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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Adventure

 

Publisher

Telltale Games / Gametap

 

Developer

Telltale Games

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

December 2006

 

 

- Dialogue is funnier than the hard-to-top Sam & Max: Culture Shock
- Improved camera behavior that sometimes was distracting in Sam & Max: Culture Shock

 

 

- Much shorter than Sam & Max: Culture Shock
- Just as in the first title, the game could have used a few mini-games to give the title some needed replayability, particularly considering the game’s brevity
- All of the game adventuring really takes place at the television studio, so not so much of an “adventuring” aspect to playing

 

 

Review: Sam & Max: Culture Shock (PC)

Review: Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude (PC)

Classic Review: Sam & Max Hit the Road (PC)

 

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Sam & Max

Situation: Comedy

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

Just two episodes into a planned six-part “first season” of Sam & Max, it’s clear that the point & click adventure genre has resurrected itself. Sam & Max: Situation: Comedy is the second Sam & Max episodic adventure from Telltale Games, and a pattern’s unmistakably defining itself already. Expect stellar, updated classic point & click adventuring (and the familiar “combining A with B” puzzles) and the best game writing around with genuinely hilarious dialogue under the direction of Sam & Max creator Steve Purcell and veteran LucasArts point & click adventuring developers now employed at Telltale Games.

 
sam & max situation comedy          sam & max situation comedy

 

This episode is much shorter than the series’ premiere, but once again, Sam & Max Situation: Comedy has hit the hammer on the head of hilarity and will be well savored by anybody that plays it. That’s especially true for those hooked on the new adventures of Sam & Max from the first episode, as Situation: Comedy

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definitely is developing as a story, with a familiar plotline and characters from the first game returning along with a handful of new ones joining the jocularity. 
 
Once again, our kooky canine and crazy carrot-chomping bunny are on the case, as at the mayor’s request, they must help the audience of talk-show host Myra Stump escape. Stump won’t allow them to leave her studio until she’s “Oprah-fied” them completely, by giving

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them gift after bizarre gift (case of beef jerky, anyone?)
 
To free the “captive” audience, our zany duo must visit the television station where Stump’s show is broadcast. Before heading to the studio, Sam and Max can pay a visit to old friends Bosco and Sybil. Bosco the inconvenience store owner is now donning an English accent to disguise himself from the skinbodies (led by Jimmy Two-Teeth the rat, another returning cast member). Sybil is now in the tabloid industry, with her publication, Alien Love Triangle.
 
When Sam and Max finally arrive at the studio, it’s spoofs galore, as there’s a send-up of talk shows (ranging from Oprah to The View to Jerry Springer); American Idol (Embarrassing Idol); cooking shows; the New Age movement (led here by Prismatologist Hugh Bliss); Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Who Doesn’t Want to Be a Millionaire?); and believe it or not, Three’s Company (Midtown Cowboys), starring a roommate cow (Bessy) and a chicken (Philo Pennyworth) in the Don Knotts/Ralph Furley role.
 
Sam and Max must visit each spoofed set and engage in an activity with a goal required by Stump (secure a recording contract, provide a videotape of them as television stars, and show proof of Sam and Max being involved in a tabloid scandal) to get themselves “booked” as guests on her show to help rescue the audience.
 
Riotous laughs ensue at a frequent pace, much more than in the funny-in-its-own-right first game. But as the game clocks in around just around three hours or less to complete, the laughs really don’t last as long as one would like. That’s due to the fact that all the game’s adventuring takes place almost solely in the television studio, requiring less traveling from place to place to “shockingly” solve the “crime.” There’s so much to spoof, but so little time to really fully enjoy it.

 

sam & max situation comedy          sam & max situation comedy

 
Other guest appearances are logged in by the Soda Poppers, who return from their role as the hypnotized dupes of Brady Culture from Culture Shock (Brady Culture doesn’t return, but his large afro does, making a “guest” appearance in Sam and Max’s closet). The Freelance Police discover that Stump was herself hypnotized, and in fact even comment how ironic that turns out to be, hinting strongly that hypnotism somehow will find a way into the final four episodes, too.
 
Most of the puzzles in Situation: Comedy aren’t too difficult to figure out, although they’re all really amusing, especially Sam doing his best hound-dog crooning for the recording-contract prize from Embarrassing Idol.
 
As in Sam & Max: Culture Shock, I would have really liked to have seen some sort of mini-games included, something that could have been replayed once the main adventure was completed, particularly considering the short time you’ll spend the completing the entire adventure. There is another sort-of mini-game with Sam and Max using the Freelance Police DeSoto to chase the skinbodies, but it’s not as interactive as was a similar sort-of mini-game in Culture Shock.
 
Nothing changes from Culture Shock as far as the graphical and voice-acting aspects of Situation: Comedy are concerned, and that’s definitely a plus. The actors are splendid at portraying humor, and the visuals are really good once again. Vastly improved is the sometimes-schizophrenic camera from Sam & Max: Culture Shock that would block the goings-on, especially cut-scene interactions. I didn’t notice one instance of that particular issue at all in Situation: Comedy.
 
Even better than the first episode, Situation: Comedy brings a much funnier game to Sam & Max fans, although unfortunately you won’t enjoy it as long as you might have wanted before the adventure ends but not before it delivers a rib-tickling adventuring that both older, hard-core Sam & Max fanatics and newbies to the comical duo’s antics will thoroughly enjoy.

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(January 5, 2007)

 

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