After the suspenseful ending of the first chapter of The Devil’s Playhouse, Sam and Max return to uncover what happened to their ancestors all those years ago. In the usual styling of Sam and Max, and where we thought the story was seemingly headed, what actually happened meant there was a shocking twist right from the beginning of Sam and Max: The Devil’s Playhouse: Episodes 2: The Tomb of Sammun-Mak.
I will admit, coming from The Penal Zone’s ending, I thought we were going to see ancient Egyptian times in this episode. Of course, I was wrong. The story kicks off with the discovery of an old film projector and four film reels. The reels tell the story of what happened to Sam and Max’s great grandparents when they themselves had a crazy adventure involving The Devil's Toy Box. Max and his great grandfather both gain some new psychic powers, but revealing them would probably spoil quite a bit of the story in this episode. The first three reels take approximately an hour each to complete once you factor in some fooling around. The last and final reel will take about twenty minutes or so. Jumping between reels will become a very important tool in discovering the solutions for several puzzles. Reels one through three can be solved in any order, while reel 4 is this episode's finale.
This episode also reveals some of the back story for several characters that we have ran into throughout the adventures of Sam and Max. Characters include Chris St. Kringle, the Elves, Jürgen, and the mole people. While this adventure paints a better picture behind many characters, if you haven't played any of the previous seasons then none of these characters will amount to much more than mere story figures, and will likely never be seen or thought about again, except in random cameos in later episodes.
The Tomb of Sammun-Mak's controls are the same as those in episode one, but a lot smoother than The Penal Zone. Overall, the difference in controls between the games is night and day. Back when I reviewed The Penal Zone there was a slightly annoying jitter when moving using the on–screen joystick. I thought the issue was entirely on my end, since it was the first time I had ever used that type of control in a game. In The Tomb of Sammun-Mak the jitter is gone, making it likely that there was indeed something wonky with the first game’s controls that has since been corrected.
The one control issue to mention that presents itself springs up when a new path is available to walk down. In order to correct it, you must either stop completely to let the game adjust or push the controls in the opposite direction - away from the path - in order to walk onto it. This is a rather minor issue, but can get annoying considering how many paths there are to take in reel two.
Graphically, nothing major changed between The Tomb of Sammun-Mak and The Penal Zone. The scenes look just as fantastic as before. There are some decent particle effects that spring up between reels two and three that do deserve mentioning. They aren’t truly visually pleasing, but fit what occurs in the scenes well. What is probably the most important thing to mention about the graphics in this game is that there are no visual glitches to speak of, and that odd zooming issue that plagued The Penal Zone thankfully isn’t present.
The audio is also flawless this time around. Some extremely catchy tunes round out some interesting dialog. The traditional Sam and Max humor is plainly present and will leave you in stitches. There does seem to be less dialog overall than The Penal Zone, which is somewhat of a disappointment.
Sam and Max: The Devil’s Playhouse: Episodes 2: The Tomb of Sammun-Mak is an excellent puzzle adventure game that is a must play on its own. With this game being included in the Devil’s Playhouse bundle, this could become one the greatest puzzle/adventure game collections yet to be released, provided the next three episodes equal or surpass The Tomb of Sammun-Mak in quality. If you enjoy puzzle or adventure games then you should buy this amazing collection.