It's here, friends, bringing cheer and wanton attempts at destruction in all directions. No, it's not your hot sauce filled Super Soaker, it's the latest release of Sam and Max from Telltale Games and, in directly, the tender folds of Steve Purcell's brain. For those of you who don't know this episode, titled Sam and Max: Situation: Comedy is the next dastardly, comedic, and all around bizarre case that the mysterious Commissioner has placed into the furred hands of Sam and Max. A local pink haired TV chat show host known as Myra has been inviting people to her chat show and refusing to let them leave while distributing them endless amounts of free stuff. Naturally these activities cannot be allowed to go on and so Sam and Max must drive two blocks to the rescue!
The street containing Sam and Max's office has remained the same in surface ways, but there are few changes that your eagle eye will spot. First the contents of the gumball machine outside Bosco's shop has changed to a lovely, but probably inedible, collection of green and white things. The biggest change though, is inside. I won't spoil it for you because well, honestly, it's something you have to see for yourself. Down at the other end Sybil's is still in place, but she has changed careers again. That woman goes through careers like I've been going through cans of Ginger Ale.
Most of the excitement, though, will take place at the WARP TV station. Upon entering you'll find the station deserted except for the director who is still committed to doing her job despite having no actors or crew handy. You can't do anything about the crew, but she needs a smiling face to put in front of the camera. For lack of anything better she'll have to use Sam and Max in this role and, as a result, your objective in the game becomes clear.
You will have to act your way through the various sets, of which are there four, to get some real celebrity acclaim and also obtain a nice juicy scandal for yourself. The reason why is to get yourself through Myra's door to save the day and also to get more screen time for yourself. While doing all this you'll have to help out the still highly paranoid Bosco and the career shape shifting Sybil with a couple of things, being right neighborly and all, in the course of defending the world against daytime TV.
Interested yet? Well, that's naturally..after all you are getting on TV for 8.95; what more could you ask for? Before you go rushing off to get your copy, though, let's wriggle our way through the scores.
Gameplay-8. The control scheme of Sam and Max remains the same as before, which is just fine with me, since it worked to great effect the last time. You seem something, you point at it, and you either pick it up, talk about it, or pick it up and then talk about it. The driving controls, where you used the mouse to steer the car left and right and to select the various options on the left side of screen, have also remained unchanged but the simplest scheme is often the best idea. Sam and Max proves this by implementing controls that players of the previous Sam and Max games, or really any point and click adventure game, can settle into while allowing players new to this genre to easily pick up the controls. It ran smoothly on my Presario which has 1 gig or ram and a Pentium 4 and according to Fraps the framerate was about 21 fps while at the 1260 x 1040 resolution.
Graphics-7. The graphics of Sam and Max Situation: Comedy are well put together and happily in 3D, but still retain that cartoonish element that set it apart from other games; it's not that they aren't on a equal plane with other games but just in a different category. Try the game, see for yourself and I promise you that you won't have any cause to complain. Just remember what sort of game it is and appreciate it for what it is.
Audio-8. The voice acting and special effects in this game are above disrepute. Andrew Chaiken and David Nowlin return to reprise their roles as Sam and Max, the extremely unorthodox and often homicidal Freelance Police, who make the game a series of laughs from the end to the beginning with their hilarious interaction with other characters. Here's an example that will better prove my point.
Sam: I could sure use a shave.
Max: I'll say. Your five o'clock shadow goes all the way to your ankles.
It's a small sample, but it should whet your appetite I hope. The voices of the Soda Poppers, Myra, the director, and the rather reedy Hugo Bliss along the with accompanied sound effects.
Value-9. I know the game is brief, but when yo put together the the well designed characters and areas, the well written and extremely witty dialogue more then makes up for it's brevity especially since you can either get it without any further charge from GameTap or $8.95 from Telltale when it becomes available for download.
Curve-9. I have to award Telltale Games a high curve score here because of their good level design, the extremely good voice casting, and the hilarious situations and the equally funny dialog that goes a very long way into making the game such an extremely funny game. I would recommend to anyone who played the Sam and Max games before or anyone who just likes a good laugh.