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Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space Review

by GaryTun

After successful bringing their first season of adventures to XBLA earlier this year with Sam & Max Save the World, Telltale Games are back to bring you more adventures of the titular dog and rabbitty thing. With another compilation of their episodic adventures, this time subtitled Beyond Time and Space, this latest release collects all five outings from Season Two (one less episode than the previous season) which were first released on PC in 2008.

As before the game costs1600 Microsoft Points, a price point that Sam and Max fans will have no problem slavishly paying out to experience more adventures of their cult favourites. Beyond Time and Space remains a steal when currently compared to the prices on PC and Nintendo Wii, but the cost will nevertheless cause less ardent followers to hesitate. But if you’re playing Season Two without having tried the delights of Season One, or at least the trial version of either game, then you probably have to question your own sanity.

Gameplay and the interface obviously hasn’t changed much since Season One, so it still involves that time honoured point and clikc tradition of visiting set locations, using the pointer to collect items, interact with people and solve puzzles. And just like Season One, Beyond Time and Space has another recurring theme running through its episodes – this time it’s not mind control, but rather horror, fantasy and science fiction. Expect appearances from Santa, UFO’s, zombies, Vampires and even the Dark Prince himself (no, not Michael Barrymore, we’re talking about Satan!), complete with even more surreal and laugh out loud moments than before. There’s also the return of several memorable characters from the first season including The Soda Poppers, Bosco, Timmy Two Teeth and Leonard (who’s still jammed in the Freelance duo’s closet).

Season Two starts off with a bang (quite literally) and runs a lot tighter in terms of humour, ideas and pacing. Whereas the first season dipped slightly in the middle before clawing its way back, when playing Season Two it’s almost tangible how Telltale have learnt from their experiences and fan feedback. The end result is that Season Two is even tighter and funnier than before – expect lots of surreal, but not impossible, puzzles and some great scripting which won’t disappoint fans of either Sam & Max or point and click adventures.

A given purchase for those two fan types, Beyond Time and Space is game which proves that Telltale understand their craft, probably better than anyone else. With Season Three already being worked on and due for PC release at some point in 2009, hopefully it won’t be too long before even more madcap Freelance Police antics are heading to XBLA.