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Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse – Episode 1 June 12, 2010

Posted by pcgamesmagazine in pc games magazine.
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After obtaining a good response from critics and audiences with its Tales of Monkey Island and Wallace & Gromit, Telltale Games continues to travel the road of adventure games by releasing the third series dedicated to the two policemen freelance strangest of all time: Sam & Max . Once again the full season was divided into five episodes will be released over the next five months, our two protagonists manage to make us wait with trepidation the succession of bets or waiting for the second act we have already forgotten them?

The future, the secret is all you
This first chapter begins with a vision of a not too distant future where the intergalactic criminal prisoners Skun’ka’pe did our two heroes and destroying the city of New York on board his ship. With the new psychic rabbit Max, the cunning dog Sam and the help of an alien brain kept in brine succeed in freeing the bars that held us prisoners and to sucked into a black hole directly to the Penal Zone evil gorillas. Once this incipit unsettling, especially for those who come into the world of Sam & Max for the first with this episode, the narrative returns to making us learn this with due calm the roles of several main characters and the new control system. Based mainly on a motion control through the joystick, users of this PC title will soon abandon the idea of moving the character through the uncomfortable relying solely using the mouse to the combination of WASD keys, which will be more practical but not without defects due Unfortunately a camera system that will often put the sticks between the wheels.
Exploring the first alleys our faithful friend rabbit comes into possession of a mysterious object that will completely change his life and adventure. The most important fact of this new series is the possibility of seeing the world through the eyes of Max and use his mental powers, obtained through the powerful toys of power to solve the puzzle. Programmers were thus able to enter the game a greater variety of puzzles and situations involving the use of rabbit and his mind rather than the need, as usually happens in such games, gather around the largest number of objects then to find the combination best suited for their absurdly resolution. Obviously some kind of situation is still present but, thanks to a good number of powers available immediately, the variety of play is guaranteed at least for the duration of the series. Max skills are the most diverse: with a special rubber will have the opportunity to take the form of whatever it sees in the picture or to teleport near the sources of communication through a mobile toy or even be able to see through a mask future actions of all that surrounds it, including objects. This ability so the player will observe the various difficulties that are ahead pareranno through a completely new point of view, forcing him to find the final solution from the results of its future actions and trying various missing pieces to make occur. Although the main beneficiary of all these innovations is Max, Sam will still be relegated to a marginal role and importance will be given decision-making during all phases of the movements of detective duo in dialogues and choices for the use of items collected.

Laugh out loud
The main purpose of a graphic adventure outside the box as it is to make players laugh, and Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse – Episode 1: The Penal Zone target is centered in full. Even without going to bring up the absurd situations that must be will created during the continuation of the story, the two detectives be able to rip more of a smile even through their hilarious dialogues. Irreverence and absolute tranquility with which Max debuted at times can not only arouse laughter even in the more serious players. Unfortunately the title was not translated into Italian and will be a must at least enable subtitles to be able to fully enjoy the barbs and jokes. The menu of the dialogue is presented as a circle with various options on the outside, a bit ‘as with Mass Effect, showing that the game is designed more for those with a controller in hand rather than mouse and keyboard. Each option will give rise to an exchange between the characters, all voiced well with their slang and dialect. In this case use the same voice actors of the old series has only brought benefits to the game that enjoys so absolute characterization of the protagonists. The only flaw in the sound department is sometimes found a slight asynchrony between speech and lip movements of the characters. Honorable Mention for the narrator who has a special dubbing.

What menu?
No we are not talking about crazy pizzas to go crazy watermelon in the protagonists but rather the simple and straightforward interface of the game. We will have available to us only three options: the first is represented by our notebook, Sam here will mark all the evidence relevant to the case, the description of the characters encountered and the summary of the history up to that point, the second in a cardboard box which deposit all our items and the third, a badge will allow us to take control of one of two detectives alternating between them. To move around the map game, in addition to the teleportation of Max, we use the legendary police car that came to our agents and now besieged by a huge amount of obsolete office equipment that have enacted their operations center and will help us in our investigations as long to bring new recruits to train.

Graphically rewarding adventure game
The word games, puzzle and a few well-scripted plot are not sufficient to produce a good game, even the technical part has to do its part. In this case we are dealing with a discrete product feature celebrities and models of good workmanship. As for the environments in this new chapter of those Telltale Games will not have tried too almost always reproducing the locations previously visited in the past and with little evidence with which to interact. Nevertheless, the office of Sam & Max adventure will be closed by early presage a change in direction for the next episodes. The engine, now with some years on his shoulders, was improved marginally affecting more than anything else on the management of lighting and special textures of some characters remain as always nice to look at with a peak of excellence when the mere composition of models polygon is to merge with the old art in 2D as in the case of some particularly inspired paintings.

Hardware Requirements PC Version

System requirements:
• Single-core CPU with 2 GHz
• 512 MB RAM
• DirectX 8.1 graphics card with 64 MB VRAM

Recommended configuration:
• Single-core CPU with 3 GHz
• 1024 MB RAM
• DirectX 8.1 graphics card with 128 VRAM MiByte

Final Remarks
Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse – Episode 1: The Penal Zone is a great start for the third series of the two detectives were born from the pen of Steve Purcell. The game is suitable for both old fans and new players as references to earlier adventures of Sam & Max are only marginal and not going to affect the actual appreciation of the title and the laughter that dialogue and new characters can cause. The total duration of this episode settles around four hours, however, few but enough to fail the beginning of new adventure and will put the player to see how the story will continue. Unfortunately, a system of checks not excelled PC combined with a still camera to improve management does not allow to assign a rating higher than that new exhilarating start to the season of the police dog and rabbit chairman.

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