The game is split up in 6 episodes at which it retails currently as Season 1 unless you want to buy each individually. I'm not going to argue what are the benefits and cons of episodic content, but right now, the first 6 episodes can be bought in one season pack, the episodes are:
1. Culture Shock
2. Situation: Comedy
3. The Mole, the Mob and the Meatball
4. Abe Lincoln Must Die!
5. Reality 2.0
6. Bright Side of the Moon
Sam is a actually a dog that stands on his 2 feet like a man and seems to be 'mature' with how he speaks - but what is actually said and done are far from normal or mature. Max is a hyper rabbit who seems to be high on caffeine 24/7. Both odd characters share a love for guns and violence. A pair of miscreants who are actually freelance police. Their wackiness, lack of personal hygiene and lack of repect for law and order despite being police themselves ensures comic violence. There is fast paced nonsensical-ness, witty dialogue and all-round sarcasm and remarks that seem to be lost on most casual-gamers but enjoyed by...how should i say...'nerds'?
I loved the cartoon when I was a kid. Sam and Max Season 1 belongs to the point-click-adventure genre and is a stand-out title in its own right. The game is nothing special in terms of graphics; the basic cartoon looks do nothing to encourage some visual treats. However, the styIe holds well and should be pleasing to fans of Sam and Max. There are small details such as joke newspaper headlines, posters and odd-labels dotted all over the place to ensure any one scene is not without a joke or two. The voice-acting is spot-on. Max is always too quick to respond to whatever object you'll examine; he's great to listen to for the first 2 episodes or so but may start to become irritating like a gramophone with only one song. The music is there to 'block out the silence', yet never really raises the bar to become noticeable. The only highlight is the music-video which can be viewed at this link, http://www.maxforpresident.org.
The controls are pretty standard and basic. You can control the game entirely with the left-click, while the optional right-click is useful to 'cancel' or 'go back'. There are times when you wish the camera panned out a little bit more just so you can click where you want to go immediately rather than progressively clicking the ground as it becomes uncovered as the camera pans with your character's movement - but it's nothing that affects gameplay too much. The gameplay all comes down to your ability to assess what you need to achieve, be it finding the necessary money to pay for some equipment or finding an object to knock someone out. The game does really well in giving hints and all situations and puzzles are logical - something that is crucially important in the this type of game, all too many times do people get fed up of illogical series of events; Sam and Max fortunately does not fall into this trap of the point-click genre.
With the controls being so easy to understand and with one simple inventory, accessed by the icon on the lower left, the 1st episode of the game starts amazingly well in getting down to puzzle-solving. You will meet some recurring characters, firstly Jimmy Two-teeth (a rat), Bosco who charges you crazy amounts of money for 'equipment'at the convenience store, and Sybil Pandemik who runs a shop of no-fixed profession. From the very first episode, it becomes obvious that someone out there is trying to hypnotize the world's population. Having solved this episodes problem, you'll see that the entire plot spans the entire 6 episodes, yet each individual episode have good stories in their own right.
The pacing of the game is not too consistent; Sam and Max does suffer from the common "can't advance because you missed this one small object somewhere" trap. The first episode starts out great but the next 2-3 episodes suffer a small decline of pure fun. The 4th episode could even make you stop playing the game further. Fortunately, the best highlight of the season pack is episode 5 - easily the best episode so far. What you think you have every episode 'sussed-out' in both pacing and structure, out comes episode 5 and turns itself on its head. This is one of those moments where ideas and wackiness (yet logical) come together to make you start swimming in thoughts - almost like swimming in awesome-sauce. I could say that half of the season pack's value is made up of that single episode, it's that good.
Finally, the last episode does sufficiently well and you have a very nice sense of achievement as the credits roll. If you paid attention to the credits you'll notice a web-link: a place to read more about Sam and Max, "click to fund-raise", take a poll and watch some video clips. However, the replay value isn't too great after knowing what to do in each episode. If you are tempted by the point-click-adventure genre, give episode 4 a try for free on Steam. If you like what you played, i recommend getting the full season. For fans of Sam and Max, this is a must-buy. All in all, Sam and Max Season 1 has a good amount of content for the price and is definitely worth checking out for any gamer or non-gamer of all levels.
I hear that this game will be coming to the Wii and 360. I expect the price to be more expensive on consoles so i see little reason to get those versions. The game does not have steep specification requirements and point-click is best with the mouse, and most likely the Wiimote as second-best. There is not much difference for this game in standard definition or high definition so any decision to which version to get will all come down to price, availability and user interface. A very good game regardless of platform, and it deserves more exposure in the gaming market.