Review: Family Guy: The Video Game (PSP)

[image title=”21″ size=”thumbnail” id=”452″ align=”right” linkto=”” ]When I first heard that a Family Guy game was being made for the PSP, I was like… Fuck Yeah! Firstly, I love my PSP and I play it any chance I get. It’s pretty common for me to close the door of my office and run a track or two of WipEout during the day. Secondly, I’m a massive Family Guy fan. I’ve loved everything that’s been aired so far, including the made-for-DVD movie. I figured since I enjoyed the show so much, the game had to be great. Right? Well…

There are plently of games which have been based on Fox animated shows. Futurama and The Simpsons each have their own games (Several in the case of the Simpsons). The Family Guy video game fits in about half way – It’s not as horrific as the worst of the simpsons games, but it’s nowhere near as good as the best, either.

Family Guy is a very funny game. Offensive humour and one liners are rife through the game. In fact, you could say that it’s like watching the entire series and distilling out all of the best jokes into one rapid-fire joke machine gun. There are brilliant scenes like where Stewie is in the hospital, and an announcement comes over the PA system in the background regarding a man in a red and yellow hawiian shirt in the ladies showers. Unfortunately, humour alone doesn’t make a video game. This point is made painfully clear when playing Family Guy, as you’ll see below.

There are three different game modes that make up Family Guy. First you start off as Stewie; the maniacal, world-domination-bent, british-accented baby of the family. Stewie is trying to defeat his evil arch-nemisis half-brother, Bertram. This game mode is a 3D platformer, so Stewie can do all the standard platformer things; including double-jumping, jump-gliding, and shooting enemies with his raygun. Unfortunately, the controls are quite slippery, and there are a number of occasions where you’ll climb your way to the top of some elaborate structure, only to slip and fall all the way to the bottom. Stewie’s main weapon, the raygun, is a little clumsy, with scenes where you do nothing but fire randomly and hope that the seemingly endless wave of enemies will be stopped. You can upgrade the raygun, but it doesn’t seem that it really does anything new once it’s upgraded. It just looks slightly different. In addition to the raygun, Stewie can use his Mind Control Ray to control adults. This comes in handy as there are some scenes where only an adult can open a door or, as is the case in a section of the hospital, die spectacularly on a laser grid so that Stewie can pass by safely. The best scene from Stewie is where he’s in the hospital and must battle a barrage of orderlies and nurses as they pour down the corridor, Space Invaders style. Complete with all the right sound effects, this scene is the most enjoyable of all.

Second there’s Brian, the talking dog. His scenes are based around an accusation of foul play on Brian’s part to do with Seabreeze, Carter Pewterschmidt’s winning race dog. Brian is thrown into prison, and must sneak out. This game mode is interesting, but can be incredibly frustrating. There are scenes where you have to sneak past policemen who are sitting at their desks by waiting until they put their head down and start working again. If you mis-time your dash past their desk, you’ll be caught as they sit up to have a swig of their coffee. A lot of scenes take a number of attempts as you figure out the timings for each section, and the slippery controls can make things difficult. Sometimes you’ll bump right into an enemy and they won’t spot you, other times you’ll be far enough away that you think you’re safe but all of a sudden they spot you and the level ends. The classic scene is when you don a clever disguise to make it past your enemies – a lampshade. And any time Brian is standing still he turns the light in the lampshade on or off, complete with a verbal “Click”.

Finally there’s Peter, who starrs in a side-scrolling beat-em-up for whatever reason. This one seems the most fun, but turns out to be the most frustrating and annoying of all the game modes. There are a number of attacks that Peter can employ, like kicks and punches, but different enemies need different attacks to take them down. For example, children are for some reason impervious to punches, whereas adults are completely unfazed by kicks. There’s also a ‘snack meter’, which is filled by picking up junk food goodies that enemies drop. When this meter is filled, Peter can perform ‘special moves’ to take out a number of enemies at once. At times this game mode is simply overwhelming, with seemingly neverending supplies of bad guys rushing on screen to attack you. More slippery control problems, too many enemies and uninteresting gameplay makes this one a complete dud.

So, This game is really funny for the die hard Family Guy fan, but the gameplay is so incredibly frustrating that most of the time all the jokes do is take the edge off your frustration and stop you from throwing your PSP halfway across the room.



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