Sam & Max: Episode 5 - Reality 2.0 Review

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Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games


Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC

Max remains president of the United States (he was elected in Episode 4, when he ran against the animated statue of Abraham Lincoln), although he's still working alongside Sam in the Freelance Police. In fact, the Freelance Police office has supplanted the Oval office as the seat of American power and their DeSoto boasts a presidential seal and flags.

Surprisingly, despite all that power resting beneath Max's rabbity ears, Sam and Max are not the cause of the nation's latest and greatest troubles. The internet is failing! Computers are going offline! Planes are falling from the sky! What can Max do but take a break from dismantling the free world and, with Sam's help, battle their greatest foe yet: the internet!

Rating:
Kyle Ackerman


Sam & Max hit their stride in Episode 4. Now that they've marauded their way through their fifth adventure, it's clear that the dog and hyperkinetic lagomorph duo have vaulted well over every bar into the annals of adventure gaming. With the release of Episode 4, the first season of Sam & Max was unquestionably worth the $35 price tag, and Telltale Games has surpassed itself in Episode 5.

Sybil, the neighborhood Jacqueline-of-all-trades, has taken on work as a beta tester, identifying problems with the worlds most hypnotic persistent online space. Accessible only through virtual reality goggles, Reality 2.0 might very well be the threat to the internet that Sam and Max are investigating.

Mocking everything from the "Web 2.0" phenomenon to coin-op classic Sinistar, the humor in Episode 5 has risen to a new level. All of their surroundings evoke new dialog, and once Sam and Max make it to the virtual world, even the familiar music has been remastered, converted into an eight-bit masterpiece even catchier than the hipper music of previous episodes. The lighting itself shifts, to give the virtual world that black-light-style glow that makes colors a little more vivid and Sam and Max's teeth a scary white.

The virtual world is filled with "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" touches such as a Shodan-like face (from System Shock) that represents the internet, anti-virus software that resembles the talk show host from Episode 2 and plenty of ridiculous role-playing game conventions that make the world of Sam & Max perfect for gamers new and old. The final playable sequence of Episode 5 is both brave and brilliant. The humor and style of that sequence are perfect for hardcore fans of classic adventure games.

At this point, there's no reason not to buy in for the full six episodes of Sam & Max's premier season. It's just too good to miss. And Epsiode 5 ends with a few heavy handed hints concerning the face behind the whole hypnotism hoodwink. Be sure to take Sam and Max to the computerized world within the computer. You won't regret it.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on March 29, 2007 12:47 PM.

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