Giggity giggity goo!

    If you’ve ever watched Family Guy then you know the show is hilarious and packed with non-sequitur humor. While sometimes confusing, the show makes for some giggles and plenty of inside jokes that fans share. The loveable nature of the animated characters brings depth and enjoyment to most who watch it.

    The video game, however, just plain sucks.

    Produced by 2K Games and available on the PS2 and PSP, the premise of this game begins by focusing on Stewie as he builds his blast ray gun. Players will recognize his nemesis, Bertram – his unborn yet equally diabolical twin. Within five minutes, players will be fed up with the limited, shoddy camera and slow controls.

    It’s really frustrating to sluggishly maneuver Stewie around the cell-shaded environment, and his range of attacks is horribly small until late in the game. He begins by fighting against a living Bertram but then enters Peter’s body in miniature form (just like in the episode that introduced Bertram).

    A second storyline is told from Brian’s perspective and the shift to his missions from Stewie’s is utterly confusing. Unless you’ve watched the episode that the premise stems from, you’re totally lost. There was an episode in which Brian was accused of impregnating Seabreeze (the show dog of the Pewterschmidts), and his storyline starts with him escaping jail and then trying to clear his name.

Unlike the shoot-’em-up feel of Stewie’s levels, Brian must sneak around in stealth – meaning he has only one action, which is to switch between walking slowly and crawling. His levels are where the slow response of the controls really hurts, given that stealthy movements require moving quickly, and Brian doesn’t do that at all.

    The final storyline that unfolds is one of Peter running around town as his typically moronic self after he sees Mr. Belvedere’s likeness in the sky (similar to the Bat-signal). Peter’s control schematic is somewhere between Stewie’s and Brian’s, with Peter punching and kicking enemies, vis-a-vis a side-scrolling fighter like Streets of Rage or Double Dragon.

    His arsenal of attacks is technically the most varied, though there is little difference in his special attacks and it gets frustrating trying to recall which enemies are immune to certain attacks and which techniques will drain his “hunger meter.” This meter is filled up by special food items and is ridiculously easy to empty again with just a few attacks.

    Each of the storylines trade off, progressing in mini-episodes that take place in popular settings from the show. This soap-opera storytelling gets annoying, given that the stories never cross paths and there will be appearances from the supporting cast in all three, sometimes back-to-back.

While it’s unfortunate that the premise of each story is so utterly simple, it actually works in the game’s favor: if there were any complexity here, you’d lose track of what was happening and become controller-breaking pissed by the end of it.

    The regular progression of the game is busted up by a plethora of mini-games (called non-sequiturs) and come about much like the flashbacks and sidebars in the show: “This reminds me of the time that…” or “My god, this is worse than when…”

    The mini-games are almost all just quick button pushing and they net a small reward for use in the main game. This is another disparity between the game and the show, because these quick bits are usually funny in the show but are just lame and take a few tries in the game.

    The worst part of this game is the sheer repetition of it. While each new level differs from the last, getting to the next stage often takes some trial and error, and with each time you fail and restart you’re forced to play through the same jokes, the same mini-games and exact same dialogue. It’d be different if the jokes were as funny as the show, but, with a few exceptions, most of the humor is bland and taken directly from the show.

    None of the show’s edginess and provocative laughs are used here, and the game producers couldn’t get any of the really famous guest stars to record for the game. There’s actually a joke about that in the game, when Peter fights the Black Knight, who was voiced by Will Ferrell in the show (Ferrell declined to appear in the game.)

This game is yet more proof that it takes more than a great copyright to make a great game. Too often, someone who’s made a great show thinks that it can become a superb game, but they depend on the fame of the show for sales. Perhaps the greatest downfall comes from expecting a decent game that would be uproariously funny and getting a shitty game that made for few chuckles.

    There’s a reasonable chance that we will see another Family Guy game, however. Just look at the Simpsons and Dragon Ball Z. Making some of the shittiest games ever didn’t stop developers from trying to make a good one, and both of those franchises now have some decent games that are both fun and remind gamers of why they love the shows they’re spun from.