Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 5: 8-bit is Enough - PC - Review
Anyone who’s been playing Strong Bad’s Cool Game 4 Attractive People can tell you that Strong Bad’s prized Trogdor arcade machine has been sitting in his basement, broken and unusable, for the last four months. Well, it’s up and running now (literally), kick-starting the events of the fifth and final episode of Telltale’s monthly adventure series. And after four months of hilarious and clever releases, the developers have outdone themselves by creating a finale that is easily the high point of the series.
The episode picks up right where last month’s left off — with Strong Bad surrounded by an angry mob. During his escape SB accidentally bumps into the Trogdor arcade game, which springs to life — in all its one-armed, wing-a-ling glory. It seems that the game’s logic board has gone bad, causing the machine to rampage across Free Country, USA. Fixing the logic board seems simple enough, but with this simple action Strong Bad accidentally breaks 8-bit containment field, causing the real world to merge with video game reality. Now there are pixelated karate fighters duking it out near Strong Badia, Marzipan’s throwing an endless supply of crates from atop Bub’s Concession Stand ala Donkey Kong, and the real Trogdor is running around burninating everything in sight. If he hopes to ever restore life back to the status quo, Strong Bad’s got to restore the containment field, and that means doing the unthinkable — he must kill Trogdor.
Strong Bad’s wrestling skills are no match for the might of an arcade-cabinet/dragon hybrid.
This episode’s storyline is easily the series’ strongest. Every previous episode has featured some video game-based humor, but game parodies take center stage here, and they’re all spot-on. Classic gaming of all types and gaming culture in general are referenced, mocked, and satirized at every turn, so any gamer will find plenty to laugh at. Also, the episode is chock full of Homestarrunner.com fan service (as Strong Bad himself points out), and pretty much every fan-favorite character, from the Videlectrix guys to Stinkoman to the Burninator himself, make appearances. This episode also includes plenty of references to the previous episodes; since you’re trapped in the world of video games, characters and situations from each episode’s playable Fun Machine games make return appearances, so if you’ve been following the series since its beginning then expect to see plenty of familiar faces.
Characters and situations from video games have invaded real life, but the inverse is true as well —
Strong Bad must enter the worlds of his favorite games to continue his quest.
Episode 5 doesn’t make any dramatic changes to the series’ gameplay formula. You’ll direct Strong Bad from area to area, using mouse clicks to make him interact with the various objects and characters he finds. As always, there are a ton of amusing interactions to discover, and half the fun of the game is simply wandering around each area, hearing Strong Bad’s smart-aleck comments about any and everything. The puzzles won’t be much of a challenge for any experienced adventure gamer (or SBCG4AP veteran), but they’re clever and just tough enough to make you feel like you’re working for the jokes.
One of your first real challenges will be to gain access to Strong Bad’s house,
guarded as it is by 8-bit Revolutionary War-era ghosts.
8-Bit Is Enough uses the same visual and audio style as all the previous episodes, so the colorful, cartoony graphics are no surprise. The visual treats in this episode come in the form of the different game references that are sprinkled throughout your adventure. For example, when Strong Bad enters the various video game worlds, he graphically devolves through progressively more retro visual styles — from his standard look, to a Nintendo 64-style blocky polygon design, to an 8-bit sprite, until finally he enters the game world as a red pixel block straight out of the Atari 2600. The game’s audio is also filled with tongue-in-cheek homages to the game soundtracks of yesteryear; Telltale has created a soundtrack that perfectly captures the style and sound of classic gaming music without being a direct rip-off of any specific game’s music.
Strong Bad’s Cool Game 4 Attractive People has given us five months worth of excellent adventure gaming, and 8-Bit Is Enough is the series’ piece de resistance. It’s a hilarious episode in its own right, but an even better series finale; it manages to tie the previous episodes together, giving the entire series a sense of cohesiveness that it’s lacked up to now. Whether you’re a fan who’s followed the episodes from the beginning or just jumping into the series, 8-Bit Is Enough is required playing for any gamer with a functioning sense of humor, and an excellent ending to the series.
|Review Scoring Details for Strong Bad’s Cool Game 4 Attractive People: 8-Bit is Enough|
The game doesn’t introduce any surprises in this final installment: click on everything in sight, and watch Strong Bad snark his way through one crazy situation after another. The jokes come early and often, and every scene produces plenty of laugh-out-loud events, so the entertainment value stays high even when you get stuck on a puzzle.
The simple cartoony visual style keeps things looking like the original web cartoon. This episode has lots of visual references to various aspects of games and gaming culture, which are as funny as they are accurate.
Most of the music in this episode is done in the style of retro gaming tunes, and the songs are dead-on stylistic parodies. Matt Chapman again delivers an impressive range of voices, each uniquely hilarious and distinctive.
Players can choose how much help the game gives via the in-game hint system; if you’re looking for a challenge you can give it a go on your own, but the game will pretty much hold your hand if all you want is to see all the different jokes and gags without having to worry about solving a bunch of puzzles.
It was inevitable that eventually, SBCG4AP would involve Trogdor, but episode 5 delivers much more than that. Its video game-based plot is the perfect subject matter for the final episode, since anyone playing will almost certainly get all the jokes.
Telltale finishes Strong Bad’s Cool Game 4 Attractive People with a bang as 8-Bit Is Enough is hands-down the strongest episode out of the bunch. Here’s hoping that there’s more yet to come (via a Sam-and-Max-style Season 2), but if this is the honest-and-true end of the series, then they couldn’t have finished stronger.