Strong Bad 4: Dangeresque 3


Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:    Telltale Games

Released:  November 2008

PC Requirements:   Windows XP / Vista, 1.5GHz Processor,  256MB (512MB recommended) RAM, 32MB 3D-accelerated video card (64MB recommended) Video card, DirectX 9

Additional Screenshots




by Becky


Right on time is the latest installment in the Homestar Runner internet cartoon adventure series by Telltale Games. November’s offering, Episode 4 of Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People, portrays Strong Bad in the much anticipated blockbuster Indie movie, Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective. A sequel to Dangeresque 1 and 2,  the new film pushes Strong Bad’s fertile imagination to its limits as he assumes the roles of writer, actor and bully/director.

Dangeresque (played by Strong Bad) is a down-on-his-luck detective with a genuine appeal -- perhaps because the lead designer for this particular episode, Mark Darin, spent part of his career producing a down-on-his-luck detective series starring another likeable loser, Nick Bounty.

Nobody has to Get Hurt… Except Everybody that’s not Me

In the course of this point-and-click, third person cinematic adventure, Dangeresque must recover stolen blueprints and jewelry while facing the many villains who are played by others in the Homestar Runner cast. Along the way he encounters multiple challenges, including a catacomb monster, an eccentric scientist, a card shark and a femme fatale. The game starts with a bang as you meet the oddball cast of characters, slows a bit in the middle and zooms to the end with a flourish.

I particularly enjoyed Marzipan in her dual roles as Cutesy and Sultry Buttons. Partly this is because Director Strong Bad fast-forwards through her sermon about the rainforest, and partly because Marzipan as an actress has more range both vocally and physically. (For instance, she has learned to use her eyelashes in a way that makes her broom handle face much more expressive.) The letters Sultry leaves behind -- detailing her past as Dangeresque’s inamorata -- are classics of the “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” conflict.

The colorful, minimalist graphics from the previous games become backgrounds for the movie, enhanced by scenery hastily erected to turn StrongBadia’s locales into Dangeresque’s office, the city of Brainblow, the Amazon, Venice, etc. Sight gags abound, especially when Director Strong Bad introduces special effects. My favorite: the car and helicopter chase with a tree flashing by. The “fourth wall” is frequently broken, as the actors practice and/or flub their lines, and as the camera angles reveal what’s going on behind the scenes.

Could this be a Clue?

Although the game’s most memorable moments involve the characters and story, the challenges also contribute to the mix. The idea behind the main portion of Dangeresque 3 seems to be to enjoy the film/game and its plot and not to be stuck for hours on a puzzle. A series of more difficult treasure-hunt-like challenges are left for Strong Bad’s optional “How Much I Rule” chart.

Puzzles in the main portion are predominantly inventory based, supplemented by a wacky card game, a pattern puzzle (clearly labeled as a puzzle, in case you were wondering), a “let’s figure out who’s lying” dialog challenge, and a couple of challenges that require adjusting various items during “set piece” sequences. A retro computer game called “Space Circus Catastrophe!” must be played as if it’s the control panel for a rocket, and has a timed aspect to it (I beat this one easily in rocket-control-panel mode after a bit of practice).

More than a Movie

In addition to the puzzles that are necessary to progress in the game, you collect optional items (like personalized bullets and costumes), which can keep you searching the environments and trying inventory items in odd places. When you find collectibles, these are entered into the “How Much I Rule” chart, and also affect your Awesomeness Level.  Though I’ve technically finished the game, there are still nineteen items or animations that I have yet to find or trigger, and I have achieved the rank of “Septuple Agent,” which I’ve made into a high rank in my own mind by adding “00” to “Septuple.”

Check Out Some of these Bluppers

Like the previous episodes, Dangeresque 3 contains an Extended Play level after you beat the game. This feature is more substantial than in the past episodes, and includes a documentary where Strong Bad tours some of the sets, interviews a few of the actors, and shows off bloopers. The Extended Play level also contains alternate endings.

I experienced nary a glitch or hiccup. Everything about the interface is easy to use. Movement and animations are smooth. The Hint system established in Episode 1 continues helpfully in Episode 4, with characters occasionally throwing out ideas that can move you along if you’ve spent too much time in each area. One downside – the game doesn’t have nearly enough saved game slots, particularly if more than one family member is playing it.

Music is jazzy, sinister, or exotic, depending upon the locale. The music adds to the game’s atmosphere, but is never intrusive. Voice acting has improved since the earlier episodes. I would say that it is in the “okay to excellent” range in Episode 4, partly because the most annoyingly voiced character has fewer lines. Also, The Cheat’s articulation has improved significantly, and I am beginning to understand some of what he says.

I enjoyed Dangeresque 3 much more than Episode 1, and even more than Episode 2. The series is developing nicely, though I couldn’t say what it is developing into/toward. Perhaps it’s best for once (this goes against the grain) not to speculate.

Quick List for Episode 4: Dangeresque 3

Sam Spade meets Homestar Runner. Colorful cardboard Noir aesthetic and good writing combine in the best badly made movie of the season. Third person perspective, point-and-click interface, two easy timed challenges, plenty of inventory challenges, a dialog puzzle, a pattern puzzle, some “set piece” puzzles. Nothing twisty puzzle-wise that would slow the game’s plot down or cause serious stuckness. An optional treasure hunt challenge that can be completed on the Extended Play level is for gamers who enjoy a more difficult challenge.

Aimed at fans of the Homestar Runner internet cartoons and/or Humphrey Bogart movies -- and anyone who’s secretly enjoyed amateurish Indie cinema.


This game is available via download at Telltale Games.

My Computer Specs:

Windows XP Professional

Pentium 2.80 GHz

2046 MB RAM

Direct X 9.0c

512 MB NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX

SB X-Fi Audio

November 2008

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