I’ve never interrogated a rat before. It turns out it can be a hell of a lot of fun. You see, Sam and Max really needed their phone and the aforementioned rat had hidden it. With the light from a desk lamp adding to the tension, the Freelance Police set about questioning the little rodent. Sam, an anthropomorphic dog wearing a detective’s outfit, tried appealing to the rat’s sensibilities to build a rapport with the phone-napper. Max, a rabbity-thing, threatened to tear the rat’s arms off. This is my first taste of Sam & Max Save the World: Remastered, and I’m hooked.
Truth be told, this is my first taste of a Sam & Max game, period. Now I love point-and-click adventure games; the Monkey Island series, Simon the Sorcerer, Broken Sword; but for some reason I missed out on the whacky buddy cop duo first time round.
A brief history lesson
Their first foray into gaming – Sam & Max Hit the Road, developed and published by LucasArts – came out back in 1993 on MS-DOS. In preparation for writing this article I’ve watched some of the gameplay from that original title and it’s fantastic. I can see why it became a cult classic.
13 years later, another instalment in the franchise was released, this time from Telltale Games. Sam & Max Save the World was a series of episodic adventures filled with the trademark cartoony aesthetic and outrageous comedy writing. Two further seasons were released – Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space (2007), and Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse (2010). But Telltale sadly closed their doors in 2018. That could have spelled the end of Sam & Max had it not been for a team of former Telltale staff who created a new studio, Skunkape Games (named after a character from Sam & Max no less!).
Back to 2020
Initially Skunkape were going to patch Sam & Max Save the World to make it run better on modern devices. They quickly realised that was no simple task given the age of the source content, so they set about remastering the game instead.
And boy, oh boy, have they delivered.
Sam & Max never looked so good. Their models are cartoonier than ever. The visuals are gorgeous. The lighting adds depth to each, now widescreen, scene. The audio is crisp. It runs as smooth as silk. Put simply it’s had the full polish and wax treatment.
I haven’t completed the game yet, but using the simple point and click controls I’ve already; dropped a bowling ball on a child stars head, shot a cupboard full of cheese, asked a shop keeper if he has any two handed broadswords, crashed into an innocent motorist and fined him $10,000 for having a tail-light out, and more. Our titular crime fighters’ absurdist commentary has kept me grinning throughout.
It’s Sam & Max that really sell the game
Their odd-couple, good cop, bad cop relationship is a joy to experience. I love how unashamedly violent Max is and his cheese obsession speaks to my soul. Sam’s clever retorts and observations bring a level-headedness to the duo. They’re both excellent characters.
As first impressions go, the Freelance Police have really made their mark. With another 8 hours of gameplay ahead of me I’m excited to continue this whacky adventure with my new buddies at the helm.
Sam & Max Save the World: Remastered is out now on PC and Switch.
Find out more at Skunkape Games.
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