January 31, 2008


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Sam & Max Episode 202: Maoi Better Blues (PC)
Telltale Games, Jan. 10
By Glenn "DeSoto" Given production@hippopress.com

The old-school point-and-click puzzler resuscitators Sam & Max ratchet the clever up to a new high with Maoi Better Blues.

In their eigth outing after being canned by Lucas Arts, and yes I am remiss for not addressing S&M earlier, freelance police investigators Sam (a pooch with a love of popsicles and violence) and Max (a rabbity-thing with a love of violence and violence) must save the animated heads of Easter Island. In turn they must stop a lava machine run by a cult of oceanic monkeys, banter with the babified Glen Miller and Jimmy Hoffa and do a fair bit of portal hopping to unravel the puzzles that draw you through this giddily bizarre story.

Prior Sam and Max episodes have been good to great (with Season One Episode Four: Abe Lincoln Must Die! being a standout) but the timbre of the original comic series and itís classic PC incarnation Sam & Max: Hit the Road was never quite met. Maoi Better Blues brings a lot of that back, be it in meta-narrative humor or in its ability to seamlessly integrate an unshamefully stolen mechanic from another hit game for both cleverly practical and laughable ends.

Telltale has crafted a series of gems with Sam & Max. For their bargain prices (especially by the bundle) and speedy turnaround of episodes this is a pretty sure bet. The humor may skew a bit esoteric and dark at times but thatís always been the charm of creator Steve Purcellís work. A ó Glenn GIven