Max: These are a naive people.
Sam & Max were quite popular at LucasArts, and after getting cameos and Shout Outs in several LucasArts adventure games, the two got their own game in 1993: Sam & Max Hit the Road, which had the two traveling a pastiche of roadside America tracking down a Bigfoot that had escaped from a carnival sideshow with a giraffe-necked girl. It was done in the SCUMM engine, the same as other LucasArts classics such as Monkey Island.
A long-awaited sequel to Sam & Max Hit the Road was announced by LucasArts in 2002, but in March of 2004 the project was unceremoniously canceled. Fans were incensed, as were several members of the LucasArts team, who left to found their own game company: Telltale Games. In 2005, Telltale announced they would be working with Steve Purcell to produce an episodic Sam & Max adventure game, and in late 2006, the first episode of Sam & Max: Season One was released.
The game is available on both GOG.com and Steam. Both releases are DRM-free, pre-packaged and pre-configured to run under ScummVM, and come with digital PDF versions of the manual and hintbook. (You'll need to poke around the game's folder to find them in the Steam version.)
Contains examples of:
- 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The tram and the helicopter move way too smoothly compared to everything else.
- A God Am I: Conroy Bumpus mentions in his song that he likes collecting exotic animals because it makes him feel "like some Chaldean god."
- Alien Fair Folk: A UFO-riding moleman at Frog Rock (in fact, it is implied that all molemen are extraterrestrials).
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Younger fans might be surprised to know that something Evelyn Morrison mentions, props being used during the showing of her movies such as rubber snakes falling down on the audience during the climax, were actually fairly common during the B-Movie Golden Age of the 1950's and 60's, particularly the films of William Castle.
- And I Must Scream: Both Bruno and the Mystery Vortex bigfoot were fully aware of their surroundings while trapped in blocks of ice.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Lampshaded and Played for Laughs:Max: Hey, maybe Shuv-Oohl's at the Mystery Vortex! Let's go there before I'm distracted by something!
- Bald of Evil: Conroy Bumpus wears a wig.
- Better Than a Bare Bulb: Our heroes never miss an opportunity to mock the fact they're in a video game with a ludicrous premise.
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: The plot revolves around a runaway Bigfoot, and there is even a Bigfoot convention! (As a side note, the terms "sasquatch" and "yeti" are used interchangeably with Bigfoot in the game).
- Bland-Name Product: The Freelance Police can stop at one of three locations for Snuckey's, a play on the real-life roadside convenience store chain Stuckey's, which is also known for their pecan candies.
- Brick Joke:
- In Shuv-Oohl's room, if you look the newspaper clippings, one of the headlines is Severed Head Explodes, Destroys Bus!
- In the carnival Tunnel Of Love, one of the exhibits is a scene from B-Movie actress Evelyn Morrison's movie Revenge Of the Gill Guy, Sam being a fan of hers. Later when you get to the Savage Tiki Inn, who turns out to be the owner? Why, Evelyn Morrison.
- In Bumpusville, the animatronic animal heads make fun of Max and sing a limerick for him after he asks who John Muir is. After solving the third totem pole, you can tell Bruno about the John Muir-shaped vegetable that the totem pole symbolized. Bruno will ask "Who's John Muir?", to which Max responds "Don't ask".
- The Brute: Lee Harvey, Conroy's goon.
- Bullet Hole Spelling: On the second screen of the game, the hallway outside of the office, someone will shoot through Flint's door. The resulting holes make a smiley face.
- Centrifugal Farce: The Cone of Tragedy at the Kushman Bros. Carnival spins around at insane speeds, as befitting its name. If you ride it, you will lose all your stuff (thankfully, the lost and found collects it all in record time).
- Clark Kenting: Parodied. To sneak to the Bigfoot convention, you have to whip up a less-than-convincing Bigfoot costume. The guard recognizes you and lampshades the trope, but will still let you in if you do him a favor. Everyone inside seems to be completely fooled, though, especially one female Bigfoot who constantly keeps hitting on the disguised duo.
- Collector of the Strange: Conroy Bumpus has a whole room full of animals, including exotic ones, normal ones, and fantastical ones like jackalopes.
- Commonplace Rare: You need to get a corkscrew to get the cork out of a plugged bottle. In order to do this, instead of simply getting a corkscrew from a store or from any acquaintance, you need to go to the trouble of getting an icepick and asking a telekinetic psychic to twist the stem into a spiral-like corkscrew.
- Creepy Circus Music: Some of the carnival music has elements of this trope. Carnival of the Odd highlights how the carnival is a bit of a Crappy Carnival while still remaining somewhat pleasant, and Hall of Oddities sets the mood for the carnival's Freak Show.
- Crossover: Images of Sam and Max appear in most classic LucasArts adventures, including the Monkey Island series.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Max voices his theory that enormous magnets are involved in the supernatural phenomena at the Mystery Vortex, and Sam calls him "an ignorant dolt". Then the two find a secret passage that leads into the caves beneath the Vortex, and find... a series of enormous magnets.Max: I told you this place was controlled by giant magnets buried under the Earth's crust!
Sam: Lucky guess.
- Cutting Back to Reality: A visit to Bumpusville gives Sam an opportunity to use a virtual reality headset in order to access the security systems. Finding himself in a fairy-tale kingdom with a sword in a stone nearby, Sam naturally tries to pull it out - and then we cut back to reality to find that the "sword" is Max, who is being yanked into the air by his ankles while his head is pressed flat against the ground with Sam's feet. Later, Sam uses the sword to slay a dragon within the simulation, which another cut reveals to involve Max being swung energetically through the air. To his credit, Max doesn't seem to mind.
- Destructive Savior: Sam and Max ultimately make the world a vastly better place for the bigfoot race by causing most of western North America to be overgrown with trees, basically destroying civilization in that part of the continent.
- Deus ex Machina: Played for Laughs. After a Moon Logic Puzzle causes the duo to be carried to the World's Largest Ball of Twine via helicopter, Max wonders how they'll get their car back. Cue it randomly falling from the sky.
- Dialogue Tree: Somewhat unique in that in addition to asking about specific topics unlocked with progress, Sam can use one of three omnipresent commands, ? for questioning, ! for statements and a rubber ducky as a designated Non Sequitur button.
- Dodgy Toupee: Conroy Bumpus' ridiculous coif isn't real, it's a wig soaked in hair growth tonic. Max riffs on him for it, but this just gets him stuck on an island in the middle of a gator-infested pond.
- Drives Like Crazy: Max, apparently...Max: Mind if I drive?Sam: Not if you don't mind me clawing at the dash and shrieking like a cheerleader.
- Dumb Muscle: Lee Harvey, he's barely capable of standing upright without his boss reminding him.
- Enter Solution Here: Downplayed. The final puzzle is spelled out for you in picture form, but finding out which specific items are required for it is something of a Moon Logic Puzzle.
- Euphemism Buster: When you have Sam ask for the keys to the bathroom at Snuckey's.Sam: My little buddy has to use the facilities.
Max: Facilities be damned, I need a bathroom!
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: One of the attractions is a park full of tar pits and animatronic dinosaurs that happens to be next to Mount Rushmore.
- Evil Brit: Conroy Bumpus. He's from Liverpool, England, despite being a country music superstar and currently residing in Nashville.
- Excuse Plot: The whole bigfoot hunt is really just an excuse for Sam & Max to go wreck havoc at various tourist traps throughout the USA.
- Eye Scream: Invoked and Played for Laughs. If you talk to Max and choose the duck option, you might get:Sam: I think I've got something in my eye.
Max: Try digging it out with a fork. That always works for me.
- Foreshadowing: Before the duo even make it to the fairgrounds and meet Conroy Bumpus, a Muzak version of "King of the Creatures" can be heard playing in one of the Snuckey's locations.
- The Freakshow: The Kushman Brothers run one, from whence their Bigfoot and Giraffe-necked Girl have disappeared. Ironic, as the Kushmans are themselves freaks, being conjoined twins attached by the spine. And that's not clothes they are wearing. Their skin naturally grows colored fuzz that looks remarkably like clothing. Even weirder, they somehow appear to be different ages and have different accents.
- Conroy Bumpus forces Bruno and Trixie to take part in one of these as part of his collection of stuffed animals.
- Furry Confusion: There are non-anthropomorphic, non-speaking and seemingly non-sapient rats, cats, pigeons, and... alligators.
- Funny Background Event: Max will wander around and mess with the background, most notably at the Savage Tiki Inn when he'll start pulling at the feathers of the Toucan on the reception desk and in the Tunnel of Love where he tries to steal the axe from the executioner wax figure in the Henry VIII segment.
- Green Aesop: Spoofed in the ending, when the Bigfoot Chief's spell causes massive regrowth of old pine forests, at the expense of much of civilization in the western half of the continental United States.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: On more than one occasion, Sam uses Max as a weapon or tool. Just threatening to use him is often good enough to scare people into confessing something. Max can actually be seen and selected in Sam's inventory box like a regular object.Sam: [when prompted to 'Use' another person] I don't indiscriminately use people. Except Max.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal:
- Effectively averted. Sam wears a full suit (minus shoes) while Max and the Bigfoots wear nothing. One exception is Conroy Bumpus putting a vest on Bruno for his performances, which Bruno immediately shreds just by flexing his muscles after Sam frees him.
- Sam actually adresses Max's nudity when the latter expresses shock at the conjoined twins not wearing clothes; he answers that it's okay for him to be nude because he is cute and marketable.
- Happy Circus Music: "Carnival of the Odd" is a quirky, bouncy theme on calliope and brass. While the Kushman Brothers' Carnival, where the song plays, is a bit of a Crappy Carnival, it is always played either for laughs or as a genuinely fun place.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Parodied by the Mad Scientist's victim in the opening. She decided she wanted to be Just Friends because after their date she found him to be too nice and boring. A mad scientist who now has her bound up in his laboratory for rejecting him. Either she's still trying to let him down easy, or she's just that clueless.
- Human Popsicle: Bruno the Bigfoot, before his escape, was held as an exhibit in a block of ice. Conroy and Lee Harvey suffer this fate in the ending.
- Informing the Fourth Wall: Sam provides all sorts of commentary to the audience.
- I Think You Broke Him: The eventual result if you keep insisting that Sam pick up an object that's stuck, resulting in him breaking into tears and Max berating you through the Fourth Wall for breaking his spirit.Max: Now you've done it! You've broken Sam's spirit with your stupid attempts to pick up that silly object! In fact, if I didn't find his pitiful sobbing so amusing, I'd come out there and rip your limbs off! Just ignore them, Sam, maybe they'll go away.
- It Kind of Looks Like a Face:
- The Celebrity Vegetable Museum is home to dozens upon dozens of vegetables in the shape of famous people both real and fictional. The owner has a surplus of eggplants that look like Conroy Bumpus, and will actually sculpt a vegetable in the likeness of any celebrity you have a picture of, both facts that come in handy to solve later puzzles.
- Subverted with Frog Rock, which only barely looks like a frog, and that's if you turn your head and squint. Max is so disappointed he demands a refund, despite not having paid admission.
- Jerkass: Conroy Bumpus. He's little more than a selfish egomaniac who throws a fit when he doesn't get his way, and has his bodyguard Lee Harvey rough up anyone who doesn't worship him.
- Just Friends: The opening sequence has our heroes saving a Mad Scientist's date from being zapped because she'd rather just be friends.
- Live Item: Max, to the point of actually having a space in Sam's inventory bag.
- Magical Native American: Parodied with the Bigfoots. The Chief even admits during the ending that he bought his headdress at Snuckey's.
- Menagerie of Misery: Conroy Bumpus, an Egomaniac Hunter, has a large collection of mounted animal heads, which he specifically calls a "menagerie," in his mansion. However, they are somehow alive and can talk. Disturbingly, they say at one point that "none of us can leave, though we all wanna."
- Mythology Gag:
- The freaks in the freakshow tent at the carnival appeared on a circus marquee in the first comic.
- Several landmarks in the game were directly lifted from the comics, including the carnival's Cone of Tragedy attraction and Frog Rock.
- Napoleon Complex: Conroy Bumpus. His mansion in Bumpusville is filled with paintings and statues of himself as tall and muscular.
- Never Say That Again: When Sam complements Flint Paper's "business acumen", Max asks him not to say the word "acumen" again.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Several characters are voiced with impressions of famous actors:
- The Sasquatch Elder talks like Jimmy Stewart.
- The mad scientist at the beginning sounds a lot like Hans Conried (the voice of characters like Captain Hook and Snidely Whiplash.)
- Lampshaded by Sam when they run into a fisherman who talks like Woody Allen.Sam: I've seen all your movies! I especially like the older, funny ones.
Fisherman: What are you talking about?
Sam: Sorry, I had you confused with somebody else.
- No Fourth Wall: Sam and Max are very well aware that they're inside an adventure game.
- Noodle Incident: If prompted, the duo refuse go upstairs in their office building, citing some unspecified incident.Sam: We don't go upstairs.
Max: Not since the accident.
- Punny Name: Doug the Mole-Man and his uncle, Shuv-Oohl.
- Quote-to-Quote Combat: Examining the Garden of Eden tableau in the Tunnel of Love prompts a tongue-in-cheek example.Sam: "Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven." - Milton
Max: "Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens." - David Byrne
- Reality Is Out to Lunch: The Mystery Vortex. Even by the standards of this universe, this place is damn weird.
- The world's largest ball of twine is in Minnesota.
- One of the models seen on the golf course resembles the giant monkey head.
- Conroy's maintenance droid was manufactured by the Macrohard company, which is a play on Microsoft.
- Speaking of droids, there's a very familiar-looking astromech silhouette in the post-game shooting gallery.
- Symbol Swearing: Lampshaded during a conversation with the foul-mouthed psychic at the World's Biggest Ball of Twine:Sam: Percent sign, ampersand, dollar sign.Max: And colon, semicolon, too!Spoon bender: What are you <bleep>ing doing?Sam: Swearing in longhand, asterisk-mouth.
- Take That!: Sam, while talking to a character who looks and acts like Woody Allen.I like your movies. Especially the early, funny ones.
- Taxidermy Is Creepy: Conroy Bumpus apparently isn't kind to the world's wildlife. He has all sorts of critter heads around his performing stage. But what makes them really creepy is when they start talking and singing, and how they mention they want to leave but can't.
- "Test Your Strength" Game: The carnival has one. Sam declines to play it, but you can get Max to do it. He wins by simply hopping on top of the base.
- Totem Pole Trench: Sam and Max's bigfoot disguise consists of Max standing on Sam's shoulders while the two are wearing a fur-covered stilt-walker's costume.
- Third-Person Person: Evelyn Morrison really likes speaking about Evelyn Morrison in the third person.
- Villain Song: Conroy Bumpus' "King of the Creatures", an upbeat country song about how he hunts and collects exotic animals because he likes causing them pain. It's also implied that this is one of the songs he's famous for In-Universe, as you can hear an instrumental muzak version at Snuckey's.That's... why... I'm...
Happy to be king of the creatures
I'm proud to be the lord of the odd!
I love collecting things with grotesque features
It makes me feel like some Chaldean god!
- Wasn't That Fun?: After the "Cone of Tragedy" ride has given Sam cardiac arrest and caused them to drop all their stuff, Max has this to say:Max: Ooh, I feel tragically empty.
Sam: Me too. It's as though an integral part of my essence has been ripped from my being.
Max: Let's do it again!
Sam: Maybe later, chum.
- Weight and Switch: In order to complete their bigfoot disguise, Sam and Max swap out an eggplant shaped like Conroy Bumpus's head with a dummy holding Conroy's spare toupee.
- What the Hell, Hero?: In-universe, Sam calls Max out for wanting to return the missing bigfoot back to the carnival. Max still wants to do it anyways. Fortunately for everyone, Max finds an agreeable substitute. Unfortunately for Conroy Bumpus and Lee Harvey, they are that substitute.
- White-Dwarf Starlet: Evelyn Morrison, the owner of the Savage Tiki Inn, used to be a big B-monster movie actress, Sam being a fan of hers. She's adapted rather well to the motel business all things considered, but she's still under the impression that she's a star.
- Why Am I Ticking?:Max: Sam, either termites are burrowing through my skull or one of us is ticking.Sam: Ooops. Oh yeah. (Pulls out head/bomb of the robot mad scientist they just dispatched in the intro). Max, where should I put this so that it doesn't hurt anyone we know or care about?Max: Out the window, Sam! There's nothing but strangers out there.
- World of Snark: Everyone is a Deadpan Snarker to some degree in this game, but none as much as Sam and Max themselves.
- The Unseen: Flint Paper makes an offscreen appearance by throwing an unpleasant client through the door to his office and shooting a smiley face into the wall. You only hear his voice, he doesn't appear in person.
- Also, the manager of the Lost And Found at the carnival, who Max calls the ugliest creature he had ever seen, except for the attendants of that one video game designers convention
- Yaoi Fangirl: Implied with the bungee jumping instructor, who flirts obviously with Sam, but then lets him and Max use the apparatus for free because she has 'a soft spot for dog-and-rabbit couples'. Sam is predictably disturbed.