Adventurer, a periodical newspaper for LucasArts employees.

Soundtrack

The CDROM contains four Redbook audio tracks that have the "Sam & Max Theme", "Moleman Music", "King of the Creatures", and "Bigfoot Shuffle" music from the game.

References

  • The music that plays at the World of Fish locale sounds an awful lot like the song "Fishing Blues", which was originally written by blues musician Taj Majal.
  • When you go to Snuckey's, the man serving you is Bernard Bernoulli, a character from Day of the Tentacle.
  • There are multiple references to LucasFilm movies in the game. When Shuv-Oohl karmically links with the Yetis, he says "It's, like, several voices screaming out in terror... and then suddenly silenced.", a reference to a classic Star Wars quote. Using the droid manual on the security droid in Bumpusville results in the droid projecting a hologram of Princess Leia, like R2D2 did. Finally, using the Conroy Bumpus eggplant on the toupee in his bedroom results in a parody of a classic scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • When asked what he's reading, Lee-Harvey replies, "Dialenics, by Elrod Hubbel, It's changing my life." This is a reference to L. Rod Hubbard, who started a religion based on a novel he wrote.
  • During the conversation with the Cat outside the office building, Max comments "He looks cute Sam. Can I make a tennis racquet out of him?". This is in reference to the fact that the strings in tennis racquets used to be made from a natural fibre called Catgut, which is produced from the intestines of animals such as cows, horses, mules and donkeys. Despite the name, Catgut has never been produced using a cat's intestines.

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) - #95 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) –#7 Funniest Computer Game
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #8 Most Memorable Game Heroes (Sam & Max)
    • February 2006 (Issue #259) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
  • PC Gamer
    • April 2005 - # 45 in the "50 Best Games of All Time" list
  • PC Powerplay (Germany)
    • Issue 06/2005 - #5 Likeable Secondary Character (for Max)

Information also contributed by James1, John Wallace, Mitch Kocen, NatsFan, Paul Graves, PCGamer77, Satoshi Kunsai, shifter and Trixter

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Nathan Kovner.

Linux added by Sciere. Antstream added by lights out party. Windows added by Ben K. Macintosh added by Jason Savage.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, Zack Green, Apogee IV, Sciere, Crawly, Zeppin, Paulus18950, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack, El Bosso.

Game added January 13, 2000. Last modified May 1, 2024.