Just look at that giant... bunny... chuthlu running around!
I might have spoken too soon... Episode 5 is this season's funniest chapter and a great closer. We get suspense, hilarious gags, and great returning characters. At the end of the previous episode, Max was turned into a huge monster and began tearing New York apart. Meanwhile, Sam was trying to put a rescue team together in order to save his now not-so-little buddy.
[image1]How Max rescues his pal is pretty much what you'd see in an old '60s sci-fi film: going inside the beast, of course! Max is just plain insane and in his reality, it makes sense a game would eventually take place inside his body. It happened to Bowser, so why not him too? Each area inside Max controls separate parts of his body which play a huge role in gaining access to his brain, the key to saving New York from oblivion.
The puzzles and their setups are very well-done. One of them has you indirectly relaying information to a Twister rip-off board game player, which in turn helps you gain control of Max's arms. In another section, you get to listen to some of Max's memories which come in the form of LPs. Some of the humor comes from places you wouldn't expect; there are even some crazy Fergie and Beyoncé gags thrown in for good measure. The writing in this episode is as witty and funny as Telltale's previous games, if not even more so.
Like previous Sam & Max titles, you have direct control over Sam and a point-and-click interface for interacting with the objects in the environment. Dialogues are presented in a Mass Effect 2-like dial system, which works extremely well. Instead of having the option to switch over to Max and his menu of psychic powers, from a certain point in the game you can switch over to Max's now huge lizard-like form and stomp through New York City. In my book, that more than makes up for not having mind-reading and teleportation.
[image2]Puzzle-wise, there aren't as much dialogue-based ones in this episode, but the pacing works around that flawlessly. Scenes flow naturally, and there was hardly a moment when I felt stuck or had to backtrack in the three or so hours it took me to complete it. There are a lot of areas to explore too, even if some are recycled from past episodes and some have special restrictions. There's also a boatload of throwbacks to previous seasons and even further back in Sam & Max's history that make a fan like me giddy to see such treatment being given to two of my favorite game characters.
The City That Dares Not Sleep even makes fun of the ridiculous difficulty of old-school adventure games at one point. Sure, some of the newer crop of the genre have been labeled as a little too easy, but Telltale's efforts is perfectly suitable for veterans and newcomers alike. Solely based on how well Season Three has delivered its story, I can't wait to see what's in store for Sam & Max... Season Four!