Sam & Max Save the World Episode 106: Bright Side of the Moon
First posted on 19 May 2007. Last updated on 25 August 2010.
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.
All good things come to an end. Finally, we have reached the season finale of Sam & Max. The beloved freelance police are wrapping up their cases to take a break. So what is the story of this final episode? In Sam & Max Episode 6: Bright Side of the Moon, the dynamic duo of canine shamus and hyperkinetic rabbity thing travel to the moon (in their Desoto, of course) to go after Hugh Bliss, the villain behind all the hypnosis crimes which our heroes have foiled over the first season.
This last episode continues with the same formula used in prior episodes and makes use of much of the self ironic humor trademarked for the series. To start, Bosco's new special item is now "worth" 3 trillion dollars! When Sam and Max finally asks Bosco why his prices are so high (which they have never done until now), Bosco simply answers that he does not believe anyone except Sam and Max will buy them, but since they keep buying these items anyhow, he may as well keep increasing the prices. Even more ludicrous is when Sam and Max ask Bosco for items which they would have needed in previous episodes, Bosco says that he actually has them now. Too bad they have not asked him back then!
What disguise has Bosco chosen this time, you ask? Bosco is now back to Reality 1.0 as a full human (from a half elf in the last episode), but as a human female! His new disguise is "Bosco's mom". His toupee fools no one, but he still tries to stay in his character disguise.
Once again, you will meet Sybil, Sam and Max's other neighbor. Her new job now is the Queen—more precisely, Queen of Canada. Not much else is new about her though. You will also encounter almost all the characters from the previous episodes. Most of them are now working for Hugh Bliss and his Prismatology cult, which supposedly advocates the use of the colors of the rainbow for self-help. Obviously, this is a kind of parody of modern cult religions and all the fake self-improvement products that are mass marketed today.
It is time to head over to the moon. After all, it is just a drive away! Actually, both Sam and Max have been to the moon before—in their comic "Bad Day on the Moon" back in 1992 (that story was later adapted in an episode of the short-lived animation series on Fox Kids). Astute players may even notice a picture of them from the moon in their office. As a cartoon, they rightfully do not really need a spacesuit to be on the moon (nor anyone else for that matter). Of course, there is a souvenir shop right next to the landing site. For some strange reasons, the lunar lander is also parked up there; perhaps this is simply a reconstruction for the tourists.
Eventually, you will beat the game and realize that you have just completed all 6 episodes of Sam & Max. Each episode feels like a 22 minute television cartoon show (without the commercials) and can probably be converted into such show with some rewriting. Although a series with only 6 episodes is too short for a television season, the series feels pretty right in length for a game season. As the game ends, even our heroes make a passing comment about what will be next for them. They say that they have solved a lot of cases over the last 7 months and are now looking forward to taking a little break. Of course, this is a throwback to the real world, since the entire season is actually released in about 7 months' time for real.
It is indeed impressive to see that Telltale Games has actually managed to release all these episodes so fast and on schedule. It is here that so many other developers who are also developing episodic games have failed. A downside of episodic games is that there are a lot of reused contents from episode to episode. Yet, with characters that are so loveable and humor that is so great, you cannot help but feel a bit saddened when you finally reach the closing credits. Hopefully, we do not have to wait for long before Sam and Max return for another season.
So it is time for me to pick my favorites. My favorites are Episode 2: Situation: Comedy and Episode 5: Reality 2.0. Both are excellent parodies of television shows and great computer games on their own. If you just want to play a single episode, you will do no wrong picking either of these. By comparison, the last episode is full of throwback moments to all previous episodes and will probably not make too much sense to play by itself.
So what is to do now after you have played all the episodes and are still craving for more Sam & Max? Check out the web comics and the machinima shorts posted on Telltales Games' website! The shorts are created by the developer using the in-game engine and are voiced by the same actors from the games. My favorite is Egregious Philosophy Platter, written by Dave Grossman and choreographed by Jake Rodkin. Even Max has his own presidential website used in his election from Episode 4: Abe Lincoln Must Die! Check out maxforpresident.org (a real website) for his campaign!
This episode concludes the first season of the new Sam & Max series. Overall, despite some unevenness between episodes, the humorous dialogs and crazy actions have made it a worthy successor to this enduring franchise. Episode 6: Bright Side of the Moon brings a complete closure and a satisfactory conclusion to the season, clearing the way for the return of our favorite dynamic duo, which I am sure they will sometime soon.