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Family Guy Video Game!
Score: 80%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: High Voltage Software
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Platformer/ Stealth

Graphics & Sound:
Family Guy Video Game! is something fans of the show have been wanting for a while now and it is finally here. Although the game has a few flaws, what it offers feels very much like a really long Family Guy episode.

From a graphics standpoint, Family Guy isn't pushing any new boundaries by any stretch of the imagination. Like most games based on cartoons, everything is done in a cel-shaded fashion and the series' simple, detail-free style is duplicated very well. So just because it doesn't look like the next big polygon-pushing, graphical power-house, it doesn't need to.

Vocally, this game has everything you would expect. The four main voice actors from the series take on their roles in the game as well. Seth MacFarlane plays Peter, Stewie and Brian. Seth Green is Chris, while Alex Borstein and Mila Kunis are Lois and Meg respectively. Of course, many of the supporting characters also make an appearance in the game and all seem to be voiced by the appropriate actor. Heck, even Mayor Adam West shows up a couple of times.

Family Guy Video Game! follows three storylines that are somewhat intermingled. Each storyline focuses on one of the main characters (Peter, Stewie or Brian), and each story has a different feel.

Stewie, that one year-old megalomaniac bent on taking over the world, has had his plans foiled for the last time. This time, it is his half-brother Bertram who is keeping him from reaching his goal. Now the little evil-genius must throw together his upgradable ray gun and mind-control device in order to stop Bertram from controlling everything. These levels have a decidedly action/platformer feel to them, and while the gameplay isn't as deep, fans of Ratchet and Clank style gameplay will love these parts.

Peter's levels are non-stop destroy everything in sight action levels. Peter is convinced that a 1980's sitcom star is holding Quahog hostage. Now Peter won't let anything stand in his way as he plows through anyone and everything to get his family back. Meanwhile, the alcoholic family dog, Brian, has been picked up by the pokey for violating an award winning neighbor. And now you need to sneak Brian out of jail and clear his name once and for all.

Of the three gameplay styles, I found Brian's to be the most annoying, but still tolerable enough to plow through them so I could get back to the better gameplay levels. Many of the stealth missions would end early because someone spotted me, but I would have little or no indication of which character spied my sneaking progress. So run through became a practice in patience, trial and error... lots and lots of error.

The last aspect of this game that really helps to sell it as a Family Guy title are the random segues that occur, just like in the show. Fairly frequently, one of the characters will say something like, "That reminds me of the time..." and boom you are in some very strange situation that really has nothing to do with the overall plot, again just like the show. These non-sequiturs come in the form of rhythm or button combination mini-games and are a fairly good mix of classic Family Guy-isms and brand new jokes.

Each type of level in Family Guy Video Game! has its own range of difficulty and ultimately, it depends on how adept you are at that particular gameplay style. If you are good in stealth games (something I am not), then Brian's levels will probably be a lot easier for you.

Personally, I found the other two styles, Peter's and Stewie's, to be a bit easier to manage and play through, but I can't really tell if that is more because of my personal prejudices against stealth games or if it because those levels are truly easier.

Game Mechanics:
Family Guy Video Game!'s three different modes have slightly different control schemes and for the most part, each scheme fits the situation pretty well.

Peter's levels consist mostly of Circle and Square button mashes as you plow through anyone that stands in your way. While Stewie's much more platformer style allows you to not only jump and double jump, but also "balloon float" with various presses of the X button. Also Stewie's Ray Gun and Grapple Hook can be fired with the Square and Circle buttons respectively. Brian's sneak scheme is the simplest because it requires you to hold down Square to crawl across the floor ... that's pretty much it, of course that's all you need when the whole point of those missions is to ... well, crawl across the floor.

Is Family Guy for everyone? Of course not. This game was made for the people who are already fans of the show. Between the non-sequitur mini-games that are very similar to (if not lifted directly from) the quick scenes from the show and the very characteristic storylines, only viewers will truly appreciate this game's somewhat unique style.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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