Sam & Max CD Version - Hit the Road

Developer: LucasArts
Release Date: 1993
38.6 MB
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Bagging jealous mad robo-scientists is just all in a day's work for fearless furry crime-fighters Sam and Max: Freelance Police. But when Bruno the Bigfoot breaks out of his block of ice at the carnival and absconds with its second main attraction -Trixie the Giraffe-necked girl from Scranton- the world's most anthropomorphic detectives are hurled nose-first into their most complicated, most hilarious, most interactive case of their careers.

As they cruise the entirety of the U.S.A. our unrelenting friends find themselves collecting clues, questioning witnesses, harassing molemen and Snuckey's clerks and loitering around every C-grade tourist trap they can find, in order to piece together the unexpected truth concerning Bruno's escape. But there are others who want to find Bruno, for a marginally less virtuous purpose...


Fans of vintage adventure games and underground comics alike need not be reminded of the sheer genius that is Sam and Max. Created by underground cartoonist Steve Purcell in the late eighties, Sam and Max have since spiraled out of control, spawning a short running Saturday morning cartoon show as well as this masterpiece of an adventure. As a proof of their success, when Lucasarts made the enormous mistake of canceling its much anticipated sequel a little over two years ago, faithful adventure fans protested for weeks, giving birth to several "bring back Sam and Max" sites as well as a large petition which gathered well over 30.000 signatures. At the time of this writing a new sequel is in the works at Telltale Games, a company created by several people on the team behind the original sequel.

But let's talk about this game:

First and foremost, this game wouldn't be a true Lucasarts title without a great story. And like most of its predecessors, it doesn't disappoint. With the usual Lucasarts wackiness merged with Purcell's own insane hilarity, this game is quite possibly the funniest of the old Lucasarts adventures. Whether it's the outrageously surreal situations, the wacky puzzles or the clever dialogue, you'll always find something that can inspire a laugh in this game.

Although being the ninth game to use the SCUMM engine, Sam and Max hit the road is a unique game in many aspects. Most notable is its interface. Earlier SCUMM games, with the exception of Loom, used a verb-select type interface, where actions are carried out by selecting an appropriate command from a list at the bottom of the screen -such as "Look", "Pick up" and "use"- and apply them to certain objects on the screen. Sam and Max, however, was the first LA adventure to use a different interface, one which somewhat resembles Sierra games such as Space Quest IV. Here commands are cycled by clicking the right mouse button, changing the shape of the pointer to correspond with the five basic commands; Walk (A hand forming "feet" with its fingers), get (A hand which clenches into a fist), use (a hand holding a stress ball), look (a disembodied eye) and talk (disembodied set of teeth). Another oddity is the dialogue system. Instead of showing possible sentences when talking to characters, the player chooses a subject from a set of pictures which appear during conversation, and progressing through the game can reveal more subjects to talk about so it often pays to talk to people you met earlier in case they have more knowledge to divulge. This system was later reused in another LA adventure, The Dig.

In the game you play as Sam (the dog) while Max (the sociopathic lagomorph) becomes a hybrid of an NPC and an inventory item. This opens up many hilarious possibilities, making him a useful tool to complete some of the game's puzzles. Max will follow you throughout most of the game spitting out comments and witty one-liners as well as occasional hints.

One more fun thing about Sam and Max is the non-linearity of the game. While other Lucasarts games have had some of it (such as both Maniac Mansion titles and the second Monkey Island game), S&M is completely non-linear, with the game-world made up of several small to midsized locations. While only a few of those locations are available at first, the player can discover other locations by completing puzzles and will be able to jump to every discovered location at any time in the game. This has an effect on difficulty since to progress in one place, the player might have to find an item or complete a task in another location he/she has visited before, but fortunately the player usually gets some clues as to where he/she must go.

Although a little dated, both in graphics and sound, the game still shines in both areas. Both backgrounds and characters capture Purcell's unique cartoony style perfectly and the music is well placed; unobtrusive during game-play but very lively during action-sequences.

The game is hardly impossible, although players accustomed to more linear titles might find it a bit perplexing at first. The Puzzles, although often quite surreal, are not overly illogical and most of them can be figured out with some persistence. Additionally Max will sometimes help you with some of the puzzles if you are having too much trouble solving them, so chances are one won't be stuck for long. And even if the player does get stuck it doesn't mean the game ceases to be fun. One of the most novel features of the game (at least for its time) are the scores of fun mini-games that can be found within it. While some of these actually factor into some of the puzzles the others are just pure, whacky fun.

So if it's "the funny" you're after, if it's challenge you want (but without the danger of getting a keyboard pattern imprinted on your forehead), or if you're just curious then get this game and I promise you won't stop until you've played it through.

And then you'll play it again.

NOTE: This is the CD Version of the game, including a full voice pack.

By: Einsi