Sam & Max Season 3: The Devil’s Playhouse: Episode 2: The Tomb of Sammun-Mak (PC, iPad, PS3)

Sam & Max aren’t your regular police force…they’re the Freelance Police. Sam is a no-nonsense dog detective and his pal Max is a hyperkinetic rabbity thing. For more than 20 years they’ve been serving their brand of justice on the pages of underground comic books, on a Saturday morning cartoon, and in some popular computer adventure games. Now they’re ready for their third season of crazy madcap episodic point and click adventures! (PC version reviewed here)

In their last episode of a five part season, Max discovered mysterious toys that gave him new psychic powers, which he and Sam used to defeat an evil space ape. At the end they uncovered a chest full of psychic toys called the Devil’s Toybox, along with skeletons of themselves! This is where Episode 2 takes off!

Conveniently located next to the skeletons are movie reels and a toy movie projector that gives Max a new psychic power: Astral Projection. Now Sam & Max will be able to hop right into the movies and play as their great-grandfathers Sameth and Maximus (they look just like Sam & Max except they’re sporting old timey clothes and a handlebar moustache). You’ll discover how Sam & Max’s ancestors got a hold of the Devil’s Toybox and got turned into skeletons. Along the way you’ll raid tombs and solve a mystery while riding the rails in an early 1900’s setting!

One unique thing about this episode is that you can switch from the four movie reels at any time. You won’t start out at the beginning, so the game takes a cue from the plot structure in movies like Pulp Fiction (except this game is way better than that awful flick). It’s a little confusing at first, but the pieces fit together nicely in the end. Plus, it’s a nice change of pace from TellTale’s usual formula.

Max (or his great-grandfather, rather), gets some different psychic toys that gives him new powers in this episode. Using the Can O’ Nuts gag toy, Sameth and Maximus will be able to fit inside the can when they need to hide from somebody or fit in small places. And the ventriloquist dummy will let Maximus put words in other people’s mouths…literally! You’ll use these powers to solve all sorts of crazy point and click adventure puzzles.

Although the puzzles are more intuitive in this episode, the gags aren’t quite as funny this time around. But that’s the only problem I could find with this game. The writing is still witty and clever, and the play control is easy to learn. It does help a little to play the past episodes in the Sam & Max series so you’ll know who all the crazy characters are! Can’t wait for Episode 3!

Kid Factor:

The Tomb of Sammun-Mak is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Comic Mischief, Drug Reference, Mild Blood, Mild Language, and Mild Suggestive Themes. Most of the mischief is heard off-screen, and the references are dealt with in text only. There are notes written in blood as well as some vampires, but that’s it. Nothing worse than what’s found in The Simpsons, so if you’re OK with your kids watching that show, they’ll be OK with this game, too.

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  1. I’ve been watching the Sam & Max seasons on XBLA for a while, hoping for a Deal of the Week. The games sound great, and I’d like to check out some more point-and-click adventure games, since the only ones I’ve played were the Myst series (1-3, only finished the 3rd) but those were awesome.

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