Monday 1 January 2024

Sam & Max Hit the Road — Bruno and the Hendersons

Written by Michael
We almost missed it!
It might be changing into a new year for many of us now, but in Chinese culture, the new year isn’t until February. So we can rejoice that it is still the year of the rabbit for another month or so. (The water rabbit, specifically. Not the hyperkinetic one. But close enough.)

But that’s the future. Let’s talk about the past. In the last post, I started the first few minutes of the game. I did a cursory examination of the offices of metropolis’ finest, and then took a break for the holidays. So, back to the strip-search.
You’re hitting a little close to (my) home, Sam.
I keep looking around the room, which is easy with the look icon, the eyeball that, sadly, has the eyelid closed most of the time. But I notice the mouse hole across the room from the closet, reach in, and grab out a stack of loot that somewhat resembles Guybrush’s inventory at the start of his second adventure.Searching the room, I can’t find anything else to grab, so let’s go looking for that bonded courier. Exit Sam’s office, stage right.
Our next door neighbor is a gent by the name of Flint Paper, P.I., and seems to fit all of the stereotypes perfectly. We don’t actually meet him, so much as see how he handles problem resolution. Max, on the other hand, isn’t a fan of descriptive vocabulary.

I try to talk to the victim, to no avail. I also try to enter Flint’s door, or to talk to him, also to no end. I then try to help the dissatisfied customer, but Max takes over, because “Gratuitous acts of senseless violence are MY forte!” and he promptly helps the man get down off the railing by using a two-fingered bowling bowl push.

We can’t go upstairs, not since the “accident”. So, downstairs it is.
There was a tabby cat standing on the corner of Privet Drive, but there wasn’t a map in sight.
Outside, we find our car. We can tell it was hastily parked due to the bent parking meter jutting out from under it. Sadly, no loose change, but we already have more money than we shall ever need. Hopefully, the blood on the sidewalk wasn’t our fault. There’s a few signs, but reading them only tells us what we can already read.

And there’s a “cute little hypercephalic kitten”. Although Max wants to take him home and put tape all over his feet, Sam says hello.
 “El pesto la guardia say spermo boobitos
The exchange with the cat reveals that it is the cleverly-disguised bonded courier we needed to meet. The voice acting makes me think this pet belongs to Baby Herman.
“Can I make a tennis racquet out of him?”

“Maybe later, Max. Right now, we’ve got a message from the commissioner to collect.”
It turns out that the cat had swallowed the message, for safekeeping, and was trying to hack it up, as cats often do, but unsuccessfully.

(Side note: as I was typing this line, one of my cute, adorable cats vomited up her breakfast onto the living room floor. This game is very true to life.)

We can talk to the cat using the new (for this game, at least) interface. Notice on the bottom of the screen, the various icons. The question mark is to ask a question, the exclamation point to make a statement, the rubber ducky is to say something humorous or non-sequitur, and, much like life in the 1990s, talking to the hand is a sign to end the conversation. Other icons might appear alongside, such as topics to talk about, which we will see later in this post.

When I use the exclamation on him, Sam makes an observation:
“Your head is disturbingly disproportionate to your body.”

“It’s the vocal cords. You’d be amazed how much room they take up.”

“Don’t get smart with me, bub, or my partner’ll floss every last crevice on his body with your whiskers.”

“That’s unsanitary, Sam!”
So, while entertaining, talking to the cat doesn’t get us very far. I decide it’s time to let Max take over. I go into my inventory box and click the rabbit icon, then use it on the cat.
“I’d just love to turn this guy inside out.”

“Ooh, that gives me an idea!”
Without hesitation, Max then reaches down inside the cat’s throat and extracts the message, with a delightful squishy sound, and then tosses the cat away when he is done.
Have I been hypnotized, mesmerized by what my eyes have found?
Max’s response: “I thought that was the whole point?”

So, before I forget, in nearly each screen, Max gets easily bored with not causing violence and mayhem, so he finds other things to occupy himself with. In this screen, he dines on the pool of blood. Later, he’ll be less gross, but still disconnected from reality,

Walking to the right side of the screen, it scrolls with us and brings us to the entrance to Bosco’s Guns, Liquors, and Baby Needs. Up on the roof is a nest of birds, who sadly, we cannot converse with because Sam doesn’t speak Pigeon, and with the cat gone, we can’t remedy that.
Wherever we go, we seem to encounter crime
Entering the store, we seem to thwart a robbery in progress.
“I see that Mr. Bosco is generously giving away his profits to the underprivileged, ski-mask wearing youth of the neighborhood again.”

“Hey, I don’t think Mr. Bosco’s voluntarily giving away his money!”

“Oh, I’m real terrified! A dog and a rabbit. Ooh, scary!”

“Max, the smartass kid doesn’t think we’re scary. What do you think about that?”


“That’s telling him, little buddy.”
Followed by a short, mostly-offscreen fight similar to one between Fester Shinetop and Guybrush Threepwood, but with much shorter names.
“I think that punk learned a valuable lesson, Sam.”

“Me too, Max. I didn’t realize the lower lip could stretch completely over the head. Amazing”
I try to go into the store again, and Sam just complains about the mess that needs cleaning up. And I can’t seem to take an umbrella from outside the door, so it looks like it is time to hop into the car.
The weather is beautiful, wish you were here!
Hopping in the car brings up a postcard-styled map, with some locations we can visit. I can only assume we will learn of others as we go on. I’ve visited all of them, but turned around and came back -- I’ll get to them as I need them, but felt like exploring. But here they are, so far:
  • The circus-looking thing? It’s the carnival-looking thing we need to go to.
  • The burgers? Different locations of Snuckey’s.
  • The road over the horizon (that thing by Texas)? An optional mini-game mentioned in the manual. I’ll get there eventually.
  • The Jolly Roger? The dynamic duo’s office.
Somehow, I suspect that the plot will advance faster if we go to the carnival first. So, let us go hang with the freaks and geeks.
Jiminy cricket!
As we arrive at the carnival, there’s a couple of preppy-looking characters bickering about something missing, and then nearly running us over on the way out. I already don’t like these guys. Especially the one who looks like diving champ and campus stud Chas Osborne, but speaks like Yosemite Sam.
I’m having trouble deciding which Rodney Dangerfield movie is the best.
Max is somewhat forgiving of the encounter, however. “I don’t know, but if it weren’t for the carefree innocence of this carnival, I’d be breaking his kneecaps.”

I try to walk in, and the path is blocked by a fireball shot from the fire breather, who is standing guard outside the hall of oddities. He won’t let us in, citing insurance reasons. Sam tries to butter his way in, saying “Let us in, oleo-breath!”. But, for now, we can talk to him. Besides Max telling him that he would like a corndog, a new icon appears in the talk interface for this chat: that guy who nearly plowed us down.
“Who were those misanthropes at the gate?”

“Which misanthropes?”

“The short one with the bad hairpiece and the tall one with dark, flinty eyes.”

“Hey, I just work here.”
Well, no luck there. So, how to get past this guy? I try using Max on him, but Sam objects, citing Max’s high inflammability. But wait, we have the message from the commissioner, with only a hint of hairball attached. “Now let us in, before we replace you with a cheap, renewable fuel source.”

He takes the paper, and says he’ll run it by the boss... and then accidentally incinerates it. So, he lets us in.
Good cop and bad cop, all rolled into one!
As we walk past many oddities, we find double the manpower securing the evidence for us. The owners of the carnival, Shep Kushman and his brother Burl are conjoined twins, one friendly, one less so. After a little back and forth, we learn that their star attraction is missing, a bigfoot that was encased inside a block of ice.
“You want us to go traipsing all over the country looking for a soggy bigfoot?”

“I’ve never been traipsing before. Does it hurt?”
And wait, that’s not all. It seems that Bruno the Bigfoot has “kidnapped” their second-to-the-top attraction: Trixie, the Giraffe-Necked Girl from Scranton. So starts the first of what might end up being a lot of subtle American references. (I’m kind of shocked they didn't make her from New Jersey, but Tony and Carmela would take care of that a few years later.)

Well, they assume that he kidnapped her, because they both disappeared at the same time. The duo agree to investigate, as long as they can get free reign to explore the carnival. Max also asks for unlimited corn dogs. A special ticket to the venue is secured.
“Leave everything to us, and we’ll have those abominations of nature back in your protective care before you can read the Koran.”

“Didn’t he fight Godzilla?”
So, this room is a good place to start. On the floor in front of the melted ice is a “mange-ridden tuft of Bruno’s sasquatch hair”, and since it isn’t nailed down, it’s a clue worth collecting. Or, Max muses, could be a good wig for balding computer programmers. (Was this a swipe at Sierra?)

Checking out the rest of the room, there’s the chicken dumpling looking man (“He looks delicious”), the Human Enigma (“He’s a nice guy, but sort of a drip”), the human enigma (“How Kafkaesque”), a head on display in a jar (“So THIS is what happens to unsuccessful 3rd party presidential candidates”), a mutated sea monkey, and Jesse James’ severed hand, still twitching.
“Er, which one do I talk to?” “Me! Me!” “Him! Him!”
I talk to the owners again, hoping for some more information. In addition to the basic icons, there’s now a few extras. But I’ll start with a generic question, asking how they buy their clothes.
“These aren’t clothes. Our skin is naturally green and vinyl-like.”

“Good lord <choke> he’s buck naked!”

“So are you.”

“Yeah, but I’m cute and marketable.”
There’s not anything new for me to learn about Bruno, but I learn more about Trixie. She’s a sensitive, caring young woman (if you care about that stuff), she used to sing folk songs to the other freaks in her trailer, and, um, apparently, she likes her men like the Statue of Liberty.
“Green and rusty?”

“No, tall and dense.”
As for the inconsiderate people who nearly ran us over on our way to the park, it seems that the coiffed man was international country-western music sensation Conroy Bumpus, and his assistant, Lee-Harvey. (For the non-Americans, this is almost definitely a reference to the assisination of President John F. Kennedy. The fact that he was charged with “murder with malice” seems fitting for a game with Max in it.)

Bumpus wanted to buy the two top acts from the carnival, but were a little steamed when they found out they were missing. But, I’m thinking, is it an act? Maybe they did the stealing, and this is just a cover? I suppose I’ve watched too much crime TV, but who knows.
If the trailer’s a rockin’, don’t come a knockin’
Exiting out the back of the tent, we immediately come upon Trixie’s trailer. (Why is it in the middle of the grounds where customers would be walking? We may never know.) It is very securely locked with a padlock, and it won’t even budge. I even try using Max on it, but the little furball is no match for a Master. I’ll have to come back to this.
♫ Little bunny foo-foo, hopping through the forest, scooping up the field mice, and bopping them on the head ♫
Just to the left of the trailer are some amusements. While the Skee-Ball looking thing is out of order, there’s a Wak-A-Rat game ready to be used. This one’s listed in the game manual: “Experienced rat-whackers know to click on the hole as the rat is on the way up. not down. 20 rats whacked win you a keen prize!” So, my first response is, UGH, an arcade game in an adventure game. And on my first try, I fail. (I do enjoy hitting Max a few times.) But I learn my mistakes quickly, where I need to aim for the bottom right corner of the holes, otherwise it thinks I’m aiming elsewhere. And on my second try, I knock enough rats senseless to make a hearty vichyssoise, and win the game. Out of the bottom of the game drops my prize, a flashlight. I’ll collect that and move on further to the left, where I find a ride, The Cone of Tragedy, operated by a very diligent, caring carnival professional.
And you thought Max was a sadist...
Sam isn’t very polite.
“Excuse us, we need some help, and although you seem dangerously unequipped, brain-wise, we’ve come to you for advice.”

We ask him about Bruno, and although he doesn’t know anything new, he suggests we ride the Tunnel of Love, because a friend of his hangs out in there. Trixie, on the other hand, is one of his regular customers, regularly whipping around the cone. Finally, we ask him to let us on his ride.
“I’m not supposed to, but what the heck. You look like a couple of caring, non-litigious mammals.”
Uh oh.

This ride is great for weight loss.
Max feels a little off after the ride.
“Ooh, I feel tragically empty.”

“Me too. It’s as though an integral part of my essence has been ripped from my being.”

“Let’s do it again!”

“Maybe later, chum.”
Well, I then find out WHY they feel empty inside. It seems they’ve lost all their belongings. Something tells me this will be like Monkey Island, where my stuff went flying out of my pockets and landed around the beach, so I start looking.
I suspect there’s a more tactful way of saying this, but what fun would that be?
I didn't find any of the neat stuff that we’ve lost, but I did find the Lost & Found tent. After Sam insults the appearance of the man behind the curtain, we get to the important question:
“Have you lost something?”

“I’ve lost a whole bunch of neat junk! You must have been gifted with psychic powers to make up for your obvious physical shortcomings.”

“Have you got a claim ticket? Do you think we let just any dog-faced guy in a suit come in here and take stuff?”
Well, I guess this has happened before, so I go back and talk to the ride operator. In addition to all the other icons for topics we could revisit, like Bruno and Trixie, there’s a new one — my inventory box.
It just got up and walked away.
He gives me a claim ticket for the lost and found. I feel so silly for walking around looking without trying to talk to the man first, but I only wasted about 55 seconds of gameplay time, so no big loss.
Oh, wait, wrong lost & found.
Back to the Lost & Found tent, and the claim ticket nets us a jackpot. “Well, here’s all the stuff we’ve collected off the Cone O’ Tragedy today. It’s all yours.”
My cats would love to play with this magnet, protruding from the refrigerator.
It seems we gained an item in the confusion, and when you look at it, it adds a location to our travel map.
Something’s fishy about this new destination.

I can’t help but think this should have been at the carnival.
At some point, I suppose we’ll be going there. But there’s still plenty to do here.

Outside the Lost & Found is a Strength-o-Meter. You know, the thing you hit with a hammer, sending a ball up the post to (hopefully) ring a bell at the top.”[Max shudders] to think about the number of promising dates cut short by this fiendish contraption.” I try to get Sam to do it, but he declines, saying that he doesn’t possess the “psychotic strength” needed. That’s a blatant hint, so I use Max on it.
“You’re my hero, little buddy.”
Bell rings, no prize. So either it’s a later puzzle, or just here for fun.

Speaking of games of chance, I play another round of Wak-A-Rat, but after winning easily, nothing comes out. “The game must be out of prizes.”
As to whether I’ve heard this once or twice in my life, I plead the fifth.
I continue to explore, and I talk to the fire breather, who I haven’t interacted with since first arriving here. Some questions have obvious answers. I ask him if he had ever talked to Bruno before he escaped. “How could I? He was in a block of ice!” But otherwise, he was not useful.
And now, we embark on Leisure Suit Larry 7.
Well, the carnie did tell me to check out the Tunnel of Love, right? Let’s explore.
As we float along the tunnel, I see hints to hidden elements in the walls. So, in my inventory is a flashlight. I quickly try it, but, alas, no luck. Until I add the light bulb I luckily grabbed from my closet. Then, I can see all sorts of things along the way, including a broom I try to grab, but cannot, and an electrical panel that’s sparking a little.

If anyone’s going to get electrocuted, it won’t be me. Since nothing else in my inventory does anything (I tried the magnet!), let’s try using Max.
Guess I’ll need to ride again.
So, we finish the ride, but my inner child wants to ride it again. So, armed with knowledge and a psychotic furball, we go again.
Sam dips Max into the water, and then shoves him into the electrical panel, short-circuiting the ride. Since we’re now stopped, we are now able to check out the last scene, an executioner ready to do his job.
As Max tries (and thankfully, fails) to pry the ax free, I try to open the door and move the ax myself, to no avail. The magnet isn’t any help, either. At some point, I pull the beard of the patrician-looking gentleman on the right, which causes the ax to fall, beheading the prisoner, and opening the door. Max is horrified, exclaiming he will never shave again.
I suspect he looks like this in real life.
So we enter into the residence of Doug, the Mole Man. So, obviously a carnival attraction, but does anyone ever actually see him?

We talk to him for a while, asking him about everything. And he has stories to tell. Worse than Guybrush at the beginning of Monkey Island 2. Max is quickly being inspired by a famous movie of the past. But the long and short of it, we should contact Doug’s uncle, Shuv-Oohl, who was last seen sometime after helping to build the Largest Ball of Twine on the Earth.

Wait. I didn’t catch this until writing this post. His uncle’s name is Shovel, and his name is Dug. I get it now. I suppose there’s lots of jokes like this buried in here like hidden treasures, just waiting to be unearthed.

So, a new location appears on my map, just like when we got the fish magnet.
This will probably involve a road trip.
He also offers us his copy of the key to Trixie’s trailer, if we bring him a pecan treat.

So, as we finish up this gameplay session, it seems I’ll start off the next session by finding a pecan treat for Doug. I’ll let the people in the Southern United States get mad at me, because throughout this entire post, I’ve been pronouncing that word in my head as the Northern “pee-can” rather than the Southern “puh-cahn”.

Just some health advice from Sam, Max, and Doug before I leave:
Session Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Inventory: Lots of money, World of Fish magnet, tuft of Bruno’s hair, black light flashlight, carnival pass

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There’s a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!


  1. "So, my first response is, UGH, an arcade game in an adventure game."

    Wait for "Full Throttle"...

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. As I'm writing from Spain, it amuses me seeing the article and my posts dated as "1st January 2024" (Australian time zone?) when for me it's still "31st December 2023". It feels like talking with someone from 24 hours in the future! I salute you from past year!

    3. It's still 2023 here in the states as well, but the blog has been kept in the Australian time zone in honor of Trickster. Where I am (rural New York), there's still over 12 hours left in the year.

    4. As for the arcade game -- it depends on implementation. This is one place Sierra often (but not always) got it right. For example, in SQ3, you don't NEED to play Astro Chicken, but you get a good hint for the game if you do. You can skip the log scene in LSL3 and just lose a few points, and Space Quest 1 VGA you can skip the skimmer ride, if I remember correctly.

      Here, it was required, unless there's an alternate solution I didn't notice for getting the flashlight. So, it makes me frown a little. The difficulty level isn't that hard, but a little googling tells me that anyone playing this game without a mouse is doomed for failure, which makes it harder for people playing, say, in ScummVM on platforms not yet imagined back in 1993.

    5. Most mini-games like this one (simple games that tend to be 100+ years old) tend to come off like lazy busywork, a cheap way to lengthen a game that would otherwise be too short. I guess it was novel in 1993, but even today people seem to be throwing them in. (Strangeland, for instance) Still, if the game primarily consists of wandering around a circular tower for hours on end trying to stop in front of the right door it can be a mildly welcome change...

    6. Which brings up a serious question, which is worse: arcade game segments that require dexterity, or gambling subgames that require save scumming to pass in a reasonable amount of time?

    7. IMO, the former. A player might get permanently stuck on an arcade sequence, whereas they'll always get there eventually on save-scumming gambling. (or even quickly depending on the parameters - like if I can always double my bet every round.)

    8. Where would the card game in Gram Cats fall?

      Though I bring that up, and regardless my answer would be arcade game segments. I've quit multiple games over those compared to the inverse despite being more of an action gamer than a gambler. There's some minor synergy between adventure and gambling, whereas arcade game sections more often then not are made by people who shouldn't be making arcade game sections.

    9. I think I agree, kind of. I like optional arcade sequences, but not forced ones. And I sometimes like the gambling. It made sense, for example, in PQ1, as part of the plot. But in, say, Conquests of the Longbow, it was annoying. And disallowing save-scumming in Iceman crosses the border to evil.

  2. >free reign

    1. I won't lie and blame this on autocorrect. This is one of those sayings that wasn't drilled into me in school for correct usage, so until today, I didn't know. (I am a stickler for they're/their/etc...)

    2. While we are on the subject of correcting the text, the thing that happened to JFK is spelled "ass-ass-ination" (not a lot of words begin with a double-ass, so that should kinda make it easier to remember)

    3. Damn, I missed that. Probably because it was in a hyperlink, I didn't see Google yell at me. Thanks.

  3. That sequence of events to get the fish place location is not exactly the best puzzle design, surprising from a LucasArts game. Instead of working towards a goal you just stumble through it. Then again, one hardly gets stuck there.

    I never knew you could talk to the cat until just a year or two ago, when I watched a Let's Play. Since childhood I always went straight to using Max on the feline. Knowing this now makes the puzzle more logical... slightly. It still requires assuming the cat is capable of speech.

    1. Yeah, you could argue the discovery of the World of Fish is forced on you, but I think I had more problem with the fetch quest for the claim ticket than I did that. But yeah. learning about the ball of yarn in conversation with Doug seemed a lot more natural.

      And sometimes we talk to things we don't assume are able to speak. I speak to my pet cats all the time, and I don't expect them to answer. Just beg for food.

      The best games have reactions built in for those. If you talk to the cat in DOTT, for example, I think you at least try to lure it ("here kitty" stuff). In the remake of LSL1, I think you can talk at the dog before it uses your leg as a fire hydrant.

      Also, there's the fun of having a dog character talk to a cat character. If there were dialog trees in the game, I suspect one of them would have simply said, "Grrrr. Bark. Growl. Woof."

    2. In a cartoon world like this I wouldn't be surprised if even inanimate objects are sometimes capable of speech. And to be fair the player characters are both animals capable of speech (granted, anthropomorphized ones who walk upright, have hands, etc.).

    3. It feels a little different, though. This one just feels like a world where all animals can speak, as opposed to, say, Who Framed Roger Rabbit or The Brave Little Toaster, where even toaster ovens and vacuums can speak.

    4. Sam and Max generally applies that logic in whatever direction it needs at that moment. Since in the comics, you have at the same time, an animal which is just an animal being mocked, and an entire civilization of creatures who don't wear clothes. Whatever fits at the moment is going to be used, though I don't remember if the comics threw in something inanimate talking, even one of the "thing from the fridge" kind of gags.

    5. The opening cat puzzle was always one of the things that soured me on the game. For whatever reason I also never saw anyone talk to the cat, so straight away Sam says "I'd love to turn this guy inside out!" and it was so horribly off putting. Not too mention the use of the word "hypercephalic" in casual description. I was just lost and annoyed!

      I've made some good progress on the game myself now anyway. I'm probably understanding a hell of a lot more now than I did back then.

    6. There is another way to unlock the world of fish that makes slightly more narrative sense, but given it happens later, I doubt most players found it before they ride the cone. And you need the magnet for another puzzle anyway.

    7. I've noticed the other way to unlock the fish location in the upcoming next post, but I agree it is unlikely that many people would get to it first. You would have to win the flashlight first, do the Doug section, and then either not ride the Cone, or just not collect your lost belongings before doing the steps required to unlock the other clue. (not saying in case someone reading this post isn't there yet).

  4. I think you may have already finished the best part of S&M from what I can remember. The rest of the game is good but I think the opening was really more promising than the remainder which was a bit of a letdown even back in 1993.

    1. I hope (for the sake of the playthrough) that you are wrong. I really don't remember anything from this game. I played it a little almost 20 years ago, I don't think all the way, just to refresh myself before I dug into the Telltake episodic series.

    2. I hope so, too, and it's well possible that my memory is somewhat off after all these years. Also, I may feel differently about the game today (like I do about Full Throttle, for example). In 1993, I felt that it was surprisingly subpar for a LucasArts game, especially coming after DotT which was a really big deal back then.

    3. I am afraid I have similar memories to Will. Not that this is specifically the turning point for the worse, but in a more general way, the longer the game goes, the less funny it is and then it just kind of ends.

    4. I have to concur with Will and Ilmari, unfortunately.

  5. Im excited about the Sam and Max franchise

    1. I am too, but sadly, there's such a gap between the games so it will be a while after I finish this one before we get to the others. Something to look forward to though.

  6. this is a game that was amazing back in the day, even when I did not understand half of the references (or the language).

    The puzzle with Max and powering off the love ride was always weird to me because of the interface. You have to be using the flashlight and at the same time use Max as well, that's 2 active items at the same time, something which is very uncommon in adventure games.

    Everyone knows my favorite game in the history of the universe is Fate of Atlantis, but I reckon that DOTT is probably better .. now, this Sam n Max, hard to rank it above or below. It's great for sure.

    Never noticed the JFK reference with the names. Lee Harvey is very direct, but Conroy Bumpus ? I dont get it

    1. The puzzle with Max and powering off the love ride was always weird to me because of the interface. You have to be using the flashlight and at the same time use Max as well, that's 2 active items at the same time, something which is very uncommon in adventure games.

      It is actually handled well, even if you don't realize what's happening. I used the flashlight on each section of wall, and while looking at the circuit breaker panel of wall, then I switched to using Max. It kept that section of wall illuminated.

      But I restored, and used the flashlight just on the first section of wall (skeleton and broom), and not the electrical one. It wouldn't let me use Max on the unseen section. It's making you have the knowlege.

      Never noticed the JFK reference with the names. Lee Harvey is very direct, but Conroy Bumpus ? I dont get it

      I can't think of any reference, but it really does sound like a country artist's name.

      I'm trying to point out the ones I notice, but definitely, ask in the comments about other references that you don't get. Amongst all of us, we should be able to figure them out.

    2. I don't know about the Conroy Bumpus reference either but wasn't he actually British? I assume that's not a spoiler because you can listen to his hit single "King of the Creatures" from the get-go (it's on the audio CD that also has the game on it) and the first line is "I remember my childhood in Brighton" or something like that.

      I agree that the tunnel of love puzzle (is that a Springsteen reference, btw?) is handled well. There was a similar puzzle in Maniac Mansion where Bernard needed to repair the cables to fix the arcade in Dr. Fred's playroom which I remember to be quite painful. (He had to hold the flashlight which then replaced the cursor or something like that.)

    3. I don't have time this morning to dig up the CD right now, but I'm assuming he's a New Yorker. ( )

      Remember, in the original 13 colonies, the new Americans named a lot of places from where they came. Hence, "New" York, "New" Jersey, "New" Hampshire, and the section in our northeast known as "New" England. But Brighton Beach was a big one, that later became a big Russian-Jewish enclave.

      So big it was, it even became the place for a Neil Simon Play

      And I suspect probably mentioned a handful of times in the various Woody Allen films, which I definitely imagine Bernard (and some of the game devs) being fans of.

      (Personal attachment here: my grandfather went to college just outside there, where he met his soon-to-be-wife.)

    4. Also

      > I agree that the tunnel of love puzzle (is that a Springsteen reference, btw?)

      Other way around. Tunnel of Love rides were old hat for carnivals, the song is referring to such a ride.

    5. Re Brighton: I'll let you finish the game first before we discuss this any further ;-)

      Re Tunnel of Love: That makes perfect sense. I wasn't aware of the fact that the ride usually goes by that name.

    6. Although the imagery in the S&M is somewhat somber, the ride was basically an excuse for a couple of young lovers to get to second base in the dark.

  7. That road to nowhere in Texas looks to me like it is in Mexico, but the perspective on the postcard is REALLY weird!

    That said at first glance I could have sworn that was Princess Diana, had to Google Rodney and I am still not 100% convinced.

    1. Okay, so that's funny. This actor seems to have stopped using so much hair spray since the 80s.

      You're right about it looking like Mexico, I only said Texas because it was a postcard of the USA,

  8. Finally got around to firing this up, and I gotta say, this feels like a bootleg. The content itself is great, though the voice acting sounds like it's from a fan game, no, the problem is this game is fundamentally badly designed. Having your action icon only "lighting up" if it can activate what's below it is well-thought out, but that's it. (it also serves to highlight how empty each room really is sometimes) The interface feels like they're copying Sierra, but Sierra had a bar that you could use to quick select a particular action. Sam is slow, and between room hotspots are janky. I had to hunt for scene transitions, not something I expected from a Lucasarts game. Worse still, you can go past the area where Sam should change rooms, only for him to hide behind some bit of scenery. A problem that I have never seen before, even in amateur AGS games. Also, no skipping dialog, thanks guys.

    1. I agree with a lot of this. The interface is Sierra-lite, and it annoys me that when I sometimes click something with an icon, the next time control is given back to me, it's a completely different icon selected. No middle button walk, and no quick access bar as you mentioned. It's like they were consciously making it different enough from Sierra to avoid a lawsuit, but by doing so, left out all of the good features of Sierra's.

      The icons also "false-light up" more often than I would like, such as telling me I could talk to something, but clicking does nothing.

      For the record, I'm using DosBox, not ScummVM, so it's game design.

    2. Yes, the more I play the more I hate the game's terrible interface. I'm not sure what they were thinking. I've had no issue with skipping dialogue, though (the full stop key ".")

    3. I think he's referring to using the Escape key to skip long segments, which generally doesn't work here except during parts of the introduction.

    4. See, I didn't know that. So many aspects of this game have a key to serve as what should be a side option, but seem to be the sole option.


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