Review By: Jared Black
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After covering Strong Bad’s rivalry against Homestar, the tyranny of the King of Town, Strong Bad’s fixation on classic metal, and finally delivering the Dangeresque 3 fans had been waiting years for, there was only one glaring omission left for SBCG4AP to cover in its initial five episode run: Trogdor! The Burninator himself has long been one of the most popular attractions on Homestarrunner.com, and now Strong Bad must face off against his most-famous creation.
The action picks up immediately after Episode 4, as Strong Bad finishes his month-long jump and bumps right into his already broken Trogdor! arcade cabinet. This breaks the machine’s 8-Bit Containment Field, allowing it to grow Trogdor’s infamous beefy arm and legs, and begin rampaging around the real world. Strong Bad is reluctantly convinced to seek out a new logic board for the machine (versus just cheering it on its path of destruction), which eventually goes horribly wrong and allows various elements of Videlectrix’s illustrious back-catalog of titles to seep into the real world, and Strong Bad to invade their video game worlds as well.
This allows Strong Bad to interact with all sorts of characters found in games on Homestarrunner.com and in the SBCG4AP series, such as Rather Dashing (from Peasant’s Quest), the AlgeBros (from Episode 2), Stinkoman, and more. This puts Strong Bad in situations where “video game logic” specific to each type of game represented is required to advance in the game, and while some prior knowledge of them would probably be helpful it’s certainly not a requirement. The humor that results is done incredibly well, and gives the player a look into things like the thoughts of extra men waiting to be used, the life of a hero after his game ends, and plenty of other unique takes on video game clichés and characters. There are plenty of other ways Telltale pokes fun at gaming and its legacy, such as a convoluted anti-piracy wheel similar to those found in 80’s PC games blocking entrance to Peasant’s Quest (which itself mocks old-school adventure games), Homestar acting as an omnipresent guide, and a hilarious take on the poor customer support usually found at most gaming companies.
The actual included bonus game is Gel-Arshie’s Pro Fruitboarder, a side-scrolling game where Gel-Arshie surfs on an endless ocean of red Jello-like goo while collecting fruit and performing basic tricks like a nosegrab. It’s a decent take on late 80’s titles like Adventure Island, and while it isn’t a standout title on its own it is very cleverly integrated into the main storyline in a way I won’t spoil.
The first season of Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People ends with its best episode yet, full of clever parodies of the gaming industry and plenty of fan service for longtime Homestar Runner fans. Since there’s no real continuity between episodes newcomers can start with this episode without missing much, although it benefits the most from having at least some prior knowledge of the franchise.
Posted: 2008-12-15 10:00:25 PST