Dangerous territory here—a licensed game. Sure, all the original cast are present and correct, and the script is written by the original writers…but is it at all fun to play? With Futurama, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Futurama is a 3-dimensional action-adventure with a lean toward platforming. You get to play as Fry, Leela, Bender, and Dr. Zoidberg in a quest to stop evil entrepreneur Mom from taking over the universe. Fry’s game is a third-person shooter, Bender’s a platformer, Leela’s a beat ’em up, and Zoidberg’s a mad dash like those on the Hog Ride levels of Crash Bandicoot.
The controls are responsive, but oddly placed for such a game. The primary attack button is Square, and the secondary attack button is X. This leaves O as the jump button, which is not instinctive for a game with so many precision jumps. Also, the Triangle button (use) is unresponsive, the context-sensitive pads and switches being very stubborn.
The difficulty is moderate to annoyingly high, the moderate being the opening level in the workshop, the high being Dr. Zoidberg’s amazingly poorly designed romp through the swamp on “Horse” back. The learning curve is also erratic; the second, sewer-based level is far more difficult than its precursor—a lesser gamer would probably give up and trade it in there and then. Persevere, however, and you’ll find the real joy of the ‘Rama. The New New York level is a joy, with some wonderful design and brilliant jokes for fans of the cartoon to spot.
Musically, the game is functional. The spot effects are fine and the tunes, mostly, do not grate. However, the aforementioned Sewer level is backed by an annoying and inappropriate remix of the Futurama theme. Being a licensed game, the characters spout off catchphrases at regular intervals, and while some are funny (“This crystal has the power to heal…my empty wallet! HAHAHA!” quips Bender upon picking up a Robobium crystal), they get slightly tiresome after you hear the same joke 50 times in one level.
The graphics are impressive and chunky. They are cel-shaded, so it does actually look like an episode of the show. The only criticism I can really level at this area of the game is that there is not enough variation between the enemies. On Leela’s section in particular there is little to differentiate between the attackers, making her section by far the weakest.
However, even with all these problems, you would not be disappointed if you bought this game. The levels are entertaining and in the most part tricky without being frustrating. The characters and cutscenes are funny and the plot is engrossing. You’ll laugh out loud at least once.
There are Nibblers hidden on each level, and grabbing them all will unlock the FMVs, music, and (*gasp*) loading screen of that level. These rewards aren’t great (with the exception of the cutscenes), but they inject value into a fairly slight game.
This game is a must for fans, and worth a rent for others. A bit of an acquired taste.