Sam & Max Hit the Road is a graphical adventure game, originally developed and released by LucasArts in 1993 for DOS and in 1995 for Macintosh computers, being their ninth game to use the SCUMM adventure game engine. A Windows version of the game was later developed by Aaron Giles and released in 2002. It follows Sam and Max across a kitsch, tourist trap pastiche of America (featuring such locales as The World's Largest Ball of Twine and the Mystery Vortex) in search of an escaped bigfoot.
The game was released to Steam in 2018.
On returning to the office after dealing with a "marginally volatile hostage situation", Sam and Max dispose of a time bomb by throwing it out the window. Then the Commissioner calls, announcing that "due to the arbitarily sensitive nature of the mission", he's sending his instructions by courier. After literally getting the orders out of the courier, they head over to the Kushman Brothers' Carnival.
There they learn that the case is about the disappearance of their main attraction, Bruno the Bigfoot, and their second main attraction, Trixie the Giraffe-Necked Girl from Scranton. They find out from local mole man Doug that the two have fallen in love and that Flambé the fire-breather has set Bruno free so they could run off together. Doug also tells Sam & Max that his uncle Shuv-Oohl might know where Bruno and Trixie are off to, but he doesn't know where Shuv-Oohl hangs out these days.
Finding Bruno and Trixie
A score card in Trixie's trailer points the way to the Gator Golf Emporium course in Rheumy Eyes, Florida. They find out that the Gator Golf used to have a bigfoot for a star attraction as well until it escaped recently. Then they run into Conroy Bumpus, who seems to be after a bigfoot for his own reasons. The fight with Bumpus' assistant Lee-Harvey doesn't end well, but afterwards they find a clue leading to the next tourist trap: The Mystery Vortex.
At the Mystery Vortex Sam and Max finally meet Shuv-Oohl. After they fetch his mood ring for him, he instructs them to use his mystic mole man powder and fur samples from three Bigfoots at Frog Rock. When they do, a mole man ufo arrives and points the way to the next stop: Bumpusville, home of Conroy Bumpus.
At Bumpusville they soon discover that Bumpus has captured Bruno and Trixie and is forcing them to play supporting instruments for his King of the Creatures act. They free Bruno and Trixie and follow them to the Savage Jungle Inn.
Sam and Max use a disguise to sneak into the bigfoot gathering at the Inn, where they run into Conroy Bumpus and his assistant in the kitchen. However, Sam manages to fool Bumpus and Harvey into donning their bigfoot disguise, and Max locks them in the inn's kitchen freezer. The bigfoot chief, in recognition of the pair's actions, makes the Freelance Police members of the bigfoot tribe and tells them of a spell that will make the world safe for bigfoots again, preventing their capture by humans.
They eventually decipher and gather the spell's four ingredients, causing large trees to spring into existence, destroying towns and cities and covering the bulk of the west United States in forest. Content that their work is done, Sam and Max take the frozen ice block containing Bumpus and Harvey to the carnival. Believing that Bruno has been returned to them, the owners give a large reward of skee ball tickets to the Freelance Police, who then spend the end credits shooting targets at a carnival stall with real firearms.
The game introduced a slightly modified SCUMM interface - instead of the inventory and a panel with the control verbs appearing at the bottom of the screen, a right-click of the mouse cycles through a set of icons representing different control verbs, with the inventory as a separate screen. A similar interface was later used in The Dig and all SCUMM games that followed it.
Hit the Road was released simultaneously on floppy disk and CD-ROM; the "Full Talkie" CD version had voice-overs for all characters and four bonus CD Audio tracks, including a higher quality recording of "King of the Creatures," all of which were composed by Michael Land. The bonus tracks were not present in the Day of the Tentacle/Sam & Max Hit the Road double pack, but they were included with the Windows re-release of the game.
|Sam & Max Hit the Road bonus tracklist|
|Disc 1 (12:22)
It was written and designed by Steve Purcell along with Sean Clark, Collette Michaud and Michael Stemmle and commonly applauded for its substantial amount of humor. In the Tunnel of Love scene, looking at the first display will have Sam quote the English poet John Milton: Better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven. Max then quotes musician David Byrne: Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.
Sam & Max Hit the Road received very favorable reviews in the gaming press, including a score of 9/10 in EDGE magazine. EDGE went on to say "Sam & Max is different. It's genuinely funny, and you find yourself experimenting more than you would normally just to see what the madcap pair will get up to next." They finish their review by stating "Sam & Max is destined to become a classic.".
A major problem encountered by users of the DOS versions is that no music can be heard. This problem is easily solved by one of two methods. Firstly, the updated executable file from the Windows re-release (which also includes optional anti-aliasing) can be obtained from the Unofficial Sam & Max Website.
Alternatively, ScummVM or DOSBox can be used to run this and many other LucasArts adventure games on a number of originally unsupported platforms while also having a number of optional filter settings for arguably improved image quality.
Nearly a decade after the release of the original adventure game, LucasArts issued a statement to the press on August 23, 2002 announcing a sequel to Sam & Max Hit the Road, titled Sam & Max: Freelance Police . The sequel — like the original — was to be a point-and-click adventure game, although this time utilising 3D computer graphics. Michael Stemmle|Mike Stemmle, co-designer of Sam & Max Hit the Road, was the lead director on this project with Steve Purcell contributing story design and concept art. Bill Farmer and Nick Jameson also reprised their roles as the original voices of Sam and Max. The game's unexpected cancellation caused an uproar among fans.