Sam & Max: Episode 205 - What's New Beelzebub? Review

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Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games

Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: 800 MHz Processor, 256 MB RAM, 32 MB video card, Windows XP or more recent operating system

In their usual, excessively violent and often bumbling fashion, the Freelance Police (namely, the well-armed canid named Max and lagomorphic sociopath Max) managed to condemn the soul of Bosco (a conspiracy nut and shopkeeper) to the eternal flames of Hell, where the coffee is cold and the corporate maneuverings never end. To undo the damage they have wrought, Sam & Max will have to venture into the corporate wasteland of Hell itself. Using their not inconsiderable influence in the part of the afterlife that lies on the wrong side of the tracks, Sam & Max will have to bargain for the soul of their friend Bosco, among others... if they can get past Hell's receptionist.

Kyle Ackerman

Season Two has taken Sam & Max all over the world. The North Pole, Easter Island, Germany and even a spaceship run by enthusiastic Mariachis. But with the release of What's New Beelzebub?, all the plot strands of this second season of episodic Sam & Max adventures are tied together. As it turns out, the office of the Freelance Police has been directly over a stop on the Soul Train to Hell, and the only way to save Bosco from a fate forged by his own paranoid delusions and the mistakes of Sam & Max themselves is to venture into Hell and negotiate with big, bad Beelzebub himself.

As with Sam & Max: Season One, the last episode does wonders to tie everything from previous episodes together, ranging from the Shambling Corporate Presence that plagued Santa Claus to Stinky's untimely death, and throwing in a few of the favorite characters from Season One, to boot. The episode earns my smiling praise most because it introduces a wealth of new and entertaining locations, most of which the rest of us could only see after death (and then, only after a villainous life). It even closes off familiar locations, like the Freelance Police office, which is important insofar as the episode fulfills events from the last episode.

As it turns out, Hell is courting shareholders, slimming down, and outsourcing to bring its particular corner of the afterlife into the modern age – and familiar characters from Sam & Max's past adventures have taken several of the available positions. Along the way, Sam & Max will recover the souls of some of their dearest friends (and distant acquaintances) while discovering who could possibly be more horrible and universally reviled than Satan (as well as who might lie behind the Intelligent Design movement). They even attend one wacky bachelor party.

Sam & Max: Episode 205 - What's New Beelzebub? offers even more play than the typical Sam & Max episode. With lots of new, and particularly exotic, locations, there's a lot to do on the way to and through Hell. While this latest episode does a better job of integrating past episodes than any that came before, the puzzles are a little awkward. Let's just say that the FCC would not approve this kind of use for a grocery list. At least, above all else, I feel like the birthday hints that have teased me since the very beginning were not in vain.

I've said it before, but there's no question that if you haven't been playing Sam & Max, it's worth biting the bullet and buying the bundle for the whole season. At around $9 an episode, or $35 for the whole second season, it's worth getting the whole package. You get far more than your typical supply of play for that $35, and there's plenty of quality humor and laugh-out-loud moments throughout the latest adventure of the Freelance Police. As Sam points out, "Wow. I think unwittingly bringing about the apocalypse is a first for us, little buddy."

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on April 10, 2008 12:15 AM.

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