There is a place on the Internet where there are no banner ads. A place where there is no smut, spyware, pop-ups, chat rooms, forums, or anything else that makes the online world terrible. You don't need to pay a fee or enter a password or join a mailing list or even have "cookies" enabled, and in return you get the most peerless variety of entertainment ever rendered in flash. I am speaking, of course, of the world of Homestar Runner. Indeed, some of the best time you can spend on your computer is looking over the shoulder of Strong Bad as he checks his e-mail on his charmingly archaic technology, and now, through the magic of Wii Ware, the phenomenon that is "sbemail" soars to new heights! It's Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People!
Consisting of a sequence of five individual episodes, each one downloadable for one thousand Wii points, this game takes you on an adventure-style quest through Strong Bad's world of Free Country, USA. The wrestleman himself interacts with the environment at the direction of your remote, picking up items, using them in improbable ways, speaking to the other familiar characters, and, of course, checking his e-mail. The control system is great and the game is, for the most part, very well conceived with logical puzzles and a selection of creative minigames that make the "extended play" option worthwhile. A cunning player shouldn't expect to take too long on any one episode, though, so it might be recommendable that only the true Strong Bad fans pay the slightly less-than-stellar price for the games. After all, not everyone is cool and attractive enough to derive worthwhile enjoyment from the world of Homestar Runner.
Episode One: Homestar Ruiner
When I first started this game, I could tell that it was going to be exactly what it should be. Strong Bad wakes up in his basement and sings us a song about his style, and why you can't handle it. From there it's off to his computer room to receive an e-mail about the possibility of beating the snot out of Homestar, and this more or less consumes the rest of his day. It's a terrific opening to the series, full of the typical humor and charm of the online animations, complete with a wonderfully imaginative "Teen Girl Squad" minigame. Can you handle Strong Bad's style enough to get through this delightfully stupid plot?
Episode Two: Strongbadia the Free
Civil war strikes Free Country, USA after the King of Town pushes Strong Bad too far. When the liege of Strongbadia calls for rebellion, the map is quickly carved up into an array of sovereign states and Strong Bad is forced to unite the various "countries" against his oppressor. From the neutral country of Concessionstan to the strange lands of the Homsar Reservation, this episode adequately delivers the point that we can expect better than "business as usual" from this series. You'll visit places you didn't see in the first episode, solve a fresh variety of puzzles, and even discover a never before seen incarnation of everyone's favorite squad of teen girls. Probably one of the shorter episodes, but a winner nonetheless.
Episode Three: Baddest of the Bands
The Fun Machine is broken! Strong Bad's favorite game console, a reliable source of ridiculous minigames throughout the series, proves to be quite expensive to repair, forcing the wrestleman to organize a Battle Royale of the Bands in order to garner the funds. Probably the least engaging of the episodes, this somewhat generic premise is an unfortunate downbeat from the larger, more interesting episode two. Further, while a canny player might anticipate a few good music-related minigames, this potential is quite disappointingly squandered. The amusing antics continue, sure, but this installment definitely brings the least innovation to the table. A fun experience for a real fan, but definitely the one to skip if you only intend to download four episodes.
Episode Four: Dangeresque 3
Yes, Strong Bad's beloved action movie star is back! With Coach Z reprising his role as Renaldo and a sterling performance by Seħor Cartgage as Dangeresque's father, this blockbuster thriller is "gonna have to jump" directly to the top of the box office! That is, if you can successfully guide Strong Bad through the cheap cardboard sets and cheaper movie conventions of his hilarious project. By far the cleverest episode in the series, the poorly-edited shots and blooper-reel-quality cut scenes that make up this "movie" deliver the humorous summit of Strong Bad's videogame debut. If you are any kind of fan of the franchise, then it looks like you're gonna have to jump. You're gonna have to jump!
Episode 5: Eight-Bit is Enough
We Strong Bad fans have been notoriously obnoxious with our devotion to a certain beefy-armed, majesty-filled, peasant-burninating dragon. If you don't know who I'm talking about, then you frankly have no business here. Yes, Trogdor is on the loose in Free Country, USA, and it falls upon Strong Bad to navigate the impossible realms of Videlectrix in order to slay his own creation. A surprisingly big story, this bizarre epic is a chapter you will definitely not want to miss. Expect new, imaginative puzzles, crowdpleasing surprises, and the same old Strong Bad charm as this delightful series finally comes to a close.
Our Score: 7/10