Author: Gabriel Vega
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Reviews/samnmax_tsmb/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
Those evil minds are at it again. In the latest episode of The Devils Playhouse, we find Max with his head opened like a can of tuna. As Sam returns from the bathroom, a streak of blind rage surges through his system seeing his partner standing blind with his skull cap flopping around. It is at this point that we see a new side of the lovable Sam, a dog tossing off his jacket and ready to punch the answers out of everything in his way.
The Devils Playhouse takes a turn in the latest episode, bringing drama and unimaginably dark noir comments from Sam as he looks into each suspect to find the missing brain of Max. While the game keeps the comedy value, the comments branch into deeper ruins of Sam’s mind as he gets pessimistic over the hope of finding the evil behind the stolen brain.
They Stole Max’s Brain takes the Sam & Max story line to alternate timelines and a world where Max has no body, where the mole people still roam the earth and even spoiled pharaohs are able to rise from the dead to crush the will of the people. It is in the third installment where we find one of the highest points in The Devil’s Playhouse: as the universe draws closer around the gifted mind of Max, a new character appears and turns the tide on everyone. With Sam at a new low for morale and hope riding off in the distance, there is a different flow to the chapter that brings back the dialogue tree abuse of the original game.
The flow of They Stole Max’s Brain rides with few bumps; the delivery and interrogation tools keep the story off simple linear solutions. When a subject lies or a question comes ill-timed, it cancels the chance of pulling out a result from that round of questioning. Occasionally multiple characters need to pass before a missing fact that contradicts the other characters appears. With the expanded focus on the dialogue tree and depressing noir remarks by Sam, attachments are easy to create as the crazy duo struggles in their time of need. We found the details within They Stole Max’s Brain to be some of the best in the season so far as they engaged us as players to seek out every possible choice.
For those that are fans of the toys, the game does make use of the silly putty, viewfinder and telephone. Each of them contributes their own moments into the story line once Sam finds someone who is able to handle the toys of power again. The third episode plays on these powers in new ways, allowing gamers to experiment on their own to find the right solutions instead of having a heavy hand guide the challenges. In the bigger picture we’re able to see that Telltale took a step in a different direction with the latest episode and left the execution up to the player. The result gives added depth where the second episode fell short, making for tough puzzles and great laughs.
Graphics and audio stay true to the standards of the current engine; the world keeps the same glow and saturation that pulls players in. Watching a Zeppelin Max soar through the sky is one of those moments where players are able to realize how far out there the series is for imagination. The voice acting quality remains steady even as the cast numbers increase; in the current episode we do have to say the flow of lines from Sal were casual and natural. We hope the series preserves the new peaks that it has reached so far and continues to develop from them.
For gamers eager to jump into The Devils Playhouse, the latest episode brings more reason to adopt the series as it hits one of the high points in the story and design. The latest plot twist and handling of the story is a huge shift from the prior episodes; the balance rides consistently throughout the episode without just wrapping up in a hurry once the arc passes. For us, They Stole Max’s Brain is a peak moment in the series that word has will only get better before the closure of the season. With lazy cockroach companions, brain screws, Sam’s rage and more, there is a little something present for everyone.
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