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March 10, 2003
Futurama - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
8/8/2003SCiSCi1$99.95

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Typical Bender pose.
The Simpsons has created an empire for Fox and Matt Groening. Several years ago however shudders were put through the fans with the announcement of a new animated series, Futurama. While many thought it would never match the great stories of comedic moments in The Simpsons many were worried that Futurama was a replacement. That wasn't the case. Futurama did, however, gather a large fan base and although the series has not officially ended the entire team at Fox has closed down due to "enough episodes to run for several years". While the TV show is in limbo, this game is not (although it remained non-existent vapourware from the Comic Con 2000 announcement until March 2003).

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Fry with a hammer.
The story so far..The evil businesswoman Mom has bought Planet Express Deliveries from Professor Farnsworth. By doing so she now owns over fifty percent of the Earth, making her the supreme ruler. Her first step is to enslave all humanity and turn the planet into a gigantic warship to conquer the known Universe. The player' s goal is to prevent Mom from Universal domination by taking the Planet Express crew back in time to stop the deal from going ahead.

Playing as Fry your journey begins in the Planet Express HQ, home of the Futurama cast. From there you must explore the dark and forbidding underground ruins of Old New York, battling sewer monsters and dodging toxic radioactive waste. From there you must fight your way through the futuristic streets of New New York's and its infamous Red Light District, annihilating Mom's evil robot army and avoiding the temptations of Robo-hookers.

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Is that hammer getting heavy?
In the trusty Planet Express ship, the crew travels across the galaxy away from the enslaved Earth. Their flight is halted when captured by evil Mom's gigantic tractor beam that draws them to a distant asteroid belt. Bender abandons the crew to land on the surface of this hostile planet, battling his way across dangerous Canyons and abandoned Mines to defeat Mom's sons and release the Planet Express Ship.

Pursued by the relentless Mom, the crew crash land onto the surface of the sun - which turns out to be a tourist resort called Sun City, where Sun God has gone mad, and is killing the inhabitants to form a Skeleton Army to do his bidding. Playing as Leela, your must fight your way through Temples and Courtyards to defeat his army and liberate the planet.

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Killing a skeleton soldier.
Racing to the very edge of the universe, the Futurama crew head for Planet Bogad to meet the mysterious Adoy, creator of a time machine that will enable them to rectify the problems caused by Mom's dictatorship. Aided by the decapodian Dr Zoidberg, the crew travel back through time to prevent the sale of Planet Express ever taking place. They arrive to be used by Mom as target practice for her giant 'Destructor' robot ' . Only by combining their strength will Fry, Bender and Leela be able to thwart Mom's plans'..

One of the key things to this storyline is that is is entirely new and has been written by Emmy Award winning writer J Stewart Burns. Matt Groening, the creator of the series, has helped out with the design including new characters and locations never seen in the Futurama TV-series before and exclusive to the Futurama video game. Of course all this authenticity is pointless without gameplay and while that remains an unknown the ability to select from three playable characters could go some way to longevity.

While the graphics are slightly different to the style seen on TV the cell shading helps it retain a similar look. What will be identical however is the voice acting with the real actors/actresses providing the voices. Time will tell just how well this game turns out but fans of the series are unlikely to be disappointed. Expect a release in July 2003.