Tuesday, September 29, 2009

8-Bit is Enough Review

Here at long last is the highly anticipated* review of the fifth and final episode of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, 8-Bit is Enough, by The Adventuress.

This episode takes place immediately after the end of the last episode. After Strong Bad says the trademark line of Dangeresque, "Looks like I'm going to have to jump", he jumps off of the couch. Unfortunately, he lands right into his Trogdor arcade machine, causing the machine to spark profusely. In typical Strong Bad fashion, he blames Strong Sad for breaking the machine and coerces his big baby brother into telling him how to repair it.

Unfortunately for Strong Bad, Homestar gets in the way of the repairs and inadvertently causes Trogdor and many other characters from Videlectrix video games to appear in the "real world" of Free Country, USA. This is where the fun really starts. Just like Sam & Max Season One's Reality 2.0 before it, 8-Bit is Enough is a fun satire of video game cliches. Here though, fans of the Homestar Runner universe get treated to some great injokes since Strong Bad visits video game worlds of the flash video game "company" Videlectrix, from the creaters of Homestar Runner, the Brothers Chaps. This is definitely a love fest to the fans, so a familiarity with the Videlectrix games is highly recommended. There is also some fun general video game injokes, especially in regards to Nintendo, probably as a result of both the Brothers Chaps love for the company and due to the fact that this series is made with the Wii in mind.

The game world has considerably expanded this time, as you get to explore both Free Country USA as before (but with 8-bit video game artifacts spread about). You also get to explore the inside of the video game world and interact with the Videlectrix games inside of the Trogdor cabinet. The map returns, and both Free Country USA and game world locations are marked there for easy access, thankfully meaning you don't have to keep going out into the field to find the cabinet to get into the game world.

The puzzles seem to be the most fine-tuned out of the whole season here. They start out fairly simple, then get progressively harder as the game goes on. There aren't any real nailbiters here like some of he classic adventure games, which is expected since its been mentioned difficult nearly-nonsensical puzzles is something Telltale wants to avoid. Some of the puzzles are a little off the wall, but thankfully they all make perfect sense once you put your mindset into the world of Homestar Runner.

One extra that didn't make it (and wasn't in the last game either, is Teen Girl Squad). Like I mentioned before though, the customizable feature didn't really work, and the pre-made Teen Girl Squad was the most fun out of the season. If Telltale can make the comics more customizable and more funny next season, they'll be a good addition, but as it stands, I'm glad that they aren't in there just for the purpose of being there. The rest of the extras are still here though, and the trend of using the extras as plot devices continues. In this game, the Funstation game and the treasure hunting shovel are both used as plot devices. It really feels that Telltale has finally found the right amount of gameplay vs. extras ratio, and I hope that if there is a second season, Telltale continues to integrate the extras into the main gameplay.

8-Bit is Enough is the strongest game of the season in my opinion. The gameplay is tightened, the jokes are top-notch, and the ending has the best end boss yet in all of Telltale's games, including those in the Sam & Max games. The only thing that brings the score down a little bit is that it is such a fan-service episode that pre-hand knowledge of the Videlectrix games is pretty much required.

Final Verdict: 4 out of 5

* Like Strong Bad's dubious claims, the claim that this review is "highly anticipated" may not be entirely true.

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