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Sam & Max Hit the Road

Score: 88%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Good Old Games
Developer: LucasArts
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Just the mention of Sam & Max Hit the Road, or the game's two main characters, is enough to send me in a nostalgic whirlwind reminiscing over the 90's era adventure games. Don't get me wrong, I feel like adventure games have come back in force, thanks both to the emergence of touch-screen based devices and companies like Telltale Games, but nostalgia is what it is, and its hard to pass up the chance to review one of my favorite games growing up.

Sam & Max Hit the Road's visual style is the same cartoonish, pixelated look and feel that you might expect from a side-scrolling point-and-click adventure released in 1993. While the characters aren't quite as... abstract, as those seen in the original Monkey Island or Maniac Mansion, they aren't quite as smooth and clean looking as similar titles found later that decade. Quite frankly though, it's that look that adds a lot of the nostalgia to the game.

As for newer fans of the duo who came to know the crazed rabbit and his dog of a partner from Telltale's more recent titles, I feel like the graphics are still good enough to truly enjoy the crazy world that Sam and Max inhabit. Don't expect the whiz-bang, high-end 3D graphics of the Save the World series, but don't go into this game expecting something on the level of old-school Atari games either.

As for Sam & Max Hit the Road's audio features, it sounds like all of the original sound clips, music and voices are in play and nothing appears to be altered from the original release of the game. While I can't fully confirm this since it had been several years before this review that I had a chance to play this title, the music felt right and the voices were definitely that of Bill Farmer (Sam) and Nick Jameson (Max), whose banter is what really helped to define the crazed partnership these freelance police officers have.


Sam & Max Hit the Road's case focuses on a missing Bigfoot last seen frozen in a block of ice at a carnival. It seems someone has thawed out this particular sideshow attraction and the thief, along with Bruno the Bigfoot, have run away.

This adventure takes the dog and rabbit duo across the entire country. They will visit everything from an alligator-themed mini-golf course to a Graceland knockoff to the largest ball of twine to a mysterious area where the laws of physics don't apply and to every Snuckey's convenience store between these locations. Of course, that's just a short list of the crazy places that Sam and Max will go to in order to track down Bruno and uncover a mystery that seems to surround all of the Bigfoot in America.

Part of what makes Sam & Max Hit the Road stand out in such a crowded genre is the fact that these two characters are likable despite being chaotic, blunt and downright non-sequitur. As a result, some of the solutions that players have to figure out in this game don't always make the most sense, unless you manage to get into Sam and Max's twisted little minds.


Like I said above, the key to Sam & Max Hit the Road is solving problems the way the demented characters think. As a result, sometimes, you might have to use Max as an inventory item. The result is typically a grisly threat that puts the person being questioned in line. Or you might find yourself in a strange and mysterious part of the country where only Sam and Max's strange brand of logic actually works.

Outside of some of the crazier solutions this game forces you to work out, Sam & Max Hit the Road really does fit the standard adventure template to a tee. Then again, it was one of the games that helped define that genre. Given that a large number of the puzzles that the player has to work out are inventory-based, the tactic of trying every item in Sam's box against your current obstacles will almost always get you through the current hurdle. Just don't forget that Max is one of your inventory items, and so is Sam's gun. If you find yourself stuck even after this tactic, then most likely you need to go to one of the game's other locations because you forgot to pick something up.

Game Mechanics:

Sam & Max Hit the Road has the standard SCUMM feel, though a slightly more refined version that was first seen in games like Maniac Mansion and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. The screen doesn't feature the iconic inventory list next to a list of possible commands. Instead, it streamlined the U.I. a little. The inventory items can be found in a cardboard box in the corner of the screen, while different commands to perform on hotspots can be cycled through with the Right Mouse Click. Even though the U.I. was simplified, the core SCUMM experience is still there.

While I reviewed the game because of my past love for it, I did try and take off the nostalgia goggles as much as possible while reviewing Sam & Max Hit the Road for a modern audience. Given that, I think the only new players this game will pick up are those that have played the more recent Telltale Games seasons and want to experience another zany adventure. Sure, the graphics aren't as modern and smooth as the newer titles, but the attitude, ridiculousness and overall feel that made the newer games such great Sam & Max titles really stem from Hit the Road.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows XP/Vista/7/8, 1 GHz Processor (1.4 GHz recommended), 256MB RAM (512 recommended), 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 7 (compatible with DirectX 9 recommended), Mouse, Keyboard

Test System:

Windows 8.1 64-bit, Intel i7-4770K 3.5GHz, 8 GB RAM, Radeon HD 5870 Graphics Card, DirectX 11

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