Sam and Max Hit the Road: The nostrils of America

(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.)

To rescue Trixie and Bruno, Sam reprograms Bumpus’ cleaning droid to go set off the alarm in the room they’re being held so that the two can get around the seemingly invincible bodyguard. “I don’t think the cute little robot wants to follow your programming, Sam!” Max said. “I don’t recall giving it a cute little choice, Max,” Sam replied.

Man, I love the dialogue in this game.

With the bodyguard out of Bumpus’ play room, Sam is able to throw on the virtual reality helmet and explore THE WONDERS OF VR! Which… look like 1999-era EverQuest, to be honest. Or a 1996-era Nintendo 64 game. “Virtual reality stinks,” Sam says. I agree, Sam.

It’s a short sequence in which Sam slices up a dragon with his sword and then takes a key out of the dragon’s still-beating heart. Turns out that this virtual reality key is exactly what the duo needs to free Bruno and Trixie!

Bruno is overjoyed to finally be free of Conroy Bumpus, but neither of them are inclined to head back to the circuis. Bruno mentions a Bigfoot gathering in Nevada, so the Freelance Police decide to check it out.

I don’t know if this a common effect of playing this game, but I’m starting to get a real hankering to go on a road trip to the bizarre sideshows of America. Yes, I’d totally go to a Celebrity Vegetable Museum, if there was such a thing.

Another stop in their weird trek is the Dino Bungee National Memorial, where people can bungee out of the large stone noses of our presidents while looking upon dinosaur statues. I feel as patriotic as can be right now!

There’s more item collection and obscure environmental puzzles in these new areas. Sam and Max have some fun pulling a T. Rex tooth and giving a wooly mammoth a haircut (thanks to Max’s incisors).

“This place evokes a sense of wonder,” Sam says as they get to the tarpit slide. “You have to wonder,” Max replies.

The bungee instructor shamelessly hits on Sam, which I find mildly disturbing and funny at the same time. But now he’s ready to go — to launch himself out of a stone nostril and down to gather up some much-needed tar. It’s an adventure game; you need to get everything in the hopes of one day using it to a solve a puzzle.

I feel like I’m living my life to the fullest at this moment, playing a game in which I sent a dog and rabbit bungee jumping out of Mount Rushmore to scoop up tar.

It can never hurt to toss in an Indiana Jones homage, especially if you’re a LucasArts game. And what better way to swipe a toupee than to exchange it for an eggplant?

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