The Pros and Cons of Culture Shock

edited December 2006 in Sam & Max
what did you like,what worked, and what would you like to see?
what didn't you like, what would you like improved?
start listing! :D
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Comments

  • Options
    edited October 2006
    the theory of this post is too put all feedback in here instead of having 100 individual posts :)
  • Options
    edited October 2006
    I had a few thoughts:

    Pros-
    -Quite funny
    -Puzzles, while not difficult per se, are logical enough that completing them still made me feel clever
    -Outstanding music

    Cons-
    - The lip sync is problematic, which is especially noticeable in close-ups.
    - While I agree with the concept of eliminating verbs to make the game more streamlined, the right mouse button now does nothing. Why not have it set up such that the left button is "interact" and the right button is just "look"?

    I might come up with more things, but overall I liked it very much, and I feel the urge to replay it just to check out every dialog tree.
  • Options
    edited October 2006
    The Thing I do not complain about: The voices

    The voices are to my expectations for the new installments of Sam and Max. To me, the voices match what Sam and Max would sound like if they had voices.

    PRO/CON: Mostly easy and a little hard...

    Recently, I have been playing the point and click adventure games on Gametap. Some people may agree with me that in some of those games, in some instances, the puzzles are really in the vein of "WHAT? I cannot begin to understand the thought process needed to complete this! (Or, I am too lazy too...)"

    Sam and Max does not have this in the overall scheme of things. Although alot of puzzles seem easy, there were some that probably got a lot of people to think, even me. (posting SAT scores to undermine whatever argument I am trying make is not required[though we all know you lie anyways])

    Although, with the logical (sometimes read as: Lucky I tried THAT) approach, I am always awarded with The Funny.

    I see Episode One as a begginer course into this style/genre of gaming and perhaps the world of Sam and Max. Perhaps the next episode could be a tad bit harder.
  • Options
    edited October 2006
    PROS
    - music
    - voice acting
    - clever puzzle design
    - animation
    - writing(very funny)
    - level of detail in the game
    - dialogue trees where you answer as sam and max
    - length(i'm quite happy with roughly 4 hours a month)
    - price


    CONS
    - delivery of Sam's lines
    - few locations
    - story could be a lot weirder( in the sam and max sense)
    - level of difficulty( if they are aiming for the seasoned adventure gamer..it needs to be harder)
    - lack of verbs
  • edited October 2006
    I'd have to agree with the lack of verbs being a con. For the designers it is a pro because it is less work for them. I'm not for going back to the monkey/monkey 2 set up (lots of verbs which made things funny at times)
    but I think something like full throttle/ monkey 3 would be nice
  • Options
    edited October 2006
    Considering how I always considered the voices from Hit the Road to be the definitive voices of Sam and Max, I warmed up to the new voices pretty quickly. I could nitpick, but I give the new guys an 8 out of 10.

    Now, I don't know if it's just my computer or not, but the actual sound quality of the voice acting sometimes seems kind of poor... almost as if they're too compressed. Some of it sounds kind of scratchy.

    Like I said, maybe it's just my computer. But the dialogue and acting is so strong, it would seem like a shame if the sound quality got in the way of that at all.
  • Options
    edited October 2006
    It was too short, i mean it took me a week for each episode of Bone, in finished this in 2 days of a few hours...

    MORE MORE MORE

    And yes, the voices seem different then the ones in some of the previews i saw, they seem closer to the hit the road voices

    And yeah i also noticed that at least on the gametap version that the compression was a lil too severe on the voices, since most people have broadband it wouldnt killa to give em a few more khz samples

    And while i appreciate the ablity to play windowed and to go up to 1024, since most 19" lcds are 1280 it would have been nice to go up to that, or even better the full unadorned glory of my 24" dell :)

    All i know is I signed up for a year of gametap just to play the game and it was worth it :)
  • Options
    edited October 2006
    I loved the game, the animation and oddities (I found a fish flopping in the rat hole?) were sweet. One of the best adventure games I've played (althoughI haven't played many).

    One thing that bugged me through the entire game was the mouse though. I feel like I'm swining it around on a 10 foot poll. Perhaps a mouse sensitivity option. Perhaps it's my computer (Gametap said I didn't have a fast enough processor, but I have an AMD Athlon XP 2400 running at 2.0 ghz).

    The mouse problem compounded my desire to move faster though text selection. I'd love it if the next episode of Sam and Max allowed you to make speech selections by hotkeys. It seems like most menus have 4 or 5 options so it seems like assigning each option to the numbers 1-5 on my keyboard would be a logical choice.

    (Fix the mouse, but add the hotkeys anyway ;) )
  • edited October 2006
    ^ Lower the graphic settings and the mouse will move faster/smoother.

    I found I could usually run the game on medium settings, but during certain scenes I had to put it all the way low for the mouse to move at an acceptable rate.

    My specs:

    1.5 GHz
    768 RAM
    64 MB video card
  • Options
    edited October 2006
    I really loved the game. I thought the humor was spot-on, the animation was excellent, the voice acting was great, and there were clever puzzle ideas/scenerios (like the whole dream sequence) that just made the game cool. It was just a blast to play, really, and I really look forward to the next one.

    As far as suggestions, I think it definitely could have the difficulty raised a bit. Perhaps you could raise the difficulty more and more every episode? And, God-willing, every season. That way newcomers aren't overwhelmed by the challenging and creative puzzles, because they'll be eased into it. (Maybe that's what's already going to be done?)

    I think the graphics look nice, but the intro/outro really made me realize how cool the game would look cell-shaded (obviously not just two-toned). It would maintain the 3Dness but also maintain that cartoony quality of Sam and Max that we've all grown to know and love. Not essential, it would just be cool.

    I think more verbs and the ability to combine items would be cool. Even if "more verbs" just means to look and a context-sensitive action (perhaps simply left click/right click). That way they would only need to add a little extra dialogue to the objects you can actually interact with. Combining items is just fun. And it seems Max needs a little more of a part in the story. Having him be an item was a fun element in HTR because Sam often uses Max as an item in the comic series. And usually the results of using Max as an item are hilarious.

    I personally had a problem with the graphics being too high. Everything ran smoothly when inside the apartment/Bosco's/etc. but outside it was really sluggish, as well as certain scenes with more animations and characters. I was running on the lowest settings possible. I guess you could just say to me, "get a faster computer," but since this game is meant to appeal to a wide audience, perhaps adding a third option of decreasing the graphics quality even further would help those like me who aren't updating their computers every year. After all, graphics are great, but it's really the actions, dialogue and play control that are important.

    I know, a lot of suggestions, but it's only because I loved this game and I want subsequent games to be even better that I'm making them. Thanks for bringing back Sam and Max!
  • Options
    edited October 2006
    I suggest releasing a demo before the game's release.
  • Options
    edited October 2006
    Mike, it's essentially shareware, so it will undoubtedly have the same "try before you buy" strategy as Bone.
  • edited November 2006
    keep it going
  • edited November 2006
    Pros:
    Its Sam and Max, finally!
    Script is magnificent
    Max's voice acting
    Graphics are stunning and highly polished

    Cons:
    $10,000 Puzzle was poor
    Sams voice acting
    Having to wait for part 2!
  • edited November 2006
    I love the game.

    The one thing I thought could be improved, was the controls. Like people've mentioned; it felt a little weird not having a right-click option; the interface felt a little bit constraining actually, which is not a good thing when you already have a really limited/closed environment (not many locations). The result is what feels like a pretty "small" game.

    In addition, I felt the controls were a little "slow". It would be great if you could set the mouse speed manually within the game. I'm used to working with a very high mouse sensitivity and speed, so the control felt kinda sluggish.

    But this is nothing. The game was GREAT.
  • edited November 2006
    Hehe, the first thing I did when I played it for the first time was exactly that: Trying to right-click. But I got used to it pretty quickly, and it never bothered me.

    --Erwin
  • edited November 2006
    It was too short :P

    Now what am I going to do for the other 29 days of November? University work?
  • edited November 2006
    Mikkel wrote: »
    it felt a little weird not having a right-click option; the interface felt a little bit constraining actually, which is not a good thing when you already have a really limited/closed environment (not many locations). The result is what feels like a pretty "small" game....
    ... The game was GREAT.

    I couldn't agree more!
  • edited November 2006
    Pros:
    -I was laughing a lot. In fact I found the humour in Hit the Road to be kind of gentle in comparison... I don't mean less funny, just sort of a different type of humour. I didn't really laugh out loud with HtR, but I did here.

    -For such a short game, SO MUCH STUFF. I was overjoyed being able to click almost everything in the office, although I wish we could have seen the 'back' of the office too (you can see it while Sam/Max are talking sometimes)

    -The graphics are fairly amazing. Nothing is blurred, backgroundy stuff; you can read all the text on everything (like the post-it on the calender). Even parts which aren't really seen are that detailed, like the office back.

    -References back to HtR. Especially liked the comment about the old car.. I was wondering about it ;D This just made it seem like Telltale were way more involved than LucasArts would have been perhaps. Like a fan game, but, you know, actually good (fan games almost never are, eh!)

    -Logic/smart-assery in item combos is rewarded with different lines instead of the standard not-doing-that lines.

    -Inventive! I loved the whole psychoanalyis dream part. It was neat. As was the hypnosis dream part.

    -Others seem to hate it, but Sam's voice was cool; he was the only break in the high-pitched irritation of Max and the Soda Poppers too. It sounded fairly HtR-ish to me, but I might be an idiot.

    Cons:
    -I was this close to trying to strangle Max. I feel more instances where Sam says something alone are needed, but that might be because I find Max's voice irritating.

    -No seperate look and use buttons, although you could right-click inventory objects to look at them. The inventory would then close just to annoy me. Ack.

    -Sometimes if you use an item, then right-click to skip dialogue lines, your cursor will get stuck as that item until you use a different one or go to another place.

    -Fairly slow plot, as plots go. Most puzzles were straight-forward too, except one or two I got stuck on. They did turn out to be logical enough, I just wasn't getting them.

    -I know this was kind of what I expected, but even for a short episodic game, it felt... SHORT. Maybe due to not much happening in the plot?

    -I feel a little animation of Sam TRYING to hit the Soda Poppers wouldn't have gone amiss. Because the first time I saw them run away, I was like "what the hecks just happened?" maybe I'm just dumb. :x I - I mean - if I were Sam I would have hit them while they were doing the run-away pose just before they leave. Y'know.


    I wrote lots. :'( I wrote lots cause I CARE. I seem negative but... for the amount of time the game took (2 and a half hours, for me), awesome overall. Awesome. We heart you Telltale :'D
  • Sean ASean A Telltale Staff
    edited November 2006
    Pros:

    Nearly everything. The voice acting was great, though I think the timing needed a little tweaking, but that'll come with experience. I actually found myself liking Max on an equal plane with Nick Jameson's (Hit the Road) Max, which surprised me more than anyone.

    But, all in all, from art direction to difficulty to humor, was rounded and excellent.

    Cons:

    THE MOUSE CURSOR. Oh my god, if that thing was any laggier...I wanted to put my fist through the screen. I mean, I have a P4, Nvidia FX5200 256, 1.5GB of RAM which can run Half-Life 2 @ 1440x900 with high graphical settings and everything but anti-aliasing turned on. A cursor should not be lagging in this game. Period. I hope they get it ironed out in an update, or at least by Episode 2.

    But I still loved it.
  • edited November 2006
    Now, it's a good while since I last played HTR, but I also felt that the humor was even edgier in this game - as in more provocative and violent. Which is good!

    Make it even nastier next time around! Sam and Max might look like a kid's game, but that's what makes it funny - the adult humor.

    Also, like many have said, the voices are set too low compared to the music and sound effects on default. It's not a problem to adjust it, but still.

    Wo wo wo!
  • edited November 2006
    Cons:
    $10,000 Puzzle was poor

    Spoiler Warning!

    The $10,000 puzzle was poor? It was hilarious! First realizing that you could actually shoot people's tail-lights out was pure hilarity in itself, but then figuring out that you could pull people over for it and fine them was even funnier! Getting your $10,000 was just the icing on the cake.
  • edited November 2006
    I loved everything. Maybe adding in some more resolutions would be nice *Cough* 1680 X 1050 *Cough*. Oh, and make the right mouse button do something more than look at stuff in your inventory. Maybe it could look at stuff OUTIDE your inventory... Other than that, everything was nigh on perfect.
  • edited November 2006
    All right, I'm not sure WHERE to post suggestions, but I guess this one's just fine. But first of all, I REALLY liked the game. Took me about 2.5 to 3 hours to finish, and got some really hilarious moments. Yet:

    - Increase the polygon count for the characters. I'm sure that doubling the polys used on each character would still keep the game playable on lower-end machines. S&M was an improvement from Bone (Thorn looked VERY jaggy), and I know what a pain in the ass re-modeling can be (assuming you can keep the animation and just re-do the rigging), but still, I hope it can be upped, since the wonderful camera-work (close-ups) make this necessary, IMO.

    - Scaaaaaale. I don't mean the length of the game, but the scope of it. Right now you're wandering around a relatively confined space. Taking the duo out for a road trip should be doable, and just having some scenes look "big" (something like a huge view across the landscape would help... doesn't have to be walkable), maybe having the walkable area allow for a 360 degree turn of the camera, to show all of the surroundings (the far ones don't have to be modeled, just like the city background in Ep1). "Hit the Road" did this (not the 360 degrees thingy) in quite a lot of scenes (Ball of Twine, Bungee Park, World of Fish), and it increased the epic ("road trippy") feel of the game.

    - More attention to secondary characters. The animation of the secondary characters looked very simple for most parts. I know, lip-synching is a lot of work, and maybe you're already doing this, but can't the lip-synching animation be combined with the speech-files? Like, having the necessary phoneme-morphs for the faces ready, and just have each speech-file contain the lip-synch info (so that basically every character could say every line of text lip-synched the same way, without extra work, because each file just plays down the necessary phonemes from the "face morph library" of the particular character)? Hope this was understandable...
  • edited November 2006
    Narwaffle wrote: »
    Spoiler Warning!

    The $10,000 puzzle was poor? It was hilarious! First realizing that you could actually shoot people's tail-lights out was pure hilarity in itself, but then figuring out that you could pull people over for it and fine them was even funnier! Getting your $10,000 was just the icing on the cake.

    I didnt mind getting it but the whole fact that a guy would have $10,000 in his car.. that he phoned his attorney.. it felt like they needed a way to give them Sam and Max money but they couldnt think of anything so they almost GIVE it to you.
  • edited November 2006
    I didnt mind getting it but the whole fact that a guy would have $10,000 in his car.. that he phoned his attorney.. it felt like they needed a way to give them Sam and Max money but they couldnt think of anything so they almost GIVE it to you.

    That seems to fit in, though. The whole thing is built around random convenient occurances... Sam makes some kind of comment about that near the end of the game, I think (can't say where; spoilers XD). They seemed so utterly sure that the way to get money was to pull over a rich driver that it couldn't NOT happen.
  • edited November 2006
    Personally I would have liked better controls for the car. The arrow keys on my keyboard, for example :)

    For the rest, I loved the game. The student loan joke was good :cool:
  • edited November 2006
    Maybe adding in some more resolutions would be nice *Cough* 1680 X 1050 *Cough*.

    I second that :D As far as the story and voicacting goes its pretty much perfect. I would have a few sugestions though. The steering of the car with the mouse wasn't really a good solution, I'd preferr the arrow keys on my keyboard. I#d also like to see a mini timewaster game included in every episode, like for this episode an extended action racing game with sam and max, just something you can play for fun that doesn't take much time and that you can play over and over after you finished the main game. Even though I'm not gonna complain about the difficulty level, I certainly wouldn't mind if it would rise in the next episodes. I was also missing a way to use max on things and combine stuff in the inventory. Oh and Laserschwert is right, it would be nice if you could up the poly count a bit. It looks good to me, but I know it could look even better :p
  • edited November 2006
    There's one thing that bothers me.
    Whenever a person says a line, the game zooms into a close-up of that character, except for Sam. A system where the camepera pans or pans & zooms to view the the person talking would be much nicer.

    Perhaps when talking to Bosco, the camera could automatically zoom into a view where you see Bosco's face and on the side you see Sam's head. I'd enjoy the game using cinematic view angles much more than the instant hopping between character mugshots.
  • edited November 2006
    Ive been waiting for this game for 13 years so I cant help but compare it to the original... although bearing in mind its obviously going to be a lot shorter.

    Pros : Just the fact that there is a new sam and max game is amazing, the graphics are great, the humour is there and the characters are really good. It was great to see Bosco's again. And Jesse James's hand!
    I loved the psychoanalysis bit. But....

    Cons : TOO EASY! I finished it in under 4 hours which isnt bad and as long as I was expecting... but the puzzles are very linear... I need to get C to happen so ill use A on B and it will. Remember things like getting the twisted spanner to unscrew the metal fish and have it taken away on the helicopter in Hit the Road? Or making the Sasquatch costume? Thats what im talking about. One puzzle leads into another and the results are hilarious and much more rewarding.

    As a sub game the driving was ok but could have been developed more. One of the best things about sam and max was the games some were worth playing in there own right and, quite frankly, driving the car with the mouse and shooting tail lights was too easy, repetitive and dull. Gator golf for instance was hilarious and included a difficult puzzle. The results of which were really funny as well.

    Also the camera angles need some work. Sometimes I found myself looking at a close up of the back of maxs head. This is a bit sloppy... which brings me to the mess with the release of the activation key. :mad:

    I think telltale have looked at what made the original game so good and thought about that in their design - I just think they need to look a little bit harder. Gameplay is THE most important factor in games like this and if they are going to make a comeback thats what needs to be concentrated on.

    Edited... the sounds not great everyone talks like sylvester the cat ('schukering shuckertash') I just didnt notice at first cos I was so overjoyed to HEAR anything from sam n max! (I originally owned the floppy version)
  • edited November 2006
    I had no Problems with Cursor movement whatsoever... And the one thing thats missing is the ability to "use" Max - this was a hilarious part in the first game. I'd loved to use max on the pipsqueaks...
    As mentioned by someone before, the caffeine rush of the soda poppers did come a bit unexpected. At least an animation of Max trying to hit them or a matrix-like bullet-dodging would've been cool... ;)

    Which reminds me of the Gun... could Max please point it in the direction of the cursor, not "somewhere"? And please give it a sound worthy of a "Big Gun"...
  • edited November 2006
    Pros:
    - Felt like Sam and Max, very rewarding and entertaining
    - Puzzles were good and well paced, maybe a little bit easy
    - Music
    - Voice acting
    - Script

    Cons:
    - I think there is a memory leak somewhere in the game... After playing for about 3 hours (getting toward the end of the game) my machine was paging (swapping memory between ram and disk) like mad. I remember one particularly bad transition while leaving Boscos where it literally took 5 minutes to load, HDD going crazy the whole time.
    - When you say full screen, really make it full screen. Use the full screen directx mode or whatever. I have dual monitors and I kept clicking outside of the edge of the window! (to the right) Which in turn ended up crashing the graphics engine and I had to restart the game.
    - Use a verb coin like in the curse of monkey island! I feel that this was and still is the height of adventure gaming interfaces! It allows for much more complicated puzzles which involve the combining of objects and gathering of clues... both of which would be/are difficult with the new Sam and Max interface.
    - Use a loading screen instead of jumping into the next scene and beginning the dialog while the game play thread catches up...

    Although I have many gripes with the telltale engine still, I feel it has come a long way since Bone (I played a friends copy) which crashed a lot more and was harder to interact with.

    So in essence: Writing, Graphics, Sound, Music, Voice acting, and Price are all good. Engine still needs work. But telltale is shaping up to be quite the indie gaming company! I look forward to playing your future releases!
  • edited November 2006
    (Please pardon my typos, this is a large field-o-text. I've likely missed seven or ninety.)

    Thirteen years is a long time to wait. Thirteen years is long enough to make you realize that if you're just old enough (or young enough depending on which side of the fence you're viewing the concept from), Sam & Max is now part of your childhood or early adulthood and definitely a part of who you are. Especially if you sound kinda like Max and go around quoting Hit The Road and saying Max-esque things to strangers on the street.

    But... thirteen years is also a long time to build up expectations and dream up scenarios for how a perfect-for-you sequel should feel, what its content should be, what should be updated, what should stay basically the same. For the most part it looks like Telltale is approaching the return of Sam & Max - both technically as a game and artistically as precious chunk-o-culture - with a well balanced hand, but there's always room for improvement.


    I'll start with some technical points.

    Technical output qualities were lower than acceptable. Audio encode qualities and texture resolutions - crank em up! While I understand that part of the reason they'd want to keep things lower quality is to reduce download size for gamers (and to reduce thier own bandwidth usage bills), the end result doesn't feel worth the cost.

    If the download size consideration is more for the budget, they need a better deployment method. If they're trying to make the download smaller for us, that favor shouldn't come at the expense of quality. To put that side of it in perspective, consider this: today on a whim I downloaded 3.5GB of episodes of a mildly obscure late 80s science fiction show - not even to watch, but just to have around. I definitely wouldn't mind a 500+MB download for a current and payed-for episode of Sam & Max that I'll actually play.

    Voice is one of the most precious aspects of adventure gaming. Actor performances and potentially great dialogue shouldn't be knocked down several pegs because of a technical hitch. Any audio should at least be encoded at the generally-accepted transparency level for the format used, never lower. The swish and swim artifacts on voices knocked me [and a chunk of fun] out of the game on more than a few occasions.

    There were several times where backdrop (and even some foreground) textures were too low resolution. While it was even noticeable at a screen resolution of 1024x768, it was extremely noticeable - to the point of being distracting - at the screen resolution I choose to play at: 1600x1200. Not limited to these, but some examples of problematic low-res textures are the backdrop outside the office window (which should have really been a mesh instead of a flat anyway) and the curtains in Sybil's.


    Geometry and lighting could use some love. While not the worst issue with the game, the visual style would seem much more tuned and rich if the geometric detail were higher. Especially in the character models, there were too many visible corners and awkwardly turned edges. Granted, a small percentage of strange turns aren't generally held as unacceptable for realtime animated models but when a mesh is so sparce that an oddly turned edge darkens, say, a large portion of Max's teeth... there's a problem.

    General roundup: For the world, some large sweeping curves and a few subtle curves could stand several extra edge loops and a tighter handle on fixing broken smoothing. Character faces need nearly twice the amount of geometry they have now. Character bodies need smoother curves and a refactoring of pinched edges (where the attempt at smoothing from one high-degree poly/tri to another creates an unwanted darkening). They could also stand a little attention to smoothing the construction of hard corners (Sam's lapel looks like it was cut from thick rubber, needs to be softened a bit). Architectural corners might do well with some thin bevels to catch a highlight here and there.

    That brings me to the next bits, the shading and lighting. While for the most part the simple bright setup seemed to work, I would have loved the subtle inclusion of a realistically solved (GI) lightmap muliplied overtop the cartoon brightness (again with the me wanting a little more richness and depth) to create some gathered pools of shadow and light. That kind of shading is beautifully compatible with a cartoon-style world if applied with a subtle hand.


    Ok, now some gameplay and creative points.

    Movement could be streamlined. There were times when Sam outwalked the camera pan and left very little room in the frame to click, causing me to have to inch him over for the camera to reveal whatever I was after. That got annoying. I'd love for there to be either an option to use keyboard arrows to move the character directly - OR - simply allow the ability to slide the cursor all the way to a point on the edge of the screen, hold the button down and have the character continue to move in that direction without having to click over and over.

    Puzzles need greater difficulty and more complexity. Outlandish convoluted, yet strangely logical combinations of concepts, items and situations shouldn't only be possible in the world of Sam & Max... they're what I expect! The puzzles in Culture Shock weren't horrible though, just a little obvious and simple. They would be a good primer for somebody who hasn't played Hit The Road, so I suppose it's proper for the first episode. Trouble is... if all six episodes in this season are going to be as short as this one, there's not a lot of time to waste on simple and obvious.

    World needs attention to scale, scope, accessibility and life. It's already been touched on by Laserschwert. We need to feel like we're in a large, living world. In Hit The Road, that was accomplished by showing movement, having extras in the foreground (even if all they did was grunt when you tried to talk to them), showing a nice expansive vista here and there and even having unrelated, even distanced plots and run-on jokes in the background (such as news blurbs of peripheral affects of Sam & Max's carefree adventuring). Add enough of these little bits into the game and suddenly you've got the feeling of a living world.

    Another issue somewhat contributing to the shoebox-/fishbowl-scale problem is accessibility and freedom. If something is part of the foreground set and there's no visible reason it's blocked, you should be able to go there. Just as an example, let's take the alley beside the office building: there was nothing blocking access from the sidewalk, yet Sam wouldn't go back there. No quip about not wanting to, nothing physically blocking his movement, it simply wasn't allowed and as such, felt like an arbitrary limitation. Arbitrary limitations add up and make a gameworld feel unwhole and constrained.


    Now, onto my biggest gripe with the whoooooole works.

    If every episode is going to be set up like Culture Shock, they're too short, too simple, too linear and too self-contained to be worth the asking price.

    Use episodic storytelling for all it's worth! Maybe I missed it, but I saw no beginning of an overall story arc in Culture Shock and that makes me worry about the quality we're going to see later. I want story arcs over the entire series and this season. I want plots and sub-plots. I want many more secondary and bit characters. While I enjoyed Culture Shock, it did feel like a simple 30-minute Saturday morning cartoon for kids when these episodes - if they're to feel worthy of the price - should feel like a one-hour show or at least like a tightly packed half-hour cartoon for adults.

    Sam & Max is supposed to be for adults, I thought. I didn't feel the cartoon series was a great example of the Sam & Max world because the stories were too simple, the humor and dialogue made too easy and family-safe. I dont want this episodic game series to suffer similarly.
  • edited November 2006
    Vesh wrote: »
    Maybe I missed it, but I saw no beginning of an overall story arc in Culture Shock and that makes me worry about the quality we're going to see later. I want story arcs over the entire series and this season. I want plots and sub-plots.
    Uhm I really think you missed it...

    *SPOILER AHEAD*

    In the end you see this tv show and that guy on it, is clearly hypnotized too. So I think thats a very obvious hint to a continuening hypnotiv story arc... just my 2 cents :D
  • edited November 2006
    S3BR4 wrote: »
    Uhm I really think you missed it...
    In the end you see this tv show and that guy on it, is clearly hypnotized too. So I think thats a very obvious hint to a continuening hypnotiv story arc... just my 2 cents :D

    I think Vesh wasn't talking about the main storyline, and how it might continue into the next episode, but some sub-plots that just happen alongside the normal mission (and don't end in episode 1 already). Stuff like Max planning to join a club, something that just gets mentioned in conversations, and in some later episode, the "club" actually plays some role (probably a stupid example, but I couldn't think of anything right now). Generally something that makes it appear that Sam & Max have a life outside those missions they get.
  • edited November 2006
    - I think there is a memory leak somewhere in the game... After playing for about 3 hours (getting toward the end of the game) my machine was paging (swapping memory between ram and disk) like mad. I remember one particularly bad transition while leaving Boscos where it literally took 5 minutes to load, HDD going crazy the whole time.

    I had the same problem, it's rather serious IMO. I'd played the game in one go, and I think about 2/3rds through, I suddenly got a message from Windows saying it needed to expand the virtual memory. A glance in the task manager at that point showed 1.3GB(!) of RAM in use total, though Sam&Max only listed about 250MB in the process list. I closed the game and immediately watched my total memory use plummet back to 200MB. This is on Win2K, Geforce 6600GT.

    I also have to echo some of the criticisms here:
    • Too easy. The game puts the solution right in front of you way too many times. In the few cases where the solution was not immediately obvious, there were so little options (item / dialog wise) that I could simply try every one of them and get through the puzzle that way (e.g. end-game). A puzzle should not be solvable by brute force in 5 seconds...

      I know, you don't want to turn off casual gamers either, but maybe you could reward the seasoned adventurer with some extra content, scenes or dialog, hidden behind some tricky, optional puzzles? That could increase the replay value too.
    • Driving controls. Having to click repeatedly with the mouse is a horrible design decision. Even click-and-drag would've been better, but really there's no excuse for not allowing use of the arrow keys. Why break with years of gaming common sense? The chase scene was very irritating because of this.

    Also, I did feel the game was over way too soon. It took me 3.5 hours to finish. That means for the full game, it would take only 21 hours... that's not much for an adventure game.

    Still, I massively enjoyed the game and laughed out loud from beginning to end. There are way too many good things about this game to list.

    I also agree with the above poster about the stylized black/orange opening scene: that was awesome. I would love to see some more experimentation in this direction in the game itself.

    Major con: no Mac OS X version! I'd love to play this on my PowerBook.
  • edited November 2006
    This game was lots of fun. I can't remember the last time an adventure made me chuckle so much.

    Pros:
    -Psychoanalysis.
    -Controlling Sam AND Max in conversations sometimes.
    -The driving sequences.
    -Talking to Bosco. "You ever stare down the barrel of a loaded cheese?"
    -Lots of the general responses for looking at things. The banter is great.
    -Replayability value. The first time through I never saw the documentary on the Soda Poppers, for instance.
    -It's SAM AND MAX!

    Cons:
    -The cursor design. It's too "blah." Why not make it into Sam's hand like in Hit the Road?
    -I sometimes wished that dialogue sequences would indicate more clearly whether new lines were left in a topic of conversation or not. It doesn't have to be a full listing of the line, which might spoil the jokes; just something to indicate there're some lines which the player hasn't heard yet when he or she clicks on a dialogue topic for the second time.
    -David Nowlin as Sam isn't as bad as I thought he'd be from trailers, but he still needs to show more emotional range. Sam isn't wooden.
    -As Laserschwert said, Sam and Max should be allowed to travel more in later episodes. While the focus on their neighborhood is fine for an introduction, I don't want following parts in the series to do the same.

    Overall, a fine effort. Bravo Telltale!
  • edited November 2006
    Pros: Totally great.
    Cons: Can't think of anything. The lenght of the game was good, considering it was a single episode. And for the price. So... I'd say no cons.
  • edited November 2006
    Pros: Everything except...
    Cons: the camera, it's the one thing that bugged me as I played. The jumping from person to person in cut scenes is fine but it gets a bit tiresome when it happens every time someone speaks. Also some of the locations felt kinda claustrophobic, I think because the camera was so close. It would have been nice to have seen some areas in all their glory without all the camera swinging, Sam and Max's office for one. I think someone suggested larger vista's, not visitable but visible, that would help too. Also, I found the control system okay for this episode but a FT/MI3 type interface would have been just as fine and might have increased the interest levels of each object. Sams hand as the curser would be cool too.

    As I said above this is still a great game and I really did laugh out loud at many points. I just have one last thing to say, is visitable even a real word?
  • edited November 2006
    More gripes, after sleeping on it…

    I'm not so sure I'm liking the episodic feel. Its too much like the TV series? Very linear.

    I would enjoy a true sequel more. In the spirit of the original game...
    Perhaps they can spin future episodes into more open-ended style games? You can have ‘episodes’ and still retain the freedom of an adventure game. Take money island for example… four games vaguely fit together but the actual game play is very free with plenty of quirks and dare I say it, more atmosphere than S&M episode 1.
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