Strong Bad is an episodic game released once a month that is based off of a very popular web cartoon of the same name. Both feature the adventures of Strong Bad, a shirtless, midget, Luchidor, as he works his way through a series of nonsensical events. While in other episodes this may take awhile before they become enjoyable, Episode 4 manages to do away with all of the standard introductions and baseline tutorials. From the start, the entire cast of motley characters inside of a poorly shot action movie, with almost no introduction as to why, and the player to run with it.
Having control of Strong Bad and his actions through the movie have the strange effect of removing the character from the abnormal world that all the characters really live in, causing the player to live through what they must think life is really like. The entire over-the-top action, the strange and unbelievable dialog has a sense of fitting in as this is a strange movie, made in an even stranger world. Having removed all of the series characters from what they would normally be doing and causing them to be willful, and sometimes unwitting members of the cast makes this the best paced, and funniest episode yet this season.
All of the environments this time around have been used in previous episodes, but disguised with low budget set pieces in an attempt to disguise them as something different. This manages to make the environment and set pieces that much funnier knowing that the space station is really Strong Bad’s basement, and the flight controls are just the old Trogdor machine covered up. All of this makes this episode feel like the characters where using what they could find to make this movie, and the humor caused when they fail terribly.
Even though Dangeresque manages to be the best episode in the season, by far, it isn’t without some flaws; most noticeably that there is a massive passing issue in the middle. The problem that comes up is that several of the puzzles that are presented mid-way through start to feel like they are simply present just to artificially lengthen the game, which is odd because the game is about 3 hours long (4 if one was to get hopeless stuck and couldn’t figure out what to do).
The helpful official walkthrough presents itself once again as a link when the game launches, although it is needed less this time due to the more streamlined puzzles. Interestingly enough these streamlined puzzles seem to have come with the fact that Strong Bad is more aware of the fact that he is in a game. This doesn’t seem to affect the way that most of the puzzles, aside from the poorly paced mid-game ones, don’t require tons of backtracking and simply require the player to be listening to what is asked, and rarely use any crazy form of carton logic for their solution.
Although the continued low point of the series is the seemingly dated graphical engine, it doesn’t seem like there is much room to complain when it allows one episode to be produced a month, almost every month. While the graphics are good enough to clearly retain the stylized graphics on the low settings, and simple enough to run on the highest settings on even a mid-range gaming rig, it doesn’t seem like it can be helped but noting that they look amazingly dated. Although it does seem worth noting that after four months of playing these games they have gone considerably on me.
For series newcomers, jumping right into Episode 4- Dangeresque 3 is a terrible idea. Mainly because the entire action takes place in a low budget movie where the normal characters are acting, but also because it makes no exceptions for people who aren’t already 3 episodes deep into the series and understand all of the inside jokes. This is probably one of the greater strengths of this episode as it goes directly at the only people who will be playing this section of the game, and stops treating it like there is an off chance someone new just picked up this one episode.
Without a doubt, Episode 4- Dangeresque 3 is the best Strong Bad chapter to date. From the way that the puzzles are laid out in an easy to understand formula, to the way that even the scenery becomes part of the inside joke for season vets, this episode is the reward for everyone who has been playing these games the past several months. While the flaws from the odd pacing make this one episode hard to recommend to anyone not closely familiar with the series, it is clearly the current standout of this current batch of episodes. At this point anyone who knows of Strong Bad and his antics should probably pick up this game as Dangeresque seems to make the entire season that much funnier.