Sam & Max Save the World Episode 104: Abe Lincoln Must Die!
First posted on 20 March 2007. Last updated on 25 August 2010.
|Boscovorski? A familiar name and a familiar face!|
|Do you trust this lagomorph?|
|Max for President. Be afraid! Be very afraid!|
|Bosco's defense satellite is orbiting in deep space, really!|
|The beloved intro screen is now in blue!|
Sam & Max: Season One
The season, Sam & Max Save the World, is comprised of 6 episodes:
- Episode 101: Culture Shock
- Episode 102: Situation: Comedy
- Episode 103: The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball
- Episode 104: Abe Lincoln Must Die!
- Episode 105: Reality 2.0
- Episode 106: Bright Side of the Moon
A compilation of Sam & Max: Season One has been released in August 2007 by The Adventure Company in partnership with Telltale Games. It includes all 6 episodes of the season as well as bonus contents such as behind the scenes videos, trailers, desktop wallpapers, concept artwork, a soundtrack sampler, and a full-sized printed limited edition poster.
After playing the last episode, I have admittedly grown a bit skeptical about the episodic format of the new Sam & Max series. All the episodes are relatively short, and much of the content is reused from episode to episode. In fact, each episode follows a now familiar formula—getting a lot of money to buy a simple item from Bosco and asking Sybil for help with her newfound profession to solve the case. So, it is no surprise that this is basically what can be expected from the latest addition to Sam & Max's adventure.
Sam & Max Episode 4: Abe Lincoln Must Die! starts off the same way as every other. The freelance police are in their office waiting for a new assignment. This time, there is a problem with the President of the United States. The president has gone mad, and Max is looking forward to take care of the president in his own way! After receiving their assignment from the commissioner, they drive off in their Desoto to the White House and heads to the Oval Office. This is where the player first takes control of the game. The developer is trying to break off a stale pattern by starting the player off in a different location other than the office. Do not be fooled, though! Sam and Max will need to head back onto their street pretty soon.
Readers who do not want to know about Sybil's newfound profession in this episode should skip this passage. Her sign outside now reads "dating service". This may be not a big surprise, since she is known to change jobs between every game. As usual, she claims that this is really the right work for her. However, her new job is even more short-lived than any other, and she actually changes to another job during the course of this game! Early on, she tries to run a dating service for singles, even though she looks through all the applicants first to see if anyone will match herself. When this is not successful, she decides to run another kind of "dating service". She cannot afford to change her sign, so she conveniently chooses to run a "carbon" dating service, scanning archaeological artifacts to determine their historic age.
Back at the inconvenience store, Bosco's paranoia has grown more than ever. This time he presents himself as Boscovorski, a friendly Russian immigrant who wants to start a new peaceful life in America. He is also terrified of the government because he is sure that it wants to destroy his shop. His defense is a space satellite that can shoot down rockets aimed at his own store! This is of course not cheap, so to fund it he has to (once again) overprice his special item to sell to Sam and Max. He proclaims it as a truth serum worth 100 million dollars, but it turns out to be just a bottle of Russian vodka.
Even though these gags have all appeared in previous games with very little alterations, I still find some comments or items that I cannot recall hearing or seeing before. There are, however, a few brand new details for certain in this episode. An example is that cars can now be seen driving on the street. Hugh Bliss, a character previously seen in Episode 2, has also returned and has a stand outside Bosco's store. His role is not very big here, so I will not be surprised if he is not there in the next game. Nonetheless, such attention to details makes it (slightly) easier for me to forgive the fact that there is so little new content in the game. As with Episode 3, there are only 3 new scenes, making less than half of this game truly brand "new".
I see no reason to complain about the length or the difficultly level of this episode. It is not because this episode is much longer or more difficult than previous episodes. Rather, it is because previous episodes have set themselves an expectation that players just have to learn to make the best out of each. Indeed, the most challenging part in this episode is limited to a search for a single well hidden item near the end of the game.
I am beginning to realize how the term "episode" really fits into the development of this series. Each episode is short, but it still makes for great entertainment. The designers also seem to be improving the game in response to fan feedbacks. The story has a few more twists, and the humor is as pervasive as ever (to the credit of Chuck Jordan who has written much of the dialogs for this game). The little mini song or the joke about Krypton definitively help to keep it up. In the end, I can say that some of my skepticism about the future of this series is gone, and I have hope that the developer will continue to improve the last remaining episodes.