Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: High Voltage Software
N Amer - 10/17/2006
Family Guy Review
I have to start off this review by mentioning that I enjoy Family Guy the television show. I watched the show when it first aired on Fox years ago and now enjoy the reruns that air on Cartoon Network and other cable channels. I even have the first two DVD collections in my DVD library but they get seldom viewing just because of the number of reruns. When I first read that a Family Guy game was going to be released I immediately set my expectation low. Here is a great television franchise just waiting to be tarnished by a mediocre game in the name of a quick buck from unknowing gamers. My expectations were fulfilled with an average at best game that will probably only please raving fanatics of the show.
The game offers a variety of gameplay depending on three characters; Stewie, Peter and Brian. The levels that you control Stewie vary between platform gameplay, such as Mario or Sonic, to racing gameplay. The levels where you play as Peter have you fighting various bystanders similar to a punch-and-kick brawler. The Brian levels have you sneaking around various locations playing stealth missions. Sure this variety sounds great in print but the game falls flat on its face when it comes to actually playing the game.
The platform elements with Stewie will have you jumping around a multitude of platforms and ledges picking up gear parts to upgrade Stewie’s gun. He has the typical double jump feature and a balloon that allows him to float in the air for several seconds. But controlling Stewie is an issue because I noticed that I was consistently falling off platforms due to the sensitivity of the controls. Sometimes I would perform a double jump without a problem, but other times I would miss the double jump and end up back at the bottom of a level. The racing stages with Stewie had a similar problem because Stewie had a tendency to float around the stage instead of turning and moving with precise accuracy. There were a few instances where Stewie got turned around and starting racing back to the beginning of the level all because the controls made me miss a turn.
Controlling Peter wasn’t much of an improvement due to the repetitive nature of his levels. It was straight punch and kick combat with a few special moves unlocked as you progressed in the game. The game tried to keep you on your toes by making certain enemies that Peter had to fight invincible to a particular attack. For example, one male character in the game was immune to punch attacks. The point is to make you use strategy before attacking but when you’re surrounded by a variety of characters you will forget about strategy and just start throwing punches and kicks. Hopefully you’ll hit the right character with the correct attack before you’re overrun by enemies. Just repeat and recycle this pattern for all of Peter’s levels.
To me playing as Brian was easily the most frustrating due to the stealth missions. The missions start off easy enough with you just running from one side of the screen to the other without being seen. But then you starting running into levels similar to the maze with multiple characters scattered all over. If they catch a good look at you then the level is over. But what you don’t get is a sense of vision for the enemy characters. You really have no idea how far and wide they can see until it’s too late. During certain areas I was able to run right in front of the enemy without being seen only to be spotted by another character away from me. The game includes an option to duck, hide under desks and use disguises but those never seem to work that well. I found myself having to play the stealth levels repeatedly in the hopes of finally making it through a particular stage.
The game does offer some mini games to off set the madness of the regular stages. The mini games will usually give you a short power-up for the level you’re currently on. However the game is lacking when it comes to setting you up for the mini game. Usually you find the mini game by just walking around and hitting a random spot on the stage. Then the mini game will load, without any detailed instructions, and you’re off on your own. The mini games are very short and typically only last just a few seconds.
Even though the gameplay is lacking the comedy in the game is top-notch. This has to be one of the funniest games I’ve ever played. If you’re a Family Guy fan then you will laugh out loud at some of the jokes in the game. All of characters in the game are voiced by the actors from the television show. The game even takes the raunchiness of the television show to its limits within the game. For example one stage has you running around in a shower inside a jail (I will let your imagination fill in the blanks). Another stage had baby Quagmires’ popping out in a delivery room after you jumped on a certain body part. Side jokes are scattered all over the levels in the typical Family Guy humor as well.
The graphics in the game do a great job of looking almost like the cartoon show. The cutscenes look almost identical with out a few differences in some of the facial features of the characters. The graphics for the rest of the game are presented in the game Family Guy style you’ve seen on the television show. Brian looks probably as close as possible to the cartoon while Stewie and Peter appear blockier than their cartoon counterparts. Unfortunately the game does have tendency to show some serious motion blurring during certain parts of the game. If the action gets intense just be prepared for some eye strain because the blurring.
It comes as no big surprise that Family Guy the game comes up short in the gaming department. The recent trend of good-to-great games based on movies and television shows doesn’t come to blossom with this game. The mediocre gameplay and controls is what really should have put this game back in the oven for some more cooking. But the great humor in the game will definitely have you laughing at almost everything in the game. Too bad humor isn’t the medicine for bad gameplay.
|Review Scoring Details for Family Guy|
Terrible controls and repetitive gameplay is not the key to success in making gamers happy.
If it wasn’t for the motion blurring and a few quirky visuals the game would like almost identical to the cartoon.
The music, sound effects and voice acting in the game were top notch. The music in the game was very impressive with a variety of tracks for each level ranging from rock music to orchestrated songs.
The hardest part of the game is getting used to the controls and making it through parts of the game.
Even though I enjoy Family Guy did we really need a Family Guy game? Even then you’re only playing as three characters from the show instead of the entire cast. The game’s plot is broken up into three stories for each character. You probably will forget about the story after a few minutes playing as each character.
If you really enjoy Family Guy than you will probably find some redeeming value with the game. The humor in the game is very funny and could almost pass for a lost episode of the show. However the rest of the game just falls apart due to the gameplay.