I always had a soft spot for Futurama when Fox was still airing it. Though the show was primarily known as just being Matt Groening’s other series, many people including myself fell in love with the show’s mix of science fiction parody, laugh-out loud funny dialogue, and the sheer stupidity of the show’s main character Fry.
Unfortunately, Fox didn’t support the show as much as it supported that other Matt Groening show, so now Futurama fans have had to look for other places for their Futurama fix, and now TNT and Cartoon Network’s reruns of the series aren’t their only source. Enter Vivendi Universal’s new game Futurama.
The game’s plot is a bit simpler than the ones found in the show, but its still decent. It seems that the Futurama gang is in dire straits. The delivery service the group was running has gone bankrupt (mostly because Fry and Leela always forgot to charge their customers, and they only delivered one package at a time.) The Professor, seeing his company’s sad financial state, has sold the company. Not willing to let the corporate buyout happen though, Fry and the rest of the Futurama characters seek to get off the planet, but before doing so they have to repair the ship.
The story develops nicely from this point, keeping many of the traits that made the Futurama show so good. Really, the best part of the game is the game’s cut scenes, as the banter that goes on between the characters is unbelievably funny.
Unfortunately, the gameplay that’s thrown in between all of the game’s cinemas isn’t nearly as good. Though the platforming gameplay is solid, it’s also woefully boring. Maybe back in the SNES days people could deal with endless scavenger hunts and other boring goals, but in this day and age that doesn’t quite cut it anymore.
Also, the gameplay suffers from some key flaws that make it more tedious. For one thing, the game’s camera is beyond annoying, getting caught behind walls often and requiring constant babysitting. To make matters worse the game’s auto-aim feature is lousy, constantly pointing your weapon at enemies halfway across the level instead of the one right in front of you. To top it all off, the game’s controls are a bit too sluggish for the constant platform jumping you perform throughout the levels, amongst other obstacles that require much more precise control than Futurama provides.
It’s really a shame that the game’s gameplay is so weak because the rest of Futurama is awesome. Though the graphics are nothing to right home about, and neither is the game’s music or sound effects, the voice acting is truly spectacular, as each voice actor from the show has reprised their role here, and it shows.
Sadly, good voice acting and writing do not make a good game. Many fans really had high hopes for this title, ever since it was announced years ago, and it’s sad to know that this is all they’re going to get. If you want to see Futurama stay up late and watch reruns on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. This title just isn’t worth your hard earned money, unless you are a hardcore fan who really wants to see the cool cut scenes.
Developers: Unique Development Studios
Platforms: GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox