Hit the Road
Yikes! Grab your nightstick, squeal like a siren, and Hit the Road with Sam & Max, Freelance Police, as they attempt to crack their toughest case. Sam (a canine shamus) and Max (a hyperkinetic rabbity thing) are hot on the trail of a runaway carnival Bigfoot across America’s quirky underbelly in this deranged animated adventure! Help our frightening, furry flatfoots find the fugitive freak! Do it now!
Before being created in a fully fledged game, Sam & Max acted as internal testing material for the LucasArts’ programmers. Fans reacted positively to comic strips that were published in LucasArt’s newsletter, and so a new game was born. The game used a 2D point-and-click interface to control Sam, and was the first to feature icons as dialogue choices rather than the lines, with Mike Stemmle designer saying “nothing would kill a joke worse than reading it before you hear it”.
The game was also one of the first to have a full speech and a soundtrack. Steve Purcell said it was a “dream opportunity” to hear Sam & Max come to life through Bill Farmer and Nick Jameson. Purcell also expressed pleasure at how close LucasArts let him stay to his original vision, with some of the “edgier material” he expected to be cut being left in. From a programming point of view, the game introduced a change to the SCUMM engine. The verb selection was done through the right-mouse button, and the inventory was moved into an off-screen menu. Purcell said the reasoning for this was to “expand on the excellent backgrounds and also made interaction much quicker and less laborious than LucasArts’ previous adventure games”.
Hit the Road was based on the 1989 Sam & Max Comic ‘On the Road’, and features the pair visiting many tourist traps through the United States. The plot of the game starts with a call from the Commissioner, telling them to go to the carnival. When they get there they discover a bigfoot called Bruno has escaped and taken Trixie the Giraffe-necked Girl with him. Going through locations such as The World’s Largest Ball of Twine and Mount Rushmore, Sam & Max learn that a country western singer by the name of Conroy Bumpus wishes to use Bruno in his performances. After eventually freeing Bruno and Trixie, Sam & Max pose Bumpus and his henchman Lee Harvey as Bruno and collect their reward.
Adventure Gamers – Sam & Max Hit the Road is a classic, much like the 1960 DeSoto Adventurer our protagonists use in the game to travel across the continent. It’s definitely one of the funniest games I’ve played – even after completing it half a dozen times, it still keeps surprising me with new puns and one-liners. Even if you never had the chance to read the comics, this game is “a must” for any adventure gamer, if only for liberal education of the defining games in the genre.
Mixnmojo – Although Sam & Max Hit the Road does not always hold up against age in the areas of design, it nonetheless deserves its distinction as a genuine classic and features some of most entertaining character interaction ever in a game, with an irreverent brand of humor and wacky style that’s in full force from the opening image all the way through to its interactive end credits. Like all of the LEC adventure games, time has done nothing to diminish the humor, style, or craftsmanship of the whole production, which remains a celebrated, all-time favorite.
- Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark’s opening scene is parodied when Sam & Max try to steal Conroy Bumpus’ toupee.
- Sam says “Look behind you! A three headed monkey!” to distract Conroy Bumpus, a reference to the popular phrase in the Monkey Island game series.
- When Shuv-Oohl karmically links with the Yetis, he says “It’s, like, several voices screaming out in terror… and then suddenly silenced”, a reference to a quote from the Star Wars films.