Fantastic Four Review
Oh my, what do we have here? Hmm, seems to be a video game based on a movie. Sure, I’ll play that, what could possibly go wrong? I mean it’s not like a company would produce a very average game and tie it to a movie just to make a fast buck...right? Surely, these gaming companies really care about making a quality product and would not try to take advantage of gamers...they would never have the gall to make a lousy game and just hope that people will buy it because of the name on the box. That just wouldn’t be right. So, off I go to play what has got to be a game that can stand on it’s own without needing a popular comic book and movie title on it. Yet, to quote a famous movie franchise, I have a bad feeling about this...
The game/comic book/movie in question this time is Fantastic 4 and it is being brought to the GameCube, and every other system, by Activison. In the spirit of full trust and disclosure I need to admit that I have neither seen the movie nor did I ever get into any of their comic books. I am not sure if this is a hindrance or strength but I am pretty confident that it doesn’t matter because I think a game really needs to be enjoyable on its own. For those not in the “know”, Fantastic 4 consists of, you know this was coming, 4 heroes that started off as normal people then they all ran into a cosmic storm while in space. What, they don’t have the Weather Channel on a space station? Anyhoo, after the cosmic rain cleared they all had neat new powers. Here’s the rundown. Reed Richards became Mr. Fantastic who now has a very stretchy body. (Is it just me or does the name “Mr. Fantastic” come across as a bit egotistical? Or maybe someone that should be a wrestler...) Susan Strom became The Invisible Woman which is a huge shame since Jessica Alba plays her in the movie. OK, so she’s not invisible all of the time...still. Johnny Storm became a skateboarder in the Extreme Games...no wait, that’s not right. Oh, he became The Human Torch which means he can burst into flames and live to tell about it, unlike the drummers for Spinal Tap. And finally we have Ben Grimm who became a giant pile of rocks and is really strong. And how can we forget Victor Von Doom who turns evil (not a huge surprise given his name), can control electricity, and has some funky metal skin...hmm, doesn’t Wolverine also have something like that going for him? Which I suppose is fair since Stan Lee created them both.
Well, we have met our cast of characters and have a little bit of an idea what they can do. The question is can they make a good game. Almost, but not quite. The game style is pretty much a button mashing fighting game also known as a brawler. Which is also something like another game based on a comic book that came out last year called X-Men Legends or The Hulk. It seems obvious that Fantastic 4 found a lot of inspiration from Legends, but was unfortunately unable to match the game in quality. Let’s talk first about some of the areas that Fantastic 4 either does well or, more often, don’t totally suck.
I found the strongest part of Fantastic 4 to be the voice acting. This is not a big shocker since the actors that were in the movie are also doing the voices for the game. What I didn’t like about the voices isn’t really the actors fault, but I got pretty tired, pretty quickly of the little one-liners each of the characters would toss out during the fights. I was thinking about giving some points for the graphics but the more I thought about them the less impressed I got. Wow, didn’t take long to get into the parts of the game I didn’t like did it? The graphics are pedestrian at best. I just expect more from games now. And, while technically not graphics, I saw a lot of slow-down when there were a bunch of bad guys on the screen. I can’t be too impressed with a game that is based on taking on a bunch on enemies at once but hinders your ability to do so by having bad framerates.