Sam is a bipedal dog that wears a cheap suit, but no shoes. Max is a murderous rabbit-thing that accompanies him. Together the duo makes a freelance police team, which basically consists of jobs that the normal police just don’t care enough to put time into looking into. Fortunately enough the second season of these humor-filled investigations have been collected onto one affordable disc. The cheap price tag is enough to warrant even the most passing interest in the game to ignore some of the games minor flaws.
This DVD compellation brings together all five episodes of the second season of Sam and Max in their unaltered format. Each episode runs roughly around four to five hours long through normal means of play, but can be solved in well under that time if any kind of guide is used to help out the adventure. While the collection probably lends itself to a continued play through, Sam and Max seems to better be digested in the episodic format.
The game throws many puzzles at the player, some requires fool’s logic to complete. While none of the puzzles ever feel like they are downright impossible to solve, and all of them make you feel like you should have figured that out upon first seeing it, they do get progressively harder and more obscure as the series goes on. This is readily solved by the free, amazingly funny and well written, walkthrough that is available on Telltale’s website.
One drawback is that the entire community splash screen that popped up before the game was launched, present in the monthly downloadable version, is now missing. That had links to the website’s forums, comics, and the all important walkthroughs pertaining to that game. With that aspect pulled it almost feels like the game is only intended for people who have no form of internet connection at all.
None of this takes away from the amazing experience that Sam and Max manage to craft throughout the entire season of exploits. The content of the five episodes themselves remain unchanged and as goofy as the day that they were released for download. The collection feels like buying a box set of a TV show when it is finally released, including all the extras. Strangely all of the extras that are included take place when the disc is played as a DVD. Some of them range from interesting, such as commentary on all of the cut scenes in the game, to the bazaar, designers notes on the game that make you worry for those poor people’s sanity.
Season two is currently the high point for the Sam and Max series with their unique blend of nonsensical humor and characteristic graphics. While the graphics are amazingly stylized to closely resemble the original comics that the series is based off of, even at the lowest resolution available they always seem to look dated, even at the highest settings the game will allow. With all of the amount of detail that went into the style of the game, it seems like a shame that the several highest graphical settings all manage to look almost exactly the same when the game is being played.
Even if the graphics are the low point of the series, the voice acting and music are always the highlight. With most objects being able to be interacted with, and a bevy of items that can be used to interact with them at times it feels like there is something constantly new Sam is spouting out. This works just as well with the in game hint system that consists of Max gently giving more and more direct and humorous hints on what to do for any given puzzle.
Sam and Max Season 2 is easily the funniest game that has come out in the last year, and with a low price tag of 35 dollars it seems like an easy recommendation for anyone. While the game itself hasn’t been modified in any way there is still enough extra content on the disk to warrant a purchase for those who played the game while it was being released on Gametap (for those that bought a season pass Telltale is giving the disk based game away for free on their website). For those who played through the first Sam and Max adventure game back in the Nineties, or those that played adventure games back in the day this will seem like an overdue trip home, and for those that haven’t played either this is possibly the easiest step into a whole new genre.