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Review: Strong Bad Episode 4: Dangeresque 3

Forget The Dark Knight, Live Free and Die Hard, or Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull -- for "SBemail" devotees, no film has been more anticipated than Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective. The oft-alluded-to sequel stands as a testament to the adage of "good things come to those who wait," as Dangeresque 3 is not only everything fans of the first two Dangeresque entries have wanted, but the best installment of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People yet.

After two emails, four years, and a tantalizing poster in a previous installment of Strong Bad's Cool Game, Strong Bad has finally finished his cinematic masterpiece, Dangeresque 3, and is preparing to show it to the entire population of Free Country, U.S.A. at the outset of Episode 4. Strong Bad pops the tape in the VCR, the credits begin to roll -- and this is where you, the player, take over.

Dangeresque 3 is, like its predecessors, a humorous satire of film noir and action dramas. Everything needed to parody films such as Die Hard and Lethal Weapon, as well as gritty games such as Max Payne, can be found in Dangeresque 3: burnt out crooked cops, a damsel in distress, burly henchman, corny one-liners and more can all be found in abundance.

Though Dangeresque takes place on backdrops seen in the past three Strong Bad episodes, their action movie makeovers render them satisfyingly new. Strong Badia is a lush, overgrown jungle where Strong Bad must search for a secret formula while taking care to avoid a large pit of quicksand, which is denoted by a garden hose drooling water into a large plot of mud. Strong Bad's computer room has been re-imagined as a laboratory where the dashing Dangeresque enlists the aid of the brilliant Experimento in manifesting the substance created by said secret formula.

It is because each area has been given a significant overhaul that Dangeresque 3 feels like a pleasant deviation from the norm, something that the Strong Bad episodes needed. The King of Town's castle has been remade as a dank, dark series of catacombs through which Dangeresque must venture to solve a kidnapping case that drove his father, Dad-geresque, insane. Keeping in line with Strong Bad's abysmally low budget, sets of doors that lead further into the catacombs are large slabs of cardboard, and a puzzle that opens a locked pair of doors has been lovingly crafted using the menu of a fast food restaurant.

The humor, coupled with series mainstays such as the metal detector used to search for secrets (that are non-metal in nature more often than not), is enough to remind gamers that they are existing in the beloved Free Country, U.S.A. But the addition of Dangeresque's satirical take on noir and action, coupled with honed adventure elements by the experts at Telltale Games, makes for a fresh gaming experience. The blend is excellent, and one that should prove enjoyable to any Strong Bad fan.

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