Originally Published: 8 June 2010
The second episode of this latest Sam & Max season picks up at the end of the first – with the evil Skunkape defeated, our two intrepid heroes turn and find themselves face to face with two skeletons with more than a passing resemblance to our detective duo. Suspecting that there is something more to this grim tableau, Sam investigates further and discovers reels of film and another toy from the Devil’s Toybox – the Astral Projector. Using the projector, Sam and Max are able to experience the adventures of their ancestors, Sammeth and Maximus, as they try and solve the Riddle of the Sphunx and enter the fabled Tomb of Sammun-Mak.
The second episode of this five-part series is, as you would expect, just as sharply written and well-plotted as the previous one. Using the Astral Projector adds a new dimension to this story – time – in that you can jump between the four reels of film as you like, using things you’ve discovered in one section to clear a problem in a later reel (or even, in some cases, an earlier one).
Graphically, everything has a nice, historic feel to it. You’ll notice the subtle difference between the visuals of present day Sam and Max and that of their forefathers – everything has a nice sense of sepia to it. Sammeth and Maximus are still the same loveable duo, but are just different enough to be characters in their own right – Sammeth sports a tasteful moustache and Maximus, well, he’s actually got clothes on. There are also nice little touches thrown in for good measure, take your eagle eyes to the Little Arctic Circle and you’ll notice that it’s set on the corner of Straight and Narrow – the home of future Sam & Max’s offices.
The voice acting, as ever, is spot on. You can rely on Sam and Max to be spot on, and the supporting cast are also excellent. The elves have adopted a characteristic New York-style twang to their voices which fits remarkably well with their role in this story – they are the muscle to Kringle’s sinster toy fanatic. You’ll also run into a young Amelia Earhart, several Mole People and another treasure hunter. There’s also a wampire, sorry, vampire curse to contend with…
As with the previous episode, there are plenty of recurring characters from earlier games – most notably a certain Mr Kringle, a man with a penchant for toys and elfish helpers – and plenty of in-joke references to things that have happened before. Don’t let this put you off, however, as there is plenty to entice the new fans and plenty of laughs to be had. You’ll be a convert in no time…