Victory is mine!
For anyone who is unfamiliar with it, the Family Guy is an offbeat comedy series that is part of the hilarious trinity of popular comedic cartoons. The other two series being the long-running Simpsons and the potty-mouthed South Park. Both of these cartoons have spawned several video games ranging from unplayable piles of game feces to mediocre at best. As a fan of all three cartoons, I was excited and yet fairly concerned when I heard that the Family Guy was being made into a video game. Would it be a poorly-made and buggy cash-in title or would it actually be worthy of the Family Guy name (and playing through)?
I am happy to report that while the Family Guy game may not be totally freakin’ sweet, it is definitely not horrible by any stretch of the imagination. At times some of the gameplay can be trying, but most of the game actually plays rather well and is quite entertaining. The game is also visually appealing, making good use of cel-shading to make it look very similar to the cartoon that it is based on. All of the show’s voice talent make appearances in the game as well, from the main character all the way to Adam West as the mayor (excluding Will Ferrell as the black knight who Peter actually admonishes in the game for not providing voiceover work).
The game focuses around a very eventful day in Quahog, Rhode Island. You play as Brian, Peter, and Stewie in an interconnected story that has all three trying to accomplish different goals in three different play styles. In Brian’s segment, he is being accused of impregnating Carter Pewterschmidt’s prize racing dog Seabreeze. To clear his name, you must play through several stealth-based levels, collecting evidence that proves your innocence while avoiding being spotted by other characters. To aid you in this, Brian can crawl, hide in shadows and under tables, and wear disguises such as lamp shades and pimp hats. Brian’s levels are by far the low point of this title. While not incredibly difficult, the levels get very frustrating very quickly. While constantly battling the camera, you will find yourself figuring out how to collect the evidence by trial and error. Considering that you have to wait for NPC characters to slowly lurch around the level before you can move, this trial and error can take up a lot of time and really sap your enjoyment. This is also where the game’s greatest ally becomes its greatest enemy. The initially funny quips from characters really begin to make you angry by the hundredth time you hear it while just trying to complete Brian’s levels so that you can get back to the vastly more satisfying Peter and Stewie levels.
Peter’s portion of the game plays very much like an old Streets of Rage type brawler. After continually receiving blows to the head, Peter goes on a quest (that he concocted) to thwart the evil plans of Mr. Belvedere to kidnap his family. To do this, he beats the crap out of everyone he sees including small children and the elderly. Peter has normal punches and kicks that can also be comboed into headbutts and leg sweeps. He is also equipped with special snack attacks that can further expedite the destruction of hordes of enemies. To unleash these, Peter must consume snacks that fall out of defeated enemies and destructible objects to fill his snack attack bar. In several of Peter’s levels, he will receive further head injuries and turn into different variations of himself from the show such as Rufus Griffin and ANNA. While this is hilarious, I can’t help but to feel a little cheated that they didn’t include Lando Griffin as one of these variations. Still, these levels play fairly well and the end battle with Peter’s nemesis, the chicken, is great.
Stewie, equipped with his trusty ray gun and mind control ray, must foil his half-brother Bertram’s latest plan to take over the world. Most of his levels are just third-person run and guns involving some minor platforming and puzzle elements. While the platforming elements aren’t terrible, they tend to sometimes break down because of the poor camera controls. Several of Stewie’s levels also pay homage to vintage games such as Centipede and Space Invaders. Throughout the game, Stewie can improve his ray gun’s performance by finding hidden ray gun components. Once completely improved, Stewie’s little ray gun is definitely a force to be reckoned with, shooting missiles and heat-seeking rockets. You will need this power to help save Rupert and the world by defeating a giant sized Bertram. This boss battle is fun but can also be fairly confusing. The game doesn’t really give you a hint about how to defeat him until you have already figured it out for yourself. Still, it is quite humorous and enjoyable.
Much like the show, the game is full of non-sequiturs. These sections in the game are when the character that you are playing as turns to the screen and says something fairly unrelated to the game. After this monologue, you will play one of a variety of mini-games that will give you a bonus if you complete it. Brian will become invisible for a short period of time, Peter gets a bonus to his snack attack bar, and Stewie will receive some components for his ray gun. These silly mini-games are mostly pulled directly from the show like having Stewie playing Marco Polo with Hellen Keller and Peter trying to get his keys with a clothes hangar from inside his car. While not incredibly deep, they are a good distraction and are a great fan service.
Family Guy is definitely a fun game and is well worth playing through. Unfortunately, you can play through the game in less than eight hours. While brief, most of the game plays fairly well and the quirky characters and jokes will have you laughing out loud at times. Fans of the cartoon should seriously consider playing through this game. If you’ve never watched Family Guy before, I would still suggest giving this title a try because it is rather fun and it will give you a good sense of what the show is like. Either way, this is a funny and enjoyable game that shouldn’t disappoint.
Fox TV’s second funniest animated family (you know The Simpson’s own ’em) is coming to a game system near you. by Vaughn Smith
You can’t argue that the Griffin gang doesn’t have its fans. Saved from extinction by a rabid fanbase who were bound and determined to bring the series back from cancellation – to which they actually succeeded! – the animated comedy is now more popular than ever. Unless you’re not aware of just how predictable the game industry is, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that someone, somewhere would come to the decision to make a game based on the antics of Seth McFarnlane’s creations Peter, Brian and Stewie – sorry Lois, Chris and Meg…you’re not playable.
The three characters will have their own story lines and we’re told the game will feature various styles of gameplay. Peter’s segment will require him to stop Mr. Belvedere from taking over the world, Stewie will go head to head against his arch enemy Bertram, while Brian will have to escape from prison and clear his name. Expect irreverant takes on pop culture, numerous musical numbers and a fist full of flashbacks, but in a playable format.