|System: Wii, PC||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: Oct. 27, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
For those who are already predisposed to the particularly off the wall flavor of humor the Chapman bros. dish out in their Homestar Runner web cartoon, the Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People episodic series for WiiWare and PC is an easy sell from the get-go. We're now three episodes into the first season of Telltale Games' oddball point-and-click adventure series, starring the crudely charming, diminutive lucha libre villain, and the side-splitting antics continue to please. Episode 3: Baddest of the Bands dials the crazy up a few notches with a dose of sonic awesomeness that will make your head bang.
This far into the season, many of the gags rely on players possessing, at the very least, a working knowledge of the series and its characters. Playing the first two episodes isn't a necessity, but it's highly recommended before embarking on this rock-n-roll odyssey. Here's a quick recap. In the series premiere, Strongbad's plans to pummel Homestar Runner backfire, sending him racing to beat his sporty nemesis in other ways, and ultimately land him in an even worse position when he finds his house full of more unwanted guests to get rid of. Episode 2 found Strongbad and pals mounting a bizarre risk-like board game revolution against the King of Towns for imposing a draconian snack cake tax on every e-mail sent or received. Once again, Telltale changes things up to keep the humor fresh and punchy with Episode 3.
Baddest of the Bands switches gears right from the start, and that's a good thing. Practically abandoning his regular e-mail question and answer intros, Strongbad instead sits down to play a few rounds of Limozeen: Hot Babelian Odyssey on his fun machine. Sadly, the retro console craps out mid-level, sending Strongbad on a desperate quest to find the money needed to get the ailing gaming machine fixed. His preferred solution to the fundraising dilemma has the scheming anti-hero assembling the various musical groups in town - apparently, everyone is in a band of some sort these days -for a massive battle of the bands. In true Strong Badian fashion, he then decides to sabotage the competition to make his "band" appear less horrendous. Without giving any more of the plot away, let's just say the episode is a wild, ear-bleeding ride rife with plenty of laughable musical nonsense.
As an aside, Limozeen: Hot Babelian Odyssey is one of the more playable retro mini-games featured in the series. For those not in the know, Limozeen is Strong Bad's favorite glam metal band. Hot Babelian Odyssey is essentially a Defender clone, where the band loads up into a space ship to beam-up hot babes before they fall into alien hands. You'll also blast baddies and dodge flying V guitars. Awesome. Sadly, you'll have to complete the entire episode, before you can rocket through the cosmos rescuing hot babes in 8-bit style.
SBCG4AP has a very distinct visual style that matches the animated flash cartoons the series is based on perfectly. Each game is brightly colored, and the 3D spatial differences are noticeable improvements over the cartoons. The bulk of the visual changes from one episode to the next are primarily in the form of new characters, new locations, amusing props, and subtle changes to old locations. While Episode 2 changed things up more dramatically by incorporating a Risk-like board game element and map mechanic into the game, Baddest of the Bands takes a step back to match the flow of the series' premiere. Don't expect much to change in terms of graphical quality as the series progresses; the show practically hinges on the medium-fi visuals. Regardless, it works.
Due to the rock-n-roll nature of Baddest of the Bands, the audio work is more noteworthy this time around. All of the voice acting remains as strong as it has been from the get-go; the combination of character dialogue and Strong Bad's oddball comments are often so amusing you won't mind clicking on every single interactive hotspot just to hear what he has to say.