Flabby clones unite!
Last we saw our friends Sam and Max, Sam managed to reclaim Max's brain and place it back into his head after the crazy, infant, tyrannic, and absolutely annoying-as-hell Pharaoh Sammun-Mak stole Max's shell and made the world in his image. Then, at the closer, an army of Sam clones invaded the scene.
[image1]Beyond the Alley of the Dolls starts off with a zombie flick vibe, with the detective duo holed up in Stinky's Diner with Grandpa Stinky, Stinky herself, Skun'kape, and Gumshoe Flick. Being trapped anywhere with any of those guys would be scary enough, but now they're trapped with hordes of Sams trying to claw their way in from the streets, after Max's psychic toys! How dare they!
Like the past three episodes, the main tools in Alley of the Dolls' gameplay is the suite of powers that Max has at his disposal. Also expect a few dialogue puzzles. Out of all the episodes so far, it's easily the shortest and the easiest. Solutions fall into place quickly, and due to the limited scope of locations, there really isn't much in terms of alternatives or exploration. Even though you get several options to try different things out, there's usually only one option that matters.
The zombie movie cliché isn't played out for that long, and from the part it ends until the actual closing for this episode, the pacing doesn't match the same rhythm of the previous episodes.
[image2]This is also by far the buggiest episode this season. More than once, objects and characters become invisible, with only a cursor highlight to state they were there, and most of the time, even that did not work correctly.
However, the little nods to past Telltale and LucasArts games and how they tie to trophies in the PlayStation 3 version of the game are commendable. Trophies have been very well-implemented in this collection so far, giving each chapter a little more leg in terms of replayability.
Like always, Telltale has managed to round up a season with a setup for hopes to be a dramatic conclusion. Even though this episode is a bit weaker than the previous three, it does pick up by the end, tying most of the knots, all the while leaving a few threads open for the last episode of the season, The City That Dares Not Sleep.