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Sam & Max: Episode 6 - Bright Side of the Moon

Jon Blyth on the final outing of the dog and rabbity-thing

The final episode has some act to follow, after defeating an alternate-reality Internet in text-only combat. Telltale rise to the challenge effortlessly; the very first thing you do is drive to the moon. If that seems unlikely, then the explanation's in a 1992 comic-book; something to do with engines and sulphur. Best not to ask.

Half the cast of your adventures so far are waiting for you on the moon, to inadvertently assist you in the final battle against magical hypnotist Hugh Bliss. The other half are blown up or tied up in your office closet. Sybil's the Queen, Bosco's his own mother - everyone's here, and on form. The difficulty's up a shade from previous adventures, but it's still finely-written, with likeability in spades.

Zoom

If I have a gripe, it's that the introduction of Hugh Bliss's magical talismans makes for some rather forced puzzles. A vomiting talisman? A spoon-bending talisman? Especially inside the Blister, it feels like the game indulges the oddness of the moon setting at the expense of its own internal coherency. It never snaps, but safe to say your inventory will be both bizarre and strangely obvious for most of the game.

It's annoying to have to give Episode 6 as low a score as this. It feels like a final judgment on the series, when in fact the high points were much, much higher. Sure, people who've been underwhelmed by Sam & Max episodes have some valid complaints. Tries too hard, plays too easy - but when you take the games as a fun way to pass an evening for the price of a cheap bottle of wine, they make perfect sense. Especially if you buy the wine as well; drinking alone is brilliant.

Telltale Games have succeeded where Valve and Ritual have failed; they've made episodic gaming work. Sam and Max have been a welcome part of half my working life at ZONE, and I'm going to miss clicking on things, and having Sam tell me it's "not going to happen". With self-deprecation, warmth and a torturously over-wrought exclamation kicking each episode off, Telltale have pulled out a corking piece
of entertainment.

The verdict

A little lunar let-down

7.2
Format
PC
Developer
Telltale Games
Publisher
Telltale Games
Genre
Adventure

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