PC Review: Sam and Max Episode 4: Beyond The Alley of the Dolls

What will the Freelance Police do against a clone of naked Sams?

At the end of “They Stole Max’s Brain”, the museum was attacked by a hoard of half-naked Sam clones or “dogglegangers” as Max keeps calling them. Beyond The Alley of the Dolls picks up straight after and sees everyone taking refuge in Stinky’s Diner. The clones are after the Toys of Power, but who is controlling them and for what purpose? Well, all that gets revealed in this gripping and hilarious episode.

After finding Stinky’s secret tunnel, Sam and Max discover the cloning lab which has Bosco-Tech written all over it, so is Momma Bosco behind it all? Well she’s gone missing and only a séance with Agent Superball and Harry Moleman will bring her in for questioning. There’s also the mystery of Sal the Cockroach who quit the museum job after the events in Episode 3. Not to mention Papierwaite’s ability to have lived for well over a century. Fear not as all the answers are told through the course of the episode and I personally didn’t imagine anything like it.

There are only a few locations in this episode such as the diner, cloning lab, Bosco-Tech, a warehouse, the museum and the Statue of Libertay (That isn’t a spelling mistake; it really is called that in this episode). But despite the limited amount of areas, there’s a surprising amount of things to do in each and the threat of hungry half-naked Sams running around the city makes certain areas tricky. Luckily the Toys of Power that Max gets come in real handy such as reading people’s minds, seeing into a small part of the future, turning into inanimate objects and throwing your voice into others with the use of a ventriloquist dummy.

The puzzles in this episode are perhaps a bit easier than those of the last, but there were a few areas where I was scratching my head wondering what to do, but once I thought about them properly…it turned out to be incredibly obvious. It’s hard to go into too much detail regarding the puzzles and story without spoiling what is perhaps the best episode of Sam and Max to date. It has everything that you could ask for and builds up to an amazing cliff-hanger for the season finale. I personally feel quite sad that the season is almost at an end…probably because Sam and Max were absent for so many years after Season 2 that 5 episodes just makes me want even more. Well, I hope Telltale don’t leave it so long to make another season after The Devil’s Playhouse.

The episode shows of some incredible visuals, especially towards the end that I won’t spoil. For what it is, it’s fairly impressive. The voice-acting is as strong as ever and the script is just priceless from the first line to the very last.

The Verdict

Beyond The Alley of the Dolls is my favourite Sam and Max episode thus far. Once again, Telltale have outdone themselves and set up a great scenario for the season finale next month. It’s been an amazing season so far and I cannot wait for the conclusion in “The City That Dare Not Sleep”.

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