Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dangeresque 3 Review

Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective, the fourth episode of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive people, gets the series back on track after a somewhat disjointed third episode.

Dangeresque 3 is the title of the long awaited third title in Strong Bad's low budget buddy cop action movies series. The first two "movies" are just Strong Bad emails, so if they could be classified as movies, they'd have to be shorts. Dangeresque 2 came first, and was featured in email #80: stunt double in July 2003. Dangeresque 1 came out 11 months after that, in email #106: Dangeresque 3. The third Dangeresque was going to be released in June 2004 in 3D, as stated by Strong Bad in the email stunt double.

Well, needless to say, Dangeresque 3 wasn't released on time. There were several jokes about it's lateness made in the homestarrunner.com universe, and many people wondered if would never come out. But now, 4 years after Strong Bad's release date, Telltale Games has now made Dangeresque 3 a reality, and thanks to their Telltale Tool, it really is in 3D as Strong Bad promised.

Telltale made a considerable effort in keeping the extremely low-budget aspect of the Dangeresque series in tact with the game. The locations around Free Country, USA have been decorated with paper, tape, and toilet paper rolls to transform them into sets for the movie. The gremlin, Strong Bad's non-workable car, which has been a mappable location in the field since the first game, finally sees a purpose in this game. Of course, it never has moved, so bad editing and background work is put into play to make it (sort of) seem like it's moving. The sloppiness of the "scene cuts" and little or no wardrobe to make the citizens of Free Country USA look like their characters in the film are here as well. It all works surprisingly well in the game, and really does give it a sense of playing an ultra-low budget film.

The plot of Dangeresque 3 revolves around Dangeresque and Renaldo searching for an eco-rejuvenating formula for Cutesy Buttons. Of course, someone wants to stop Dangeresque from completing his mission, and he's not sure if it's one of his previous foes or someone he hasn't yet faced.

The user-placable map is used in this game to quite humorous effect at times. The selectable locations are the countries that the film is supposed to take place in, but the locations are really just places in Free Country USA with bad props (similar to the Istanbul joke in Dangeresque 1).

This time around, there is no Teen Girl Squad comic at all. I personally didn't enjoy the customizable Teen Girl Squad, and much prefered the non-interactive Teen Girl Squad in Baddest of The Bands, so for me at least, this is not a big loss.

The minigame here is actually used in the plot. I loved this, since to me the minigames just felt like afterthoughts to get more gameplay out of the game for the console market. I'm glad to see that the team is putting some thought into more tightly integrating all aspects of the game into the core experience. We've already seen a little bit of this before, as I mentioned in previous reviews, but Telltale is tightening the experience even more, and I commend them for that. I hope this is expanded upon even further in the last game of the season, and into the next season if there is one.

I have loved the idea of extended play since the beginning, but I was wondering how Telltale was going to pull it off here, since it was supposed to be a movie. Once the movie ends, it should be over, so extended play didn't make sense. Or so I thought. Telltale proved me wrong, as they came up with a perfect idea to make it all make sense, and get some great jokes out of the experience as well. Extended play is treated as bonus features on a DVD of a movie. Each of the locations on the map correspond to special features. Some might be "cast interviews", while others are "behind the scenes", or my favorite of the bunch, "outtakes". I didn't play very much of the extended play in the previous games, but I felt compelled to do so here.

Dangeresque 3 is one of the best games of the season in my opinion. Telltale has gone to great length to strengthen the core gaming experience, by further integrating the mini-games into the main game. I still enjoyed the storyline of Strong Badia the Free the most so far this season, but the storyline here is excellent. Fans who have waited so patiently to finally see Dangeresque 3 won't be disappointed.

Final Verdict: 4 out of 5

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