The video game based on TV's Family Guy for the Sony PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo GameCube (hey, that's new), and Microsoft Xbox (they still make games for the original Xbox?) is drawing closer to its October 2006 release, and GameSpot recently got a look (not a play, just a look) at the game. It sounds like fun in principle, but since the preview team didn't get to actually take the controls, I'm a little wary. That kind of thing isn't uncommon, mind you, but playable demos that aren't playable by people besides the developers always sets my spidey-sense tingling. There's three different kinds of gameplay jammed into Family Guy: platforming, stealth maneuvering, and side-scrolling beat-em-up.
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, Innerspace-style.
It sounds like the developers have lifted a lot of elements from the series, and that's OK by me. All too often games based on popular television shows toss way too many elements from the show in question and replace them with unrelated material. How many games based on The Simpsons in name and characters only have we had to endure? After all these years only one game - The Simpsons: Hit and Run - has actually captured the essence of the series. So points to High Voltage Software for trying to keep the soul of the show in Family Guy. So far it looks like players can expect to encounter Chris's talking zit, the deadly firetruck ("The ambulances will have to wait their turn"), and even Peter as the Automaton Nuclear Neo-humanoid Android (ANNA). Now we wait to see how the final version turns out.