Too Long; Didn't Play: Crispy Chicken

Sponsored By: My own self

Time Fried: 37 Minutes

Original Review

Just like KFC: It sounds like a better idea than it actually is.

Except for the biscuits. Those are always good.

Extra Crispy Review

Sometimes I fall in love with a game’s premise. Crispy Chicken is a dual-stick shooter in which you must single-handedly stave off a horde of aliens bent on stealing the last bucket of fried chicken on Earth. It’s a worthy goal, I’ll grant you. As causes worth dying for go, it ranks up there among the top. Of course, that’s damning with faint praise. After all, as Rincewind the Wizard told us, you only get one life, but there are another ten noble causes around every corner.

Nonetheless, the game’s hook did its primary job, and I couldn’t not pick this one up if wild horses were dragging my wallet in the other direction.

(Haha! You dumb horses! This is on Steam! I don’t need my wallet, because I have PayPal!)

Of course the fact that it’s a twin-stick shooter helped. I like twin-stick shooters. Robotron, Smash TV, every game featured during the Xbox Summer of Arcade from 2008 to 2012 – They’re all good.

Except for Crispy Chicken.

A game like Crispy Chicken should have been like a bucket of The Colonel’s finest: slick, tasty, a little shameful if you eat the whole thing alone. Instead it’s like how you feel after you eat a bucket of Original Recipe: sluggish, unresponsive and wondering why you thought it was a good idea in the first place.

Twin-stick shooters are supposed to be fast. You’re running, you’re gunning, you’re dodging hitboxes by the skin on the top of an hour-old container of gravy. Crispy Chicken has none of that. There are three characters to choose from, and every one of them moves like they just ate three Double Downs and wants to pass out.

Which they’ll do, and often, because it only takes one hit to kill you, and the aliens are sprightly things that have obviously not spent their lives guarding a hoard of fried chicken.

Fortunately, the aliens aren’t particularly bright. For example, they send two kinds of enemies at you. The small, fast ones just bee-line for the bucket of chicken and help themselves if you don’t shoot them, while the big ones run at you with clubs.

Yes. Clubs. Just because the aliens figured out interstellar travel, that doesn't mean they have figured out how guns work. They also haven’t figured out how tactics work, because if I saw one person with a rifle guarding a bucket of chicken, I wouldn’t send in my army five soldiers at a time, in a straight line, with no armor. Especially since I’ve set up a freaking teleporter not ten feet from the bucket of chicken.

How did that strategy meeting go, do you think?

“Well, Commander Zurg, we have positioned the transporter right behind the objective. The enemy is alone and armed with a primitive projectile weapon. Should we send overwhelming force through the portal to kill the guard and capture the bucket of chicken?”

“I think not, Sergeant Fleigm. That’s exactly what the Earthers will be expecting. Let’s insert our troops at these three, highly obvious positions and funnel them through multiple choke-points. The Earthers will be so distracted trying to decide whom to shoot that they will be utterly paralyzed and we can walk out of there with the chicken!”

“But, Commander …”

“Silence! Who is the commander here, sergeant? Execute the order at once!”

The saddest thing about it is that the strategy works, because the controls are so sluggish that it rapidly becomes impossible to manage all of the targets. Crispy Chicken provides the player with power-ups, but they’re so far away from the bucket of chicken you’re guarding that they’re virtually useless, because by the time you get back to the bucket the aliens have stolen half of your supply. You’re better off standing in one place and hoping the aliens drop something interesting when you kill them nearby.

The power-ups aren’t even appreciably better than the base machine gun, so I guess on balance it works out, except that you have limited ammunition and periodically have to try to run for more.

Let me say that again, because it’s so idiotic that I’m almost not sure I believe it, and I spent over a half-hour playing it. There is limited ammunition in a twin-stick shooter.

So you have to periodically plod your way across the map to collect more bullets, but here’s where the game really starts to play with you. The power-ups cycle as they sit waiting to be collected, and the time between power-ups is almost exactly the amount of time it takes to walk up to the power-up and collect it. What this means is that you can take your characteristic leisurely stroll across the map to collect some bullets, only to find that the bullets have changed into a completely useless lazer sword just as you picked them up.

So let’s break down all of the things this does wrong as a twin-stick shooter: It has the worst movement speed since Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, it has limited ammunition, and it has worthless power-ups that it tricks you into collecting while you try to collect the useful one.

And what does it have going in it’s favor? A funny premise that isn’t actually all that funny.

Sorry, Crispy Chicken, but even I need more than that. I’m going to go play something low-fat and fun, like There’s Poop in my Soup.

Have Another Piece?

Goodness no. No. No. No, no, no. Uh uh. No.

Is it the Dark Souls of junk food games?

Well, it’s certainly punishingly difficult, but there’s nothing there to actually master. It’s just a dual-stick shooter that is utterly hamstrung by sluggish controls and bad level design. If you want a challenging dual-stick shooter, go play [/i]CrimsonLand[/i], or Geometry Wars, or any one of a million other games in that genre that are a million times better than Crispy Chicken.

Better yet, go spend your money on an actual bucket of chicken. You’ll still hate yourself afterward, but at least you’ll enjoy it for a little while, and you can get a side order of biscuits, which are always worth it.