|System: PC, Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Telltale Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Telltale Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 15, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
The hype surrounding the fifth and final episode of Strong Bads Cool Game for Attractive People series has been building steadily, as the past four episodes continued to drop minor teasers about the broken Trogdor arcade cabinet sitting in Strong Bads basement. Though it may have fallen off the radar in some episodes, the ridiculous arcade game was an omen of great things to come. Telltale Games and the Chapman bros. foreshadowing now comes to marvelous burninating fruition in Episode 5: 8-Bit Is Enough. The big finale is finally here, and it was well worth the wait.
Looking back throughout the brief series, Strong Bad enthusiasts have been dropped into some truly bizarre situations from one episode to the next. From causing general havoc for Homestar Runner and staging a massive Risk-like revolt against an unfair Creamy Ding Snack Cake e-mail tax to engaging in audio sabotage with a noise-polluting array of bands and acting out B-movie action star fantasies, Strong Bads absurd adventures have kept players on their toes. The wildly fluctuating themes have kept the series feeling fresh and exciting, and the epic conclusion is definitely a show-stopper. Though its easily the strangest episode yet, 8-Bit Is Enough homes-in on a subject thats very near and dear to all of our hearts: old school video games.
The final episode opens with Strong Bad accidentally unleashing the full 8-bit fury of the once-dormant Trogdor game cabinet, which sends the winged, fire-breathing serpent with a single muscled human bicep on a burninating rampage across Free Country, USA. An attempt to tame the beast results in Strong Bad ripping the fabric of time and space, causing the video game world to blend with the real one. The quest to slay the mighty Trogdor and return everything to normal takes Strong Bad on a winding path through some of the more familiar terrain in Free Country in addition to excellently ridiculous games like Peasants Quest, Gel-Arshie Pro Fruitboarder, Stinkoman 20x6, and Videlectrix Halfathalon, among others. Its a mirthful smorgasbord of retro gaming humor that takes great advantage of the series light adventure game and puzzle elements.
Strong Bads mishap brings many of the 8-bit characters (like Snake Boxers Boxer Joe, Limozeen Larry, the Algebros, and the dancing space bear from Space Circus Catastrophe) from the numerous Videlectrix games scattered throughout the series to life. It also blends the two dual-realities together in other odd and hilarious ways like causing a few of Strong Bads friends to take on the personas of video game characters a somewhat surreal twist, considering theyre characters in a video game to begin with. Seeing the different ways the games staple characters play bit parts in the different retro-inspired video game worlds and vice versa should elicit plenty of laughs.
While the topics and story themes covered in each episode have varied tremendously, the core point-and-click gameplay and item-centric puzzle solving gameplay has remained almost exactly the same. Some episodes have thrown in substantial design changes that have added to the gameplay, but its mostly still a matter of clicking on every possible hotspot, collecting items to use on them, and frequently interacting with characters via multiple-choice dialogue icons. 8-Bit Is Enough offers little in the way of major changes into the formula, though it introduces a few entertaining mechanics that add to the fun.
As Strong Bad wanders around on his adventure, characters he helps will join his party and be added as diamond-shaped icons in the inventory. You can pull them out at different times to solve puzzles and trigger special events throughout the game. In another section, youll pick up a special ghost-busting peripheral that allows you to navigate a darkened region and fire off blasts to ward off malevolent spirits. Further along in the game, youll find yourself selecting armaments and using them in a first-person dungeon hack. These and other additions round out the general gameplay well.