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  • Season One
  • Culture Shock
  • Situation: Comedy
  • The Mole, the Mob and the Meatball
  • Abe Lincoln Must Die!
  • Reality 2.0
  • Bright Side of the Moon
also known as Sam & Max Save the World

Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games (online), JoWooD (EU), The Adventure Company (NA)
Designers: Brendan Q. Ferguson, Dave Grossman, Steve Purcell
Composers: Jared Emerson-Johnson
Voices: David Nowlin (Sam), Andrew Chaikin (Max, 101), William Kasten (Max, >102)
Engine: Telltale Tool
Platforms: PC, Mac, Wii, 360
First release: October 17 2006 – April 26 2007 (episodes), August 7 2007 (retail)
Control: Point and click

Blurb

Get ready to Save the World in this side-splitting six-episode “season” of gaming’s first sitcom. Canine shamus Sam and his hyperkinetic rabbity-thing partner Max are faced with a baffling mystery. All around them, people are ending up hypnotized. Washed-up child stars. The host of a popular television talk show. Even the President of the United States! Can Sam & Max find the mastermind behind this evil scheme before the entire world slips into a hypnotic trance? In this first “season” of the episodic Sam & Max series, you get six full games that take Sam & Max deeper and deeper into a sinister mind-control plot. Uncover clues, interrogate suspects, crack all six bizarre cases, and find out why Sam & Max is the funniest game series in years!

Details

After the Freelance Police game was cancelled by LucasArts, Telltale Games came to the rescue in 2005 by announcing an episodic series of adventure games for the PC. A company made up of many ex-Lucas employees, many were excited to see the direction Telltale would take the series. It was stated that Telltale would be starting from fresh, and would be using very little design inspiration from Freelance Police. The first season was made up of six episodes, each with their own self-contained story, but an underlying and arching plot covering the whole season.

The season’s opening episode had a group of former child stars, the Soda Poppers, threatening Sam & Max’s neighbourhood with their hypnotized states. Future episodes took the pair into a sitcom, infiltrating a mafia, killing Abe Lincoln, destroying the internet before finally landing on the moon for the sixth episode to discover who or what is behind the hypnotism that made up many of their cases. And, as the season is also known as ‘Save the World’, this is suitably what the detective duo do.

The game introduces some new characters to the Sam & Max universe. Although his store could be seen on the outside in Hit the Road, Bosco now makes a full appearance with his Inconvenience shop. As a very paranoid person, throughout the season he dons various disguises to hide himself. From who? Only Bosco truly knows. Another new character, Sybil, also owns her own business, and she is constantly changing her profession from episode to episode. Of course, there are loads more, too many to mention them all — Jimmy the Rat, Superball and Hugh Bliss to name a few.

This game was the first time that Sam & Max had made the leap into 3D, at least in a published form. Dave Grossman stated that he “wanted to get a little bit more of that dirt on the streets”, with Purcell saying he wanted it to convey the “gritty” feel the original comics had. It retained the same adventure point-and-click control scheme that fans were familiar with in Hit the Road, along with sprinklings of action sequences in car chase scenes. For distribution, Telltale struck a deal with digital download service Gametap, with them seeing the new episodes two weeks before they hit Telltale’s official worldwide site.

Video

Critics

adventuregamerslogoAdventure Gamers (PC) – Because of the constant recycling of elements, and the lack of a well-defined story thread, you should be advised that to buy the Season One set is to purchase a collection of excellent, short comedy adventures, and the whole concept of a true “season” has yet to be realized to its true potential… In either case, consider Sam & Max: Season One an important achievement for the genre and a true must-play collection.

gamespotlogo Gamespot (Wii) – The real attraction here is not so much the gameplay as it is Sam and Max themselves. The memorable assortment of former child stars, mafiosi, moles, rats, masters of disguise, sentient arcade games, and US presidents that they meet on their adventure are also a big attraction … there’s a good amount of content here for those seeking a surreal journey through the seedy underbelly of has-been child stardom, American politics, the information superhighway, and the terrifying realm of a self-help guru.

ignlogo IGN (Wii) – Graphic adventures are just as much about the writing as they are gameplay and Sam & Max: Season One is stuffed with zany characters and one liners … The slow pace of these games isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a fan you’ll probably get your fix with Sam & Max: Season One. Each episode will last you a few hours, so with around 20-25 hours of gameplay here for $30 this is a pretty good deal for those of us who have the patience for these games.