Sam & Max Season 1: Abe Lincoln Must Die!




Genre:   Cartoon adventure

Developer & Publisher:    telltale games

Released:  March 2007

PC Requirements:   Windows XP, 800MHz processor (if using a video card with hardware T & L); 1.5GHz (if using a video card without hardware T & L), 256 MB RAM (512 MB recommended), 32MB 3D-accelerated video card, 230MB available hard drive space


Additional Screenshots





by Becky


The Freelance Police -- Sam (a dog detective) and Max (his rabbit sidekick) are increasingly ambitious. In previous Sam & Max episodes, they investigated crimes involving television stars, a talk show host, and the toy mafia. In Sam & Max Season 1 -- Abe Lincoln Must Die! the Freelance Police are asked to monitor the erratic behavior of the President of the United States. Who’s next on their list, one wonders? Superman?

“The Buck Stops Here”

As the game opens, Sam and Max learn from the Commissioner that the President is promulgating odd decrees – mandatory group hugs at all sporting events, for instance. (Not such a bad idea, actually.) Our heroes hop into their luxury Desoto and end up in front of the White House.

They encounter a Secret Service agent at the front door. They ferret important information out of this stolid guardian. It seems that, in these difficult financial times, agents aren’t just responsible for security.  They also serve at the White House as part-time gardeners, receptionists, and maintenance workers. Who knew that Secret Service agents are so multifaceted? And (as you learn later) that’s only a fraction of the talent required for the job. No wonder the Agency’s hiring practices are…well…secret.

Once past security, Sam and Max penetrate the inner sanctum --- the Oval Office. They even get a close-up view of the War Room, where things really get interesting.

Abe Lincoln Must Die! features third person perspective and a point-and-click interface. It is longer than the previous episode (The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball) and has more of a plot, including a diverting twist or two. Dialogs in this episode maintain their irreverent cleverness. Voiceovers are also excellent, though Sam’s voice seems a shade muffled compared to Max’s.

“1000 Points of Light

The stylized, cartoon-like graphics are colorful and provide multiple sight gags, suiting the game’s tongue-in-cheek comic tone. You’ll visit Sam and Max’s original neighborhood, as well as three locations at the White House. For the first time, our heroes encounter natural vegetation – not even the Freelance Police can kill the White House lawn.

You will interact with plenty of objects in the environments, many providing riffs on historical/political events. You will see the bald eagle – the United State’s National Emblem -- clutching unusual objects in its claws. My favorite: the drippy gasoline can. This game ranges into the territory of political satire, and does so rather effectively. As such, the humor is frequently too sophisticated for young children.    

Animation is fluid, even of inanimate objects. There is one surprise cutscene that had me shaking my head in sheer astonishment. Minor navigation problems are back – several times Sam walked in the opposite direction to the one in which I had meant to guide him. 

Music is jazzy and cheerful, starting with a Looney Tunes rendition of “Hail to the Chief,” and then ranging from Dixieland-like insouciance to frenetic 1920s Flapper music. Ambient sounds include the whirr of hydraulic lifts and the pounding of footfalls. 

“Suspect Yourself”

I found the puzzles to be more difficult in Abe Lincoln Must Die! than in the previous two Sam & Max episodes, and about equal to the difficulty in the first episode. Some puzzles are based on dialog choices, others on the use of the inventory. A couple of the inventory conundrums are particularly cunning. There is a chase sequence, but it does not require quick reflexes. Game length this time logged in at about three hours.

I played Abe Lincoln Must Die! on GameTap, but the game is also available via download at Telltale Games. A version that includes all six episodes will eventually be available on disk.


Quick List for Sam & Max Season 1 -- Abe Lincoln Must Die!

This is the fourth episode of six in the new Sam & Max game series. It’s a droll mystery starring our heroes: Max – a power-hungry rabbit and Sam – his canine enabler. Our heroes lay siege to the White House, the Secret Service, and the President of the United States. General wackiness plus political satire appropriate for teens and up.

Voiceovers are excellent, as is the writing. You can use the space bar to click through the dialogs. 

Colorful, detailed 3D graphics with plenty of sight gags. Point-and-click interface. Third person perspective. Subtitles with large, easy-to-read print.

Inventory and dialog challenges. No mazes, no sliding tile puzzles, no color discrimination challenges, no tone matching puzzles, no timed challenges. The most difficult puzzles use inventory items in creative ways.

A mild navigation problem. Plenty of save slots. You cannot die.

I played the game on GameTap, but it is also available at Telltale Games via download.

Sam & Max Season 1 – Abe Lincoln Must Die! is aimed at fans of Sam and Max and anyone who savors the ridiculous – particularly where politics are concerned.

Final Grade:  A-

My Computer Specs:

Windows XP Professional

Pentium 2.80 GHz

2046 MB RAM

Direct X 9.0c

512 MB NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX

SB X-Fi Audio

March 2007

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