Ads are gone. We're using Patreon to raise funds so we can grow. Please pledge support today!
Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All
Sam & Max: The City That Dares Not Sleep (PC) artwork

Sam & Max: The City That Dares Not Sleep (PC) review


"Season Three follows this trend by not only being a more adventuresome series of bite-sized quests than those that precede it, but by spit-roasting the results over a curiously potent combination of insanity, Twilight Zone-esque noir and a healthy foundation of self deprecation. "



Telltale’s Sam & Max has taken a genre still suffering from an over-reliance on the principles that birthed it some thirty years ago, fed it though a successful episodic formula then worked their arses off to ensure that each season built upon any mistakes they made along the way. Season Three follows this trend by not only being a more adventuresome series of bite-sized quests than those that precede it, but by spit-roasting the results over a curiously potent combination of insanity, Twilight Zone-esque noir and a healthy foundation of self deprecation.

The final chapter was spared most of the obligatory tying of loose threads, because this was done skilfully throughout the series: rather than waving clichéd cliff-hangers at gamers, Telltale instead did their level best to recreate Innerspace with a grim-faced dog detective as Martin Short, and a one hundred foot high demonic rabbity thing as Dennis Quaid. After Beyond the Alley of the Dolls swapped euphoric victory for unfortunate pagan transmutations, Sam is forced to face a reality sans his tiny, angry sidekick who now has more tentacles than helpful crime-solving hints and is busy eating the majority of downtown Manhattan.

To aid him come a collection of friends and foes, past and present, that need to pool their considerable resources to advocate such mundane tasks of turning the agency car into a giant corndog or tricking Giant Demon Max’s brain out of its food coma so travel between the various sections of his body can be opened again. Everything’s intersected with kitschy 70’s action fragmentation, including action-movie stat picture freezes and quarter-screen interludes of the bickering cast, as well as more than one moment that will turn the creeping Hitchcock vibes the series has been stealthily advancing sorely on their heads. In between all the cerebral deconstruction of pop culture references and sly digs to nostalgic moments viewed over our shoulders comes comforting slices of self satire. Sam argues with the floating, flaming head of his floppy-eared sidekick over the olden days, taking sly shots at criticism of the new game’s (lack of) difficulty and how the aesthetics don’t match up. They discuss what happened in Season One before admitting they don’t remember much of it, and use the annoying voice of one of the initial agonists to initiate a heaven safe from rampaging bunny beast.

The only notable issues are those that preceded the season’s final chapter; the awkward control scheme added to make the series applicable to the iPad being the most striking. There are times when you take control of Giant Max, and the virtual joystick that has you hold down your mouse button and drag in the direction you want him to go only helps if your goal is to stagger awkwardly into buildings every other step. It’s a (hehe) stumbling bock, but one easily overwritten by clever puzzles, witty writing and enough in-jokes to drown in. The City That Dare Not Sleep is an incredibly funny and, at times, surprisingly sobering, experience that concludes a fantastic series that Telltale will have their work cut out to top.

My money is on them doing just that.

Rating: 8/10

EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (September 04, 2010)

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.

More Reviews by Gary Hartley
Psychonauts (PC) artwork
Psychonauts (PC)

Clumsy genius
QP Shooting - Dangerous!! (PC) artwork
QP Shooting - Dangerous!! (PC)

Devious cute-'em-up masquerading as mass homage.
Randal's Monday (PC) artwork
Randal's Monday (PC)

Point ‘n’ Geek.

Feedback

If you enjoyed this Sam & Max: The City That Dares Not Sleep review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Site Policies & Ethics | Contact | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Sam & Max: The City That Dares Not Sleep is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Sam & Max: The City That Dares Not Sleep, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.