A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a compilation of humorous episodic games that were previously released as individual downloads. This form of comedy includes references to alcohol, tobacco, and some cartoon violence. But it's less than what you'd see in a movie that's rated PG-13. The main characters tote guns, as does Santa, but it's part of the parody.
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What's it about?
The Sam & Max series of satirical point and click adventures began back when CD-ROMs were first popular in the 1990s. Now, almost 15 years later, SAM & MAX: SEASON 2 offers hilarious new episodic games featuring Steve Purcell's wacky rabbit and jaunty dog as freelance police. This compilation was previously available as individual downloads, but is now presented in five parts. The second season features wide-ranging \"show\" deals with everything from a possessed, gun-toting Santa to a European vampire's rave. There's even a Torture-Me-Elmo doll in Santa's Workshop.
Of course, you have to play the game between laughs, and you do so by solving puzzles, and listening to characters talk to garner clues. You'll also have to pay attention to details like the words on a crate and think on your feet to use ancient Moai statues to create a thundercloud. There's a lot of running around back and forth to figure out what to do, and while this takes too much time, it's still well worth the effort.
Is it any good?
These little mysteries are full of pop culture parody and puns. For instance, the titles "Moai Better Blues" is a nod to filmmaker Spike Lee and "Night of the Raving Dead" is a riff on George Romero's zombie flicks. Expect to titter even more as you meet diner owner Stinky and an evil being from Hell called the Shambling Corporate Presence. The package also contains a DVD which includes designer commentaries, concept art bloopers, and special videos like the 20-minute long Sam & Max Nearly Save Christmas.
This game, which features mild violence and even milder sexual innuendo, isn't for small kids by any means. And both freelance police characters tote guns (heck, even Santa has a gun!). Yet kids 13 and over who are Web and pop culture savvy will come to love it -- especially if they have a sense of humor. What makes Season 2 so good is that it features Pixar quality characters and environments, a valuable hint system, and a difficulty adjustment function to help you solve the tougher problems more easily.
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