Sam & Max: Abe Lincoln Must Die! Review

With a title as ludicrous as Abe Lincoln Must Die!, you might think that Steve Purcell and the other writers at Telltale finally went off the deep end. But like the three previous episodes, Abe Lincoln Must Die! faithfully captures the insane and hilarious schemes of Sam & Max. Released a mere month after the third episode, The Mole, the Mob and the Meatball (review here), the fourth episode is finally being geared towards fan reaction and suggestion. "Now wait a minute," folks might think. "What about the first three episodes? They seem a little hackneyed and repetitive." While that may be the case, I think that approach was necessary in order to not only adhere to a proper and strict episodic release timeframe but also to make sure Telltale doesn’t get overburdened with their own expectations (cough, Valve Software). With that said, combined with fan reactions, Episode 4 is another solid and hilarious continuation. Chock full of expanded game play, silly dialogue and plenty of memorable moments, Abe Lincoln Must Die! is a must-have for Sam & Max fans.

The story picks up with Sam & Max nabbing another mission from their chief; this time the duo heads to the White House to check out the President himself. Something is amiss and who better to investigate than two detectives who are just as crazy (or more, in Max’s case). Plenty of alumni from previous episodes appear again; for example, Jimmy the Rat is relaxing at the White House’s garden pool. As you gain entrance inside the White House, you’ll be exploring all the different nooks and crannies, including some typical inserted humorous locales that are, of course, not real.

The humor in the writing is still top-notch. Max’s zany propositions and elaborate schemes are down-right hilarious and totally wacky. At one point, when the duo is trying to get past a door-guard Max suggests, "Can you smell these two handkerchiefs and tell me which one smells more like chloroform?" Of course, with the title of Abe Lincoln Must Die! you’ll be getting your dose of subtle jabs and pokes at past presidents; for example, on a wall outside of the White House there’s a sign saying, "Post no Bills" and Sam quips, "I’m surprised this sign survived the Clinton Administration!"

A lingering problem with the episodes is the rehash of existing locations. In Episode 4, you’ll be trekking back to Sybil’s and Bosco’s stores. In a small but good start-off point, the game doesn’t start outside Sam & Max’s office. Instead you’ll be outside the White House. While this may be a small change from previous episodes, I feel this is a good technique since it’ll immediately bring a new location to players, and players won’t be forced to the same starting location for yet another game. Still, the puzzles and locations will still be familiar to past players for the most part. While I feel that the existing locations are getting old, for its credit Episode 4 is noticeably longer. So for you fans who are thinking that the play hours are getting shorter (as they have been), you’ll be getting some more this time around.

I have to say, Telltale is really doing this right. One month releases with solid products is a great way to not only establish yourselves as a good developer but also it adds some much needed backing to the episodic gaming format. Publisher GameTap was wise to pick up the funding and publishing rights to this game since the series is coming together nicely. The game was released today on GameTap, and it’ll be released publicly on Telltale’s site on March 9th for $8.95. Episode 4 has some of the best liners of Sam & Max: Season One, so if you’re a fan and have played the previous ones, you must pick-up Abe Lincoln Must Die!


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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