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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Adventure

 

Publisher

Telltale Games / GameTap

 

Developer

Telltale Games

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

November 9, 2007

 

 

- Yet again, the zany detective duo hit the target with their hilarious smart-ass humor and well-written dialogue

- Some puzzles much more challenging to figure out

 

 

- Tarnishes the reputation of “good” old St. Nick

- While the appearance of some recurring characters fits into the second season seamlessly, could have done without a renewal visit by the Soda Poppers

 

 

Review: Sam & Max Season One (PC)

Review: Portal (PC)

Review: Armed & Dangerous (PC)

 

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Sam & Max 201: Ice Station Santa

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

Yes, Sam and Max, there is a Santa Claus! Following a highly successful first season of episodic games, Sam and Max, the doubly demented detective duo, kick off a second season with Sam & Max 201: Ice Station Santa. Like the episode’s name alludes to, Sam and Max must defeat a legendary figure known for his good-natured generosity, and “ho, ho” jollity – Santa! Only as Sam and Max discover, Santa’s a paranoid taskmaster with a questionable grip on reality, even for someone that’s not rooted in everyday reality himself. Yes, the reputation of good old St. Nick is forever tarnished for whoever plays Ice Station Santa.

 

ice station santa          ice station santa

 

As in every one of the six episodes from season one, it’s not the resurrecting of the point & click adventure that made Sam and Max’s return so welcomed by the masses. It’s the hilarious smart-ass humor and well-written and very funny story that is again a major draw for both old and new Sam and Max fans.

 

There are plenty of recurring characters, and some play a more prominent role than before (Jimmy Two-Teeth), while others maintain a similar role as in season 

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one (Sybil and Bosco). The Lincoln Memorial’s head, still a love interest of Sybil, is around, as are the annoying Soda Poppers as well as a new cast member, Stinky, the restaurant owner. There’s also a bunch of strange-looking Santa’s elves at the North Pole, and the three spirits of Christmas (past, present and future) that

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help Sam and Max defeat the object of Santa’s paranoia, the evil gelatinous corporate entity. The old neighborhood where Sam and Max’s office can be found has been slightly restructured so that there are a few new locales (or old locales in different places). The detective duo will also be taking many leisurely drives in Sam and Max’s DeSoto cruiser to the North Pole.

 

Once again, there are plenty of puzzles to figure out, and already in the first episode of season two, finding the solutions takes a little more thinking, although some are just more confusing than difficult. Most puzzles require more of the same traveling from one location to retrieve an item then bringing it to another location to combine with another item. And the final puzzle requires multiple tasks being performed in Santa’s workshop to finish off the psycho Santa once and for all.

 

ice station santa          ice station santa

 

Turning Santa into a lunatic with more than a few screws loose – just another irreverent day at the office for the Sam & Max developers. Ice Station Santa is another solid entry in the Sam & Max comeback that once again will please their fans. The puzzles can be a bit more challenging, and some of the ghosts of Sam & Max past could have been better off left in the past (yeah, Soda Poppers, go pop off: if you had fizzled and faded out with the conclusion of season one, no one really would have missed you too much).

 

If the rest of season two is just as good as Ice Station Santa, gamers will be as happy as a kid on Christmas morning, although they’ll never look at Kris Kringle the same way ever again in light of Santa’s portrayal in the game. Anybody that can make Sam and Max seem normal by comparison truly is insane and delusional. There are plenty of hijinks and hilarity to be found during Ice Station Santa in the unraveling of the Santa legend, Sam and Max style.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(November 29, 2007)

 

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