Family Guy Hands-On

Stewie, Peter, and Brian are causing a whole mess of trouble in 2K Games' adaptation of Fox's popular prime-time animated comedy.

2K Games stopped by our office with a final build of its upcoming action game based on Fox's Family Guy series, so we could see how well its developer, High Voltage, has managed to capture the series' irreverent and heavily referential brand of humor. The levels we got to see as part of our Family Guy demo were essentially the same ones we saw during our first look at the game a few weeks ago. Except this time, we actually got to play, which has to count for something. Just like the TV show, the game weaves three plotlines together--one each for Stewie, Brian, and Peter. In fact, we were surprised by how much playing the game felt like watching an episode, which actually shouldn't surprise us because many of the people responsible for the show had a hand in the creation of the game.

We first got a feel for the shooting and platforming gameplay in the levels that star Stewie, who's trying to prevent the theft of his trusty satellite dish at the hands of his nefarious infant half brother, Bertram. Stewie's armed with a basic ray gun at the outset, and you can lock onto enemies or pivot like a turret when necessary. Stewie can also upgrade his ray gun as you pick up collectible spare parts. Every 100 pickups, you'll be able to add an improved charge shot, grenades, an area blast, and heat-seeking missiles to your arsenal. As we mentioned in our last preview, you can also use the weapon to control other people when puzzles demand it. For example, we took control of Lois in order to unlock a door and controlled lascivious neighbor Mr. Quaqmire at the hospital to distract some pretty nurses while we fiddled with an MRI machine.

Family dog Brian has the most simplistic gameplay, from what we could tell, because he doesn't have any attacks; his levels are all about sneaking. We got to try Brian's first level, in which he has to split from the police station, and we had to tiptoe past a lineup of cells--each with inmates engaged in a variety of amusing situations. Next, we took a rather tense trip through the jailhouse shower room, replete with inmates, uh, frolicking among the suds. Brian is quite easy to control because you control his sneaking speed with the analog stick, so it seems like his levels will primarily be about watching enemy patterns and just running by when the coast is clear (as well as spotting all the jokes integrated into the backgrounds).

Expect Peter to go through some, uh, changes over the course of the game.

Finally, Peter's levels are side-scrolling brawlers in the style of Final Fight, complete with the flashing right arrow whenever you've cleared an area. It seems Peter has taken a few too many bumps on the head, and he's out to stop the maniacal Mr. Belvedere and his legions of evildoers. Uh, whatever. Anyway, Peter has punch-and-kick attacks, but oddly, only one of the two attacks will work on each enemy, so you have to pay attention to which moves you're using most of the time. There's also a snack meter that fills up as you scarf down the vittles dropped by enemies, and when it's full, you can make special moves, like a spin attack. The most amusing part of Peter's gameplay is that he'll continue to get bonked on the head throughout the game, so at one point he'll think he's a '70s blaxploitation star (and will don an afro and fight with kung fu), and later he'll think he's a fat Vegas prostitute and will use slaps and other catty maneuvers.

Family Guy will break up all three characters' levels with the occasional cutaway minigame, all of which are presented almost WarioWare-style. When the story demands it, the game will cut to a quick, humorous interlude that stars the currently playable character. For example, it may cut to Brian, trying to bury the only existing film reel of The Blair Fist Project, or to Peter, attempting to punch open a gigantic can of tuna--and then you'll have to hit the right buttons to complete the task. If you succeed, a number of rewards are available: Stewie will get free parts for his weapon upgrade; Peter will get a bonus to his snack bar; and Brian will get temporary invisibility. From what we saw, these cutaway games will provide some quick-hitting comedy and a good break in the action, especially because they happen without any loading time.

There was a ton of Family Guy-style humor packed into the few levels we saw. When we were mind-controlling Lois, we opened the wrong closet door to reveal a giant squid that was uncomfortably crammed inside. In the maternity ward of the hospital, we made Stewie jump on several pregnant women's stomachs to make them pop out babies (of all different races, along with green alien babies, Siamese twins, and miniature Quagmires) to distract a nurse. While sneaking Brian out of the police station, we encountered an evidence room, featuring tons of props and items that diehard fans will recognize from a number of different episodes. In short, it looks like the game will handily capture the same sort of flavor that has made the show popular enough to be resurrected from cancellation--not once, but twice.

Even some guest-star-voiced characters will put in an appearance in the game, such as the unflappable Death.

In fact, it's quite worth pointing out for fans of Family Guy that the game was created fully under the auspices of the series' creators. The same writers who come up with ideas for the show wrote all of the dialogue here, and all the voice actors are here--even infrequent guest stars, like Adam Corolla as Death and Wallace Shawn as Bertram. High Voltage has also done an impressive job getting the game's real-time, cel-shaded cutscenes to look strikingly like the animation you'd see on TV, from the camera angles to the facial and body animations of the characters. The whole game seems to make a solid effort on the presentation front. It even features loading screens and music that mimic the establishing shots you'd see in the TV show just before it cuts to the wacky hijinks within the house.

Family Guy is looking like a solid action game that will appeal most fully to diehard fans of the TV show, but any action fan will probably appreciate its varied gameplay. The game is due out next week, so stay tuned for a full review.

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84 comments
CyberWhiz
CyberWhiz

I love the series Family Guy. Although the Game stays true to the show and contains the original voices from the cast, it lacks in a lot of areas. I got bored pretty quickly with it. Hopefully they do better on their next attempt. Maybe they should give Stewie His own game. It might be more interesting

Irve
Irve

this game has been release and at a cheap price ... i wonder what it's like .. it certainly looks the part in the vid .... fingers crossed ... If you've ever played Futurama you will know that the game was .. average at best ... but the story was one of the best episodes of futurama i'd seen .... i hope the family guy game ends up the same way

webster4000
webster4000

i wish i could get this game but savin for Wii

gamerbob2008
gamerbob2008

this game is going to rock and i must own it

T-bone123
T-bone123

this game is going to kick a$$

Inuyasha5262
Inuyasha5262

i dont mean to sound mean.. i like family guy.. but the game reminds me too much of the simpsons hit & run.. i say it'll be crap and i wont touch it

jswaim
jswaim

This is going to be a classic i dont care what GS gives it

00Joseph00
00Joseph00

As long as it is hilariously funny I'll get it.

imperial_agent
imperial_agent

i'm probably gonna get it. i luv family guy. the simpsons hit & run was a lot of fun too.

flappyjackjoe
flappyjackjoe

Although I think Family Guy Kicks azz, I think that this will probably be a crappy easy-to-beat game especially when being Brian cuz that is what always happens when a game is focused on comedy. Maybe it might be worth renting, who knows

seamus555
seamus555

i think this game is a lot like the simpsons arcade game anyone agree with this

Erebus
Erebus

LOL... freakin' sweet ;) If it gets a decent review and a short play-through time, I'll definately rent it. If it's a longer game with an impressive review, I may just buy it. If it sucks, well, too bad. Gamespot is the jury, and I will be the judge.

Soul-Sucker
Soul-Sucker

Behold, did you even read the preview?

EmptySki
EmptySki

sounds like it might have some problems and might be a little boring but i'll never know till i try the game out itself.

Behold
Behold

I hope Quagmire is in it...

tomdunn21
tomdunn21

sounds like a decent game, strange as its from a tv show their normally crap

nazaric
nazaric

nick1500 i thought the xbox 360 can play xbox games and i dont think if there was a big difference if there was a 360 version

nick1500
nick1500

Reads out ot be a truly good looking game. Too bad it is only the xbox and not on the 360. but what i wud like from this game is that it sticks to the same humour famliy guy used to exhibit. No holding back and all. Then it be really awesome.

Kravyn81
Kravyn81

From what I've seen this game is going to be on par with the show -- and that's a thing.

_Sam_
_Sam_

I hope it's a good game

nightshadeA
nightshadeA

hope its better than futurama's game

RogerC44
RogerC44

I'm gonna get this game.

urbanlegend13
urbanlegend13

Wow ! For once, not just a cheap product made for hardcore fans (even if I'm one) like they did for a whole lot of movies. Thanks Family Guy staff !

16tony16
16tony16

Sounds awsome im gettin it 4 sure

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

This game will rule with the creators of teh show helping with the game ....Peter For Pres!!!

go_bears360
go_bears360

I'm sorry but as a big fan of Family Guy, I still have a feeling that its not gonna be good. I'm guessing a 6.5-7.2 for a rating. I also think that they are taking Family Guy too far by making it into a video game.

cyborgjak427
cyborgjak427

So far, it doesn't sound like it's going to totally suck.

SolidSnakeFan
SolidSnakeFan

Well, this game looks better then "Simpsons Hit and Run" due to the fact that it is rated M for mature while simpsons hit and run was only rated T and had limited things to do. I just can't wait for this as i am a huge fan of Family Guy.

FoodThing00
FoodThing00

No.Just no. Stuff like this never, EVER get good. Regardless of developer. It's just common knowledge, like crooked politicans or a round earth. And cyborg, you embody everything that is wrong with gamers. Caring more for graphics than gameplay? Tch.

cyborg100000
cyborg100000

*sigh* these games bring back memories.When i went round my friends house and just played simpsons hit and run while chilling. It makes me think that a game doesn't need good graphics to be fun.....BUT i would rather play a game with good graphics.

runemaster190
runemaster190

I hope its better then simpsons hit and run/

Love_machine914
Love_machine914

i think the only way this game can be good is if it is like simpson hit and run.

Brutalus7
Brutalus7

sounds like a rental to me. Not to say I won't enjoy it, just that I don't see playing it much

Deathraith
Deathraith

i think they may be pushing it with a game.

dark_monk56
dark_monk56

Amazing, this may be one of the first games based off of a TV show/movie that's actually fun enough to be considered a game :D

MasterAsh42
MasterAsh42

Gameplay sounds paint-by-numbers to me. . . Then again, so was that of Psychonauts. . .Hopefully the non-gameplay content will pull it through for this one, too.

Mr_Doom212
Mr_Doom212

dude, for the people saying this game is crap or has bad graphics you are wrong. I will be picking this up when it comes out

mattbelshaw
mattbelshaw

how to ruin the best show of all time........................

cloud1914
cloud1914

wow this is actually looking like a decent game

audioust
audioust

yea... this is going to be a winner...

dandoc2
dandoc2

its only £12.99 for the xbox on amazon.co.uk wow

dejo256
dejo256

ill probably like this game even though it sucks it will be funny

BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

they can't bash a game they are most likely advertising for!