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Sam & Max Episode 6 - Bright Side of the Moon (PC) artwork

Sam & Max Episode 6 - Bright Side of the Moon (PC) review


"The point being that Bright Side of the Moon is a fitting conclusion to the season and the exclamation mark at the end of the big red YES! offered by Telltale after being asked if their foray into episodic gaming was really going to cut it. However, it leans heavily on its player having invested in the previous adventures "



Itís been a funny six months in more ways that one. Throughout this time, with the aid of a straight-talking dog detective and a psychotic rabbity-thing, Iíve saved talk shows, taken over the USA, destroyed the internet, foiled a bitter ex child star and disbanded the toy mafia from the inside. Itís pretty safe to say that Iíve enjoyed the last five episodes of Sam & Max: Season 1. What all the above cases had in common was a strong motif of aggressively-employed hypnosis coupled with the tinny tang of conspiracy. Episode 6: Bright Side of the Moon sets out to tie the whole season together and does just this. Even if the same old complaints crop up from time to time.

This is my sixth episode and therefore my sixth review, and if Iíve dragged one sentiment with me through the new episodic Sam & Max releases, itís that the game suffers from some easy puzzles and the length of each chapter seems to stagger between being short and too short. Maybe that pointís been driven home if Telltale is happy to tease that mentality a little in Bright Side of the Moon, but itís still just as relevant here. Maybe the puzzles within are a tad more devious and youíll spend more time scratching your head over some of the clever conundrums, but Episode 6 should be comfortably beaten in a few sittings. But, like all the other chapters (and, indeed, episodic gaming as a whole) to focus on that would be to miss the point entirely.



The point being that Bright Side of the Moon is a fitting conclusion to the season and the exclamation mark at the end of the big red YES! offered by Telltale after being asked if their foray into episodic gaming was really going to cut it. However, it leans heavily on its player having invested in the previous adventures

The opening already spells out for you who the mastermind behind the great plan is, leaving you free to simply stop him. To do this, you need to travel to their base of operation, the moon (in the duoís battered Desoto, of course), brave the tack-filled gift shop, outsmart the ever-so-familiar agent guarding the door and infiltrate the cult-like followers that reside within theÖ strangely decorated HQ.




This gives Bright Side of the Moon ample excuse to roll out all the previous episodeís cast and display them in a slightly new light. Episode 2ís classically-trained chicken actor Philo Pennyworth has lost his cushy job in his sloppy sitcom and turns to stage magic to try and reverse his fame and find a way in Kevin Baconís house parties; Episode 5ís collection of obsolete computers including an overly angry outdated arcade cabinet and a PR-heavy automated touch-tone phone (named Bob) shill their newest ĎAI-perfectí video game while your presidential rival from Episode 4, Abe Lincoln, has dropped politics in order to chase some skirt. Where each previous episode introduced you to a new and zany opponent, here you find them all gathered together like one of those cheesy clip shows bad sitcoms use Ė but minus the urge to scrub the back of your eyeballs out with bleach.

Itís a clever tapestry of insanity that sees you collect anything not nailed down to use in odd ways later on, that has you crawling from an odd situation into ludicrous ones. One minute youíll be trying to prove your inner peace by warping a small toy unicorns horn into differing shades of the rainbow and the next vandalising giant sporks in order to mutate angsty roller-coaster riders that refuse to keep their arms inside the ride at all times. Thatís the beauty of Sam & Max, how even the most mundane activity is turned into some larger-than-life, hyperkinetic free-for-all. When the season started, no one could predict how close theyíd come to recapturing the feel of the original, the surreal comic-book nature that made Hit the Road such a cult classic in the first place.




Maybe in the need to wrap the series up, Bright Side of the Moon isnít quite as good as the frankly fantastic Abe Lincoln Must Die or Reality 2.0, but it gives those two superior titles, and indeed, the chapters before it, a place to rest their heads. This isnít the best place for a newcomer to start the series, but itís the perfect place for someone following along to end it.


Rating: 8/10

EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (May 09, 2007)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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