Wednesday 7 February 2024

Sam & Max Hit the Road — Hangin’ Out Down the Street

Written by Michael
I’m sure some people accuse me of this for my writing style.
Welcome back! When we last were here, our favorite crimefighters had just been given a slightly less than subtle hint about where to continue their search for the missing bigfoot and giraffe-necked girl. That destination was, of course, Graceland. Or is it Dollywood? I suspect it’s meant to be a mash-up of the two. It’s more of a Elvis/Graceland-style home/museum, but with the musical tastes (and perhaps some of the forward attitude) of Dolly Parton. Whatever it is, let’s start exploring!
 Wish me love a wishing well to kiss and tell; a wishing well of butterfly tears.
Looking around the front of the mansion, we see what has become a trademark in this game: lots of artistic detail that you cannot interact with in any way. So, the bird droppings on the statue of Bumpus in the middle of the water fountain just bring a smile, but no description.To the left of the statue is a wishing well. I try to USE it, and of course the game tells me that money is customary. I click my riches on the the well, and Sam makes a wish. “I wish this game was over.”

The screen goes black, the words THE END appear. Sam quickly stops the progress, and notes that this is a rather literal wishing well. I feed some more coin into the well, wondering what Max is thinking.
Somehow, I expected both more and less at the same time. Sam simply remarks that it was a waste of money. After this, the wishing well is of no further use to me.
The portrait is captioned, “Me, myself, and I”
Inside the mansion, we find a large portrait of our main man, Mr. Conroy Bumpus. No ego at all. Around it on the walls are gold, platinum, silver, and/or bronze records from his various recording feats. They all have rather stereotypical country themes:
  • “Heaven’s Just Like Texas, Except That There’s No Taxes”
  • “Gun-Totin’, Hard-Lovin’ Fast-Drivin’, Country-Western Liverpudlian”
  • “Tobacco Spit Blues”
  • “Daddy’s Two-Steppin’ In His Two Foot Grave”
  • “Flushed Down the Toilet of Love”
  • “Let’s Drink Beer and Shoot Things”
I’d like a burger and fries, please.
Further off to the left is a larger-than-life speaker box of the man himself. Pressing the button, we hear the British country star welcome us to his mansion, “but fer Pete’s sake, DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING!” Since I don’t like him very much, I suspect I’ll be needing to touch everything.

I’ll pause a second to point out some nice touches. The speaker box pulsates as he speaks, and the next thing we’ll interact with, the robot-looking thing, goes about his business cleaning the room in the background. The background activity is a great improvement over the static worlds of the past in the genre, but it’s not at the levels some games will later reach.

As for that robot-looking thing? It’s a Macrohard Maintenance Droid™. Right now, I can’t interact with it much except get in the way of it performing its cleaning routine, but I suspect that will change.
That kinda looks like Sir Terry Pratchett back there.
Continuing to the left, past the Bumpus speaker box, we find some more memorabilia scattered around what is essentially a shrine to naturalist John Muir. While seemingly an incongruous addition to this game, one could argue that he is at least in part responsible for some of the locations we have and will visit, as one who believed in preserving spaces and being the “father of the national park.”

Around this room are several mounted animal heads on the wall. When we look at the portrait of Mr. Muir, Max muses aloud: “Say, Sam, just who is John Muir?” and, while Max’s attention is diverted, the various animal heads launch into an educational segment about him.
Welcome to our playthrough of EcoQuest.
He was a naturalist who loved all the beasties.

On the floor is a “Genuine Imitation American Style Chest” which is “Not intended for any kind of use. A great addition for your Genuine Imitation American Collection.” Of course, it can’t be opened. The generic response from the game: “This is a completely unusable thingamabob.”

Conroy’s first guitar is here as well. “It says here that he practiced diligently for two weeks, then gave it up and hired a backup band.” Wait, musicians are that lazy and unscrupulous? You know it’s true.
The song is nowhere near as good as “Cellblock Love” from Alex’s playthrough of LSL6.
In the next room, there’s a seemingly animatronic Bumpus leading a musical performance. He sings a pretentious tune about his childhood in Brighton, hunting beasties, and now finally being the “Lord of the Odd” collecting things with grotesque features, including this here bigfoot and giraffe-necked girl.

Wait, what?

Well, I guess we’ve solved the original mission of the game. We found the missing carnival freaks. But, we can’t rescue them just yet. There’s a security laser beam between us and the sideshow, and if we cross that, Lee-Harvey will eject us from the building. Remember him? He’s the one who got teed off and used Max as a golf ball.
It’s electric. Boogey-woogy-oogie.
The security system also seems to be keeping the pair from escaping themselves by shocking them periodically. After the musical show, I try to talk to them, but they seem to have their mouths glued shut somehow. “Mmmurmur?”

So I give up on this for now, and explore some more. A couple of rooms later, I come across our golfing buddy.
That’s what friends are for...
Who doesn’t seem to recognize us, even after we just tripped the alarm system mere moments ago.
“Don’t I know you?”

“I don’t know. Were you ever in the Pensacola Camp for Problem Children?”
We talk with him some more, but it soon becomes apparent that he’s a few McNuggets short of a Happy Meal. He’s a sandwich short of a picnic. He’s... well, you get the point.
He has some unresolved issues, apparently.
But he does tell us about that nifty gadget in the background. It’s Bumpus’ virtual reality security system. As in, he uses a VR system to interface with the security system. But if we try to look at it? “Visitors ain’t allowed to use Mr. Bumpus’ state-of-the-art virtual reality equipment. Scram.”

So, it seems we’ll be needing to get him out of this room in order to use the VR system to free the circus freaks. Check.
 I’m impressed they think Conroy Bumpus can read, let alone owns any books.
In the last room we can get to, there’s a giant monster truck-shaped bed, so far off the ground you need to use an escalator to reach it. The boys are awed.

“Happening every SUNDAY!”


In an alcove, there’s a Conroy Bumpus toupee on display. I go to take it.
Hey, look, he remembered us this time!
Well, that’s another puzzle I’ll be needing to solve here in the mansion. But for now, I head back inside, go back to the bedroom, and grab the pillow from the bed. It looks like it has LeChuck’s spit on it, but it’s only Miracle Grow Hair Tonic. Eww.

While Sam is on the bed, we seem to be the right height to look at the books above the doorway. Particularly, the one pixel-hunt of a book that’s slightly larger than the rest. “It looks like an Official Macrohard Maintenance Droid™ Manual. If I had the slightest inclination to strain myself, I could probably reach it. However, I’m sure I can drag this out into a longer yet more satisfying experience.”

Of course, I try to reach it, and Sam tells me, “I don’t want to strain myself.” I suspect a recycled puzzle. You remember that golf ball picker I used for the mood ring? After I used it, it separated into a picker with a hand attached, and the magnet separated. So, let’s see if Jesse James can give us a hand with this.
Sorry, little buddy.
Well, the hand IS still twitching.

Fifteen hours of reading later, Sam seems to understand everything but the Troubleshooting chapter. So, I go out to the main room and track down the droid. When he stops to dust something, I click the book on him. Sam begins showing off to Max. “Now that I’ve read that ponderous manual, I can move the robot around like this...” And the droid goes to the wide area we entered the mansion into. Max is impressed, and he says so.
“I’m impressed.”

“That’s nothing. Watch this.”
Is there any hope of them not overdoing the Star Wars references in this game?
As Max says, and I agree: “That’s gratuitous.” But Sam shows us something that might be a little more useful. He opens up the front maintenance panel of the droid.
Biggest brain of all the characters in the game
We now see a layout of the mansion, with wires connected or disconnected to various rooms. They seem to line up with the rooms I’ve observed the droid (sorry, Macrohard Maintenance Droid™) cleaning and the ones he does not clean. So, if I connect the wire to the room all the way on the left, I’m thinking he’ll help me get past the security laser beam in the show room. Maybe he has credentials for entering the room (perhaps the security system realizes that “This is not the Droid™ you are looking for.”)
“...technical difficulties.”
Or, as it turns out, he enters the room, trips the alarm, which sends Lee-Harvey from his restful state in the other room to check out what is going on.

Well, I was hoping to get access to Bruno and Trixie, but instead, he tells us to get lost. But since he’s tied up there, that means that the state-of-the-art Virtual Reality security system is unguarded. So, let’s check that out!
Well, by state-of-the-art, it’s a toss-up if we compare it to the graphics of 1992’s Alone in the Dark, but at least for me, the security system was more fun to play. I pull a sword from a stone, Merlin-style, and fight a dragon until I plunge the weapon into its cold heart. Out comes a golden key.

Gee, I wonder if that might be useful in the keyhole in the concert room.

Surprisingly, Sam recites a line from... Ghostbusters? I’m impressed, but then I remember that some of the special effects people on that movie came from Industrial Light and Magic, so I’m sure it was an office favorite. (That, and it is a really great film.)
I am the Key Master.

“Does that come with a dental plan?”
Enter Lee-Harvey, who tells us to scram again. So, I’m guessing the other room is open again. We use the key on the alarm box, and the laser beam goes away, as do the electric shocks holding Bruno and Trixie in place. The captives are all smiles, but when we try to whisk them away back to the circus, they refuse. Bruno tells us he’s late for the bigfoot party at Evelyn Morrison’s Savage Jungle Inn, in picturesque Half Life, Nevada.

Wait, Half Life, could that be a subtle reference to all the nuclear testing done out in the desert? Or am I just overthinking things?

The party is for bigfoots and their dates only. And away they go. And we follow, because there doesn’t seem to be anything left to do here, until I figure out how to get that toupee.
 A theme motel. Back when you could afford to stay in one for less than a week’s salary.
Wow, those cars look so 1980s in the parking lot. And below the sign? “It’s a miniature mighty volcano lending authenticity to this jungle motif.”
Yes, I am she.
Inside, we find an aged (pronounced “age-ed”) former B-movie star Evelyn Morrison, who entertained a young puppy Sam many years ago in The Reptile Queen, while Max preferred Robot Terror From Beyond The Galaxy. (Please note the incorrectly capitalized “the” in this title, this game occasionally makes such grammar mistakes that I suspect not every blog reader will notice, but I didn’t want them attributed to me.)

Evelyn talks about herself in the third person, and we learn a lot. For example, the bar at her inn serves over 237 types of rum. She likes the bigfoots, but not Conroy Bumpus, who had to be ejected from the premises a few hours ago, for harassing the guests. Evelyn gives me some pamphlets. I look at them in my inventory, and a couple more places open up to me: the Mount Rushmore Dinosaur Tarpit and Bungee Jumping National Park in North Dakota, and the Celebrity Vegetable Museum in Goatliver, Texas.

Guarding the door to the back (probably the bar) is a bigfoot. He makes it clear that we’re not getting in, only sasquatches and their dates are allowed. Next to him is a phone booth with privacy shading.

Prediction: I’ll be dressing up as a bigfoot, and possibly changing outfits in that phone booth. I try to use the booth now, and Max reminds me that we have no one to call. Also: “I’m Pixular. It’s better than Cellular!”

But for now, there’s nothing else I can do here, so let’s go back to the Bluesmobile and check out one of these new spots.
Okay, so it’s true, Alfred Hitchcock does always look better from the side view.
I’d make some corny jokes about the ambiance, but I’d be out of my gourd. The crowd would squash me.
At the Celebrity Vegetable Museum, the little old lady who runs the show specializes in growing vegetables in the shapes of famous people. There’s something shaped like Harrison Ford (they don’t specify), Corn-henge, and even what appears to be the JFK assassination composed of various plants. (”See the carrot leaning out of the book depository?” “Never mind that. What about the string beans behind the fence on the grassy knoll?”)

We talk to her at her booth, labeled “Your Likeness from Picture”. So, give her a photo, she grows a veggie in that shape, somewhat expediently using a growth hormone, I think. Well, here’s to solving a future puzzle that I didn’t even know existed: I happen to be carrying a photo of someone right now. She recognizes famed naturalist John Muir. “That looks like a zucchini squash to me, I can do this, but it’ll take a short while.”

So, I use the lesson I learned from visiting the lawyer in Leisure Suit Larry 3, and simply leave to the map screen and return. Voila, I now possess a flavorful, low-fat meal that’s too pretty to eat.

And then, another instance of the game assuming we know something already. I hadn’t explored all the displays to the right of her stand, so when Sam asked about the Conroy Bumpus shaped eggplants, it was news to me. But I suspect this will come in handy. I have an idea to try in the next post.

Talking to her was also an opportunity to get in a classic John Lennon joke. In finding out what the current trends in the industry were, she mentioned miniaturization. “Give peas a chance.”

It seems we have exhausted this location, so let’s go on to the other brochure spot: the Dinosaur Tarpits.
That’s snot something coming out of George’s nose
Well, this one is a different reference than the others in the game so far. It’s a real place being used as the background for spoofs of others. So, as we explore, we first come across some large animatronic dinosaurs.
“Some people make fun of me because I’ve got a brain the size of a walnut, but they usually stop making fun of me after I eat them! ROAAAAAAAAR!”
Press the button down below, and this guy talks to you. “During the late Jurassic Period, I was King of the Dinosaurs. As you can see, my tiny forearms are quite useless, but I more than make up for it with my powerful tail, my muscular legs, and my savage, razor sharp teeth. ROAAAAAAAAR!”

I suspect I’m going to need to crush something inside that jaw at some point. He moves his mouth a lot, with those razor teeth. I tried juicing my John Muir and Conroy Bumpus vegetables, but to no avail.
Is this Mr. Snuffleupagus?
The next one isn’t as talkative. Wally, the Wooly Mammoth, who was the king of the mammals back in the Ice Age. But looking at him, Sam notices something. “I’ve seen hair like this somewhere before.” “Your butt?” “No, this hair has the same coarseness as Sasquatch hair.”

I know what this means. I’ll be needing it for my future costume. But even if I hadn’t figured it out yet, the next line would have given it away. “You don’t suppose they skinned sasquatches to make this cheesy roadside attraction?”

I use Max on the hair, and he uses his mighty incisors to shave a leg for me. We now have a pile of faux-sasquatch fur. And again, in case I didn’t get the hint: “I can’t get over how much this mammoth hair resembles sasquatch hair.”
Before we explore the rest of this attraction, I want to point out a nice visual touch I just noticed in my screenshots. After shaving the wool, in the far-away view (another screen), the image of the creature was also changed to reflect the haircut. While they sometimes fail in scripting, this game usually has it spot-on in artistic details.
The average person wastes five years of their lives waiting in line.
Breaking the fourth wall:
“This line’s not moving very quickly.”

“The same thing could be said about the plot.”

“That’s not funny, Max.”
Here we are at the tarpit slide, complete with animals coated in oil. I strongly suspect the game developers would have set this attraction in Alaska if they could have. There’s a line of kids waiting to get in, but I don’t think we’ll be getting in that soon. We talk to the kid at the rear of the line, and he is an adorable snot-nosed little punk that makes me want to hit him seconds after meeting him. But to be fair, that’s the normal state of being for most eleven year-old boys. “Oooh, can I pummel him now, Sam?” “No, Max. Puberty will be punishment enough for this one.”
The animals want their hair to have that slicked-back 1950s style.
To the right of the slide is an elevator up to the bungee jumping, and a sign stating “You must be this tall” with a dino holding a hand at a height. Max’s ears appear to meet the threshold, but the game misses the opportunity to say something about that.
I managed to catch an animation of her lips in this shot
Up the elevator, we meet someone who sounds loosely like a female Arnold Schwarzenegger who would like nothing better than to get into Sam’s pants. She makes a kissy face and winks at us all through her conversations, where we ask about the jump to the vat below. She tells us there’s a harness behind the changing screen, so Sam suits up and makes a long conversation, trying to stall the jump. “I’m just waiting for my buddy to come here and check out this spectacular view.” I USE the bungee rope, and Sam hooks it to the harness, grabs Max, and jumps.
How’s it hangin’ Max?
And this is where I will end this post... on a cliffhanger. Will Sam and Max save the bigfoots? Will we get to squash Conroy Bumpus? You’ll have to tune in again at the start of the next episode. Good night, and good luck.

Session Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 5 hour 45 minutes

Inventory: Lots of money, World of Fish magnet, bucket of golf balls, black light flashlight, carnival pass, Sam & Max™ Car Bomb, Sam & Max Coloring Book, Sam & Max Dress-Up game, stilt walker’s outfit, Gator Golf score card, Jesse James’ severed hand attached to a golf ball retriever, bent left-handed metric wrench, snowglobe, 91 yards of twine, supersized Snuckey’s cup, rasp with key attached, Conroy Bumpus eggplant, John Muir zucchini, brochures from Evelyn, pillow with hair tonic, pile of faux-bigfoot fur, droid maintenance manual

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. One thing that made me kind of hate this section was how so many items that were pick-up-able only seemed like it if you tried to pick them up. The book, the pillow and the painting weren't obvious usable items. I'm not sure if you really are supposed to get that toupee later or if its just a red herring.

    Well, by state-of-the-art, it’s a toss-up if we compare it to the graphics of 1992’s Alone in the Dark, but at least for me, the security system was more fun to play.

    I take it you didn't fail this once, taking just a bit too long to use the sword on the dragon? Gotta do everything with the robot again and virtue reality, and it's all a bit slow getting back again.

    I actually had to check if there was a place called Half Life after seeing the name of it. Half-Life the game also takes place in Nevada and the whole thing is such a bizarre coincidence.

    1. The pillow seemed obvious to me, because of the neon green ooze on it, but the painting certainly wasn't.

      I never failed the sword fight, it was intuitive enough I suppose. It didn't feel arcade to me, not the way the Wak-a-Rat did.

    2. @Morpheus

      I'm not sure if you really are supposed to get that toupee later or if its just a red herring.

      My thought process, maybe I'm right or wrong: I need to disguise as a bigfoot, and maybe Max needs to dress as my date in order to enter the party. So the wig might be part of his costume.

    3. I won't say anything because I've already gotten into the bigfoot party.

  2. >Macrohard Maintenance Droid™

    And what are the opposites of "macro" and "hard"? :-)

    1. ...Short easy, Star Wars's version of a speakeasy! Luke Skywalker, of course, drinks for free there. ;)

    2. "Short" as the opposite of "macro" seems like a stretch, but nice try on the dodge, anyway ;)

    3. I'm so ashamed I didn't immediately pick up in the reference. Ugh.

  3. is the inventory cumbersome or did mix that part up with someother game?

    1. The inventory is displayed as part of a full-screen interface, and so far, everything fits in the one screen. In that regard, it's an improvement over past Lucas games, and many of the future ones. Great interface overall? No. But the inventory is okay.

  4. "this game occasionally makes such grammar mistakes that I suspect not every blog reader will notice, but I didn’t want them attributed to me."

    That's all right, instead of that we can blame you for the horrible mangling of ex-governor Arnold's last name.

    1. Oh, god, I didn't catch that typo. Ilmari, if you can... 😨

    2. I think it should be right now (if I didn't manage to screw it again).

    3. Thanks. I thought I cut and pasted it from somewhere but I'm sure I messed it up.

  5. >Graceland. Or is it Dollywood?

    At any rate, probably not Kingdom Gates, residence of THE KING.

    1. I would never in my DREAMS confuse this experience with that one. I haven't had to shovel any excrement (yet), but hey, there's still more game left...


    1. To be fair, aren't most people purchasing from them doing it for the physical goods primarily? Not excusing them reneging on a promised inclusion, but I'm guessing it won't be as big a loss as it could have been.

    2. In this case people were looking forward to finally getting copies of something that's been inaccessible (legally) for a very long time. The minor differences between the EGA and CD versions of, say, The Secret of Monkey Island do trouble purists (and people want that EGA version officially obtainable, too), but Loom actually suffered significant losses and the US CD version is often considered inferior because of this.

    3. Judging by the complaints, it seems like people do actually care. I know the games I've bought from LRG have been for the games and not the lumps of crummy plastic that come with them. I can't say I particularly felt like buying a metal sculpture shaped to look like a turd (I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream) or a mousepad filled with liquid. (Blood)

    4. (arcanetrivia here) Oop, I've just learned that EGA Monkey 1 was actually included in LRG's anthology, so it has been released. Though it apparently had issues with the disk images on the USB being corrupted (or in some cases the USB not working at all) so not exactly the best track record there.

    5. I'd say the bigger problem with LRG is using a USB stick for a collector's item in general. Not the best life span for storage media. But I suppose there's no great choice, since CD drives have been disappearing from the landscape.

    6. The games were also supplied on DVD-ROM in that collection. Although that's not a "forever" format either, and has a more limited shelf life than people might think even aside from the question of having a drive to access it (though at present, USB DVD drives are readily available if you don't have one built in). The Loom set I think came with an audio CD of the soundtrack, too, but don't quote me on that without going and looking.

    7. No such thing as a forever format, but I still have many CD-ROMs from almost 30 years ago that still work, so I understand some people's perceptions.
      And that's what I have on my current computer, a USB-connected drive, and even name-brand ones (like this one that I own) are relatively cheap. But I still bemoan the fact that we have pretty much eliminated physical storage for the future. No more SD cards in phones, no more floppies, and even flash drives are considered outdated by some. We've gotten rid of an offline way to share things. As much as I loved getting my programs as a teen from BBSs, I also liked someone handing me a disk. Only half that experience is available now. :)

    8. Considering that you aren't going to be using discs all that much and most discs seem to have a shelf life of at least a decade or so even in the worst conditions, it works well enough as is. (I own CDs from the '80s that seem none the worse for the wear) I've had more hard drives fail than discs and I've known of more cloud providers dying than both. Clouds are, after all, just other people's computers.
      That said, some of the changes happened not because people wanted them but because companies wanted them, possibly just to save money. Louis Rossmann on Youtube goes over this sort of thing a lot. Companies remove your ability to put in SD cards or change the battery because they want you to pay subscriptions for worse service or to just buy a new phone when your old one goes faulty. Considering financially things are looking pretty crappy right now, I wonder if such trends will continue?

    9. While I'm sure the loss of SD card slots and user-replacable batteries did a bit for pushing early upgrades, the more direct reason for them was that the manufacturers wanted to push more extravagant claims about water resistance. That's also where the headphone jack went.

    10. Don't forget Apple's other reason for embracing those changes: harder for outside people to fix, scaring people that they'll break the phone or the warranty, so you "need" to come to an Apple Store for repairs.