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Family Guy review

AT A GLANCE
  • Stewie's quest to destroy Bertram
  • Funny cameos from ancillary characters
  • Some blue jokes that wouldn't fly on TV
  • Peter's pointless, mindless brawling
  • Brian's dull stealth missions
  • Lots of recycled comedic material

One of the things that make Family Guy so riotously funny is how the salty jokes come fast and furious over the span of each half-hour episode. Stretch those same laughs over 8 hours or so of generally humdrum gaming, and the whole affair gets diluted to the point where fans will find themselves reaching for the DVDs instead of the game controller.

Oafish dumbass dad Peter takes a hard one to the noggin and becomes convinced that the citizens of Quahog are disguised henchmen of TV's Mr. Belvedere. Meanwhile, Brian is again accused of impregnating Carter Pewterschmidt's racing dog, and Stewie faces off against his arch-nemesis and half-brother (don't ask) Bertram.



As a result of these disparate setups, Family Guy is really three games in one. Peter kicks and punches through everything in sight, Brian sneaks past screen after screen of cops, and Stewie lasers and mind-controls his way to victory.

Unfortunately, only the last of these is enjoyable, and the non-sequitur mini-games barely qualify as such. Peter might be fun to watch as he cycles through hooker, soul brother, and default costumes, but he isn't much fun to play. The attack animations, like a characteristically idiotic attempt at jump-kicking, are satisfyingly goofy, but this sort of mindless combat just doesn't cut the mustard anymore.

Meanwhile, Brian's stealth missions are infinitely more maddening, requiring the rote memorization of every area. Venture past one obstacle, get caught, start from scratch. Get caught a bit later, start again. There are nice gags sprinkled along the way, and Brian gets to don a few disguises, but the tedium of painstakingly sneaking from shadow to shadow, only to do it over and over again, outweighs that enjoyment.
 
Leave it to Stewie to save the day. Peter can only punch, kick, and jump, and Brian can only sneak around with a lampshade on his head, but Stewie can double-jump, float suspended from helium balloons, grapple to out-of-the-way places, control human minds, and ricochet his upgradeable blaster's fire. While the other two characters are left with tired one-note gameplay, Stewie makes the world his playground. What's more, his segments are easily the funniest, from the rocket-birthing women of the hospital to awesome gameplay homages to arcade classics Centipede and Galaga.



For what it's worth, the look and feel of Quahog and its bizarre residents is captured by simplistic but appealing graphics, and the show's cast provides all voices. The only difference between the console and PSP versions is the latter's aggravating penchant for intermittent audio problems and a hobbled frame rate.

With such a drastic difference in features and entertainment value between Stewie and the rest of his kin, one wonders why he didn't just get his own game. As it stands, you'll have to play through some pretty irritating nonsense just to get to the good stuff, and it's just not worth the effort. Even the most hardcore Family Guy fans will feel cheated by anything more than a weekend rental.

More Info

Release date: Oct 16 2006 - PS2, PSP (US)
Sep 27 2006 - PS2, Xbox, PSP (UK)
Available Platforms: PS2, Xbox, PSP
Genre: Action
Published by: 2K Games
Developed by: High Voltage
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Mature Humor, Partial Nudity, Violence

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