Sam and Max Hit the Road: Cruising the Tunnel of Love

(This is part of my journey going playing through 1993’s Sam and Max Hit the Road. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

As our gaming session opens this week, Sam and Max are investigating the carnival in which Bruno the Bigfoot and Trixie the Giraffe-Necked Girl both disappeared. Of course, there’s always time to ride the rides, so a whip around the Cone of Tragedy is not out of line. Alas, it results in Sam losing all of his inventory — which is a huge problem for adventure games. Off to the lost and found!

A weird thing about me is that I have an unhealthy obsession with being able to go on virtual theme park rides in video games — MMOs, FPSs, adventure games, wherever I can find them. So you bet your sweet bippity I was thrilled to get to go into the Tunnel of Love. Just look at that thing! It’s amazing and apparently sponsored by Hell!

Inside the Tunnel O’ Love, the pair discover Doug the Mole Man, a couch potato with a sweet tooth and a penchant for telling overly long tales. It’s here that I learn that Max is allergic to lengthy stories.

One of the stories is useful, though, as Doug tells of how Trixie had fallen in love with the frozen Bruno and pined for him as for the fjords. She eventually coerced the firebreathing guy to defrost Bigfoot so that the two of them could run away and live happily together. Doug also says that his uncle at the biggest ball of twine in the world might know something more.

What’s pretty amusing to me about Trixie is that she’s repeatedly mentioned as having come from Scranton. I don’t know if Scranton was supposed to be super-obscure or whatever back in the early 90s, but these days it’s synonymous with The Office.

Another little interesting feature of Sam and Max is that when a new location is discovered via dialogue or items, it then opens up a new area on the world map to go explore.

For example, Gator Golf! Nothing like a golf driving range with real alligators. I’m really digging this kooky roadside attraction theme that Sam & Max have. These are exactly the kinds of places that I like to stop at on trips.

At the range, the duo bumps into Mr. Bumpus and his bodyguard. Bumpus is a country music star (of the short variety) who is also on the prowl for Bigfoot. Max insults his hair one too many times, and a fight erupts. Despite their tenacity, the Freelance Police are outmatched, and Max ends up being driven into a dunk tank.

To rescue a very ungrateful Max, Sam drives fish into the gator pond to make the creatures line up and create a path. It’s a pretty fun and easy environmental puzzle. 10/10, would smack fish again.

As Max emerges, he shows Sam another tuft of Bigfoot hair that he found in the tank. Also present is a snowglobe that unlocks the Mystery Vortex in Washington state.

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