Sam & Max Episode 4: Beyond the Alley of the Dolls

9.0 Overall Score

Written by on July 21, 2010 in

Through the darkness a fog rolls in, carrying with it an unknown evil in a well known facade.  Hordes of relentless zombified minions garbed only in silky golden undies.  In Sam & Max:  The Devil’s Playhouse Episode 4:  Beyond the Alley of the Dolls, they keep coming back in a bloodthirsty lust for TOYS.  Every last one is the spitting image of our favorite pudgy six foot tall gumshoe doggy, Sam.  Who is behind this madness?  Will our intrepid heroes stop them before reduce their city to ruins in search for toys, toys, and more toys?  And… why the silk boxers?  Most of these questions are answered in the latest episode of TellTale Game’s point and click adventure, Devil’s playhouse: Beyond the Alley of the Dolls.  In this latest installment the detective duo Sam, the detective doggy, & Max, the hyperkinetic rabitty thing, find themselves facing innumerable odds, literally.

The creepy Rod Serling type narrator introduces the episode with a proper amount of background to allow those just starting the series with this episode to jump right into the story.  For those viewers returning for another episode, they will be glad to know that many of the cast of characters return from previous episodes.  The episode begins as Sam, Max and the space ape Skun-Ka’ pe taking refuge in Stinky’s Diner with Grandpa Stinky , the diner’s owner, and his granddaughter, Stinky.  Using a point and click technique to find clues and progress through game, the player will need to figure out the mastermind behind the crazy Sam clones and stop them before they can fill the Devil’s Toybox and complete their dastardly plan.  Characters such as Sal (the enormous Sal the cockroach), Momma Bosco (the sassy ghostly scientist), and Monsieur Papierwaite (the odd museum curator), Harry Moleman (a mosbster mole), and Agent Superball (your typical White House Secret Service man) help and hinder Sam and Max along the way.  One of the big revelations made in this episode is the identity of Professor Norrington.  This character was heard but not seen in the last episode and is revealed in this episode, in a typically twisted spin of the storyline.  I would tell you more but it is best to let you see it for yourself.

Sam moves through the game using his major tool of interrogation to learn clues and hints to what the team must do while Max has a growing number of psychic toys that gives him special abilities and uncovers information in a unique way.  Sam interrogates using a decision wheel where the player decides which topics to interrogate the suspect about.  In most cases the order will not matter and, typically, the player will end up asking about all of the topics to learn as much as possible from each character.  Max has a unique way of getting information.  He has a bunch of toys that give him the ability to transport himself and others to different points of interest, transform into an inanimate object, read someone’s mind, see the future, and throw his voice into a variety of objects and people.  These toys are in the form of toys that will remind you of many classic kid’s toys.  Max must decide how best to use these toys and when.  One of the great things about the Sam & Max series is the ability to set the amount of hints that the characters will give you throughout the game to guide you toward the next step.  This was very helpful at times when I found myself running around aimlessly and clicking the same things over and over with no luck.  The hint system is a lifesaver.  It can sometimes be a little too subtle in their suggestions but at least you can get a nudge in the right direction.  This particular episode takes place in very few locations and culminates in a harrowing final battle at the modernized Statue o’ Libertay.  It is challenging and pretty satisfying once you finally figure out how to defeat the ultra-creepy master villain.

Overall this is a very fun episode full of the sassy, sarcastic, odd, and hilarious world of Sam & Max.  I would recommend this game for those fans of the classic point and click adventure and those that love to laugh.  It is a humor that pokes fun at themselves, their gaming genre, and pop culture.  Personally, I truly enjoyed the whole game.  Even when completely frustrated trying to figure out my next step, I couldn’t turn it off.  It is a lot of fun at a very reasonable price.  The Episode is available for the PC, Mac, iPad, and the Playstation Network.

A copy of the game was provided to The Married Gamers for the purpose of examination and review.

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Author: Melisa Snyder View all posts by

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