Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39490)
Written on  :  Oct 19, 2004
Platform  :  DOS

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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