Monday, May 17, 2010

Sam and Max: The Devil's Playhouse: The Tomb of Sammun-Mak: Review - Ribs' Take

Why, has it been a month already? Here we are, two fifths of our way into Sam and Max's third season at Telltale, and we're learning some answers regarding some of the new mysteries unveiled in the season's opener, The Penal Zone. When we last left our heroes, they discovered a terrible monument of what we assumed to be a grim future to come. That, however, is most definately not the case, as we are thrust backwards through time to find out just how some of the people and places got the way we know and love them.

If you missed my review of the first episode, the game plays like a traditional point and click adventure game. You move Sam, and attempt to use things together to solve a variety of puzzles to solve your current case of the month. Interface is simple, and Telltale has mastered the adventure genre now that it's released it's 30th game in under five years. Max has none of his powers from the first episode, but he has three new ones that all get their share of solving puzzles.

So, we get to the highlight of Telltale's work: the story, and the overall design of the episode. The story is nonlinear, much like the first episode. You hop around from middle to begining to back to the middle, and then the end, of course. We meet some old faces, such as one of the villains, seen above, the despicable Kringle! Telltale's hints for the episode mentioned some faces you wouldn't expect, and I'm not kidding, those who liked Season Two's cast will be happy and shocked at some of the people appearing once again.

Sam and Max's history is full of various twists and turns, as we discover how they got to that boiler room. They embark on a challenge to trek the Tomb of Sammun-Mak, in an attempt to recover the Devil's Toybox. They embark on the Disorient Express to find the toybox, but little do they know that there are going to be five more people on the train who also seem to be attempting to gain possession of the mystical box!

Now, I have two more things to say about the episode: First, the chapter, overall, is much more dificult then The Penal Zone. I found myself stuck on multiple occasions on multiple puzzles, clicking everything in a desperate attempt to solve it. This wasn't as much of a problem in the first episode, as the future vision proved a helpful tool in giving hints. However, we don't get that psychic ability, and we are stuck to figure it out. I, personally, enjoyed the use of Max's new powers in this episode, although I still hope we get the Rhinoplasty for more than five minutes. Overall, the difficulty makes the game much longer overall, which to most people is a plus.

Secondly, I didn't find myself laughing during the episode. I found myself understanding jokes, but not bursting into laughter as the first chapter did. To put it in Shakespeare-ian terms, the first episode was a comedy. This was much more of a history, however, as we discovered various obscure items about the history of Sam and Max. If anything, this episode is some of the necessary filler material we got with episodes such as Night of the Raving Dead.

Overall, The Tomb of Sammun-Mak is a fun episode of The Devil's Playhouse. What it lacked in humour it made up for in puzzle design, despite how mind-boggling hard I found a few of the puzzles. In addition, the episode leaves a great set up for the next episode, and it makes me, and what I assume will be many others, wondering where the family histories of Sam and Max fit into The Narrarator's mystical tale.

17 PiƱatas / 20

(P.S. - To those inquiring minds, it appears the grain has been turned down slightly, or maybe I've gotten used to it.)

Games, Gold, and Glory is not affiliated with Telltale Games in any way, shape, or form. For more information regarding Sam and Max: The Devil's Playhouse and related products, visit

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Alright, gents, we sit right back and we will tell you, about something so extraordinary, and so beyond the mind's comprehension that your mind will either break and or turn to mush. 'What?', you may ask, 'Will cause our brains to turn to mush?". I shall tell you friends, it's a familiar tale of two friends who...erm...actually, I'm not really sure what they do. But, I'm pretty sure it's amazing, 'What is this?' you ask? Well, I shall tell you. It's SAM & MAX: THE DEVIL'S PLAYHOUSE!

Ooh, Did that sound creepy enough? No? Well...dang. Anyway, on to the review of the first episode of The Devil's Playhouse, THE PENAL ZONE... ON THE PS3!

Alright, let's get this thing started.

A lot of the story and things have been revealed by Mr. Ribs, so for this review I'm basiccaly going to sum it up shortly on the story and then give you my thoughts on the PS3 version of the game. Tee hee!

The Detective Duo are back, and this time, they are being attacked by a big, giant monkey head! We learn that they are being held captive and must defeat General Skunka'pe.

Alright this is going to be tough, and I hate being tough on something I love so much especially Sam&Max, but I have to be honest.

Let me start out by saying, I love the first episode. The story was funny, the timing of the comedy was right, but, there was one thing that bothered me, and, well, I'm not going to lie, but it was the controls they bugged me to death. From what some of the staff was saying, it was meant for the console controls, I honestly just do not see it. I love the controls in the PC version, but I'm just not fond of them here. My main gripe about them isn't the movement, but the way you have to select what you interact with, that was what bugged me the most! Let's say you are interacting with an object; okay, then you have to take the left thumbstick, and select the object manually, and then press the square button. Now, am I saying that because the controls are wonky it's a bad game? Oh no, far from it.

The graphics look shiny and smoother, and the characters have more reactions in the face and that, for the most part, adds to the humor of the game. Also, the texturing in this game is brilliant. You can see the pattern in Sam's suit, and the character modeling was just so much more detailed, and I'm glad they took their time with this game because it really shows the love that the developers have for Sam & Max, which is awesome!

Overall, there isn't much different from the PS3 version and the PC version other than the controls, and the cardboard item box was substituted by a simplistic inventory system other than that on the PS3 version. Sam & Max's first episode for the PS3 is a good effort, and a wise business choice by Telltale, and, hopefully, the success of Sam & Max for the PS3 may bring some of the other Telltale titles to the PS3. I see this as making a great effort, to breathe new life into the adventure game genre for the Home Consoles, and, dear friends, it was a blast, and I shall be back.

Till we talk again,


Games, Gold, and Glory is not affiliated with Telltale Games in any way, shape, or form. For more information regarding Sam and Max: The Devil's Playhouse and related products, visit Sam and Max: The Devil's Playhouse is available on the Playstation Network for $34.95, €19.99, or £17.99, depending on your region."