Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse – Episode 2: The Tomb of Sammun-Mak Review (PC)

Game Review: Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse – Episode 2: The Tomb of Sammun-Mak
Release: May 18, 2010
Genre: Point and Click Adventure
Developer: TellTale Games
Available Platforms: PC/ PS3/ iPad/ Mac
Players: 1
MSRP: $34.95 (cost for full season)
ESRB Rating: E10

Season 3 Episode 2, The Tomb of Sammun-Mak opens up with a cinematic that picks up right where episode 1 ended, with Sam & Max saving the world from the evil alien gorilla, Skun-ka’pe.  Drop over to the review of episode one (PC review, PS3 review) for more details.  For those of you yet to complete episode one, I am sure you won’t mind me telling you that you find an old film projector with a reel still loaded in it. The film shows Sam & Max’s ancestors, Sammeth & Maximus (guess which one is which), running away from an Egyptian Tomb carrying the Devils toy box. There are four film reels in total and these represent the four chapters of the game but you don’t exactly play these in a sensible order.

If you recall, Max had gained psychic powers in episode one and although you play this episode as Maximus, we discover that the powers are genetic and as such Maximus has some too. This time around you have the ability to astral project, hide in a can of nuts and use psychic ventriloquism. Each of these powers are used quite frequently throughout the game with the ventriloquism getting the most giggles and best one liner jokes.  The astral projection is used to gather information from different reels to give to characters from one of the three other reels and quite honestly, this becomes quite annoying but it doesn’t ruin the  gaming experience too much.

Graphics continue the relatively high standard set in episode one with their bright and vibrant colors. The same control system is used which leads to a few awkward camera angles at times.  The characters voices are well done again and the dialogue is typical Sam & Max with their unique brand of twisted humour.  I often found myself trying to exhaust all the dialogue options just to hear what else was going to be said before moving onto the next part of the adventure.

New characters are introduced this time around, which makes sense considering you’re playing in the past.  You can expect to meet mole people, a young Amelia Earhart, Vampire Slushie and Lord Kringle and his elves.  I won’t spoil how or when you meet these people but as you spend a lot of time in a tomb, don’t be surprised to also come across a tomb raider at some point as well.

Marks final say: Sam & Max Season 3, Episode 2 is a solid continuation of the story with my only real gripe being the jumping between reels and trying to remember which reel I needed to go back to in order to solve a particular puzzle. At the same time, I have to give credit to TellTale Games for experimenting and throwing this astral projection element into the point and click genre, which has always been criticized for being linear.  If you enjoy point and click adventure games, especially quirky and funny ones, you owe it to yourself to pick this up.   I’m really looking forward to episode 3 to see what powers Max will receive and to see what direction TellTale Games take the season.

It’s also worth pointing out that after the monthly releases are complete, season customers will have the opportunity to get a Collector’s DVD containing all five games and bonus content, for just the cost of shipping!

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