—THAT’S THE WAY THE COOKIE CRUMBLES—
SOFT, GOOEY centre, perfectly crisp perimeter, and freshly baked out of the oven. The intoxicating aroma calls out like a siren, daring you to take a bite, and you can no longer resist. You are fat boy, cookie addict extraordinaire, and your cookie jar has run out of cookies-which can only mean one thing: it’s time to perform a midnight raid on The Cookie Factory.
Fat Boy Raids The Cookie Factory is a game that I stumbled upon during my high school years. It was summer, so most people were probably outside getting their recommended daily dosage of vitamin D, eating their lunch, and having a well deserved break from study. Of course, I was in the computer lab instead, trying to learn how to count to ten in as many different languages as possible via the digital encyclopaedia, and exploring the internet in search of games. One fateful day, I chanced upon a website called bored.com, and it was there that I first encountered Fat Boy, the ultimate cookie crusader. Fat Boy Raids the Cookie Factory can be best described as a 2D platforming game in which you control a chubby boy with a blue hat who is on a quest for cookies. It was put together by Jamie and Simon Edis, who founded their website Ezone.com in 1996, and have since created over 200 web-based games and animations.
The central aim of Fat Boy is to go through each level and collect cookies with one proviso: don’t get caught. In his epic cookie collectathon, Fat Boy must be careful to not get apprehended by security guards, who patrol the factory floors like vicious hounds. The actual factory itself is a multi-flavoured affair, with a total of 8 different areas to run through including Storage, Research, and finally the Cookie Making Machine.
Fat Boy’s journey begins on Level 1, alternatively known as The Cookie Factory, where guards are sparse and unhealthy collectibles are in abundance. In addition to the delicious array of cookies, Fat Boy can collect fizzy drink, which like the cookies can act as a weapon against the guards and contribute to your score. Pressing spacebar makes Fat Boy burp and expend one fizzy drink, but in doing so he literally knocks out all guards on screen, which is repulsive and awesome at the same time. Movement controls are very intuitive, adopting the commonly used system of left and right keys on the keyboard. One thing that might take getting used to is the ‘endless runner’ mechanic; if you press either left or right, Fat Boy keeps on running automatically until you press the opposite key. You can jump using the up key, and when it comes to knocking out the guards you have to smack them at an angle, which can be somewhat problematic if you’re a little off, but works well nearly all the time.
If you accidentally run into a guard, you will lose weight. While that might be perceived as a good thing in many magazines of the real world, in Fat Boy’s world, it is pretty disastrous. Running into a guard a second time will cost you a life, so in general, it’s in your best interest to keep fat by eating as many cookies as you can. The Cookie factory is a nice introductory slice of pie, with a fairly low enemy load, so it might lull you into a false sense of security. But if you thought this game was going to be easy throughout, you are sweetly mistaken, my fellow gamers. Level 2 brings in platforms, more guards, and in level 3, prepare to meet one of the freakiest enemies of them all.
DON’T SETTLE FOR CRUMBS
Perhaps you’re familiar with the expression, “Let sleeping dogs lie”. Well in this case, I advise you to take it literally, because if Fat Boy so much as touches these dogs they not only rouse from their slumber, but bark in a way that will scare the living daylights out of you. It doesn’t help that they’re usually chaperoned by guards, and in upcoming levels, this situation only intensifies. Level 5 compensates for this elevated level of challenge by including platforms practically everywhere. If you’re doing it tough, you can quite easily jump from platform to platform unscathed, and avoid the horrors below. This strategy also works for levels 6 and 7, but in a sense, it is the easy way out, so I only recommend it if you’re willing to sacrifice points and the exhilaration of narrowly avoiding the dogs. There’s a lot of fun in outsmarting all the guards and dogs, and just wait until level 6, which introduces massive purple vats with volatile liquid. These will instantly fry you, but luckily, Fat Boy’s desire to satisfy his cookie craving is stronger than his fear. One good feature about Fat Boy’s level design is that each time you successfully pass a level, you will be given an extra life (depicted by Fat Boy heads at the bottom of the screen). These provide some room for error, especially so in the later levels where things become crazy.
Level 7 incorporates ‘mashers’, which should be instantly familiar to anyone who’s played the original Prince of Persia before. These mashers will instantly grind Fat Boy into pieces, so you must avoid them if you want to help him reach the cookie vault.
—GRAHPICS & SOUND—
Visually, Fat Boy’s aesthetics are simple yet pleasing to the eye. The black backgrounds don’t provide an incredible amount of detail, but they do manage to create the atmosphere of breaking into somewhere you’re not meant to. The darkness also allows the elements in the foreground such as boxes, cookies, guards and platforms, to be emphasised more, and is balanced out by their colour. The character of Fat Boy, the guards, and the dogs are all smoothly animated, and fit in this particular world quite well. It’s nice to see the attention to detail evidenced in Fat Boy’s weight gain after he eats cookies, and my absolute favourite part of the whole game was the closing scene. There isn’t an in-game soundtrack to comment on, but the sound effects are all well done (collecting cookies, knocking out guards, belching, and dogs barking).
Fat Boy’s difficulty level is quite balanced overall, and has a smooth and steady increase as you advance through the Cookie Factory. The addition of new enemies, both animate and inanimate, add interest to the game and stop it from being repetitive or losing its charm. I mean, breaking into a factory to illegally acquire cookies has to present some level of challenge, right? Gameplay is always pretty fun, and the only couple of levels where things can become overwhelming are the final two. Being the final challenge and barrier between Fat Boy and the cookie vault, it is logical that level 8 is like a mosh pit full of guards, sleeping dogs, purple vats and mashers. It’s especially hard if you’ve lost a few lives, or used up approximately 90% of your fizzy drink cans (cough cough). In fact, one might say level 8 is deadlier than a tub of chocolate chip cookies is to a chocoholic. Accordingly, this is the level where I died. But many years ago, in that computer lab, I felt the awesomeness of beating this game, and granting Fat Boy his ultimate wish.
WHY YOU SHOULD PLAY IT:
- If you are a cookie lover, you will love this game
- If you like platformers, you will love this game
- If you felt a personal connection with Oliver Twist when he said “Please sir, I want some more”, you will also love this game
(Note: The game no longer works on Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, but you can play it with Internet Explorer)
- Simple controls, easy to pick up
- Gradual increase of difficulty
- Hilarious weapons
- Perfect ending sequence
- A bit short
- Can lose replay value after you’ve beaten it a few times
- Occasional crashes
- May give you cookie cravings
A playthrough by YouTube user Comfort Eagle: