After I saw the PS2 version of the Fantastic Four I was anything but excited about having to play the GBA version. Sure, I started this review with a bad attitude but you know what? I ended with a bad attitude as well.
There’s no doubt my expectations were high. We’re talking about four classic superheroes all with different super abilities. This is like the forerunner of Gauntlet and the inspiration of The Incredibles. While the game makes use of their different abilities it does so in the shallowest of ways.
I hope I don’t have to go into detail of the origin of the FF and all their collective powers and relationships. In this version, Reed Richards is capable of stretching which allows him to move in closer to enemies without putting himself into too much danger. Sue is capable of sneaking by the enemy with her invisible powers. She can also conjure a force field and use it as a shield. Her brother is the Human Torch and is able to throw fireballs, but the most powerful character is The Thing. He’s made out of rocks and his favorite pastime is clobberin’ things. You’ll end up using him most of the time just because he’s the most powerful.
You would think that will all these different abilities the gameplay would be diversified. It’s not. It’s really nothing more than a button masher. While different enemies and monsters are running around the city you just push the A and B button to subdue them. Each character has unique moves but nothing beats the Things brutish punches.
Seldom do all four characters converge in one area. Mostly they will be split into two teams. You choose one character and the AI will handle the other for you. It does a decent job but it fails to register any changes in height. If you start climbing platforms your partner will always be left at the bottom like a moron.
There are times when a specific character is required to perform a specific task but it’s not much of a puzzle to figure out when all you have to do is match the color coded hero with the color coded logo and the CPU will fill in the rest. This is very similar to the console version where all you do is match the colors and the heroes perform a pre-rendered animation that addresses and resolves the immediate threat. The developers should keep in mind that we “watch” movies and “play” videogames.
A good four-player mode would have given this game a real boost. Hell, I would settle for a good one-player mode.
With any lack of challenge I wouldn’t recommend this game to anyone with any decent gaming skills. If you have trouble opening a gun wrapper you might want to consider this game. If you get frustrated easily, like when the ink runs out of your pen, then this game’s for you. It will only last a few hours and then you can go back outside and continue trying to hit rocks with a stick.