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Sam and Max The Devils Playhouse Episode 4

 

 

SCORE: 60

 

Sam and Max The Devils Playhouse Episode 4 

 

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is the fourth installment of the new Sam and Max series, The Devil’s Playhouse. Telltale Games has developed this new series for 2010 with five episodes, the last of which will be released in August. The episodes can be purchased individually as they are released or all together when the last episode hits the market.  Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is available for download on your PC, Mac, iPad or the PlayStation Network for the PS3. Telltale has developed multiple episodic game series, but Sam and Max is the longest running to date. The Devil’s Playhouse is the third season in this series.

Those unfamiliar with the characters of Sam and Max, they were created by Steve Purcell and got there start in comics in 1987. Sam and Max patrol the streets of New York City fighting crime. Sam is a six-foot dog, while Max is a crazed, three-foot rabbit that is out of control. They make there return following the previous episode titled They Stole Max’s Brain.

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls opens with Sam and Max trying to escape giant dog clones (cloned fro Sam). The opening scene gives an eerie backdrop for what is to come in the game. As with the previous episodes in this season (and past seasons), the gamer must solve puzzles and find clues to proceed through the game. Interaction with the other characters and the environment will lead the gamer in the direction they need to go. If you find the game to difficult, the hint settings can be changed to allow the game to provide more hints for the puzzles. This is a great option that Telltale has done in other problem solving games and series, and it works well in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

The gameplay and controls are similar to other Telltale third person puzzle games. This is both good and bad. The good is that if you have played other Telltale titles you can jump right in with no problem. The bad is that there are camera angle issues and control problems such as not being able to see where you need to be going or getting stuck behind things. The best character control option is using the mouse to interact with other characters and environments, while using the arrow keys on the keyboard for walking around. Interaction with other characters is much easier due to the implementation of the very well developed conversation wheel.

Regarding sound and voice acting, the introduction set the stage with a great song and good animation. The voice acting is fantastic, but gets lost in the bad language and even worse jokes. Even with a RP-E10+ rating, I just kept thinking I would never let me 10-year-old son play this game due to the bad language. Adults may be able to enjoy the game from a problem solving perspective, but the cartoon violence and language may turn some off. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls uses the same great graphical presentation in the first three episodes of The Devil’s Playhouse. Sam and Max, along with the other characters, come to life in a detailed environments and settings. Depending on how well the game runs own your PC, the graphics can be adjusted for better gameplay.

Overall, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is a nice fit in the series of The Devil’s Playhouse. Fans of the characters and Telltale Games will no doubt find this title enjoyable. However, since there are no unlockables in addition to the course language and violent themes, parents may not want there kids playing through this game. I give Telltale credit for developing a nice looking and fun game, but families may find the Wallace and Gromit series more appropriate and enjoyable for younger gamers.
- Alan

 

Graphics: 60%
Sound: 58%
Replay/Extras: 59%
Gameplay: 74%
Family Friendly Factor: 50%
System: Playstation 3/Personal Computer
Publisher: Telltale Games
Rating: 'E10+' for Everyone 10+
{Alcohol Reference, Comic Mischief, Language, Mild Cartoon Violence, Suggestive Themes}

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