Although the Family Guy game is scheduled for release in just a couple of months, it wasn't until earlier this week that we got to take our first look at it. 2K Games stopped by the GameSpot office with a playable work-in-progress version of the game, and although we weren't allowed to take the controls on this occasion, we did spend about half an hour watching all three of its playable characters in action. Before that, though, we checked out the intro movie, in which baby Stewie shows off his new mind-control helmet and then faces off against half-brother Bertram, who's attempting to steal the satellite dish from the roof of the Griffin home.
The intro movie, which uses the game engine to render cel-shaded characters and environments that look a lot like the animated show, led us straight into the first level, where you'll play as a ray-gun-toting Stewie. The Griffin baby's levels incorporate platforming and shooting elements, and the upgradeable ray gun isn't the only gadget that Stewie has in his arsenal. After double-jumping, for example, Stewie can glide for a short distance with balloons strapped to his back, and in the level set outside the Griffin home, there are hooks conveniently scattered around that Stewie can attach a grapple to.
In the second Stewie level that we took a look at, he was attempting to rescue his father, Peter, from a hospital. Although one of the hospital sequences took the form of a vertically scrolling shooter, in which Stewie used his ray gun to take out doctors, nurses, and orderlies, much of the baby's time was spent solving puzzles using his mind-control helmet. Predictably, the helmet is used to assume control of other characters in the game, and without wishing to give any of the puzzles away, we can tell you that both Glen Quagmire (the pervy guy from next door) and Death himself came in very useful. The hospital level came to an end when Stewie gained access to Peter, shrunk himself, and went inside the old guy's body, Inner Space-style.
Next up was the first level in which you'll get to play as Brian, the family dog, whose levels will focus on stealth. In the intro to Brian's first level, he's arrested for allegedly impregnating a prize-winning race dog named Seabreeze, and after being beaten quite soundly by a couple of cops, he's tossed into jail. The level, which we were told is Brian's tutorial mission, tasked the dog with escaping from jail by moving from left to right between shadowed areas and only passing by occupied cells when the inmates were looking away. The stealth gameplay in this particular level was very simplistic, but we wouldn't be surprised if Brian's later levels ended up being more challenging than those of Stewie and Peter.
The Peter level that we got to check out was a left-to-right beat-'em-up, although the 3D environment did afford the head of the Griffin family plenty of room to move up and down, as well. Peter's controls appeared to include buttons for punching, kicking, and throwing objects, and we noticed that powerful moves and combos could be performed by hitting certain buttons repeatedly. Like most everything that we saw during our time with Family Guy, the combat in Peter's level appeared to be uncomplicated and not particularly challenging, though that wasn't entirely surprising given that the majority of his "enemies" were young children or the elderly.
There appears to be no shortage of varied gameplay in Family Guy, then, and if you're a fan of the show, you'll be pleased to hear that there's also plenty of its trademark humor in the game. In fact, watching someone play Family Guy felt a lot like watching an episode of the show at times, the main differences being that the numerous non sequiturs took the form of brief minigames and many of the gags were, as one of the 2K Games representatives described them, "too raunchy for TV."
Our time with Family Guy was all too brief on this occasion, but we look forward to bringing you some hands-on impressions of the game in the near future. Family Guy is currently scheduled for release in mid to late October.