Review: Sam & Max – Beyond the Alley of the Dolls

Review: Sam & Max – Beyond the Alley of the Dolls

I hope you will allow me to preface this review by making a few things clear (you don’t really have a choice in the matter anyway, to be perfectly honest).  First, the last Sam & Max game I played was over 15 years ago in the form of Sam & Max Hit the Road, by LucasArts.  Second, TellTale Games was kind enough to provide a copy of not only Beyond the Alley of the Dolls, but also copies of the three previous games in their current season, Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse.  Third, I’ve never been the biggest fan of puzzle/adventure games.  With that in mind, let’s begin.

I bypassed the first three episodes of The Devil’s Playhouse, even though they were so kindly provided to us by TellTale Games, and started my first Sam & Max game in over a decade and a half (that sounds more impressive than “15 years”) with Beyond the Alley of the Dolls.  The first thing I want to mention about this game is the narrated cutscene that brings the player up to speed on key events from the games that precede it.  This was great for me, as I had not played these previous games, and would otherwise have had no idea what was going on.  That makes it very easy for a player to jump in at any point in the season and begin playing without having to bundle up on multiple games just for the sake of one.

The gameplay is fairly simple, consisting of directional buttons and a semi-interactive environment, inventory, and player actions manipulated by a simple point-and-click interface.  The graphics and animations are well done.  Granted, Sam & Max may not have the beauty and grace of something like Shadow of the Colossus, but then again, it’s not meant to.  For what it is, it is very well done.  The true strength of the Sam & Max series, however, seems to be in its writing.  Being an episodic series of games, greater emphasis must be placed on writing in order to maintain consistency throughout all iterations.  From the quality of the writing, and the succinctness of the opening summary, it seems that TellTale Games has done very well in this department.

If you like point-and-click graphic puzzle/adventure games, you’ll like this game, and quite possibly the entire series.  If you aren’t a big fan of this genre, like myself, but still enjoy good quality writing and content, there’s a good chance that you will enjoy this game in spite of its genre.  Either way, for the low price per game, it’s not a bad deal at all.

-[insert DECADE AND A HALF! here]

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  • Austin Alan

    These games are WEIRD!!!!!! LOL

    S&M hehehee

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