Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 1: Homestar Ruiner «

Answer Strong Bad’s email! Help draw a Teen Girl Squad Cartoon! Participate in a Montage! Throw a light switch rave! If none of these selling points sound at all familiar to you, then you’re probably not one of the several million Internet fans who visit the Homestar Runner website every month. The Flash cartoons have been an Internet touchstone for years, with bizarre characters, surreal situations, and an unquenchable love of trashy ’80s pop culture.

But the real question fans want to know is: How does Strong Bad type with boxing gloves on? (Erm.) Can a point-and-click adventure game capture the unbridled awesomeness of Strong Bad’s style? The answer is a surprising “yes.” Telltale Games, the creators of the Sam and Max episodic game series, made every effort not to stray too far from the feel of the Flash cartoons. The original creators, the infamous Brothers Chaps, did all of the voices and a chunk of the writing.

The result is that you really feel like you’re playing through a Homestar Runner cartoon, albeit with 3D-rendered characters. This is certainly no groundbreaking adventure title, and it might not have you rolling on the floor with laughter, but it’s a fun bite-sized romp through a beloved cartoon world.

Games! Download? Eeeeeee-mail

The interface for Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People, henceforth known as the easy-to-pronounce SBCGfAP, is perfectly streamlined. Simply click around the screen to move there or click on items to interact with them. You have a handful of items in your inventory that can be clicked on and then dragged onto other objects to use. When Strong Bad talks with other characters, you choose from a series of icons to bring up new topics.

The dialogue is great, and this is one of the few games where you’ll want to click around through all the options just to listen to the characters talk. (“I still don’t see why I can’t come to your stupid party that I hate,” Strong Bad growls at Marzipan.) Our only complaint here is that there’s no indication when a particular train of dialogue is finished, not until the characters start to repeat themselves, which can get annoying fast.

The original cartoon series often revolves around strange circumstances and bizarre random non-sequitors. We were pleased to note that while the game keeps the loopy feel of the world, the puzzles are grounded in reality. The challenges Strong Bad runs into as he attempts to sabotage the Free Country USA Tri-annual Race to the End of the Race can be overcome with old-fashioned logic. There are a couple of places in the game that don’t open up until you find a particular piece of dialogue (be sure to ask Marzipan about her mangled shrubbery), but these frustrating roadblocks are relatively rare. For the most part SBCGfAP (go ahead and say it aloud!) stays on track with solid puzzle design.

Like Sam & Max, SBCGfAP will be released as a series of short episodes. You’ll get maybe five to six hours of gameplay out of this one. The game is available for both PC and Wii. The simple control scheme is ideal for the Wii: You just sit on your couch, Strong Bad-style, and point your way from location to location. Some small items on the screen are a little hard to target on your first click, but that doesn’t really detract from the experience. Unfortunately, the Wii version has some short load times that aren’t on the PC, which we found strange, given the game’s minimal graphical overhead.

Your Head Asplode

SBCGfAP is packed with little extras and mini-games, although none provide more than a few minutes of diversion. The real fun is discovering all of the inside jokes from the series plastered throughout. You can explore every room in Strong Bad’s house, buy stuff from Bub’s concession stand, outwit the Poopsmith, and participate in all of the lunacy that gives the website such ongoing popularity. Gamers who aren’t fans of Homestar Runner won’t get much out of this, but if you enjoy the work of the Brothers Chaps and are looking for a few hours of primary-colored mayhem, you might want to give the first episode a spin.


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