Title: Sam and Max: The City that Dares Not Sleep
System(s): *PC, Mac, PS3
Release Date: August, 30, 2010
Publisher (Developer): Telltale Games
ESRB Rating: “Everyone plus 10” cartoon violence, language
Pros: Very funny, see Max as a huge monster, there is an additional mystery to solve, finally see how it all wraps up.
Cons: beginning part a little bland, some things are included in the game that are pointless
Overall Score: Two thumbs up; 96 out of 100; A * * * * ½ out of 5.
The clones are gone, but now Max is a horrible monster who is devouring the entire city and causing great panic to the state of New York. Sure this doesn’t sound any different then Max’s normal everyday functions but this time he is under the control of something else.
The only option the city seems to have is to destroy the monster but Sam can not let his best buddy be destroyed so it up to him to save Max the only way possible: By forcing Max to eat him.
Going Where No Man Wanted To Go
Our helpful and somewhat delightful narrator shows up in the beginning of the game to inform us that all along there has been a saboteur among the ranks. This saboteur has left clues along the way to suggest who they are and that you should keep an eye out. Then he comes back close to the end of the game to see if you figured out who it was. I thought this was a nice touch and gives the game a more noir feel to it.
The rest of the game involves trying to get eaten by Max, then messing around inside his body. The body is the funest part of the game because you get to see how messed up Max really is inside. Also, if you go into the “bottom,” you get to see where all his “junk” is stored. The bottom is sort of like the closet from the other games, where inside was a trinket from the past games. In here there is not only trinkets from the last games, but from previous series, and even the Sam and Max Hit the Road game that these were inspired from.
You also get to control Max from inside his body at one point. No, you can’t destroy buildings and planes and cause needless havoc but it’s still fun to have him walk around and explore the city. It’s also crucial toward the middle of the game because you need to help Max recall his memories.
A couple old characters show up in this game as well. I don’t want to give anything away but you could say “dead” set on making an appearance. Cybil, Abe, and Skunkape also come back in this game.
We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Desoto
The first part of the game was a little bland and seemed a bit easy as well. The first thing you needed to do is find people to accompany Sam into Max’s body but you find them by not really doing anything. Then you have to create a huge corn dog for Max to eat (with the Desoto inside). You mostly accomplished this by doing the same task over and over (I don’t want to spoil it for anyone). There was a bit of variety in how you accomplished said task, but I would’ve liked more variety.
The game also included things that didn’t seem to have a point to it. For instance, at one point you have to travel to these different locations via the toy projector from the second game (where you played as Sam and Max’s grandfathers). There was one or two places you could go where you couldn’t do anything. There was also a couple items in the “bottom” area of Max that seemed like they were important but they weren’t. I suppose you could call these red herrings, which are useless items that are used to distract you or throw you off track, and including those into the game isn’t a problem since they are typical in adventure game. However, my beef is that Sam and Max games don’t usually include red herrings so I spent a lot of time trying to solve the puzzles that had no solution.
I really enjoyed the ending to the game. I thought the whole thing wrapped up nicely and there was even a bit of drama at the every end. There were a couple things left unexplained, and I am hoping they will be made clear in future S&M games.
That About Wraps It Up, Then
I enjoyed the series as whole very much. I think it was more fun to play a whole story broken up into several parts then to just play stand alone episodes. This not only left the player with cliffhanger endings, but gave the game as a whole a much longer feel to it.
I hope that Telltale keeps up this tradition and includes more full games like this one.