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

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