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Futurama (GC)

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"Story and dialogue written by the writers of the critically acclaimed TV series. Play as Fry; Bender; Leela or Dr Zoidberg; each with unique combat styles and skills. Exclusive new characters and locations"

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      29.05.2003 02:05
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      Somebody should have told Matt Groening that it's better to burn out than fade away. The Simpsons has degenerated into less than a shadow of its former self. However, the creator's other main on project, Futurama, shows that the big man can still be very funny indeed. So, it's no suprise that there's a game being made. What is a suprise is that it's looking quite good. It's not a shallow point and click, it's not a shameless Crazy Taxi clone nor a soulless Tony Hawk ripoff. No, it's an action platformer and it's looking like it will be more than able to translate all the character and humour of the series into cyberspace. For instance, take the loading screens - adverts for Extreme Walrus Juice (Ride the Walrus!) and U-Yank, a removals firm that specializes in witness protection program members. One of the few instances where I won't mind long loading times (and looking at some of the recent games on my PS2, it's just as well). The story is yanked straight from the wacky world of Earth in the 31st Century - the Professor has sold Planet Express to the tyrannical villain 'Mom', which boils down to her having the legal ownership of Earth. So, to escape her iron, liver-spotted grip, Fry and the gang need to get to another planet as soon as humanly (or, in Bender's case, robotically) possible. However, to do this they need the engine parts, which sets up the wholly exciting and original prospect of working your way through levels, fighting alien goons and getting the relevant bits and bobs. The action is split between the three main characters Fry, Leela and Bender and then there's Dr Zoidberg who can be unlocked as a secret character but i will let you find out how. Our shiny metal assed hero has the more platform-y bits, whereas Leela has some kung-fu fighting and Fry gets to use more weaponry. Variety is the spice of life, after all. You'll have to take out Mom's sons (Walt
      , Larry and Ignar) and there's the sewer monsters and evil robots as well. In between levels there are some great cut-scenes, written by J Stewart Burns, who writes for Futurama and The Simpsons proper, so we're guaranteed some funny moments. As in the series, there are plenty of nods and homages. We see the Alien ship, some Star Wars bits, and even Elvis! Unfortunately, the best character of them all, Dr Zoidberg, only pops up for a swamp rat riding tutorial, and Hermes has a similarly small part...but I suppose we can't have everything. There are some tasty looking set pieces, too. An Indiana Jones-style running away from the big boulder section, a spot of on-rails shooting and the aforementioned rat racing (no pun intended). Graphically speaking, the game has gone for the cel-shaded look (it has an excuse, as it IS based on a cartoon) and the backgrounds are looking particularly spiffy...sadly, the actual models are looking quite ropey but hey, there's a few months to tidy it all up. Overall a highly decent game plus a magnificent license equals a very straight forward and easy to pick up and play game. It features a superb mix of action (shooting, flaming, kicking and punching), agility (jumping, climbing), simple puzzle solving (activate generator to use elevator to reach new area) and, of course, hilarious dialogue thus meeting everyones needs as a gamer. Overall i rate this a 9 as it really is a great game. Note this game is also available on the PS2 and XBox with no differences except some variations in game textures.

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