If you are young or young at heart, and have the luxury of free time, it’s worth noting the release tomorrow for the PC, XBox 360, and PS3 of Grand Theft Auto IV, latest installment in an increasingly important franchise. Early reviews are flowing in and GTA IV seems on its way to becoming the best-reviewed game in history – currently standing at 99% at metacritic.com.
If you’re too old to be playing a violent game in a seedy underworld, don’t overlook Sam & Max, a big floppy dog with a fedora and a hyperkinetic smart-aleck rabbity thing, who triumphantly returned a couple of years ago in consistently hilarious adventure games released at regular intervals on the Gametap service. The New York Times just wrote a rave review of the concluding episode of season two – it makes me wish there were extra hours in the day.
“As episode 5 begins, the freelance police Sam and Max – an anthropomorphic dog and rabbit – find themselves at the entryway to hell. Since the entryway turns out to be located just under their office, the pair could just go home, but that wouldn’t be much of a game.
“Hell turns out to be a bland corporation where every day is Monday and the clock always shows 4:59. Rabbit Max is disappointed, having expected more acid baths and karaoke bars.
“Sam and Max soon discover that they have their own wing in hell, filled with dead enemies, friends and casual acquaintances undone in past episodes. Each lives in a small personal hell. A chef becomes the sidekick on a cooking show for rats while a child-hating Santa Claus who likes his job because he has to see children only one day out of the year is hounded by kids. One tormented soul, forced to stand on stage naked in front of his mother and his therapist, says, ‘It’s like being in the bad place people go where it’s really hot.’ To which Max replies, ‘Tampa?'”