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The guilty pleasures of Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse

"Brian, there's a message in my Alpha Bits!"

A dog knocks back a bottle of whisky before gunning down five people in wheelchairs. Back to the Multiverse won't necessarily be a great game, but it's undoubtedly a Family Guy game.

Based on a fan-favourite episode from Season 8, Heavy Iron's third-person shooter is set in eight different versions of the Family Guy universe. So far we've seen an Amish uprising, a world dominated by jocks, and a dimension in which disabled people are taking their revenge.

We're shown a big chunk of this level, which features Stewie and Brian shooting foes with disabilities as they hobble around Quahog. All parking spaces are disabled-only, and billboard ads for 'Special People Pills' add a level of detail to this alternate world that isn't entirely pleasant. The TV series gets away with humour this edgy because it's generally, after all, funny - something that the game has yet to prove.

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The cripple comedy left us on the wrong side of awkward, but the jokes don't all fall flat. The script, story and visual gags have all been penned by the Family Guy writers, and the use of the actual VO talent fleshes things out considerably.

The cel-shaded visuals cover up the plain nature of the level designs, and although the action is basic, it still entertains. Run-and-gun shooting is broken up with items like the 'inflatable arm dude' decoy, and both characters have their own unique weapons. Brian favours a broken bottle of bourbon, while Stewie swings a golf club.

The other multiplayer modes let you play as other characters such as Lois, who swings around a pair of hot irons. Put her in the unlockable underwear outfit - as one journo in our preview session chose to - and you're back in uncomfortable waters.

If our politically-correct sentiments are making you roll your eyes to the point of all-out facial exhaustion, though, you might want to slip this on your Christmas list. It's unlikely to win a Perrier award, but the cheap laughs come thick and fast and the shooting isn't entirely cheerless.

Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is out on 20th November.

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