Sam & Max by Steve Purcell.

Sam & Max Comics

A little bonus, on the back of our Sam & Max Hit the Road feature published today: not grabs, but a small selection of high quality Sam & Max comics, as written and drawn by LucasArts veteran and all-round master of the paintbrush, Steve Purcell.

I love Purcell‘s artwork so much – not to mention Hit the Road itself – that I had to share these with you.

Steve Purcell created a range of hilarious strips based on the infamous dog/rabbit duo. Some were full-length comics and other were just small, single panels. He also drew lots of different Sam & Max posters, a few of which I’ve included here.

As Max would say: I’d be peeing my pants if I wore any!

Enjoy!
The King of Grabs

More: Steve Purcell on Wikipedia
More: Sam & Max on Wikipedia

Sam & Max - Freelance Police - versus the Nazis.

Sam & Max – Freelance Police #1

Sam & Max - Freelance Police - versus the Empire.

Sam & Max – Freelance Police #2

Sam & Max - Freelance Police - versus the Death Star.

Sam & Max – Freelance Police #3

Sam & Max Hit the Road, PC

Sam & Max Hit the Road, released by LucasArts in 1993, marks the video game debut of the infamous dog/rabbit crime-fighting duo.

Created by artist Steve Purcell, Sam & Max are “freelance police” and basically engage in a series of surreal mysteries involving bigfoot, and a whole host of other weird characters and strange situations.

The game begins with an animated cut scene that sets the tone, and then you have to use Sam & Max to find your way into the story. The control system is mouse-based and you use right-click to cycle through five cursor icons – walk, look, take, talk, and use. Left-clicking one of these ‘verb’ icons on a specific object or person on-screen, or in your inventory (a brown cardboard box!), will usually illicit some sort of response. The simplified control system is a joy to use, at least compared to other SCUMM games. Not having the usual verb list frees up the screen to hold more great graphics. And the graphics in Sam & Max, I think, are some of the best, most iconic, and most memorable visuals of the PC DOS era.

Like most point-and-click adventures: Hit the Road is extremely challenging. Playing is easy enough, but solving puzzles and making your way into the game is not easy. But it is very much worth it. The surreal nature of Sam & Max Hit the Road sometimes means that the nature of the puzzles is beyond anything you might have ever seen, but that’s okay. Just go with it…

My favourite parts: “Holy mackerel!” – “I’m a trout, stupid!” – “Holy trout!”, or Max retrieving the message from the cat… And my favourite character has to be the foul-mouthed, spanner-bending, turban-wearing man in the revolving restaurant. He still makes me crease up with laughter today… Sam & Max Hit the Road is packed full of wacky characters, crazy dialogue, and dangerous stunts. There are even a bunch of “minigames” hidden away in there too…

Often referred to as one of the best video games ever made, Sam & Max Hit the Road is probably the best adventure game LucasArts ever produced. It’s certainly one of funniest games I’ve ever played and will appeal to anyone with a sense of humour.

If you’re one of those with a low tolerance to frustration, play it with a walkthrough. There’s no shame in it. 🙂

U.S. Gold published the game in the UK in 1993. A number of sequels have also been released over the intervening years.

See also: Sam & Max Comics

More: Sam & Max Hit the Road on Wikipedia
Steam: Sam & Max Hit the Road on Steam
GOG.com: Sam & Max Hit the Road on GOG.com

Sam-And-Max-Clean

Day of the Tentacle, PC

This is the original 1993, VGA, MS-DOS version of Day of the Tentacle, with graphics presented at a fairly low-resolution 320 x 200. They still look great to me though.

Compare this to the high def Double Fine remake of 2018 and there is no contest – the high def version wins every time – although there is still a perverse nostalgic thrill to be had from playing the original VGA version.

Day of the Tentacle is the sequel to the classic Maniac Mansion, but is far funnier and far more interesting. Bernard, one of the main playable characters from Maniac Mansion, makes a comeback in this as the ‘lead’. And he is helped along by two other playable characters, Hoagie (a roadie), and Laverne (a ‘kookie’ girl). Together they embark on a surreal time-travelling mission to stop an evil tentacle from taking over the world… With hilarious results.

If you’ve never played Day of the Tentacle: you’re missing out. It’s one of the greatest point-and-click adventure games of all-time and is still available to buy and play today.

More: Day of the Tentacle on Wikipedia
Steam: Day of the Tentacle Remastered on Steam
GOG.com: Day of the Tentacle Remastered on GOG.com

Day-of-the-Tentacle-Cover

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, PC

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis was initially published by LucasArts in 1992 and was immediately recognised as something rather special – at least better than what most of the competition were doing at the time.

What makes Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis so good is the melding of the Raiders of the Lost Ark movie mythos, and the great writing, art and animation talent of LucasArts.

The story is: you – as Indiana Jones – with psychic sidekick Sophia Hapgood, trying to stop the Nazis from using the hidden power of Atlantis to take over the world. The plot is set on the eve of the Second World War, in 1939, and it’s basically a globe-trotting race to uncover the hidden city of Atlantis before the Nazis do.

Visually Fate of Atlantis is relatively simple, but is beautifully-embellished with great animation and lots of surprises. Puzzle-wise: this is as tough as any other point-and-click adventure on the market. ie. easy if you know how, but difficult if you don’t. Discovering what to do is part of the fun of these games, isn’t it? But… if you’re easily frustrated, you can also refer to a walkthrough. There’s no shame in it – if you’re stuck. 🙂

Still available on Steam and GOG today, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is LucasArts at the top of their game, but without the overt surrealism of Day of the Tentacle or Sam & Max.

More: Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis on Wikipedia
Steam: Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis on Steam
GOG.com: Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis on GOG.com

Indiana-Jones-and-the-Fate-of-Atlantis-Poster

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge, PC

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge is the 1991 sequel to the classic The Secret of Monkey Island and is arguably even better than its fondly-remembered predecessor.

Created by essentially the same team as the previous game, Monkey Island 2 once again follows the exploits of Guybrush Threepwood and his adventures into pirating and comedy. And once again he is up against his arch nemesis, LeChuck, only this time LeChuck is a rotting zombie due to him having been killed in the last game and brought back to life in this.

Like all LucasArts point-and-click adventures, Monkey Island 2 features beautiful graphics and laugh-out-loud dialogue. The solutions to many of the early puzzles are not too difficult to figure out, but some do take a leap in imagination to make the link between certain items and locations.

Monkey Island 2 was the first LucasArts game to use the iMUSE music system, which basically adapts depending on the situation, and it also opens with dancing monkeys! And everyone loves dancing monkeys… Well, digital ones, anyway.

A HD remake was released in 2010 and is currently available in various outlets. These grabs show the original 1991 DOS VGA version.

Monkey Island 2 really is a belly-laugh of an adventure and is arguably the high point of the series. It’s well worth playing.

More: Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge on Wikipedia
Steam: Monkey Island 2 Special Edition on Steam
GOG.com: Monkey Island 2 Special Edition on GOG.com

Monkey Island 2 artwork by Steve Purcell.

Monkey Island 2 artwork by Steve Purcell.

The Secret of Monkey Island, PC

This is the original MS-DOS classic, as released by Lucasfilm Games (later to become LucasArts) in 1990. The Secret of Monkey Island is a humorous point-and-click adventure introducing wannabe pirate Guybrush Threepwood and his evil arch nemesis the pirate LeChuck.

The game uses the SCUMM system and uses a mouse to click on a list of verbs and objects on-screen, in order to carry out actions. Conversations play a big part in the game and there are always multiple answers you can choose from. Actually, the dialogue on The Secret of Monkey Island is one of the things that helps make the game so special – it’s very funny. Even the mundane characters have a life to them…

There are also a number of special mechanics in the game, like sword fighting, and… insulting. Both of which you learn by taking on a related quest and eventually beating the Sword Master. The insults are hilarious and play an active role in combat. If an opponent insults you and you give the wrong response (or don’t respond in time), you lose. Choose the correct response to an insult and it puts the ball back in the opponent’s court. And if they then don’t respond correctly, they lose… It’s tense stuff! But very much fun.

Playing The Secret of Monkey Island is a rite of passage for any self-respecting gamer. If you’ve never played it: rectify that ASAP and get it added to your gaming heritage.

A Special Edition was released in 2009, with updated graphics and gameplay.

More: The Secret of Monkey Island on Wikipedia
Steam: The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition on Steam
GOG.com: The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition on GOG.com

The-Secret-of-Monkey-Island-Cover

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure, PC

This excellent LucasArts point-and-click adventure game was first released in 1989 (to coincide with the film of the same name) and preceded the classic Fate of Atlantis by three years.

I have to admit that this one passed me by until now, and I’m still recovering from the shock of discovering a new SCUMM adventure from the same core team who gave us Fate of Atlantis, Day of the Tentacle, Monkey Island, and Sam & Max

I always thought that The Last Crusade was represented by that mediocre action game developed by Tiertex – I never knew there was a point-and-click adventure… But that’s probably because I was completely immersed in playing games on the Super Nintendo in 1990, and it was before I’d used a PC. Well, this is one of the joys of retro gaming… Finding old classics that you’ve never played before…

And The Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure is a classic – even if the presentation is a little simple compared to other LucasArts adventure classics. The art in this is very vibrant in style, but somewhat impressionistic in places. I like it, but you can see that it isn’t quite as refined as the art in Fate of Atlantis.

Game play-wise: there’s little to complain about. The puzzles are just as hard as every other LucasArts adventure game ever made, and the solutions just as obscure. If you’re struggling to make headway, try a walkthrough.

I really enjoyed playing Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure for the first time recently, some thirty years after its initial release. So much so that I recommend it to all point-and-click adventure enthusiasts. It’s still available to buy now and runs nicely in SCUMM VM or DOSBox.

More: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade on Wikipedia
Steam: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade on Steam
GOG.com: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade on GOG.com