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Family Feud - PC - Review

“We surveyed 100 people, the top six answers are on the board. Name something that …”

If you’ve ever watched daytime television, chances are that you’ve run across the show called Family Feud. It pits teams of five family members against one another trying to guess the most popular answers to a series of innocuous questions. Hasbro Interactive and Artech Studios have captured TV host Louis Anderson in all his jovial glory and use a combination of computer animation and live scenes to bring that game to the PC.

And while it may be fun for get-togethers of groups of people, in a smaller setting (two people or less) the game does not play all that well.

One bug discovered was during the buzz-in round. A computer opponent represented the second family, while two people played the role of Family No. 1. Family 2 buzzed in first and gave an answer, which was the sixth most popular answer. Family 1’s answer was the fourth most popular answer – two higher than the answer given by the computer-controlled family. And yet, family two was given the option of pass or play. That’s not the way the game works.

This program is also rife with canned laughter, a steady stream of Anderson mugging for the camera without saying a word – and these faces are limited so you will be treated to the same shot time and time again.

Of course there is the chorus of “good answer! Good answer!” from both animated family members and the host. In all, the audio can get very repetitious after a while. And just who are these people surveyed? There are times when the answers make little sense.

Name a friendly animal. Ok, you got dog and cat, didn’t think about rabbit, but goat?

You can create and customize a family and there are more than 1,500 survey questions. In the fast money portion (where two family members try to guess the most popular answer to a quick question like ‘name a type of rack’) you will not be told what the No. 1 answer was – which is a bit of a letdown.

Graphically this program does a good job. It integrates live shots and animation rather well. The set graphics are bright and colorful, and should you play solo against the computer and lose, you won’t have to sit there while the computer family plays in the fast money round.

The controls of this program are very easy to handle. The space bar or enter key act as buzzers during the opening question-control round (where you have to buzz in to guess the best answer to the survey question), and then you simply type in your answers. You can set the options so your spelling does not have to be exact, but your answers must be. For example: the questions were ‘name a specific time when people use candles.’ ‘Lights out’ was incorrect, while ‘power outage’ (which was the intent of the first reply, but could have been construed to mean something else) was on the list.

Family Feud is a nice little television game show. But because of the random nature of the answers, it may not be as successful on the computer. The game is rated for Everyone, ages 8 and up, but the question may be well beyond the comprehension of children that young.

There are also three installation types: typical which eats 585 megs of hard drive space, small which consumes only 69 megs of your hard drive, and compact which nibbles at but four megs of HD space. The initial install for this program was the small option, but the game lag was incredible. The game had to access the CD often, making play extremely slow. When the game was reinstalled at the typical option, the game zipped along nicely.

 

Install: Medium. Forget the lower options and install at the typical. It takes longer, but rewards you with increased gameplay speed.

Gameplay: 7.5. Installed at the upper end of the options and the program moves along at a nice pace. Suspending time when the players type in the answer is a nice feature – which takes some of the stress and ‘fumble fingers’ out of keyboarding skills.

Graphics: 7.5. The live clips of Louie Anderson are repetitious, but integrated very well into the game. The rest of the program uses solid computer animation.

Sound: 7. If the answer isn’t that good, yelling “good answer” may be encouraging, but it comes across as silly.

Difficulty: 7.5. Some of the answers to these surveys are way out there. This program encourages you to use your imagination. And the computer artificial intelligence is somewhat lacking at times. If you play against the computer, you will find that the computer-controlled family is capable of giving some pretty lame answers.

Concept: 7. This program incorporates the multimedia capabilities of the computer, but tries to bring to life a game show where nuances and ramblings to convey the answers don’t translate to a few typed words. Still, the various elements of the game show are brought into play fairly well.

Overall: 6.5. Give Hasbro an ‘A’ for effort on this one, but the program still has flaws which hamper its effectiveness. In a large party setting, this may provide some laughs, but for smaller groups of people, the game is not as entreating as Hasbro’s other recent release, Wheel of Fortune.

Above Average

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