So we've come to the end of Telltales's Sam and Max Series One, leaving us with a little sadness tugging at our pant leg, but a whole lot of hilarity to look back on as we flip through the photo book of memories. It's been said before, but it's worth noting again, that Sam and Max has managed to evade tardiness and absenteeism all along - with one episode arriving early at one stage even. Bright Side of the Moon wraps up the first season and does so in a way the compliments the brilliance of the previous episodes and the Sam and Max name alike.
Bright Side of the Moon, more than any other episode, expects a previous involvement in the series by the player. If you've been playing through the games you'll be used to the recurring characters, and story arcs, and almost all of these come into play during Episode 6. Although the game could be enjoyed by the Sam and Max noobs of this world, there are many aspects of what is going on here that will be missed, or not understood, by the uninitiated. This is mainly a result of this episode's sudden acceleration into the gameplay, offering only the slightest of hints as to what is going on to those who are unfamiliar with the events of the previous five games. However, should you have played through them, you'll be pleased to know there is a resolution to the spate of diabolical mind control occurrences that has led the crime-fighting duo to this point. If you are looking at dipping your toe into the waters of series at all, it is definitely investing in it as a whole package.
Again the jokes in this episode manage to elicit a regular torrent of giggles and laughter. Many of these are from running gags that work both in isolation and also when viewed next to those from previous episodes. The chuckle inducing side characters also continue their appearances. The paranoid Bosco is back, disguised this time as his mother - complete with the 'motherisms' anyone who has even witnessed a female parent in dialogue with their children can appreciate - the ever career changing Sybil is back as the Queen of Canada, complete with her new Canadian Currency featuring the head of Celine Dion. Along with the side characters there's also the witty, self-aware dialogue we've grown to know and love which flows forth from the mouths of the freelance police themselves.
You'll find yourself trekking back and forth, from scene of the crime to the now familiar street offering a home to the Freelance Police's office again. This can grow a little tiresome but in no way more so than in previous Sam and Max's. The puzzles driving the gameplay have grown more complex over the series and the tradition is continued here.
Close to everything involved in the problem solving process within the first few episodes was almost overtly spelled out for you, meaning there were few times when those mental cogs had to really kick into high gear. Episode 6 continues the series' progression towards obstacles that require a reasonable amount of mental manoeuvring. Though not as complex as the odd puzzles held in the hands of yesteryear's adventure games these do place a reasonable challenge on your plate without straying too far into random, illogical problems leaving you scouring the internet for a helpful walkthrough.
You have to give credit to Telltale for listening to their audience. Over the lifespan of their sextuplets they have added to, modified and incrementally tweaked the game in minor ways creating fuller, more satisfying experience. Along with the tradition of adding slightly more obtuse puzzles into the game there are other improvements here. A belated hint system is a new addition and is accessed via your rabbit friend Max. When clicked on, one of the dialogue tree options is now 'hint'. Whilst we never really got too much information out of the maniacal Lagomorph, it is definitely a welcome aide should puzzles increase in difficulty in any subsequent series'.
Bright Side of the Moon manages to be the bow that ties the episodes together and provides a fittingly great end to what we can only hope will be the first of many 'sets' of titles based on Steve Purcell's anthropomorphic freelance police. Whilst this episode graciously steps aside to allow Episode 5: Reality 2.0 to take the 'best of the series' crown, it still offers a great deal of fantastic gags and carries on the development of the puzzles and characters that we've come to know and love from Telltale's other recent Sam and Max offerings.