Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse - The Tomb of Sammun-Mak Review

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Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PC and Mac
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: 2 GHz Processor, 1 GB RAM, DirectX 8.1 compatible video card, Windows XP or more recent operating system

In the final moments of their last adventure, Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse - The Penal Zone, Sam and Max of the Freelance Police stumbled across The Devil's Toybox, along with a projector recounting the exploits of Sam and Max's old-timey ancestors Sammeth and Maximus. Across four reels of sepia-toned adventure goodness, the Freelance Police learn how The Devil's Toybox was liberated from the Tomb of Sammun-Mak and how Max is hardly the first of his line to exhibit a miraculous psychic affinity for certain toys.

Kyle Ackerman

The Tomb of Sammun-Mak sends the Freelance Police back in time thanks to a four-reel film that recounts the events of 1902 in the New York ghetto of Little Arctic Circle, the Egyptian ancient tomb of Sammun-Mak and the Trans-Atlantic railway that connects the two. Episode two of this third season of the Adventures of Sam & Max lives up to the expectations set by The Penal Zone, with all-new locations, an engrossing plot and myriad clever puzzles. Two of this season's five episodes in, Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse is Telltale Games' highest quality, most impressive Sam & Max adventure yet.

Sammeth and Maximus are the 1902 mustachioed versions of Sam and Max, encountering many of the same characters their descendents met in earlier adventures. The big gimmick of The Tomb of Sammun-Mak is that Sammeth and Maximus' exploits are spread across four reels of film that can be played in any order. Similar to Sam & Max's time travelling adventure, there is still a clear order in which the reels must be played, with clues and items acquired in one reel solving puzzles in others, but hardly in strict chronological order.

Max gets entirely new Toys of Power to play with as Maximus, while Sammeth is as sardonic as Sam would be investigating the mysteries of moleman magic. The latest adventure has a few irritations: personally I'm not a fan of the famous babies sighted earlier on Easter Island, and several irritating diminutive characters return in this adventure, when entirely new nemeses would have been preferable. Furthermore, several new locations (such as the train compartments or narrow corridors of the Tomb of Sammun-Mak) are cramped such that camera angles change rapidly. The changing camera angles result in suddenly going in a different direction, and for me, they meant plenty of unwanted entrances and exits that made sequences take far longer than they should have.

In this latest adventure, the puzzles are clever, the jokes are funny and the adventure-game antics are top-notch. The price tag remains $35 for the entire season of five episodes, with no opportunity to purchase the episodes piecemeal. Based on the first two episodes of the season, the price seems entirely worthwhile and Telltale Games is on track for another marvelous season, even though there's no way to be certain until all five episodes are delivered.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on May 18, 2010 12:02 PM.

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