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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Adventure

 

Publisher

Telltale Games / Gametap

 

Developer

Telltale Games

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

February 1, 2007

 

 

- Humor and writing still at a high level of hilarity

- Despite the game’s brevity, a good time due to interesting characters and good storyline

 

 

- Much shorter (only about two hours) gameplay than the first two games

- Would be nice to spend less time in Sam and Max’s neighborhood and more time in new locales

 

 

Review: Sam & Max: Culture Shock (PC)

Review: Sam & Max - Situation: Comedy (PC)

Review: Indigo Prophecy (PC)

 

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Sam & Max: The Mole, The Mob, and the Meatball

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

In their third episodic appearance since their successful return to the gaming scene, our zany detectives Sam and Max are investigating the seeming disappearance of the commissioner’s “mole” planted inside the Ted E. Bear Mafia-Free Playland and Casino. But the only way for Sam and Max to find out where the mole’s gone to is to infiltrate the casino themselves, becoming part of the Toy Mafia (which is doing a relatively poor job selling the “mafia-free” in the casino’s name; I mean, they're not fooling anybody, even with the large teddy bear heads they all wear).

 

sam & max          sam & max

 

That’s right, the Toy Mafia all wear large teddy bear heads, a clue that was tipped off in the previous game, Situation Comedy. It was a teddy bear that hypnotized Myra , and as Sam and Max will find out, it came from the covert teddy bear-making plant hidden in the back of the casino.

 

So, Sam and Max must become “made men” (or, in this case, “made dog and rabbit”) to learn the mole’s fate. In typical mob fashion, there are tasks to accomplish to prove you deserve to be a mobster. And these three mob tasks are what provide the gaming adventure: Sam and Max must steal an old (and rather rancid and moldy) meatball sandwich, eliminate a court-case “professional” witness (that so happens to be Sam and Max’s old friend Sybil), and stock the Inconvenience Store shelves owned by paranoid Bosco (now sporting a French accent instead of the English one in Situation: Comedy) with hypnotic teddy bears. Another returning acquaintance is the rat Jimmy Two-Tooth, who provides a

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crucial item necessary to beat the card cheat Leonard Steakcharmer (how’s that for a name, heh?), and a new character is the tough-talking drill-sergeant bug (he’s the listening device that’s literally a bug).

 

Once again, the gameplay takes place in just a few locales, as once again, for the third straight episode, most of the action takes 

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place within the confines of the city street where Sybil’s store/office, Sam and Max’ s office and Bosco’s store are located. Once again, there is only one place to visit in the Freelance Police’s DeSoto (only to the casino). The Desoto is once again involved in a mini-game activity (there’s also a shooting mini-game in the casino), this time while evading the mob’s pursuit of Sam and Max after they’ve solved the mole’s mystery disappearance.

 

Notice I said “once again” more than a few times above. Because, once again, just as in the other games, you’ll be doing a lot of similar game activities. There’s a repetitive nature becoming apparent in the series because of the familiarity with the settings of Sam and Max’s adventuring.

 

A change of scenery would do the batch of episodes well, but with only three more episodes to go before Season One wraps up, it may not be too unrealistic to expect a total abandonment of the city street being the center of the Sam and Max gameplay universe. As already mentioned, you’ll visit the casino, but that’s the only traveling from familiar territory you’ll venture with Sam and Max. While you really only went to a television studio in Situation: Comedy, the variety of different show sets there broke up that familiarity much better.

 

sam & max          sam & max

 

Despite the gameplay staying put in one centralized area for the most part, it’s not a huge cornucopia of environmental shifting that is the real reason that gamers will once again enjoy the escapades of Sam and Max.

 

Our duo’s adventure still has plenty of laughs and chuckles, as the humor is still at a high level of hilarity with stellar voice-acting all around and excellent comical scriptwriting/storytelling. That’s the whole draw to the new Sam & Max series. The best and funniest writing in gaming offsets repetitive and ever-shortening gameplay, this time with plenty of mob/criminal-related jokes correlated to the eclectic bunch of mob-types dressed in huge teddy bear heads, each with a New York/Jersey-mob accent (although there’s nothing too stereotypical or ethnically flavored that Italians, those most think of as running the traditional “mafia”, would find offensive).

 

Again, the puzzles aren’t too difficult to figure out, although the little twist “payoff” once you solve them and become made into the Toy Mafia led by Don Ted. E. Bear is worth it.

 

If you’ve enjoyed the first two episodes of Sam and Max’s capers, then Sam & Max: The Mole, the Mob and the Meatball will be just as pleasurable to play, although be forewarned this is the shortest of the three so far. The ending leads perfectly into the next episode, as Sam and Max gamers head over the hump sliding downward to the season finale in just a few short months. Once again this is an adventure in rib-tickling hilarity, although déjà vu is starting to set in as far as in regards to where the Sam and Max adventures take place.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(February 12, 2007)

 

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