Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse – Episode 5

Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse – Episode 5

What we liked:

+ Amazing dialogue
+ Creative environments

What we didn't like:

- Frustrating puzzles
- Story kind of fell flat
- Ending is a cliché

DEVELOPER: Telltale Games   |   PUBLISHER: Telltale Games   |   RELEASE: 08/30/2010

Going out without a bang.

A few months ago, the third season of Sam and Max started. After five months, it has been through its ups and downs, and finally concluded with the new episode: “The City That Dares Not Sleep.” I was certainly anxious to see it all end, as I have traveled alongside this crime fighting duo for this long. However, after seeing the big conclusion, and seeing how this whole story of this season wraps up, I came away very disappointed.

We last left the team with a big problem on their hands: Max has been turned into a giant ravaging creature that was stomping its way across the city. It is up to Sam to stop him (without hurting him), as he recruits the help of a crack team of characters. Some have been introduced this season, but also included are characters from past seasons. After you assemble your team, you make the unfavorable journey into Max, and attempt to find a way to subdue him. Some of the characters from past seasons are welcome additions, as I have not played all of the seasons, but wanted to see some of the crazy things that the team at Telltale had come up with previously. The story does wrap up on a kind of timid note, and is a little bit of a cliché.

The story overall is the main draw, as the game play really takes a backseat to the story in this episode. I found myself just working with dialogue, and talking to people to try to figure out the situation, rather than actually solving the puzzles. The puzzles that are there are clever, especially the opening one. However once you go farther into the levels, the puzzles can get really frustrating. There was a particular puzzle that almost made me throw my controller across the room. I am kind of torn however, because I didn’t really like the fact that all I was doing was talking to characters, but the game play this time around was frustrating, so it was kind of nice that I didn’t have to solve many puzzles. As a whole though, I found the game play to be very lackluster.

The environments really are the shining moment of this episode. They are the most diverse and humorous from the whole season, and really make this episode stand out in my mind. I really enjoyed the environments inside Max, as each different organ or appendage was a different room of a house. It really was a unique way to describe the insides of our furry little friend.

The dialogue and characters were also the main attraction of this episode, as I had more laughs in this single episode than I did the entire season. The conversation between Sybil and Sam is by far one of the funniest things in this entire series. The new and old characters they introduce as I have said are all welcome additions, and they introduce my new favorite character, Sam Jr. This little guy really stole the show for me, and really shows the depth of the humor in this series. Overall, the dialogue continues to be the gem in the crown of the Sam and Max saga.

As a whole, I enjoyed this season, but the final episode fell a little flat. The story didn’t really do it for me, and overall I felt kind of bored. I often found myself thinking: “when was this episode going to end?” This made it hard for me to trudge through to the end. The puzzles frustrated me, and the story was fairly interesting but just kind of chugged along. It was definitely a disappointing end of a season for the crime fighting tag team.

Review copy provided by publisher.

Jeff is a full-time student and has a disorder where he constantly trades in all his games to buy new ones, and then buys the older ones back. We are looking into getting him his own padded room.

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