Little Britain: The Video Game

A nation mourns.

Version tested PlayStation 2

Absolutely appalling.

Oh, sorry. I went off a little too early there. That's not how it goes. I'm supposed to tease the reader with a non-sequitur paragraph or two, aren't I? Indulge in a bit of irrelevant banter, and then roll out the critical low-down. Instead I've swaggered up to the podium, brazen as you like, and blurted out that this abysmal collection of tenuous, far, far-below-average mini-games is quite frankly the worst thing to enter my PS2's drive since that raw-chicken and gin incident. Oh, well. Start as you mean to go on, as they say.

Actually, I'm a little unsure as to what side of the Little Britain - TV series that is - fence I should be flying my flag on. On the one hand, it seems to have inspired a nation, breaking into the mainstream with its larger than life anarchic tone. It's a show that succeeds in sending up the parochialism and deluded upkeep of values inherent in the UK's population via a collection of grotesquely humorous vignettes. On the other more likely hand, it's a series of tedious sketches abusing easy targets, constructed from the lowest common denominator, and endlessly repeating the same jokes ad nauseum. I can watch it. I can smile. But I feel like I'm experiencing a depressing sense of déjà vu with every episode I view. Is this really what the public like?

Yet, the very fact that it's built up such an inexplicable popularity makes it risky to criticise - mouth off that it isn't as good as people say it is and you'll be accused of being a humourless critic who'll take the first chance he gets to jump on the backlash bandwagon to satisfy their pretentious tastes.

1

It's just like being there!

Well, I'm off to buy a first-class ticket. Who's with me?

But we can argue all we like about the TV show another time (in the comments, probably). What we're here for is the videogame, and by the decree of all that is just, there shall be no such fence-sitting on this particular issue. It is irredeemably awful. It's an affront to licensed videogames. It's a title that needs to be placed in a trebuchet and slung directly into the heart of the Daily Mail in order to teach them a thing or two on what kind of vile game they should really be campaigning against.

Arrested Development

How best to describe it, though? Clever conceptual word play fails me. I guess the only way to do it justice is to go through each mini-game in a perfunctory fashion as I can literally describe the whole brief, dire game in one go. Unnecessary reminder: each one is awful.

Here we go. First stage stars Vicky Pollard, the 'yeah but no but' teenage chav who straps her corpulent frame into a pink bikini and pair of rollerskates in order to collect CDs scattered around the park. That's actually an ill-disguised euphemism for travelling in a straight line along a narrow isometric path, struggling with awful, sluggish controls and repetitive design. All the while listening to the inane soundbites as you desperately try to score enough points to move on.

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I could spend my time thinking up a witty caption for this shot. Or I could repeat the last one. It's just like being there!

Next up are Lou and Andy, who take part in a diving game. You might recognise the sketch this mini-game is based on - it was once voted the nation's funniest of all time in a poll dreamt up by one of those vacuous, space-filling Channel 4 list shows. You might also, presumably, have also thumped your fist into a watermelon carved into the face of Jimmy Carr ever since learning that fact. Its apparently astounding brilliance has been translated into videogame form thus: while his carer Lou speaks to the pool attendant, get Andy out of his wheelchair and up to the diving board to perform as many dives as possible before time runs out. What this actually means is repetitively tapping X to run up the ladder, then mashing the buttons as you attempt to perform enough combos in the meagre amount of time available before hitting the water. Then repeat. All the while listening to the inane soundbites as you desperately try to score enough points to move on, of course.

Third, Marjorie Dawes, the leader of Fat Fighters, a woman armed with a caustic put-down for the overweight. She - tee hee! - is a hypocritical glutton herself, snaffling biscuits and cakes when others aren't around. Now imagine if she found herself in a maze of a supermarket and somebody had scattered biscuits all over the floor. Naturally she'd pick them up while avoiding other accusing slimmers. Or maybe she'd send them packing to the centre of the shop after eating a piece of cake. That's right, it's a Pac-Man clone. An awful, awful Pac-Man clone which you will play with dismay. All the while listening to... etc.

After that, kitsch frog-lover Letty Bell, an old dear with an irrational hatred for real frogs bashes their heads in via the manner of a crude Whack-A-Mole game. You know the rest.

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It's just like being there!

Then Emily and Florence, the unconvincing transvestites, play football. Aim and kick the ball past defenders and through the goal to score points. Slow, turgid, humourless.

Oh, I can't be bothered anymore. Next is some kind of dire Columns / Puyo Puyo clone with that woman who copiously vomits when somebody upsets her narrow-minded sensibilities.

Finally (finally!), Dafydd's stage. The deluded 'only gay in the village' cycles along the street, avoiding obstacles like a hellish version of Paperboy, collecting copies of the Gay Times while running over rival homosexuals. It's almost exactly the same as the first game, unremittingly bad, and the exact point where you realise you've wasted four hours of your precious life you'll never get back.

That's seven games as described in the manual. The back of the box says eight, the last of which I never even found. I have no intention of looking for it even if it does exist. Judging by the quality already on display, it most probably doesn't.

Scoring enough points in each game rewards you with clips of actual sketches. That's the reason for the one point awarded in this review. The game's badly animated, graphically poor, and should shame all who made it and all who buy it. Pray for an end to cash-in greed and weep for the death of quality. There shall now be a paragraph's silence.

1 / 10

Read the Eurogamer.net review policy Little Britain: The Video Game James Lyon A nation mourns. 2007-02-16T11:30:00+00:00 1 10

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