Sam & Max Episode 1: Culture Shock Exclusive Impressions - First Look

We get the first look at the new adventures of the Freelance Police in this exclusive preview.

Graphical adventure games such as Myst and Escape from Monkey Island, which let you focus on solving puzzles and mysteries using inventory items, character dialogue, and your wits (rather than a rocket launcher) used to be popular and plentiful. They're fewer and farther between these days, but fortunately for fans, there are still some game developers out there who continue to produce these games, including Telltale Games, a California shop whose staff includes some of the same talent that helped create such classic adventure games as Sam & Max: Freelance Police. Telltale is finally ready to take the wraps off of the next Sam & Max adventure, and we got the first look. Please be advised that this story may contain minor spoilers.

Like the studio's other adventure-game products, the new Sam & Max game will be the first in a series of downloadable, episodic games--that is, shorter games that will be made available on a much more frequent basis than a typical retail game. But Telltale is attempting to pack in as much of the offbeat and goofy comedy into this first episode as possible. Like in previous games, and like with most classic comedy duos, Sam and Max will be a straight-man/funny-man team. Specifically, the anthropomorphic canine constable Sam will reprise his role as the (relatively) straight man to the hyperactive and moderately homicidal rabbit-thing, Max. This dynamic will come into play whenever they interview or interrogate another character, as we saw in the early part of the game.

The Freelance Police are back in an all-new episodic adventure game series.

The two begin their adventure in their office, thwarted by a dastardly kidnapping...of their telephone, by the local rodent mafia. The game will use the traditional point-and-click mouse interface you might expect from an adventure game, though Telltale assures us that all the game's environments will be highly interactive (if nothing else, clicking on an object will elicit a humorous observation from Sam or Max), and that the game will use a context-sensitive cursor that will switch to a different icon, to minimize the annoying "pixel hunting" you might have seen in other games.

Clicking around the office in search of the missing phone eventually reveals the hole-in-the-wall home of Jimmy Two-Teeth, a shifty character whose job as an informant makes him a professional rat (while his gray fur and stringy tail make him, you know, an actual rat). We watched the game's dynamic "dual dialogue" system in action as the craven cavy was grilled with polite, restrained inquiries from Sam and more-violent suggestions from Max. Apparently, Jimmy Two-Teeth is a tough nut to crack and doesn't sing for anyone--except when a question from Sam reveals that the informant is afraid of heights, which gives Max the option to dangle their captive by his tail out the window until he talks. Using this good-cop/bad-cop routine can help Sam and Max advance the story and acquire key items, like their trusty big, blocky rotary telephone, which they recover from the tiny rat's person (in a scene that is, thankfully, censored).

Once Sam and Max reclaim their precious phone, they catch wind of a diabolical plot that seems to involve one or more of the following: failed child television stars, a mind-control cult, and a series of self-improvement exercise videotapes designed to help their viewers tone and firm their eyeballs into sexier, more self-assured peepers. For those not familiar with the previous games, this kind of setup may seem a little too over the top, but Sam & Max fans should feel right at home with the game's bizarre sense of humor. Their further adventures involve investigating a local convenience store owned by Bosco, a slow-witted clerk (who also happens to be an illicit weapons dealer), as well as meeting with and interrogating three former child stars who are (or were) famous for their various personal dysfunctions, including an overactive bladder and a severe case of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Aside from solving puzzles by uncovering key dialogue options, Sam and Max will frequently revisit their home office as a kind of hub area, and they'll need to line their pockets with cash to purchase all of Bosco's expensive (and experimental) weapons. To earn cash, Sam and Max can use a patrol minigame in which they hop into their Freelance Police cruiser and pursue other motorists. While they'll occasionally need to do this to apprehend key suspects, you'll be able to have the team hop into their car at any time and take control of Sam while Max automatically drives the car. You can use Sam's revolver to shoot out a taillight from the car in front of you, and then use your police siren to pull the motorist over and issue an expensive ticket...for having a taillight out.

You can expect classic adventure gameplay and lots of off-kilter humor.

While Sam & Max Episode 1: Culture Shock, the first episode in the new series, will offer about two to three hours of gameplay, Telltale will be producing episodes much more frequently than its previous efforts. The first episode will debut on the GameTap online game delivery service exclusively, and will later be made available on Telltale's own site. From what we've seen, Culture Shock will offer all the off-kilter humor and classic point-and-click adventure gameplay that can be packed into a single episode with a spring-loaded boxing glove. The game will be available October 17.

Written By

Want the latest news about Sam & Max Episode 101: Culture Shock?

Sam & Max Episode 101: Culture Shock

Sam & Max Episode 101: Culture Shock

Follow

Discussion

34 comments
champmanfan
champmanfan

My 1st look at it and it seems very funny. Worth a play of the demo out of curisoity but isn't it just a video game cartoon for younger teenagers? Seems a bit like Armed & Dangerous for humour, so any game that brings comedy to gamers is great to hear : )

thomasonfa
thomasonfa

I agree with you about the voices tank. That seems to be my only problem, whoever voiced for Sam doesn't sound like he even wants to be there. Maybe since is will be in episodes they will provide a better voice in the future.

Tank252ca
Tank252ca

I have very fond memories of Sam & Max. In fact, I just found my old box of Lucas Arts Archives last week, which came with Sam & Max, Day of the Tentacle (another great game), Rebel Assault and Indiana Jones. Going to install those again for the kids to play. The new characters look great and I'll be following the game's progress, but it's a shame that the company waited so long for a sequel as the original voices were perfect. From the dialogue it sounds like they're trying to stay true to the original. Looks promising.

assmunch36
assmunch36

sam and max are back!!!!! man i spent most of my childhood trying to struggle through the first game (cause it was damn difficult, escpecially for an 8 year old) i dont think the voices are too bad, lip syncing could be better though.

tcichosz
tcichosz

Wtf happened to the voices!?! The Hit the Road voices were so much cooler! I want them back!!!!

Ahiru-San
Ahiru-San

"That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!" - Max....

TedBob
TedBob

There needs to be more humor in video games. This looks like a good one for that. I am also not a huge fan of the episodic gaming but not because it's an "unfinished" game in a box, because the episodes are so dang short. If they could be longer I probably wouldn't care how many episodes it took to finish a game. I hate buying a new one and finishing it the same weekend!

Jammet
Jammet

Damn. Why does it have to be episodic content. I hope the concept will fail miserably. I want a finished game. In a box. You hear me? I want it in my shelf. I want to look at it lovingly, adore it, play it over and over again, and then put it back next to where I keep those other treasures.

robinhood_1983
robinhood_1983

Looks kind of interesting. I think the lip sync for both character needs more effort than the company have put in. With such a heavy load being carried by witty dialogue this sort of thing needs to work so that we don't notice it.

skylerpwns
skylerpwns

Sam and Max? Wow, talk about old school. Never thought I'd see these guys again.

TeflonBilly74
TeflonBilly74

Why are they so soft spoken? Sam sounds too sleepy and Max is too high pitched and not crazy or wiseguy sounding enough. I'm totally looking foward to this though. Been missing adventure games like this. The closest I've played in recent years has been Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy, but I've been forced to replay the classics to get my dose of funny adventure games. So beggars can't be choosers :/

Seankichu
Seankichu

as much as i loved the first and am definitely gonna buy this one, i have to say i find the voices a tad off. Max doesn't seem as manic and is speaking in a far calmer fashion and Sam doesn't sound as much like a stereotypical film noir private dick (which was great in the first), he still has the monotone thing going on but it's less traditional noir and more modern. a minor gripe that wont prevent me from picking it up i assure you

TOKEMASTA
TOKEMASTA

Galactic crittermajincals, it is Sam & Max! All blown up and ready for action!!

FlamingKatamar
FlamingKatamar

Wahoooo Sam and Max are back xD will it be as good as the classic?

StrikerGold
StrikerGold

"Holy jumping weasel critters on a hot cross bun!" But seriously, I'd definitely pay for episodic content in this genre. Its essentially a digital interactive comic! I mean, if EA can get away with charging $50 for yearly "episodic" content in the form of the next Madden, MLB or any mainstream sports title, why not this? Plus its downloadable, that's a bargain!

Kbs64
Kbs64

asian's Worshop Sam & Max... or maybe just me.

redomegaz
redomegaz

"That's not how it works. As they lump more episodes together, the collective bundle costs less overall. Bone episodes were going for $20 a piece, but if you get the first and second episodes together, I think it's $30." Yeah but most people arent willing to wait until they release it as a pack, and still thats only for 1 and 2 if there's a third then you;re paying more once again. "Really, saying that a fledgling company is being "greedy" is way off the mark and very overzealous. They need money to stay afloat, and I'll gladly fund their future." Fledgling company or not once again they are being greedy if they have the time to make it spisodic they could just as easily made it one big game and if it is good then people will buy that instead.

619-Booyaka-619
619-Booyaka-619

i hope it wont b long be4 we can download off gamespot. we probably wont b able 4 a while

iDShaDoW
iDShaDoW

Yeah, the original was great, can't wait to see how this one turns out.

devxwill
devxwill

i hope its as good or better as the original, i have been waiting so long for another sam & max....

Thomasskins
Thomasskins

Smart graphicaly it looks like a completly new game, i hope it plays as well as it looks.

amorphis
amorphis

WooHoo S&M HIT THE ROAD AGAIN!!!!!!!!!

Parker82
Parker82

Don't kid yourself; it's a scam. But I'll deal with it to play S&M again.

Noema
Noema

Hopefully it won't be long 'till it's available somewhere else other than GameTap, as it's not available in my country, and I really want to play this. I absolutely LOVED Sam & Max: Hit the Road. Haha, by the way, I just noticed the series' name is S&M. As in, S&M. Only took me like 12 years to notice. *slaps forehead*

CaptainDingo
CaptainDingo

"Oh man not more episodic content, it's all down to greed is what I say, it just makes software pirates look better, for example lets say they release 4 episodes at £20 a go that's £80 just for one game." That's not how it works. As they lump more episodes together, the collective bundle costs less overall. Bone episodes were going for $20 a piece, but if you get the first and second episodes together, I think it's $30. Really, saying that a fledgling company is being "greedy" is way off the mark and very overzealous. They need money to stay afloat, and I'll gladly fund their future.

NX75
NX75

I was worried they might not have been able to get the same style of dialogue from the original game, but this seems really good. The voice actors are also eerily close and sound nice. I'm going to get this game the very moment it's available... at Telltale's website.

redomegaz
redomegaz

Oh man not more episodic content, it's all down to greed is what I say, it just makes software pirates look better, for example lets say they release 4 episodes at £20 a go that's £80 just for one game.

yoshi1013
yoshi1013

Just watched the two new gameplay movies, the new voice actors sound terrible! Sam sounds like he's asleep and overall they sound a lot less naturally snarky. I wonder why they couldn't get the original voices?

Parker82
Parker82

I wish it wasn't episodic. But meh, S&M FTW!

i_hate_pants
i_hate_pants

Nooo! Not episodic content! Argh! Yaaay! For Sam & Max's return!