Video Game Review: Sam & Max in “Abe Lincoln Must Die!” for PC

Abe Lincoln Must Die Review

Wow is this game funny or what. Bearing in mind the rattling pace at which they’re turning out hilarious, surreal Sam and Max episodes, it must be some killer cocktail of caffeine and hallucinogens. Episode 4 sees the series continuing with one of their best efforts so far: our dynamic duo of intrepid crimefighters make it all the way to the White House — where Max gets elected president.
Improbable? You bet. This is Sam and Max, after all — one’s a six-foot talking dog and the other’s a deranged, psychopathic lagomorph. Ideal presidential material, to be sure. In typical style, Max’s campaign relies on character assassination, wanton destruction, entrapment and all manner of underhanded skullduggery, and if that sounds like a) fun and b) not so very different from real-life politicking, you’ve got the idea.

Abe Lincoln Must Die represents something of a new direction for this successful series. Max’s journey to the Oval Office is accompanied by a generous helping of lightweight political satire. It’s not overbearing or overly partisan — unless, perhaps, you’re a fan of the late (or, as it transpires, not so late) Abe Lincoln himself.

Not to say, though, that some familiar characters and concepts don’t reappear. Yes, job-hopping Sybil has a new vocation. Two, in fact. Bosco, proprietor of Sam and Max’s local grocery store, is now pretending to be Russian, and a major plot point involves acquiring enough cash to buy his latest invention. Again.

Adventure game veterans won’t have too much difficulty with the puzzles. Simply choosing the options that lead to the greatest potential for mayhem, violence, and/or embarrassment of political figures generally leads to the right results. And no, it’s not especially long, at about four hours, and only adds three new locations to the familiar street where Sam and Max’s office is to be found.

But a special mention should go to the music, which complements the on-screen satire in a way previous episodes haven’t done. Its lighthearted interpretations of stirring patriotic themes work a treat, and there’s an absolutely hilarious, almost Pythonesque song and dance interlude that rates as one of the best sequences of the series to date.

Is it sinking into a rut? Sure — but then, it’s not a problem when Lost features the same characters week in, week out, is it? It’s practically in the nature of episodic content to sink into ruts. This is only a problem when taken to excess, and if Sam and Max was really churning out the same old jokes over and over again, we’d mark it down more harshly. That’s not the case, though. If you want a good laugh and just wanna have some good old fun at the PC you should buy this game.