Sam & Max Beyond Time & Space Episode 202: Moai Better Blues

Posted by Erik-André Vik Mamen.
First posted on 11 January 2008. Last updated on 25 August 2010.
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Sam & Max Beyond Time & Space Episode 202: Moai Better Blues
Surfing in high fashion!
Sam & Max Beyond Time & Space Episode 202: Moai Better Blues
Max is running for his life, literally.
Sam & Max Beyond Time & Space Episode 202: Moai Better Blues
Who can be cuter or deadlier than a baby holding a gun?
Sam & Max Beyond Time & Space Episode 202: Moai Better Blues
Flint Paper makes a brief cameo.
Sam & Max Beyond Time & Space Episode 202: Moai Better Blues
The origin of the Easter Island is finally discovered (or not)!

Sam & Max: Season Two

The season, Sam & Max Beyond Time & Space, is comprised of 5 episodes:

Episode 201: Ice Station Santa

Episode 202: Moai Better Blues

Episode 203: Night of the Raving Dead

Episode 204: Chariots of the Dogs

Episode 205: What's New, Beelzebub?

Sam & Max returns once again. This is good news, is it not? So get ready for a brand new adventure with the dynamic duo of anthropomorphic shamus canine and hyperkinetic rabbity thing! After ridding of the evil spirit that has haunted Santa in their last case, Sam and Max have returned home from the North Pole, only to find a strange triangle shaped portal now in the neighborhood. For some strange reasons, it is chasing after Sybil. After a little investigation, our intrepid heroes are able to make the flying portal stop, but not before Sybil is dragged inside. The Freelance Police are not afraid, though. Rather, they are anxious to jump into the strange gateway to the unknown and try to save their friend.

They all land on a tropical island, shrouded in mystery. They soon discover that the island is Rapa Nui, more commonly referred to as Easter Island. Easter Island is best known for its monolithic stone statues called Moai. Of course, these Moai are no ordinary statues. Not only can they talk, they also possess a few unusual abilities. The Moai tell Sam and Max that a nearby volcano is now threatening the island, and they need Sam and Max's help to save the island as well as themselves. Just another strange case for the Freelance Police!

Like Ice Station Santa, the story of Moai Better Blues takes cues from historic events and mythic legends to weave its own humorous tales. For example, Sam and Max will discover that a number of famous historic figures, including famed American aviator pioneers Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindberg, are trapped on Easter Island. The Bermuda Triangle, as Bosco calls it, has probably brought them to the island. In fact, the island holds many strange secrets, even the fabled Fountain of Youth. As to how all these pieces fit together in the story, that is a secret best left to be discovered by the player!

It is noteworthy that, in this episode, our dynamic duo arrives on the island by the way of the portal instead of their automobile. Any worthy Sam & Max fan familiar with the series will remember that all the locations our heroes have ever visited, even the North Pole and the Moon, are reached via their trusty DeSoto Adventurer. In past episodes, the driving sequence is really just a mini game. The mini game is still present in this episode, albeit with a little twist from previous incarnations. The COPS (Computer Obsoletion Prevention Society) still wants our heroes to do a little (unsafe) driving to win a vital inventory item. There is also another new mini game where Sam has to balance on a surfboard without being hit by bottles thrown from the island.

Technically, this episode is very much alike the first episode, with support for better screen resolutions including widescreen mode. A new element in the interface is the self explaining green arrow or cursor which can be used to "go-to" to another scene quickly. Otherwise, no other change has been made to the game control.

With the 2 of the 5 scheduled episodes now completed for this new season, a few trends can now be seen. The developer, Telltale Games, seems to have taken seriously the criticism of repeatedly using a tired standard formula in creating the episodes. Much more of the actions have now been moved from the familiar (but repetitive) neighborhood to episode specific locales. The episodes also seem to be getting slightly longer and a bit harder. Still, the built-in dynamic hint system will meet the needs of most gamers, since it can be adjusted from giving no hints to frequent hints. Each successive hint is usually more and more obvious. This way, an experienced player will be able to enjoy the game and solve each puzzle in the player's own tempo, while a player who prefers a more unhindered gaming experience will be able to figure out the entire game with the in-game hint system without ever getting unduly stuck.

Overall, Sam & Max Episode 202: Moai better Blues is more or less exactly what is expected from Telltale Games. It is a short but entertaining game that has a few interesting twists and delivers a lot of familiar Sam & Max's bizarre humor. With the latest episode showing more innovative gameplay, the series is surely heading for another exciting conclusion in the new season.

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