Sam & Max: Season 3 - Episode 1: The Penal Zone
And So Another season swoops down from Telltale Castle and begins to suckle on your adventure gaming teat, this time returning to the corners of Straight and Narrow for another battle with the forces of bizarre evil.
Sam and Max are back after a substantial time away and it seems they mean business this time. Telltale have kept up a consistent level of quality with their games, always scoring around the 70 to 80% marks. You've pretty much always known what you were going to get, but this time things are just that little bit different. For a start, it's safe to say this is the best they've ever made.
The writing is always witty and much more amusing than in any of their previous titles, with some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments in there. The voice acting is a cut above, especially compared to the embarrassing incidental pirates in Tales of Monkey Island. There isn't a single character that you don't want to fully listen to and at no point does the dialogue have you reaching for the skip button.
Return To Form
With the humour nailed on, including self-referential comments about how the series' comedy can be baffling to non-converts, the puzzles are next under the magnifying glass.
Adventure veterans will bemoan the lack of mind-bending puzzles and that's a problem. The introduction of Max's psychic powers, especially the one which lets him predict the future, is often akin to Telltale telling you how to solve the puzzle. It's not as simple as that and it does help to push you along at a steady pace, but it definitely doesn't make this a challenge. That's a good thing though, if you just want to relax and play through a madcap story about alien gorillas, brains in jars and toys that grant very specific powers to the user.
Aside then from a questionable difficulty level, and therefore a relatively short lifespan, there's not much at all wrong with Penal Zone. It's funny, clever and thoroughly enjoyable to play, and you can't ask for much more than that can you?
Download Sam & Max: Season 3 - Episode 1: The Penal Zone
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP