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  • Season Three
  • The Penal Zone
  • The Tomb of Sammun-Mak
  • They Stole Max's Brain!
  • Beyond the Alley of the Dolls
  • The City That Dares Not Sleep
also known as Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse, Sam & Max 2010
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games, PlayStation Network (online)
Designers: Chuck Jordan, Steve Purcell
Composers: Jared Emerson-Johnson
Voices: David Nowlin (Sam), William Kasten (Max)
Engine: Telltale Tool
Platforms: PC, Mac, PS3, iPad (episode one only)
First release: April 2, 2010 (iPad), April 15, 2010 – August 2010
Control: Direct
Blurb

The Devil’s Playhouse is the biggest, strangest and most epic season to date. As the saga begins, an otherworldy power for controlling matter and space calls to the strongest and strangest who might wield it – intergalactic warlords and eldritch gods, under-dwellers and scholars of the arcane. Gaming’s greatest dog and rabbit sleuths Sam & Max seek the power’s ancient secrets, as Max gains shape shifting, teleportation, mind reading and future vision abilities for battling these foes. The saga plays out in a surreal 5 month-long symphony of mayhem that gets deeper and more twisted with each episode.

Details

The third season of Sam & Max was teased to Telltale’s audience through a teaser shown at the end of the finale of their Tales of Monkey Island series on 9th December, 2009. A teaser page was linked to, tentatively titling the detective duo’s new outing as ‘Sam & Max 2010′. The site proved to be a temporary tease, offering pieces of content art with a voice over description for each piece. Eventually details started to roll in, attaching the title ‘The Devil’s Playhouse’ to the five-part episodic journey that would be released on the PC, Mac and for the first time in Sam & Max’s history the PS3 and iPad (although the latter only saw the first episode due to technical limitations).

The first episode, The Penal Zone, was released on Telltale’s website on 15 April, 2010, around two years after the end of season two. This was the first Sam & Max episode to feature Telltale’s new direct control scheme (instead of point and click) and the long interim had allowed advancements in the graphical and animation quality. The season also saw advancements in story presentation, with less reliance on the street and the complete close down of the dog and rabbity-thing’s office. Fan favourite Bosco is not to be found anywhere and Sybil only appears, albeit transformed, in the final episode.

Throughout the season Sam & Max find themselves in a spaceship, exploring their ancestor’s past and in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. All of this is tied together through the introduction of a new gameplay mechanic: Max’s psychic powers. By utilising abilities such transforming into objects or reading people’s minds, Telltale were able to break the mould of their tried-and-tested puzzles and rely less on the standard inventory. This gives the five episodes a distinctly different feel to the previous two seasons, whether for better or worse.

The episodes were released on a monthly basis until August 2010. The exact day within the month was usually announced a short time prior to the actual release, a different approach to the pre-planned and solid schedule that Sam & Max fans had been used to previously. The episodes also made their worldwide premieres on Telltale’s official website (with the exception of The Penal Zone on iPad), with Gametap not offering the game at all, let alone releasing them early as had been the method previously.

Video

Further Reading