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Sam and Max - Culture Shock Review

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the somersaulting-democrats-in-a-vat-of-sauerkraut- dept.

75

We've talked a lot about episodic gaming here on the site, considering both the good and the bad. The concerns of users, and the words of gaming commentators, focus on the limitations of the format. "Don't break up a game just to charge us more for it" is the prevalent thinking. The 'march of progress' has allowed game companies to come up with plenty of new ways to get our money, so it's an understandable fear. Until last month, though, I had never considered the possibility that the very essence of the episodic game may allow us to reflect on the past as well as the future. In the latest and most dramatic of retro-gaming coups, Sam and Max have returned to the modern PC landscape. They're colourful, they're wry, and their antics are very, very funny. Read on for my impressions of this first episode in the new Sam and Max series, and why I have high hopes for their future wacky antics.

  • Title: Sam and Max: Culture Shock
  • Publisher/Developer: TellTale Games
  • System: PC
Steve Purcell's comic creations have had considerable success outside of videogames. First released in 1987, the Sam and Max comic series has been published in a number of places. Just the same, the anthropomorphic animal duo is probably best known to fans of LucasArts games for their 1993 adventure game Sam and Max Hit the Road. A sequel was announced about two years ago, but nothing ever came of it ... for LucasArts. Last month, Telltale games fulfilled the hopes of Freelance Police fans by releasing Sam and Max: Culture Shock via the GameTap service. As of earlier this week, the title is also available directly from the TellTale website.

Aside from the return of a beloved pair of gaming icons, what's exciting about Culture Shock is Telltale's novel approach to the game's structure. Instead of a single game spanning twenty to thirty hours, Sam and Max is being viewed as a 'game series', like the episodes of a cartoon.Culture Shock is the first in the series. The second episode is slated for the end of December, with each game after that just four weeks apart. The current run of the show is set to conclude with the sixth episode in April. In between the game episodes, reruns of the Adventures of Sam and Max: Freelance Police cartoon series will be available for download.

The quality of the Half-Life series (and bundles add-ons like Portal and Team Fortress) is keeping interest high for that series. Here, though, the effort Telltale is making here to keep series fans 'fed' with content seems like a winning strategy. Fickle gamers that might otherwise wander away from the story will have additional materials to keep them occupied in between game-play sessions.

Likewise, they're making the barrier to entry in the games themselves very low. Culture Shock makes no effort to frontload the game with ponderous backstory. The cynical pair starts the adventure in their familiar office. A simple problem faces them: a rat has stolen their phone. This humble beginning allows new players to familiarize themselves with the game's delightfully retro gameplay. It's via these first simple manipulations of the cartoonish world that we begin to establish the character of the titular duo. Sam and Max are introduced to players unfamiliar with their proclivities via a number of well-written and witty observations. Instead of beating us over the head with Max's homicidal tendencies or Sam's unique vocal tic, the pair's oddball reactions do a wonderful job of fleshing out the bounds of the story. Aside from the mechanical need to introduce the characters, these observations are highly chuckle-worthy.

The 'poke the object' style of gameplay used in titles such as Day of the Tentacle or Monkey Island survives here intact. Aside from a small inventory, exploratory clicking is the only thing you'll have to learn to manage. Instead of requiring timing a jump, puzzles are usually solved by leaps of logic and a good sense of humor. Some puzzles require the combination of an inventory item in-hand with clicking on an object or person, while others demand that you click on game elements in a specific pattern. There are also a few short driving sequences that require you to click with some amount of accuracy on a speeding car. Nothing about the individual game elements are particularly taxing, and even young players will quickly master the basic mechanics of the game.

Which, gratifyingly, is not to say the puzzles are easy. Some of the puzzles late in the sixish hours of play require some truly twisted leaps to unravel. You'll find yourself sitting back in your chair with your hand on your chin, wondering what exactly you're missing in an apparently simple situation. Equally gratifying is that even the toughest of puzzles won't require a FAQ to work out; given enough thought even the toughest brain teaser in the game can be unraveled. As long as you keep in mind that you're in a cartoon, you're going to have lots of success in Sam's world.

Once outside of the office, you're thrust into the heart of the game's short tale. Former TV star Brady Culture has apparently gone mad, and has brainwashed former child stars "The Soda Poppers" into doing his ineffectively evil bidding. They're passing out "Eye Workout" videos that will further spread Culture's sinister influence. You'll spend your time in-game assisting Sam and Max in freeing their neighborhood of the horrific child-star menace. As you may have already guessed here, the title's plot is very much tongue-in-cheek. A few moments of slapstick comedy are interspersed with wittily written puns, sight gags, and wordplay. The actual humor in the game is quite well done, and my only real complaint is the occasionally cheesy pop-culture reference. If the game had dragged out for twenty-some hours, even I probably would have quickly tired of the 80's-era plot setup.

That right there, though, is the beauty of episodic content. Folks new to adventure gaming, or who have been turned off to it in the past, will only be playing for about five hours. A game concept that could turn into a chore over the long haul is condensed into a bite-sized chunk. This is the way that comedy gaming should be done, and my hope is that Culture Shock is the start of a renaissance in this part of the gaming market.

As gaming has gained cultural acceptance and entered the world of big money, it's lost a lot of the charm and personality that made so many early games memorable. What Telltale is attempting, here, is no less than the resurrection of an genre of games all but forgotten by the average gamer. Titles like Dreamfall: The Longest Journey aside, there just isn't that much going on in the world of adventure gaming. And, in the world of cartoony LucasArts style games, there's been almost nothing to report since the cancellation of the proposed Sam and Max game two years ago. LucasArts has gone on record saying they're not interested in doing more of this type of game. They've moved on, and certainly whatever is the newest iteration of the Star Wars franchise will benefit from their decision. For those of us, though, who still pine for the days of Grim Fandango and Monkey Island, Culture Shock speaks of good days to come.

I have high hopes, then, for the success of the Sam and Max episodic series. The first outing here is strong, and with further refinement I can only hope future episodes will be even more polished. Adventure game fans will dive into this title with little prompting. In all likelihood they've already finished it by now. If you don't like adventure games, though, or have never played them and have held off from trying out Culture Shock, I suggest you give it a go. At eight bucks, you're looking at about $2/hour for some really funny stuff. Therein lies another beautiful angle of episodic content: if you don't like it, you can call it quits with little regret. I think you won't.

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75 comments

Good news. (2, Funny)

Born2bwire (977760) | more than 7 years ago | (#16705495)

Personally, I plan on just keeping Steve Purcell chained up in my cellar, trading food for successive pages of more comics. So it's nice to know that the episode format can be an enjoyable experience.

Hardly innovative (was: Good news) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16705877)

Personally, I plan on just keeping Steve Purcell chained up in my cellar, trading food for successive pages of more comics. So it's nice to know that the episode format can be an enjoyable experience.
Hardly innovative. Japanese has been doing that for years with their manga artists. Competition for space on the printed page of weekly, monthly and quarterly magazines are so intense that failure to receive favorable feedback within fix number of issues lead to cancellation. A lot of artists don't last very long in that environment, and it's not uncommon for them to be of poor health from stress and insane schedules.

Re:Hardly innovative (was: Good news) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16708189)

The manga series creators aren't as overworked as many people seem to think. A lot of the work is done by assistants who don't receive any credit.

http://anime.fails.org/2006/07/13/colleen-doran-bi tchslaps-the-manga-industry/#more-48 [fails.org]

Re:Hardly innovative (was: Good news) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16710143)

Keep in mind that only seriously big name artists can afford an army of assistants. Up and comings tend to get burn out quickly since their name doesn't have big draw and their income can barely feed themselves.

Re:Hardly innovative (was: Good news) (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16718713)

Then it's the assistants that get overworked.

How appropriate to see a thread about overworking in a discussion about a game.

Help me Sam and Max, you're my only hope... (4, Insightful)

ExE122 (954104) | more than 7 years ago | (#16705573)

I really hope this series takes off. I haven't seen a decent "poke the object" game for years. I used to love those LucasArts (and Sierra) games. Hit the Road, Monkey Island, and Day of the Tentacle were some of the funniest games I've ever played.

Nowadays, people think that the only way a game can take off is with massive amounts of violence and online capability. But I think the truth is that people just want a game that doesn't reach an ending. It can be the same game with the same characters, but as long as there is a steady flow of new things to do, people will continue playing. Hence the success of WoW and GTA.

As long as these games continue to come out in a steady flow, I think this "miniseries" idea has potential.

--
"A man is asked if he is wise or not. He replies that he is otherwise" ~Mao Zedong

Re:Help me Sam and Max, you're my only hope... (1)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 7 years ago | (#16705919)

You're absolutely right about people wanting a game that doesn't necessarily have an ending point. It was only a couple of months ago here on /. that there was a sizeable debate on whether games were too long or too short. It boils down to keeping peoples interest long enough to keep them playing it for more than a few days or weeks. If you have to keep repeating the same old storyline, it gets old pretty fast.

Re:Help me Sam and Max, you're my only hope... (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 7 years ago | (#16705939)

I think that people DO want an ending, but that the ending is a long way off. Its sort of like movie and TV sequels, even the best franchises will start to cause fatigue if they go too far. The better stories and universes can last longer without fatigue, but even those eventually run out of steam. I am a person who likes to play really long games, but I don't want to be in a position where I can't say "I've completed the game, it was long, I enjoyed it, but now I'm done with this, lets go explore something new and different." Further, I don't want to see gaming become Hollywood, where they release a mediocre sequel instead of taking a risk. Yes, yes, I know that the gaming industry has already gone down that road to a large extent, but MMOs like WoW and episodic gaming mean an even stronger way to "sequelize" an existing universe without taking any risks with new material. I played WoW, I've played HL2 and Episode One, and I'm looking forward to maybe up to Episode Six or so, but after that, I want something new, not just the same thing with better graphics.

there is an ending (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16708109)

Sam & Max episode one does have an ending. The plot wraps up nicely and there is some foreshadowing as to the next episode - but not a cliffhanger by any means.

Re:Help me Sam and Max, you're my only hope... (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16709273)

I haven't heard about anything past episode three. I think they're ending it then and going on to HL4 or something.

+Funny? (1)

Kawolski (939414) | more than 7 years ago | (#16705953)

Nowadays, people think that the only way a game can take off is with massive amounts of violence and online capability. But I think the truth is that people just want a game that doesn't reach an ending. It can be the same game with the same characters, but as long as there is a steady flow of new things to do, people will continue playing. Hence the success of WoW and GTA.

So your examples of successful games that don't need massive amounts of violence and/or online capability are an MMORPG and a massively violent game?

Re:+Funny? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16706025)

Wow is based on violence BTW, the whole point of it is to kill things and other players.

Re:+Funny? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16706079)

I think the point was that games that seem like they are successful because of violence are actually successful because of their ability to keep the story going

Re:+Funny? (1)

Cr33pybusguy (1012459) | more than 7 years ago | (#16707445)

You are forgetting the Sims franchise. There's your no violence with online capabilities. Also IMHO incredibly fucking boring but one of the best selling games of all time.

Re:Help me Sam and Max, you're my only hope... (1)

FreemanPatrickHenry (317847) | more than 7 years ago | (#16706077)

I really hope this series takes off. I haven't seen a decent "poke the object" game for years. I used to love those LucasArts (and Sierra) games. Hit the Road, Monkey Island, and Day of the Tentacle were some of the funniest games I've ever played.

You forgot Grim Fandango.

Re:Help me Sam and Max, you're my only hope... (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 7 years ago | (#16706421)

Maniac mansion, my friend. Maniac Mansion.

Re:Help me Sam and Max, you're my only hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16706491)

The original Maniac Mansion can be played as an Easter Egg in "Day of the Tentacle", so in a sense, he did cover that one.

Re:Help me Sam and Max, you're my only hope... (1)

Jesterboy (106813) | more than 7 years ago | (#16707655)

Except that Grim Fandango is just shy [gamefaqs.com] of being a decade old, thus the "haven't seen a decent 'poke the object' game for years". Although, I have to say, Grim Fandango is probably the pinacle of Adventure games. It's unique setting, casual parody of early American films, and witty sense of humor really can't be beat.

Re:Help me Sam and Max, you're my only hope... (1)

krakelohm (830589) | more than 7 years ago | (#16707295)

How can anyone mention "poke the object" games without bringing up the coolest anti-hero around http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leisure_Suit_Larry [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Help me Sam and Max, you're my only hope... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#16707761)

Nowadays, people think that the only way a game can take off is with massive amounts of violence .....

It must have been awhile cince you played sam and max.... Last I remember sticking your sidekick in the water and then planting his face in an electrical box to short it out to get to the next lever was considered "massive amounts of violence".. From what I remember, Sam and Max makes Quake4 and UT2004 look like episodes of tele-tubbies!

Thank god too.... Gratuitous violence with a twisted bent is what this world needs right now.

Re:Help me Sam and Max, you're my only hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16708679)

"Nowadays, people think that the only way a game can take off is with massive amounts of violence and online capability."

Yeah, that's exactly why me and millions of other people bought New Super Mario Brothers. I loved headshotting people online playing that.

Damn you, you filthy generaliser. Damn you and all your kind.

Re:Help me Sam and Max, you're my only hope... (1)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711693)

But I think the truth is that people just want a game that doesn't reach an ending.

That kind of game is otherwise known as "boring". People are usually not fond of "boring" games, unless they happen to be useless twats themselves, living in some grandparent's basement and doing nothing but playing their "boring" game all day, then perhaps coming to post about it here on /. or something as a change of routine. People in this category are also known as "nerds" in urban slang. They are commonly looked down upon by others who actually have a life.

Wait a minute.. err.. never mind.

The game keeps getting shorter! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16705597)

"Some of the puzzles late in the sixish hours of play..."
"Folks...will only be playing for about five hours"
"At eight bucks, you're looking at about $2/hour"

I'd better play it while there's still some game left!

Took me about 3 hours (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16706251)

I finished the episode 1 in about 3 hours on the day of release. I wasn't rushing through it either, I took the time to click on each object and hear the responses. I guess in terms of $/hour it's about on par with a long movie at the theater.
I prefer to subscribe to GameTap since it's only $1 more than buying an episode of Sam & Max. But then I'm not the type who wants to own it so I can dig it out in 10 years and play it again. I'm not that big a fan of point and click adventures.

Re:The game keeps getting shorter! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16708199)

You sir, win! xD

Never played the game, but... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16705899)

It's got to be a riot. I first encountered the Freelance Police in comics in the mid 80's and have a few of them rotting away in a box somewhere. I think I'll have to try the game.

I was hyped into buying Earthworm Jim, when it first came out for Sega Genesis and was rather unimpressed. My stance has tended toward 'comics and movies make poor video games'

Re:Never played the game, but... (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16706543)

I've played the original Sam & Max and the first new Episode, and I've watched the TV Show, but I haven't read the comics.

The games are GREAT. I was worried that Telltale wouldn't capture the essense of Sam & Max Hit the Road, but they did!

However, the TV show is more ... immature comedy. It's funny, and off-the-wall, but not the same as either of the games. From what I can tell, the tv series was made by the comic creator himself, and should be a lot like the comics.

So while the game isn't identical to the show, it's still wonderful fun.

I subscribed to GameTap for Uru Live, so Sam & Max has been a great bonus. With one of these every month, that money will feel well-spent for sure.

This is great news! (2, Funny)

Buckler (732071) | more than 7 years ago | (#16705905)

I haven't had my Sam & Max fix for years. Whether it be the comics, the cartoons, or the game, it's gut-busting hilarity. As far as the game goes, I hope they include more easter eggs. I still laugh at the "pick up the whack-a-mole game" bit..."Are you dense? I said I can't pick that up!"

I really hope this franchise succeeds.

Just keep clicking the same non-highlighted object (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16706591)

The dialogue goes something like:

*click*
Sam: I can't pick that up.

*click*
Sam: No really, I can't pick that up.

*click*
Sam: Are you dense? I said I can't pick that up!

*click*
Sam: Read my lips! I... CAN'T... PICK... THAT... UP!

*click*
Sam: Oh I give up! *sobs*
Max (if he's there): Now you've done it. You broken Sam's spirit with your silly attempts to pick up that object. If I didn't find his pathetic sobbing so amusing, I'd jump out there and tear your limbs off!

*click*
Sam: *sobs*

I've repeated it from memory. As I recall, the spoken and the written dialogue differ a little at the end as the written dialogue refers to whatever object you clicked on by some internal number... (or maybe a random number, I never really checked into it that far).

Such a great game. :) I talked to my interviewer during my interview at LucasArts about the fate of the 2nd game and he pretty much explained to me that LucasArts had been hemeraging money at the time on bad projects (of which the 2nd game was one, and he said it was not fun) because the project teams were working on their own with no regard as to whether the games were good, wanted in the market, or profitable and marketing didn't know what the teams were doing so they really couldn't market correctly.

So, Lucas brought in some guy to resurrect LucasArts-- who honestly told Lucas he would earn more money by liquidating LucasArts. Since Lucas said no to that, the guy pretty much shut down all pending projects (temporarily taking a volentary loss) and rebuilt LucasArts from the ground up. Supposedly about the only thing that's still the same is the logo. This restructuring happened something like 2 to 3 years ago.

It looks like LucasArts is doing well now, but I honestly miss all the old stuff. (And even if the 2nd Sam and Max game was bad, I still wished I could have seen it.) Ah well. Oh, I didn't get the job-- my skill sets best matched something they were thinking about doing, but not the stuff they were currently staffing for.

--David Romig, Jr.

But it now!!!! (2, Insightful)

dank zappingly (975064) | more than 7 years ago | (#16706105)

This game is super-cheap. Nine bucks per episode, or you can buy the whole season (6 episodes) for 35 bucks. If you think you might like it, give it a shot. I just preordered the whole season, and I'm playing through the first episode right now. The coolest thing about it is that just about everything you do has a unique comment to it. I've been waiting for a sequel for so long. Lucasarts practically finished one, and then decided not to release it so they could come out with even more star wars crap, like lego star wars. Anyway, people have been saying that the point and click adventure game has been dying for like the last 10 years. I never thought I'd see the day where lucasarts and sierra were both not making any of them. I hope that this downloadable episode idea catches on and breathes some life into them.

Hot Grits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16706169)

I have poured hot grits down my pants. Thank you.

Small gripe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16706327)

System: Wndows PC

Re:Small gripe (2, Informative)

vp0ng (751157) | more than 7 years ago | (#16707199)

Linux is not a gaming platform, it's a business platform. You could always use Wine or Cedega if you want to play in Linux.

Re:Small gripe - Linux Compatibility (1)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 7 years ago | (#16707879)

I posed the question with TellTale some time ago about using OpenGL instead of DirectX and porting their software to a native Linux binary. Although I was told that some of the developers would love to do that, they simply don't have the in-house knowledge and resources at this point. Unfortunately for those who don't want to run a Windows environment, an emulator or Windows VM is probably the only way to do it at this point.

Although ... it probably wouldn't hurt if these game companies tried to make sure their products are compatible with WINE/Cedega and said so on their web site or software boxes. If anything it would at least give them a small bit of credibility in the Linux world.

Re:Small gripe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16707983)

actually, I use linux partly because it plays loads of classic windows games (through wine) that no longer work under recent versions of windows

Re:Small gripe (1)

vp0ng (751157) | more than 7 years ago | (#16709399)

VMware Tools is a great little app that let's you play all those old DOS games in WinXP with zero hassle. I still play Betrayal at Krondor all the time. Best... game... ever...

Re:Small gripe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16709299)

No shit? Way to be a karma leech.

Re:Small gripe (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#16709385)

Linux is not a gaming platform, it's a business platform.
Funny, that's what Windows is supposed to be.

I don't get how CEOs can say "I'm going to run my business on the same operating system my kid uses to play his games". Seriously.

Re:Small gripe (1)

foobat (954034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711825)

don't want to troll/ go completley off topic, but please explain to me what linux lacks that prevents games from being made for it?

Re:Small gripe (1)

vp0ng (751157) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711879)

a bigger user base of people that use Linux as a gaming machine over a business machine.

Smaller gripe (1)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 7 years ago | (#16707633)

s/Wndows/Windows

Nothing wrong with episodic gaming in this case (2, Insightful)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 7 years ago | (#16706403)

Honestly, when it comes to story-driven games, I don't understand why the game publishers are criticized. This sort of thing at only $9 per episode and it has direct influence from Steve Purcell himself ... this needs to be criticized why?? It also allows the game companies to get immediate feedback on the game, not only froma story but also a technical standpoint.

For example ... All of the episodes are going to use the same engine. So if there's a problem in the first episode that they didn't catch, which is very possible because of the huge number of combinations of hardware out there, they can quickly make engine adjustments for the next episode. In some respects that might be the same thing as a "patch", but considering the negative connotation that the word "patch" includes, this is probably a better solution from a public relations frame of mind.

Additionally, it gives them immediate feedback that can be applied in the next episode. What if people play the first episode then make great game comments about "It would be great if they did such and such in the next episode based on this particular occurrence in the first episode!" If it's a really good idea, it could be written into the next episode, which is only a few weeks away. If this was a complete game, there'd be no opportunity to work it into the story.

Similarly, it gives the writers more opportunity to expand the breadth of the story for future episodes, which is something that could not be done with a complete game. Maybe a sequel would work, but it could be years until a sequel comes out; and the sequel might have a storyline that is not compatible with ideas that were thought of before the prequel was finished.

I am the kind who does not like episodic games. I admit it. But when it comes to games where the strength is the storyline, I can see where episodic releases would be a wise idea. And at least this way, I get the whole game for about 1/2 the cost of a new, "big company" release and I don't have to opportunity to blow through the whole thing in a few days then say, "Okay. I'm done. What's next?" Sometimes a forced anticipation isn't that bad, especially when we're only talking about five or six weeks between episodes.

Re:Nothing wrong with episodic gaming in this case (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 7 years ago | (#16709607)

Honestly, when it comes to story-driven games, I don't understand why the game publishers are criticized.

Because the vast majority of them use it as an attempt to nickle and dime us with these episodes and ultimately charge us more for less. This game might be an exception, but it is certainly not the rule.

Re:Nothing wrong with episodic gaming in this case (1)

fithmo (854772) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710055)

This game might be an exception, but it is certainly not the rule.

So buy it, make it a success, and hopefully the rules will change.

Oh, and don't buy the ones that "nickle and dime us with these episodes and ultimately charge us more for less".

Re:Nothing wrong with episodic gaming in this case (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 7 years ago | (#16717301)

I don't buy the ones that nickle and dime...but unfortunately I will not be buying this one since I'm one of the rare few who is not a huge fan of Sam and Max. I will definitely cheer them on though.

Who the fuck are "Sam and Max"? (-1, Troll)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#16706587)

Aside from the return of a beloved pair of gaming icons (Sam and Max)...
Sorry, never heard of them. I think you have to be as famous as Mario or at least Luigi to get "icon" status.

Re:Who the fuck are "Sam and Max"? (1)

Erwin_Br (902054) | more than 7 years ago | (#16706673)

Who are Mario and Luigi? In other words: Just because YOU never heard of them, doesn't mean they're not famous. --Erwin

Re:Who the fuck are "Sam and Max"? (1)

Kazzahdrane (882423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16706709)

They're iconic to gamers from the early 1990's. Even if you weren't an adventure gamer you still saw them all over when the game was released. And they've stuck around in the gaming conciousness pretty well, though not as you say as well as the Mario brothers and say, Lara or Master Chief.

Re:Who the fuck are "Sam and Max"? (1)

LukeCage (1007133) | more than 7 years ago | (#16706763)

You mean like, having their own Saturday morning cartoon show (which they did) and their own comic book? Sorry that your plumbercentric view keeps you from enjoying the characters from other franchises.

Re:Who the fuck are "Sam and Max"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16707763)

What about having a cameo appearance in most every LucasArts game -- including the Star Wars titles -- from 1993 until 2001?

Though in your defense, they were comic icons first.

Here's Hoping for the Wii Release! (2, Informative)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16706761)

A month or so ago, Telltale announced that their efforts to drum up interest at Nintendo had been rewarded, and Nintendo had agreed to give them a complete Dev Kit. I'm really looking forward to that release, as I'm now a Mac user still using a G5 tower. I also hope it makes it as Virtual Console title, although I rather expect it will be released as seasons on disc later on.

Re:Here's Hoping for the Wii Release! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16707285)

Nintendo never agreed to any such thing. Go look at Telltale's actual site, and you'll see that it only says that Nintendo 'contacted' them.

USA-Only :( (1)

cailyoung (898949) | more than 7 years ago | (#16706909)

It's a shame that nobody outside America can enjoy this game.

Re:USA-Only :( (1)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 7 years ago | (#16707061)

It's a shame that nobody outside America can enjoy this game.

Oh bugger.

I'm in Belgium, and enjoyed it last night. I guess someone ought to tell their non-Gametap online ordering system to ignore such filthy non-American countries as the one I'm in?

Re:USA-Only :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16707459)

http://www.telltalegames.com/store/samandmax [telltalegames.com]

It's available everywhere.

Re:USA-Only :( (1)

dank zappingly (975064) | more than 7 years ago | (#16708921)

It was USA only for 15 days. You can buy it from any country. Really.

How about a link? (4, Informative)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 7 years ago | (#16707165)

If you're going to review an downlable subscription-based game, you could at least link to it [telltalegames.com] !

Too short (1)

RancidMilk (872628) | more than 7 years ago | (#16707257)

I downloaded the game and beat it within 2 hours. It was fun, but really short.

Re:Too short (1)

PixelScuba (686633) | more than 7 years ago | (#16716429)

Do what I do. My primary machine is a 900 Athlon, so find yourself an old machine, install it on there, and you can increase your gameplay by 3 hours or more just from simply waiting the minutes between transitions!

Bone series (1)

TheSacrificialFly (124096) | more than 7 years ago | (#16707359)

Telltale's been working on the engine they used for Sam and Max with two previous episodic games based on the Bone characters... I played them through last weekend and had a great time. Same kind of style, slightly different humor but still hilarious. http://www.telltalegames.com/bone [telltalegames.com]

The first episode is kind of short, but download both and it's great value for money. There's nothing like seeing a full size cow coathanger itself on a tree branch at full gallop...

Re:Bone series (1)

Ignatius D'Lusional (1010911) | more than 7 years ago | (#16707643)

There's nothing like seeing a full size cow coathanger itself on a tree branch at full gallop...


Oh god, I hope you meant to say "clothesline". You don't want to know the horribly grotesque visual that comment gave me.

The voices... (1)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 7 years ago | (#16707411)

I'm not digging the voices, especially Max's... They did better w/ the TV show in that regard, I think.

voice acting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16707729)

one of the great things about the original S&M is the tremendous voice acting. in this game it sounds like the they just hired some punks off the street or had no directing. its bad enough to warrant not playing IMHO (similar to Grandia III or Baten Kaitos).

Not for Mac? (1)

autophile (640621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16708467)

Booooooo! Booooooooooo!

--Rob

Re:Not for Mac? (1)

dank zappingly (975064) | more than 7 years ago | (#16708953)

I think the developers said that they'd port it to Mac if there was enough demand. They ported the first Bone game. Maybe if you Mac guys buy enough of them, they'll port everything.

Distinct Difference (1)

Medgur (172679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16708799)

The original Sam & Max started with the two busting through a brick wall in their car and saving a woman in distress. This new one starts with them searching a messy office for cheese.

Somehow I think some of the energy was lost.

I'd just love to BUY it but... (2, Insightful)

garyok (218493) | more than 7 years ago | (#16709039)

... GameTap refuse to sell it to a UK IP address. They won't even let me subscribe to GameTap. Steam don't have these qualms so I reckon I'll just have to keep buying games from their (free! as in beer) online service. Hum ho.

Hope it does well though - Sam and Max are just soooo loveable. But we have money in the UK too (honestly!) and we'd love to help you out with your foreign trade deficit. Cos that's what being pals is about.

Re:I'd just love to BUY it but... (1)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710309)

Erm... It's now on sale through Telltale Games' entirely non-GameTap online store [telltalegames.com] . Works just fine with a non-USA IP address and credit card. Plus it's more like a purchase over Steam - it's not a silly subscription service. Pay your $8.95 (plus tax) and it'll unlock the game for you, permanently.

(Incidentally, the 'demo version' is the whole game, but you can't progress beyond a certain point - it just needs the magical unlocking....)

What fresh hell will this bring? (1)

edruiz987 (1022435) | more than 7 years ago | (#16709595)

So, I've pretty much sworn off PC games thanks to the truly evil copy protection out there lately (Starforce). Also, I'm very skeptical of episodic content. But - it's Sam and Max. I'm tempted. Any word on what and how Telltale is doing the copy protection/activation for these? How likely is it that I'm going to be able to play my game 5 years from now, or after a reinstall?

Re:What fresh hell will this bring? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16713593)

Game companies have heard their customers complaints, and have mostly stopped using StarForce. Ubisoft, the biggest offender, dropped it months ago. Remote authentication on games doesn't bother me much. If it ever stops working, I know this site [thepiratebay.com] (or one like it) will have a useful backup for me, ready to download.

What's wrong with charging more money for games? (1)

QuantumFTL (197300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16709717)

"Don't break up a game just to charge us more for it" is the prevalent thinking. The 'march of progress' has allowed game companies to come up with plenty of new ways to get our money, so it's an understandable fear.
Here's what I don't understand - if someone wants to make a game, what's wrong with them charging whatever they want for it? Don't think that game is worth $50 to you? Then just don't buy it!

A lot of gamers look at games as being some kind of art which should be done for art's sake. That's nice, but that doesn't keep your kids fed and a roof over your head. The sad fact is that many if not most famous artists were not properly appreciated in their time (many died very, very poor), and video games aren't even widely considered art.

If you don't like how corporations make, market, and distribute games, buy from independent game makers, support FOSS, or set up and donate to a nonprofit for making more artistically pleasing video games. The profit motive doesn't have to be the driving force behind a game, but people need to eat, and I'm sorry but to me $50 *is* worth it for a polished game w/ tech support and wide user base vs. most half-abandoned FOSS games that are either clones or poorly balanced and tested.

Design! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16711639)

I have sort of a beef with the look of this game. I mean, sparsish 3D environments worked for Grim Fandango, when we were all running Windows 98 and every character was a skeleton, but the modern PC has some real poly pushing power in there...can we use it to make the scenery look a little less staged, please? You can do it, TellTale, I know you can! Think back to the crowded, zany scenes of the Curse of Monkey Island, or even Don Copal's office in Grim Fandango. Give those scenes some real life!

Hate the art style (1)

sahonen (680948) | more than 7 years ago | (#16713895)

There's just something about adventure games that make me want to see them in 2D... Especially a cartoon like Sam and Max. I just don't think the 3D look works for them. I think they should have stuck a bit closer to the original Sam and Max game's look only with updates like a higher resolution and antialiased sprite edges.
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