Sam & Max Hit the Road

1993 LucasArts Entertainment
Designed by Sean Clark, Mike Stemmle, Steve Purcell, Collette Michaud
Reviewed 1995 April 1

Rating +2 Linearity straight
Reasonability sporadic Connectivity moderate
Difficulty difficult Relevance strong
Interface 3rd paned menu Real-time none

You play Sam, a private investigator. You're a dog, and your partner is a psychopathic bunny.

Sam & Max is hilarious at times. The art, voices, and music provide a perfect background for the silly script. The silliness is also the game's weakness. There are several points where you must do something arbitrary to continue.

I had some problems with the interface. The scene pans as Sam walks towards the edge of the current viewport. It doesn't pan with the "look" icon, etc. This makes it very easy to miss part of the scene, and thus clues and objects. I was continually bitten by this even after recognising the problem. Another problem has to do with the aforementioned arbitrariness: a tool must be used on an object, but there is no visible indication that the two are in any way related or compatible. I also found the iconic interface awkward.

The sheer fun of the game overwhelms these problems. The CD version comes with a good hint book. Avoid it if you can, but don't bang your head against the wall: if you're stumped after giving something hard thought, the required action is probably too weird for you to figure out.

David Tanguay's Game Reviews
Here's a description of all the gobbledygook in these reviews. It's also a bit of an essay on the nature of adventure games.