Review: The Revolution Will Be Humorized
This December marked the release of the last chapter of the Telltale's five-part episodic downloadable adventure game, Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People (SBCG4AP). As with the other entries in the series, Episode 2 features its own self-contained story, but is it worth the price of admission?
As with the first episode of the game, Homestar Ruiner, the second installment, Strong Badia the Free, again puts players in control of the web cartoon's popular anti-hero, Strong Bad. The episode's story begins when Strong Bad is placed under house arrest for violating the King of Town's (the ruler of Free Country) tax on E-mails. This leads Strong Bad to instigate a rebellion to overthrow the tyrant. In his journey to the King of Town's castle, he must make alliances with the other mistreated citizens of Free Country, USA (hardly an easy task for the misanthropic Strong Bad).
Fans of the first episode will be readily familiar with many of the elements featured in part two. Notably, the graphics retain the same colorful, 3-D rendered characters from the first episode. The voice acting is again top-notch, courtesy of Matt Chapman (one half of Homestarrunner's creative team, the Brothers Champs).
The gameplay, likewise, consists of largely the same inventory-based puzzles as the first episode. The general strategy is to try to pick up everything that isn't nailed down. If the player can pick it up, then more than likely that item has some use in the game. There are a few puzzles whose solution feels somewhat random (thanks largely to the insane world of Free Country, U.S.A.). Despite this, no one puzzle in the game will cause players to tear their hair out in frustration. The solution is often readily apparent after some exploration. Additionally, the game's characters are quite liberal about dropping hints.
The second episode features less arcade sequences than the first (which centered around a race). This is mainly because the story does not demand them. While these sequences were not overly difficult in the first episode, some players will be glad to participate in a more traditional LucasArts style adventure. The conclusion of Strong Badia the Free, however, requires the player to compete in a strategy game akin to Risk. This mini-game gets a bit repetitious after awhile, especially after losing multiple times. Nevertheless, the sequence becomes a breeze once once the player figures out the computer's strategy.
The humor is the same "like it or hate it style" for which Homestarrunner.com is widely known. Fans will enjoy the content of episode two almost as much as the first. The ?almost? in the previous sentence represents the fact that, for whatever reason, Strong Badia the Free is not quite as funny as Homestar Ruiner. This is not to say, however, that the episode falls flat on its face. It is still funnier than about 99% of video games out there.