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Platform

PC

Genre

Adventure

Publisher

Telltale Games

Developer

Telltale Games

ESRB

E10+ (Everyone 10+)

Released

October 27, 2008

 

 

- Much more satisfying ending than in Strong Badia the Free
- Increased interaction with various locales, although photo booth still seems decidedly pointless for anything but a few chuckles
- Concert tour-length, longer-lasting gameplay as in Episode 1

 

 

- Puzzles are a bit more cryptic to solve than in Episode 2
- Still highly humorous, just less so than in previous episode

 

Review: Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 2: Strong Badia the Free

Review: Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 1: Homestar Ruiner

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Strong Badís Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 3: Baddest of the Bands

Score: 8.5/10

 

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Featuring essentially a music & rhythm-based story without much rhythm or good music, the newest episodic adventure of Homestar Runnerís Strong Bad, Strong Badís Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 3: Baddest of the Bands, sort of delivers its own take on one of the hottest gaming genres today by turning the ďmusicĒ game on itís tone-deaf ear.

 

Think Guitar Hero, Rock Band, SingStar or Dance, Dance Revolution without any semblance of musical or singing talent around. Thatís a pretty solid idea of what to expect from the musically and vocally challenged characters from the Homestar Runner universe that join together in various factions to compete in a Strong Bad-devised battle of the bands that literally becomes a contest among the baddest bands (as in the ďsimply awfulĒ versus the Michael Jackson ďBadĒ meaning of the word).

 

Faced with a lack of cash and needing to fix his favorite videogame console, the Fun Machine, that has just broken while heís playing his preferred game of the moment, Limozeen: Hot Babelien Odyssey. Strong Bad sets out to organize a Battle Royale of the Bands that he naturally (although heís the only one) believes he will easily win despite a total lock of musical talent, giving him the full bag of cash needed to get his beloved Fun Machine repaired.

 

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The hair-metal rockers Limozeen are supposed to be the celebrity judges that give String Badís contest legitimacy, but what turns up when it comes to the Battle Royale is a cardboard cutout of the long-haired band members with speakers and a webcam attached that allows the band to judge from afar. It also gives Strong Bad plenty of opportunity to frame Limozeen with 

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various pranks that undercut the competing bands, which is really the only way Strong Badís band Ė featuring Homstar and the electric-guitar-strumming King of Town ‑ has any chance of winning the big prize.

 

Just like in the first episode, there is actually a pretty good amount of gameplay contained in Baddest of the Bands, clocking in longer than in the second episode, Strong Badia the Free. One of the reasons for that is that Baddest of the Bands strikes the wrong cord much like in the first episode with its cryptic puzzles that arenít as easily solved as they were in Strong Badia the Free.

 

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One disappointment is that not a high percentage of the puzzles are figured out using music-based solutions. There could have been some kind of Guitar Hero or Dance, Dance Resolution type of spoofed puzzles, but there isnít at all. However, that letdown is once again alleviated by the gameís hilarious story, most notably as purveyed through the main character, the smart-ass and sassy Strong Bad.

 

Much more interaction at more locales dotting the landscape (although inexplicably the photo booth again really serves no useful, gameplay-affecting purpose in the PC version of the game) also helps increase the variety and quantity of gameplay.

 

Strong Badia the Freeís politically based story gave more opportunity for humor via political satire, which made it the funniest of the three episodes so far, but Baddest of the Bands isnít that far behind in the laughs it does provide. It take a while, though, for the story to crank up its laugh track to full volume, but by the final Battle Royale, both the puzzles and the hilarity are at a high decibel level.

 

After a slow-paced beginning, Baddest of the Bands finishes with an encore performance that rock and rolls past Episode 1 and settles right behind Episode 2. Another strong overall gameplay experience along with the now-expected high-quality humor, Baddest of the Bands is only disappointing in its total lack of interactive puzzles compared to the previous two episodes, especially considering that with the music-based storyline, there easily could have been a few musical instrument-based puzzles/mini-games. Gamers may need earplugs to get past the all-around awfulness of the musical overtures by each and every dreadful-sounding band battling it out, but the laugh-out-loud hilariousness contained in the episode may drown out the terrible tuneage.

 

- Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

November 18, 2008

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