Continuing with Telltale month we now look at Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People. The game was released in five episodes (which is how I have it) and is now available as one giant game. The game goes for $30. So how does it play?
The Brief: Strong Bad
The year was 2002. I had begun my first year of university and my roommate had pulled up a small flash cartoon called “Homestar Runner.”
Upon investigating the site more we found a section called “Strong Bad’s Emails.”
This small section of the website was the evil villain of Strong Bad writing evil emails to people.
Strong Bad was a Mexican wrestler villain who has nothing but bad for people. His email responses often made fun of people who were writing in.
There is a matching mini game in which you must kill the Teen Girl Squad
Strong Bad Email proved to be the most popular part of the website. As the Strong Bad Emails went viral around 2003 the website developers brought Strong Bad Email back and put a lot of work into trying and making it a once a week thing. Today there are hundreds of Strong Bad Emails.
The Home Star Runner website proved to be somewhat of a cult classic. Strong Bad Emails became a way to create new characters for the website as people would write in and ask retarded questions about random non-existent characters like “Homsar Runner”… a very clear spelling error of Homestar Runner.
The Strong Bad franchise despite being old and dated still holds weight to the fans and is still cool enough to wear some Strong Bad swag.
But enough of this, on to the game!
Each of the five games took less than 30 minutes to download. So you’re looking at about 2.5 hours with a premium high speed connection… pretty accessible.
The game has two basic control mechanisms, point and click. You point and click to move. If you double click you will run instead of walk. You click on people to talk with them and click on objects to interact with them.
With people they will give you clues on exactly what you are supposed to do. They will indicate prejudices and biases they might have against something or someone.
Objects can either be looked at or picked up. Looked at objects bring a comedy sketch into play.
Objects that can be used must be picked up and clicked on to a person or thing. Some of these are a little more obvious than others. For example when you get hedge clippers it’s obvious you should clip some hedges with it.
The game comes in five chapters of which the stories really do not matter too much. Each game (five episodes) gives a short story based on an email that Strongbad receives. Each averages about two hour of gameplay and maybe 2-3 hours of time spent trying to figure the game out.
Strongbad Fashion Show? How Odd
Each of the games also features many mini-games. Each of these mini-games is an Atari age retro game and has its own custom controls that is explained.
As an example there is Atari Boxing. This was a top down boxing game in which you could only shy from being punched, left punch, and right punch. The players moved up and down and could not move left and right. This game was called “Snake Boxing 5″ in which the only real difference is you are fighting snakes… and possibly a slight graphical upgrade.
The game also features a postcard game in which The Cheat will take pictures of Strongbad posing in various outfits that you acquire while playing.
Ep. 1 – Homestar Ruiner
Strongbad receives an email telling him to once and for all beat up Homestar Runner. Strongbad goes out to do that when he finds Homestar Runner and Pom Pom are going to be in The Second Trianual Race to the End of the Race. Coach Z indicates that registration is closed and he’s not allowed to be in it.
Pom Pom is a giant Pom
So Strongbad decides to have Homestar Runner lose the race instead.
This episodes features Snake Boxing 5, the race mini-game, Teen Girl Squad mini-game, and the heist mini-game.
Ep. 2 – Strongbadia The Free
As the game opens Strongbad is asked what the worst legislation The King of Town has put in place. Strongbad states he has no problems with the King of Town. As he sends the letter The King of Town and the Poopsmith storm in. King of Town informs Strongbad of a new “Email Tax” and straps a house arrest on Strongbad.
Upon escaping from his home Strongbad secedes from “The Town” and forms Strongbadia, a new independent monarchy ruled by Strongbad. But no one else wants to be a part of his Kingdom.
The Cheat has formed his own nation within Strongbadia “The Cheat and Tiria.”
Strong Sad has annexed Strongbad’s house and called it “The Bleak House.”
The Poopsmith has a riot shield and is not smithing poop
The cantina has formed an independent neutral nation… and black market dealings.
Homsar has formed Homsar’s Reserve, an aboriginal themed land.
Pom Pom has formed a Japanese disco called Pomarina.
Strongmad has formed his country of…um… “Country.”
Homestar Runner and Maripan can’t seem to agree on a name for their country.
Strongbad has to unify… or conquer, all of the nations between him and King of Town so he can mobilize forces to depose King of Town and restore email order.
The game features the mini-game “Math Warriors” in which you have to solve math problems with punches and sonic booms (think Street Fighter here). There is also another episode of the Teen Girl Squad! At the very end of the game you will unlock the Wargame mini-game. It’s kind of like chess…. with Homsar.
Ep. 3 – Baddest of the Bands
Upon starting the game Strongbad is trying to play his favorite Limozeen based game when his system breaks. Upon bringing it to Bubs he is informed he needs a full bag of cash… which he doesn’t have. Bubs suggests that if he was to start a battle of the bands he could actually make enough money to pay for the repairs to his Funstation.
The game focuses on organizing a battle of the bands and re-uniting bands made of various characters in the Strongbad world.
The Cheat really rocks your socks off
This game uniquely has no mini-games until you finish the game. Since the point of the game is to repair your game station it doesn’t offer a single mini-game until it ends and you can play an Atari version of a side shooter game.
Ep. 4 – Dangeresque 3
Probably the funniest of the episodes Dangeresque 3 is a Super 8 movie created by Strong Bad featuring all of the characters of Strongbadia.
In it Strongbad playing the character of “Dangeresque” has to get the rainforest saving formula for a woman and upon doing so winds up into a giant mystery to solve.
He’s not dangerous… he’s Dangeresque!
The game is done with with terrible effects and obvious stunt double transitions (anywhere where there is scenes of someone getting hit Strong Sad is inserted).
There is only one mini-game an odd space shooter minigame. The controls are not displayed for the PC version of the game and I hit Ctrl. This caused one guy to get encased in a bubble and I have no idea what that meant. All I know is that it moved me through the story and I never wanted to try this mini game again.
Ep. 5 – 8-Bit is Enough
After Strong Bad accidentally falls into the Trogdor machine this causes Trogdor machine to come to life. Strong Bad calls up the technical service who are reluctant to help. As Strong Bad is trying to fix the machine technical service call back indicating that by adding a new board he will bring on the end of the world. The end result is Trogdor coming to life.
Video games are all over the world. Homestar Runner is constantly adding in non-important information you probably already know like the quest objective givers from Metal Gear (and at awkward times). There is a Luigi’s Mansion type game at Strongbad’s house.
Does that Trogdor Machine have Trogdor Arms?
Marzipan has transformed into an ape and is throwing crates.
There are also a number of game worlds you can enter including Peasant’s Quest, some sort of collecting fruit game, and I Wanna Be the Guy. Strong Bad’s goal is to bring the gaming world back together and defeat Trogdor!
Despite this being a game about gaming there is only one mini-game. It is a 2D space shooter game in which you have to dodge objects.
As a fan of Homestar Runner I understood a lot of the jokes and what they were about.
However as a person who has advanced 10 years beyond Strongbad’s EmailsI felt none of the humor was all that funny. No there was some parts that would actually make me laugh, but none of that was tied into the story.
The game itself is far superior to most or all of the adventure games out there. The game is not riddled with too many hints and it gives you tones of room to figure things out on your own. You are encouraged to click on every single object and every single person in what would be considered a very sandbox adventure game.
The map navigates you through points and you choose where everything goes
The cutting point for me is cost of the game vs. the content of the game. The game sells for $25 and all five episodes are going to be about 10 hours. To me if you want this game it will have more to do with your affinity of retro games and less to do with adventure games.
Oh, the sound quality of all these games is really bad. Worth mentioning that you’ll hear a resonance the entire time. It’s something you don’t really appreciate because games haven’t had this kind of sound quality since Doom.
As an adventure game it is a great well-rounded experience. However there are all sorts of high score gathering retro games planted all over these games that you can try to work towards a personal best in.
Another problem comes with the development of episodic content. If you get the episodes your games will not link together and you will lose the coveted high scores and fashion items from previous games. However if you buy the full game you will get all of this stuff.
For me this game gets a thumbs up, I felt it was well executed, no hand holding, and retro games comes as a bonus. For most I’d think they might want to get this on sale.
Overall THUMBS UP!