February 13, 2008
Gaming Steve Review: Sam & Max Episode 203: Night of the Raving Dead
Sam & Max Episode 203: Night of the Raving Dead
With minimal spoilers, Sam & Max Episode 203: Night of the Raving Dead, Sam and Max have to stop a flood of zombies who are invading from the “zombie factory”, try and help Sybil get her groove on and sell their soul to mass market a new online service. In short, it’s a nice satire of various horror genres, especially the ISP-marketing-horror genre, one I certainly miss from the days when I was drowning in discs arriving in the mail.
I’ll start right off and say that I was really looking forward to reviewing this game. I had heard nothing but good things about the Sam & Max series, to the point that I’d categorize it as a “critic’s darling” for whatever that’s worth.
I realize the point of this review is what I thought of the game but I wanted to establish my mood going in which was terribly positive.
Since life is too short for negativity, I’ll start with the positives for this game and there are a lot of them.
The game looks beautiful. It’s not photorealistic beautiful, more cartoon beautiful but beautiful nonetheless. The main characters are well designed and everything has a richness that just makes the game nice to look at.
In addition to being nice to look at, the characters are all well voiced, especially the main characters and those I’d guess are recurring, this being an episodic game and all. I especially like Sybil and found her story, her light-hearted search for love the most interesting storyline in the game.
Which brings me to another positive about the game: silly as it was (and again – it’s a cartoon so silly is a plus not a minus) I really wanted to see how the story ended. That’s a very nice trick for any game to pull off, since I often want less talk and more gameplay.
Speaking of gameplay, this seems like a nice place to segue into the part of the game that I did not care for. One reason I perhaps failed to resent the dialogue for getting in the way of the gameplay in Sam & Max is that I found said gameplay to be an exercise in tedium.
If your idea of a good time is mousing over every square inch of a room looking for that one item you missed, then this will be gaming nirvana for you. If your idea of the perfect evening is a glass of warm milk and a 200,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, then this will be the best game ever made.
And so my review really comes down to one of personal tastes. If you like hunting for clues and piecing puzzles together, then I can’t recommend this game highly enough. It has great production values, is very well put together and has an engaging story.
On the other hand, if you’d like something in a game, even a single time, to be solved simply, by say, taking out your big gun and putting holes in dudes, then this is probably not the game for you.
PLUSES: Fantastic art direction, story and dialogue. Great voice acting. Genuinely funny.