Sam and Max Season 1: Culture Shock

Well, ever since I saw the Sam and Max TV show on its small stint on the Fox Network, I’ve been a fan of the two crazy detectives. Finding out they had a game made for the PC made me even happier. Too bad I couldn’t get a hand on the game due to my incredible Nintendo Fanboy-ism of the 90’s. Well, now that I’m older and wiser, I was able to play the game off a “Armed and Dangerous” demo CD and found out exactly why there is a cult following these two.

Before I get any further in my review, a little background on the two. Sam and Max started as a comic in 1987 by Steve Purcell with the adventures of Sam, a dog in a detective’s suit with huge words in long sentences and is the brains (if you can say that) of the operation, and Max is a rabbit-like thing with a huge jaw filled with sharp teeth and an eerie smile that is always wanting to solve items with cold hard violence. The idea of the comic/TV/game is that they are freelance police and that every episode a case comes from a commissioner over the phone. They solve the case, while being as entertaining and as out of logic as they can.

So now that I have set up who these guys are, lets talk about the game makers. Culture Shock comes from Telltale Games. These guys have done the Bone series, a CSI game, and everyone’s favorite, Texas Hold-em. If you don’t know the history of the development of this game, LucasArts actually owned the rights to make the Sam and Max game and was almost complete with the game before deciding to shut it down. Telltale came in and took over the rights and started a whole new game knowing us fans of the crazy detectives would buy it with no problem.

Sam and Max's Office

OK, now the part everyone loves to read, the plot. Sam and Max are playing around waiting for there next case when a call comes from the commissioner. Unfortunately the phone has been stolen by a rat that lives in your office. This leads to your first of many puzzles in the game. Once you retrieve your phone from the rat you find that there are weird things going on in your neighborhood. When you investigate, you find that an old TV show trio called the “Soda Poppers” are doing weird things like impersonating a psychiatrist, delivering free videos to a convenience store, and spray painting the picture of a man called Brady Culture. All the Soda Poppers are fans of Brady Culture and his Eye-bo videos. As you continue to play you’ll learn more about the plot so I won’t ruin it. The whole point I think about the “Point and Click” adventure games is solving puzzles and enjoying the story that the game portrays. no crazy platform levels or puzzles that only the great chess masters could solve. That would just get in the way of a story that is suppose to be interesting, entertaining, and leave you happy that you played the game all the way through.

So now it’s my turn for what all of us have read in countless magazines reviews. Did he like it? My answer. Yes. I love Sam and Max so I already was ready to see what the plot would have in store for me. It was exactly what I expected and had some points in the game that made me laugh out loud. Though I had a lot of trouble by solving a few puzzles in “bad logic”, I only got stuck 3 times in the game and was able to complete the game in roughly 8 or 9 hours. I really loved the humor and the interesting characters such as Sybil the tattooed psychiatrist and Bosco the engineering convenience store owner. Not only did they have a personality, but worked out as if they were supposed to be there and not just slapped on to keep the game moving. I also enjoyed that the puzzles were difficult but didn’t kill the mood of the plot.

Sam and Max talk to Whizzer

Graphics were great especially considering that I’m playing this game on a 3 year old computer. The sound was great with the voice overs and finally hearing those Sam and Max voices again. I did have some problems with one sentence not spoken but in the subtitles and some repeating when I did something too fast or when my computer had to catch up. Gameplay was great I never had a problem with pointing and clicking.

So now the big question… Is it worth it’s price? Telltale games will be first releasing the game on Gametap. Gametap is an online gaming site that lets you play new games, old games, and even some streaming TV. The price for all this is $10 a month. That’s an awesome buy since not only do you get to play Sam and Max, but will get to see old Sam and Max shows streamed and play all your favorite classic video games. Telltale will be selling the game on their own site for $8.95 an episode or $34.95 for the complete 6 episode season and a free CD of the full game. I would say pick up the complete season. Though you may be tempted to pick up the one episode, I seriously think you will love this game and want the entire set. I can see you getting more than your money’s worth on the entire series.