Here we are at the penultimate adventure in The Devil’s Playhouse! What awaits our favorite freelance police duo this time? Clones, Toys, Shotguns, and love, that’s what!
I bet you thought that question was rhetorical, didn’t you?
(That question however, is in fact rhetorical)
‘Beyond the Alley of the Dolls’ picks up shortly after the end of ‘They Stole Max’s Brain!’ with Sam, Max, and Skun’kape on the run from an army of nearly naked Sam Clones (or Doggelganger’s). They take refuge in Stinky’s Restaurant, where they fight off their pursuers. Sam has no explanation for the clones, and their lack of clothing, but he is driven by the fact that one of them made off with his signature hat. As they dig deeper, Sam & Max uncover a sinister plot that’s bigger than they could have imagined.
I liked the feel of this episode. The Zombie survival tone worked really well. The whole opening scene was very impressive to me, as it was for the most part one long shot with the camera weaving in an out of the action. The music stood out to me a lot in this episode, over previous ones. The electric guitar added to the cinematic orchestral music in that opening scene helped convey the mood. I also loved the amount of references to previous seasons this time around. I suggest using Future-Vision with a returning (loud) character from past seasons. There’s also a really amazing reference to a none Telltale game, which also manages to incorporate a classic Sam & Max joke. I know these hints aren’t especially full of detail, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Having the full roster of Psychic Toys by the end of the episode was also pretty great.
This episode did feel a little bit easier than previous ones though. It could just be that I’ve become a better adventure gamer after playing so many of these, but it only took me one sitting to start and finish this one. Normally I space it out over two nights, stopping when I hit a puzzle that requires deeper thought than others, but there wasn’t really a point like that in this episode. It’s not really a bad thing, as the puzzles still offer challenge but it stood out to me.
‘Beyond the Alley of the Dolls’ sets up the season finale perfectly. At this point in the series you’re familiar with all of the characters, which really makes the episode flow well. It still surprises me how it can tell one main story yet manage to be so diverse in each episode. Even with the lack of difficulty, ‘Beyond the Alley of the Dolls’ still entertains with every plot twist, and series callback. If you’re just hearing about the series now, it’s not too late to catch up before it concludes with next month’s ‘The City That Dares Not Sleep’! You owe it to yourself to enter The Devil’s Playhouse.
Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse – Episode 4: ‘Beyond the Alley of the Dolls’ will be available on PSN, PC, Mac, and the Apple iPad soon. You can get a copy of your own right here: Telltale Store.
The Season Review’s so far: