Sam & Max: Whatís New, Beelzebub? Review (PC)

I always look forward to the end of a season with a mixture of emotions. Thereís the elation to see the pinnacle of the season, what every episode has lead upto, the desire to pick up on hints of seasons to come, and the fear that the season finale will suck proverbial or literal rocks. Fortunately I can say that the final episode of Sam and Max Season 2, Episode 205:Whatís New Beelzebub just plain rocked. I laughed, I laughed some more and when it was over I was sad that itíll be several months before Season three starts, and there dang well better be a season three.

Where else would the gateway to hell be?
Theyíre EVIL!!! I told you so!

AhemÖThat said, letís move on.

Sam and Max 205 starts off right where 204 left off, which means the rest of this paragraph contains spoilers about 204 so if you havenít played it either skip ahead or prepare to be spoiled, your choiceÖ.Our heroes, such as they are, have jumped into the traveling Bermuda Triangle to escape a space traveling sombrero thatís on its way back to the beginning of time to explode and start the chain reaction that creates the universe. Yes, boys and girls, your very existence is owed to Sam and Max. Falling through the triangle the duo finds themselves at the river Styx, the very entry to hell itself and where Boscoís soul has been sent after his untimely demise. While they could leave their paranoid friend to his fate in true Sam and Max style, which means because they have nothing better to do, they decide to rescue Bosco and return him to the land of the living. Now if only they can figure out how to do that without losing their own souls along the way.

Overall this was a brilliant episode and tied together characters from both seasons in ways that were very satisfying. Old villains show back up and we find out what kind of work force Hell employs (Satan as a slightly bored corporate employer was a nice touch). Even the recurrence of the Soda Poppers, whom Iíve wanted to see eaten from the first time they showed up in the series, comes with laughs and fits in perfectly to the theme of Hell as a corporate entity and just what eternal suffering means. The life, death and Hell jokes come fast and furious and I felt like the humor of this episode was right on, clever with a few moments of, ďI canít believe they just said or did thatĒ. We get a chance to see the personal versions of hell for many folks that Sam and Max accidentally did in, and they get a chance to redeem their friends and restore life where it should be. Yes, there will be a Christmas next year for anyone that was worried after Ice Station Santa.

Bad hair belongs in hell.
AwwÖisnít she cute?

The puzzle level in this episode felt right in step with this season, which has over all been better than the last. Thereís a little bit of fetch and carry back and forth, but most of the time you can find the inventory items you need or the right clues fairly close at hand. I only got stuck on one puzzle for more than a few minutes, and that was my own fault for not looking at my inventory right - playing games at 3 am makes for blurry eyes.

Iím not going to spend too long on the technical aspects of the game since itís upto the same high quality that I expect from a Sam and Max episode and Iíve gushed before. The graphics have been great from the get go and maintain this high quality. I love some of the animations used in this episode, including Sam walking around slouch shouldered during his own incarceration in Hell. The voice talents are strong and the back ground tracks include some new variations on old themes which were fun to pick out.

Iíve had bosses that look like thisÖ
Harry Moleman as Death. Now Iíve seen everything.

Overall I just donít have many complaints. The price tag for these games feels about right for the number of hours that come out of them, and I find myself going back and replaying earlier episodes, which helps me to feel that I got the bang I want for my buck. And with Sam and Max thereís plenty of Bang!

Top Gaming Moment: There are so many to choose fromÖ Though I think Iíd go with the destruction of the Pepperís Demon. All hail Maxís appetite!


By JamieSI (SI Core) on Apr 10, 2008
Expect an announcement from Telltale soon, perhaps about further Sam and Max projects! :)