Sam & Max Beyond Time & Space Episode 204: Chariots of the Dogs
First posted on 13 March 2008. Last updated on 25 August 2010.
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?
The latest adventure of Sam & Max takes our intrepid heroes to another level, quite literally—up in an alien spaceship. The supernatural theme of this season continues on with a special sci-fi episode and the great humor that has captivated fans of the series. Get ready for Chariots of the Dogs!
A short recap of this season is in order. The owner of Bosco's Inconvenience store, Bosco, has been acting increasingly paranoid. He has now reached a breaking point. He has closed down his shop and has turned it into a bunker. He claims to be afraid of a group which he calls "Blank Blank Blank", a government organization so secret that even its acronym is unknown! However, he is now sure that another group is conspiring after him. He refers to this group only as "T-H-E-M". In the shocking cliffhanger ending of the last episode, Flint announces that Bosco has vanished from the face of the Earth. Naturally, this episode follows Sam, Max, and Flint as they break into Bosco's old store to find out what has happened to him.
The freelance police quickly discover that a spaceship from T-H-E-M has indeed kidnapped Bosco. The spaceship is capable of time travel. Soon, the dynamic duo (of dog and rabbit, of course; who else are you thinking?) find themselves time traveling to various places in both the past and the future. If you ever wonder "Who came first, the chicken or the egg?", just take the time machine back to the beginning of time to find out! You will also find out that Sam and Max are still alive in the year 2108, so there will be at least 100 more seasons of Sam & Max to look forward to playing in the future!
All the repetitive gameplay that has been a hallmark in past episodes of the new Sam & Max series seems to have disappeared. This episode feels entirely new. There is no driving mini-game; there is no tour of the neighborhood. All the new locations are now reached by using time machine. It is a nice twist and a clever answer to critics who previously complain about the tired formula of the series. Otherwise, the game uses the same intuitive point and click interface and features a very useful, customizable hint system.
The act of time travel opens up opportunities for various hilarious paradoxes to take place. Relatively early in the episode, you discover that Bosco is a test tube baby and that he has been tampering with his own paternal genes. Somehow, Bosco has been able to make a cow to be his father so that the new Bosco (rather, Bosco'w'!) is now half-human and half-cow! Time travel is also a part of the storyline in Ice Station Santa. It is possible that all these are yet another setup for an important story arc that will happen in the season finale. Perhaps some of these future events will even be revisited later in another episode from a different point of view.
It is easy to see that Telltale Games has been focusing on delivering a great gaming experience by casting the episode in a completely different direction. By using time travel as a key plot device, the humor in this game is very much based on exploiting these insane paradoxes. The nature of the humor differs greatly from the last episode. There is also the opportunity to re-explore some of the favorite locations from the first season, including the Oval Office.
More leads are also revealed in this episode on the overall storyline for the season. First, the 1960s version of Stinky's Diner finally reveals the identity of the original (grandpa) Stinky. He is a Popeye lookalike, with muscles and tattoos galore. Second, Superball, the ex-secret service agent, appears now to be working for another criminal mastermind, but it is not revealed who that may be.
Once again, Sam & Max Episode 204: Chariots of the Dogs ends with a nail biting cliffhanger, with no clue to what may happen in the season finale. Moreover, this season does not seem to follow the pattern from last season, with Sam and Max inching closer and closer to a mystery villain who they will confront in the end. Ultimately, we will just have to wait to see what Telltale Games has been planning. Will the last episode neatly tie up all seemingly unrelated past episodes of the season, or will it be just another standalone? Either way, I am sure that the last episode will be a blast, quite literally—or not.