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Sam & Max 202: Moai Better Blues

Score: 88%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: GameTap
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

The second season of Sam & Max continues with Sam & Max 202: Moai Better Blues which starts off right where Ice Station Santa left off, where the pair of crime fighters had to, unfortunately, send Santa to hell because of a pesky possession.

Moai Better Blues keeps with the exaggerated and extremely cartoony style of the rest of the season with large characters and great, smooth animations. While the style is slightly different from the original Sam & Max game, the visuals used for the episodic-styled games are just fun to watch and interact with.

There isn't much to say in the game's audio department. Like past releases, the character voices are dead on and the general audio-feel is effective. While on Easter Island and at the Tiny Tiki Bar, there is an appropriately tuned aura in the air.


Sam & Max 202: Moai Better Blues opens up with our freelance detective pair skidding into their neighborhood after their month-long journey back from the North Pole. Upon their return, it is obvious that there are a few changes in the area. Bosco has gotten even more paranoid, Timmy Two Teeth, the rat that lives in Sam and Max's office, has moved into the Maimtron 9000 from the last game and Sybil is being chased up and down the street by a large floating triangle.

After some brief conversations, you find out that Sybil is being chased by none other than the famous Bermuda Triangle, and once you get it to stop chasing her, Sam, Max, Sybil and her boyfriend (the head of the Lincoln Memorial) travel through it and end up in Easter Island (no not Bermuda).

The main focus of this particular episode is actually to fulfill a prophecy that the Moai stone heads of the island tell you about and stop the Volcano God from destroying the island. In the process, you will run into various missing people who have all partaken of the Fountain of Youth (also found on the island and teeming with piranha) and been turned into babies, try and make a Moai laugh, and lastly, have fun with dimensional portals.


Sam & Max 202: Moai Better Blues has a few difficult parts to it, but for the most part, it is a game that most avid adventure gamers (or at least those used to thinking the Sam & Max way) can handle. You will have to do some fairly unusual things, but these things make perfectly good sense to the detectives. For instance, you need to get into a cave on Easter Island and a baby Jimmy Hoffa is blocking the path and holding a gun to you. So naturally, you need to feed him more water from the Fountain of Youth to finish him off (but then there are those pesky piranha I mentioned earlier).

One of the good things about this series is its pacing. It seems like the smaller stories are perfectly designed to be beaten in three or four hours and give you a full adventure gaming experience.

Game Mechanics:

While Sam & Max 202: Moai Better Blues has all the earmarks of a standard point-and-click adventure, the series has also included a mini-game to keep things interesting during those points in gameplay where you can't quite figure out what to do next. In Moai Better Blues, it is a driving/rhythm game that the duo must play.

While driving in the police car, you can pop on some virtual reality goggles (once you get them from the garage) and try to run over bagpipes that line the streets by moving side to side on the road. Each bagpipe plays a note and furthers the song, and once you've finished the song, you've finished the mini-game. Like I said, this was a fun distraction, and while you actually need to go through the mini-game once to further the story (you win a prize when you beat it), I still found it a good way to escape the gameplay for a few minutes and get my thoughts straight... plus, it's always fun to run over bagpipes.

While you don't have to have played the previous Sam & Max games in order to play Moai Better Blues, it certainly helps in order to get the inside jokes and references that are made. For instance, you might not know exactly how Sybil hooked up with The Lincoln Monument's head, or how Max became president, but even if that is the case, you will probably appreciate the unusual settings and characters that the game presents. So even though the episode is designed for Sam & Max followers, you can still jump in at the middle of the series.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows XP/Vista, 800MHz Processor (if using a video card with hardware T & L); 1.5GHz processor (if using a video card without hardware T & L), 256 MB RAM, 32MB 3D-accelerated video card

Test System:

Alienware Aurora m9700 Laptop, Windows XP Professional, AMD Turion 64 Mobile 2.41 GHz, 2 GB Ram, Duel NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS 256MB Video Cards, DirectX 9.0c

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