Strong Bad Episode 3: Baddest of the Bands Hands-On

Strong Bad simply must rock, while preventing his pals from doing the same, in the latest episode from Telltale.

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In the third episode of the five-part first season of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People--subtitled "Baddest of the Bands"--our resident hero finds his beloved Fun Machine broken. Faced with the dilemma of a future with no more Fun Machine games to play, Strong Bad does the only logical thing: He organizes a battle-of-the-bands competition to pay for the Fun Machine repairs, realizes he's losing money hand over fist, and then decides that the only way to recoup his losses is to enter the battle, sabotage all of the other musical entrants to make his band look awesome, and win the prize money of the contest he created in the first place.

Strong Mad's sound is a mixture of Billy Sheehan and Geddy Lee with shades of Rocco Prestia underneath.
Strong Mad's sound is a mixture of Billy Sheehan and Geddy Lee with shades of Rocco Prestia underneath.

Yeah, OK, not the brightest of solutions, but then this is the Strong Bad series we're talking about, where the most convoluted solution to a ridiculous problem is usually the most entertaining one. That will certainly be the case in Baddest of the Bands, which we had a chance to check out during Nintendo's press summit last week. Other members of the Homestar Runner universe quickly form bands, including fan-favorite Cool Tapes, fronted by the socially aware Marzipan. Then there's Limozeen, a hair-metal band that provides the glorious inspiration for Strong Bad's band-battle idea in the first place. You'll get to experience all of their musical stylings in the game and, as Strong Bad, find a way to screw them over so that your band reigns supreme.

Speaking of Strong Bad's band, you won't have control over the lineup (which features Strong Bad on lead vocals, naturally, backed up by King of Town and Homsar, who's holding it down on a rocking theremin), but you will have control over the name of your band--sort of. When it comes time to name your band, you click a number of icons in each band member's speech bubble, which leads to a random word. Do this three times and you'll have your group's name--in our case it was "Diamond Oatmeal Insomniacs," which quite obviously rocks.

The Strong Bad series is essentially about puzzles, and your goal in this episode will be to screw over your fellow competitors as they perform on stage. With Cool Tapes, you'll need to arrange a falling-out between Cool Tapes (especially Marzipan) and Limozeen, who serve as the battle's guest judges. In one instance, you need to steal a billy club, give it to the cardboard-cutout Limozeen stand-ins that are on-hand at the battle (in place of the real band), and take a photo of the cutout holding the billy club, making it appear that it is beating up on Drive-Thru Whale (which will break Marzipan's bleeding heart). Did we mention that some of Strong Bad's solutions to his problems are convoluted?

Once you've managed to sabotage your fellow bands and have completed Strong Bad's mission of Fun Machine restoration, you'll get to check out the new minigame. During our demo, we checked out Limozeen's Hot Babelien Odyssey, a 2D shooter in which you had to guide a flying tour bus through a maze, blasting alien invaders by pushing right on the directional pad, while saving stranded "babeliens" by pressing the A button. Oh, and there were also mines shaped like Flying V guitars that would destroy your tour bus if you hit them. Just like the Diamond Oatmeal Insomniacs, Hot Babelien Odyssey rocks...in its own completely sucky way.

Baddest of the Bands, the third of five episodes of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, is scheduled for release this month.

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