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Sam & Max 202: Moai Better Blues (PC) artwork

Sam & Max 202: Moai Better Blues (PC) review

"It even makes time to take sly shots at other games such as Portalís teleport system, Duke Nukemís inability to release a damn game on time and Metal Gear Solidís over-dramatic death-scream. You know the one!"

Sam & Max arrive on the serene Easter Island after falling victim to a rogue Bermuda Triangle that was chasing Sybil around their now-ruined street and the corpse of a giant killer robot turned into a rodent nightclub. Bordered by a huge pile of lost goods (including an un-played Beta of Sam & Max: Freelance Police (cancelled 2001)), a piranha-guarded Fountain of Youth and Sybil sharing a romantic picnic with the giant decapitated head of Lincoln, the two make small talk with a collection of Moai heads. Turns out an ancient prophecy decreed the island's destruction is imminent and it's up to the lagomorphic duo to save it! However, the more cynical of the Moai heads scolds the pair. They'll have to find the forbidden cave to stop a nearby volcano from smothering them all in scalding molten lava, and said cave has been lost for generations.

Scrolling a few steps away from these mammoth stone heads brings you to a cave complete with flashing neon advertising declaring it the very lost cave you seek. All you have to do to gain entry is trick your way past an infant Jimmy Hoffa sporting a six-shooter and a nasty case of nappy rash then de-throne your bitter dead pet (and former Vice President of the U.S.A) as the high priest of a sect of suspicious sea monkeys with a taste for mindless violence and illegal banana by-products.

A lot of the shenanigans contained within the latest chapter of everyone's favourite crime-fighting dog and shark-toothed bunny are quite simply laugh-out-loud funny, as they have been since the third or forth episode into the first season. Swapping 201ís snowy backdrop of the North Pole for a sand-strewn fleck of an island and replacing Santa and his elves for Moai heads and baby-fied versions of mysterious disappearances, such as Glenn Miller and Amelia Earhart, the strength of the script never falters.

It even makes time to take sly shots at other games such as Portalís teleport system, Duke Nukemís inability to release a damn game on time and Metal Gear Solidís over-dramatic death-scream. You know the one!

Even the expected staple of all Graphic Adventure games, the fabled Inventory Puzzles ô, comes on strong. The second series has addressed the complaints made in the previous chapters where whiny bastards like me labelled it too easy. Telltale has taken fabulous middle ground by not only increasing the amount of head scratching produced, but including a hint system set upon a sliding scale. Along with all the obligatory video and sound settings (plus a second showing of the tutorial first seen in the last episode) is the option for differing levels of help. By engaging this on the various settings provided, you can let Max spew out hints without hesitation, limit his help until firmly stuck, or slap a gag order on him and go it all alone. You're also free to alter this scale at any time in the game. Can't for the life of you figure out how to rid that pool of flesh-eating piranhas in scuba-gear? The options screen and a plea for assistance is only a click or two away.

But while what the game has to offer is as grand as a long time player of Telltaleís Sam & Max would expect, valid complaints arise about the length of 202; in fact, The Mole, The Mob & The Meatball aside, it's the shortest episode in the revived franchise thus far. The difficulty of some of the puzzles will certainly stop you from flying through the game as quickly as Season 1's forerunners, and the lack of pure filler, like dialogue battles, are welcome, but it's still a game whose end comes too soon. Youíll complete a quest that you might think would simply lead on to the next and suddenly find yourself staring at the end credits complete with the groovy jazz score and a cliff-hanger ending. Much like the one Iíll provide now.

EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (January 28, 2008)

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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