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One Does Not Simply Fry, by Stewart C Baker and James Beamon

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A rapid-fire parody of Lord of the Rings, October 17, 2023
by AKheon (Finland)
Related reviews: choice-based, ChoiceScript, IF Comp 2023, comedy

One Does Not Simply Fry is a ChoiceScript-game written by Stewart C Baker and James Beamon, published during IFComp 2023. It's a kind of a Lord of the Rings-parody where much of the cast partakes in an onion ring cook-off at the summit of "Mount Boom".

The gameplay is what you'd expect from a fairly well fleshed-out ChoiceScript-game. There's a character selection, some stats, achievements, a lot of branching story text and multiple different endings. It's simple to get into but has a lot of potential for replayability as well.

I remember reading and enjoying Bored of the Rings back in the day, and I think that the comedic execution in One Does Not Simply Fry goes to a somewhat similar direction. The prose is a hurricane of absurd puns and parodic references from the start to the end, down to silly character names like "Sour Ron". It doesn't take itself very seriously, and some of the humor is a bit hit-or-miss, but there are so many jokes here that at least some are bound to land... right?

The tone of the story is also quite contemporary, starting from the way the whole setup is reminiscent of reality TV in all its overbearing glamour - there's even a Gordon Ramsay-expy acting as one of the judges. The occasionally heavy-handed progressive politics (e.g. race-lifting and/or "queering" the cast) also firmly make this story a product of its era, in both good and bad.

I had the willpower to play through the story 2.5 times. The way the writing prioritizes quantity-over-quality when it comes to jokes eventually becomes a bit tiresome, even though there are some clever comedic payoffs here too, such as (Spoiler - click to show)Leggy Ass' bad ending. I freely admit I probably just didn't get all of the humor here - especially more referential and wordplay-based humor tends to get lost on me.

Overall: a fun premise, fair amount of content, competent execution, arguably a bit one-note. Like any deep-fried delicacy, enjoying too much at once leaves you with a heartburn.

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