PC Review: Sam and Max Episode 5: The City That Dares Not Sleep

Sam enters the huge body of his best friend, but can he save him?

The Devil’s Playhouse has been quite the season. Full of twists and turns, I mean who honestly expected the Ventriloquist Dummy to be a villain? Not only that, but that Doctor Norrington is attached to Papierwaite in a reference to Total Recall. The cliff-hanger at the end of “Alley of the Dolls” was that Max had accidentally absorbed the power of an elder god and had transformed into a giant beast. Two weeks have passed…

The episode has many old favourite characters who return, some who haven’t been seen since Season Two. The first thing you do is try and get Max to eat you, which turns out to be quite tricky as you need several ingredients to get his attention. Once inside, you and your companions try to enter the brain to fix Max, but something controlling him won’t allow you to enter the door. The inside of Max is built up of rooms, not the usual innards you would expect.

So the solution is to go to gain control of his arms and legs so you can go to Battery Park and electrocute Max, shutting him down so you can gain access to the brain and to find your true nemesis, the one that the Narrator says will betray you. The answer wasn’t what I expected, but it made a lot of sense when the truth was revealed. As a finale, “The City That Dares Not Sleep” is the best one in the Sam and Max series to date.

It’s great to see old faces like Sybil, Abe Lincoln, Satan, but alas no Bosco. If there’s one thing that has been missing all season, it’s Bosco and his paranoia. I hope that Season 4 will bring him back, especially so we can see the banter between him and his reanimated mother, he did look a tad insane at the end of Season 2 when he found that she was the one chasing him for years…

The puzzles in the episode are probably the easiest in the entire season, which is kinda disappointing. Having said that, this episode stands out more because of its gripping and hilarious story, but it also has a sombre ending. I won’t spoil what happens, but expect a rollercoaster…Voice-acting is the strongest it’s been and there are quite a few areas in the game that appeared in past episodes. Visuals are the same as it has been all season, but it looks good. The script is priceless with some great moments that you have to see for yourself to fully enjoy, for me to explain them would ruin them for you dramatically.

The Verdict

As a whole season, The Devil’s Playhouse is amazing. It grabs you from the first episode to the last. The City That Dares Not Sleep is an almost perfect finale, which balances the climax well with the puzzles. The ending is superb and I pray that we don’t have to wait 3-4 years for Season 4. Please don’t leave it so long next time, Telltale!