Strong Bad Episode 1: Homestar Ruiner (Wii) Review

By Adam Riley 30.08.2008

Review for Strong Bad Episode 1: Homestar Ruiner on Wii

Telltale Games has become a household name thanks to its sterling efforts in resurrecting the famous LucasArts cast-off 'Sam & Max', dragging the point-and-click adventure back once more and firmly establishing it as one of the most humorous titles on the market. Now the team has linked up with the folks behind the Homestar Runner website to try and cast the same magic over that immensely popular, and extraordinarily quirky, world, choosing to focus on the oddball character that is Strong Bad as he tries to take down Homestar in the first of a five-part episodic experience, 'Homestar Ruiner'. Has Telltale struck gold once more?

In the online world of the Homestar Runner website a character by the name of 'Strong Bad' (based upon Data East's 'Strong Bad' brothers from Tag Team Wrestling back in the NES days) actually tends to steal the limelight from the meek and mild, moderately speech-impaired Homestar, and in this, the first ever episode of the videogame rendition of the series (of which there will be five in total, one per month), 'Homestar Ruiner', Strong Bad is on a mission to take down poor Homestar following an email suggestion to pummel him. Rather than use his fists, though, Strong Bad is instead given the idea of thrashing the armless protagonist in the 'Tri-Annual Race to the End of the Race' event, thus tarnishing Homestar's reputation and postponing the pummelling. However, things well and truly backfire as Strong Bad ends up with a new, totally unwanted, housemate and must, therefore, change his primary objective in order to evict Homestar as soon as possible.

Anyone that has played a point and click adventure game before will be perfectly at home with Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People since Telltale has kept well within the confines of the tried-and-tested gameplay style that worked so well in its PC version of Sam & Max. Players simply move the cursor wherever they want to go and either click to have Strong Bad wander over slowly, or double-click to have him run. Clicking over particular objects or people allows for interactivity with them, either churning out one of several witty retorts, starting a line of conversation (at which point various icons pop up to take discussion in different directions, taking a nice or nasty route depending on your particular mood - remember, though, that buttering people up gets useful information, so that needs to be taken into consideration) or picking up said item for storage in the inventory (which is handily accessible from the top of the screen, along with an overworld map that can be manually updated by the user at certain stages, your current in-game achievements and ranking, as well as a photo function, whereby users can send instant pictures from the game to friends).

Screenshot for Strong Bad Episode 1: Homestar Ruiner on Wii

As can be seen from screenshots, SBCGFAP (as it is known for ease of typing) is presented in an extremely basic way, but with very good reason. The official website's episodes are all in 2D and kept as simple as possible, therefore the appearance of the WiiWare edition remains faithful to the clear-cut style, whilst actually enhancing the characters by presenting them in brightly-coloured 3D that now gives the whole cast a wonderful glow and charm that cannot fail to at least raise a smile from time-to-time. However, the real draw of the game is not in its aesthetics, but in its quirky humour that whilst admittedly may be quite an acquired taste, is definitely not solely limited to fans of the web-episodes that have been released over the years since this reviewer had never even heard of Strong Bad or Homestar Runner before playing and yet found himself rolling around in fits of laughter on several occasions! Anyone that has a love of non-standard comic relief in general will find the script appealing throughout, with the comic timing and quality of the voice-over work all provided by co-creator Matt Chapman (with the exception of Homestar's girlfriend, Marzipan, who is voiced by Matt's brother's wife, Melissa Palmer) helping to drill home the humorous nature of proceedings.

The other main aspect that certainly appeals, and lifts SBCGFAP above its fellow genre stable mates, has to be how it is so much more than just a run-of-the-mill point-and-click, with wacky elements thrown in to spice up the zany exploits. For instance, at one point players need to arrange random obstacles along a race-track (including a turtle and carton of milk) to make it easier for players to manually help Strong Bad to win a race later on, plus there is the chance to play Snake Boxer 5 on Strong Bad's 'FunBox', an old Atari 2600-esque game developed by Videlectrix (a fictional gaming company that has the slogan 'We use make video games!'). It simply involves moving a little pixellated boxer model backwards and forwards, trying to punch a snake in the head whilst also dodging its attacks. Each successive clearance of a level results in an increase in the snake's movements and a change of skin colour. Very basic, but still an intriguing distraction. And then there is Teen Girl Squad, which is a comic written by Strong Bad himself, with the gamer tasked with trying to kill a group of cheerleaders in the most comical way possible, using items such as excessive suntan lotion, lots of hairspray and even mobile phones. Points are amassed for how gruesome, yet amusing, the deaths are, with more ideas for the story being uncovered at various points during Strong Bad's main adventure. For a mere 1,000 Points, Telltale's latest effort is certainly not one to be missed, and with the next episode due in just a few weeks, you would be advised to snap this up as soon as possible to keep ahead of the curve!

Screenshot for Strong Bad Episode 1: Homestar Ruiner on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Strong Bad's first videogame adventure definitely proves to be the perfect game for not only long-term fans of the online web episodes of Homestar Runner, but point-and-click fans that enjoy a weird sense of humour and zany puzzles in small doses. A strong core gameplay mechanic mixed with an engaging and extremely amusing script makes this WiiWare effort one of the best buys on the download service so far and certainly bodes well for the remaining episodes coming in the next few months.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (3 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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