|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Telltale Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Telltale Games / Gametap||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 8, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
For those you who are new to the Sam & Max franchise, it's advisable to take the time to wade through the episodes in the first season before tackling Ice Station Santa. It's possible to enjoy the game without doing so, but you'll miss out on a lot of the back story and the re-occurring characters which frequently pop up in season two. Also, the earlier episodes are well worth the effort. Quite a few characters from Season One make reappearances in Ice Station Santa, and all are welcome sights (except for the Soda Poppers who have long become a bothersome annoyance). The many new characters are a real treat. Santa's elves are creepy, the tourette's syndrome-induced outbursts of Jimmy the rat's kid Tiny Tim are hilarious (albeit beeped out), and how can you not love a giant robot who sings 80s pop tunes in monotone? There's plenty more where they came from.
The series' cartoonish graphical style has changed very little from one episode to the next, yet each episode looks great and can be enjoyed on many PCs even without a high-end graphics card. The system requirements overall are really quite reasonable. Voice acting and character dialogue plays a big part in Sam & Max, and it's as sharp as ever. You can turn on the subtitles if you choose although you won't get the same effect. Max's voice still can be a bit grating on the nerves after awhile, but the quality of the dialogue across the board is first-rate.
Ice Station Santa is definitely one of the longer episodes of the batch, and it may easily become a fast favorite. Still, even with the hints turned completely off it will only take you a handful of hours to plow through this gem. It's a relatively short title, yet it burns brightly while it last. It's a gut-busting adventure from start-to-finish. For the budget download price of $8.95 per episode, it seems a good trade. The rest of the episodes in season two are expected to be released one after another in the coming months. A retail release will likely follow sometime later next year if you have the patience to wait that long for a box full of Sam & Max Season Two goodness.
CCC Freelance Writer