Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse - The City That Dares Not Sleep Review

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Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse - The City That Dares Not Sleep 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

Following the events of Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse - Beyond the Alley of the Dolls, Max has been transformed into a colossal Cthulhoid monster rampaging through New York City. Rather than his usual diminutive, excessively violent, hyperkinetic, rabbit-thing self, Max is a tentacled monstrosity the size of a skyscraper rampaging through the city in search of gratuitous violence and oversized corn dogs. If doggie detective Sam can't return to normal his little buddy and Freelance Police partner, Max will find himself at ground zero of a nuclear attack.

Kyle Ackerman

I'm impressed. Once again, Telltale Games has managed to top itself with Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse - The City that Dares Not Sleep. The title comes from the fact that Monster Max is spewing spores throughout the city, luring citizens into a deadly nightmarish sleep. Everyone has been issued chocolate-covered espresso beans to help them stay awake, but that's only a stopgap measure. If demonic dreams and a building-chomping nightmare aren't dangerous enough, Max's psychic powers are threatening to overload and eliminate half the population of the Eastern Seaboard.

Sam has only a matter of moments to save Max before the acting President authorizes nuclear force, and he doesn't even have Max's help, let alone the Toys of Power that have followed the contractual crime fighting duo for the entirety of Season Three. I already noted that after Episode Four, Telltale had earned the $35 price of admission for the entire season. Even so, The City that Dares Not Sleep is easily the season's high point (and, at times, the emotional low). As expected, The City that Dares Not Sleep ties together the plots involving General Skun-k'ape and The Devil's Toybox. It explains the monochromatic narrator, and marks the return of past characters such as Sybil Pandemik and even Satan himself.

Best of all, The City that Dares Not Sleep revels in the absurdity of its own plot, with Sam striving to take a crack team of experts on an intra-lagomorphic journey, and turning Roomba navigation into a critical puzzle-solving skill. Players will visit plenty of popular past locations, as well as explore Max's oddly cozy innards. There's no shortage of fan service in this latest episode, with the writing making nearly every moment of The City that Dares Not Sleep a pleasure to play.

The puzzles in this latest episode aren't particularly taxing. In that respect, it feels as if things got a bit more lax when Telltale decided to abandon the complexity of Max's psychic powers for the final episode. None of the puzzles will tax experienced adventure gamers, and most should be easily accessible for average, casual gamers. Even so, the puzzles contribute so smoothly to the plot that they seem wholly appropriate and thoroughly entertaining.

If you haven't already, go ahead and purchase Season Three of The Adventures of Sam & Max. The $35 price tag seems entirely reasonably, and will provide an epic, episodic experience.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on August 31, 2010 12:02 AM.

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