From The Archive is a series that takes articles written by Jennifer McMurray in the past and presents them here on MIC News for a new audience.
The Sam & Max Hit the Road Review was previously published on The Adventuress on October 5, 2014.
Sam & Max Hit the Road is available for modern computers on GOG.com.
Sam & Max Hit the Road was the first video game to star everyone’s favorite freelance police, Sam and Max. The game successfully brought Steve Purcell’s comics into the interactive realm and remains a well-loved classic of the genre. Like most of the other adventure games by LucasArts, it has withstood the test of time quite well.
The game is inspired by a comic titled On the Road and sees Sam & Max on a road trip across the United States searching for a missing Bigfoot. As the plot suggests, it is a silly, humorous tale, and has all of the humor that fans of the comic (or fans of Telltale’s later Sam & Max games) expect of the series. The voice cast does a splendid job, with Sam & Max themselves expertly voiced by Bill Farmer and Nick Jameson, respectively. Sam’s lines are delivered in a film noir style voice, which fits the character perfectly. Meanwhile, Max is voiced as somewhat high pitched and sarcastic, which is a style that each actor would employ in all of Max’s future appearances, minus the Brooklyn accent. It really is a pleasure hearing these characters speak, which makes the CD talkie version definitely the preferred experience. The music is also delightfully absurd, with a fantastically wacky musical number at the middle. If you can get a hold of the CD version, you are in for a bonus, as the disc also includes CD audio versions of some of the game’s most memorable music, which is a great treat, as these tracks are fun to listen to, even outside of the game.
The art design of the game is also great, as it manages to capture the look of the comic quite well. It doesn’t quite have the dirt or grit of New York city as portrayed in the comic pages, but it manages to look quite close, which is quite impressive, especially for the early 1990’s. This pleasing aesthetic makes it fun to play even today, as although it is pixelated, it still retains its great charm.
The game has many wacky locations to visit, which are parodies of tacky tourist traps throughout the United States, and each location has wacky characters to meet as well. New locations are added to your map only after you find a new inventory item that gives you a clue to go next. This is a nice game feature, and gives the game an added feeling of scope, as it seems to expand as you progress. The puzzles can get pretty wild, as should be expected, as Sam & Max’s world was never grounded in reality, but for the most part, they stick to logic that can be worked out if you allow your mind to adapt to Sam & Max’s crazy world. There are one or two puzzles that go a bit into twisted adventure game logic territory, but for the most part, they are really well done.
Sam & Max: Hit the Road is Sam & Max’s first video game outing, and it is still one of their best. It’s one of the fondest regarded games of the LucasArts adventure classics, and rightfully so. The CD version is the version to get, as it has wonderful voice acting. In addition, its humorous story, funny, memorable dialog, a fantastic art style that closely mimics the source material, and excellent music really help to make this game still a blast to play today.
4½ out of 5