Fantastic Four Review: Is It Worth It?

Fantastic Four Coverart

Fantastic Four Review: Is It Worth It?

Based on the 2005 film Fantastic Four is an action-adventure video game. It was developed by 7 Studios and published by Activision for PlayStation 2, Xbox, Windows, Game Boy Advance, and the GameCube. The Fantastic Four was the big bang that created the incredible and yes, also very credible, Marvel Universe. Where previous heroes were larger than life playboys, aliens or underwater kings. However, the question of whether or not this game is worth the effort stands. Let’s find out.

Linear Gameplay

Fantastic Four Screenshot
Meet the Fantastic Four crew.

There’s a lot of handholding going on in Fantastic 4. The game is excruciatingly linear. It doesn’t offer much in the way of freedom when it comes to using superpowers. Most of the playable action elements are basic combat moves such as punching and kicking. These guys all have different powers that would be fun to explore and exploit. It’s too bad that it’s treated like a museum instead of a playground. 

The developers really missed the boat by reducing the strategy and freedom to such incredibly simplistic levels. Players are guided through various situations which require them to line up each character with his or her corresponding color which appears as a beam. Once their players press the A button to build up the meter and presto, a pre-rendered animation takes over.

Fantastic Four Plot

Fantastic Four gameplay screenshot
Play Fantastic Four in space in astro mode.

Following the plot of the movie you will learn the origin of the Fantastic Four as four astronauts which are exposed to cosmic radiation in outer space. When they return to Earth, they find they each have cosmic superpowers. Sue Storm is the invisible woman who can also raise shields and emit wave energy attacks. Johnny Storm is the human fireball. He can fly and throw fireballs at enemies. Reed Richards is the leader of the Fantastic Four. He is basically a rip-off of Plastic Man as he can stretch and twist himself into various shapes. Finally, it’s my favorite, Ben Grimm, or The Thing, as he’s commonly referred to. He’s a gruff but lovable mountain of a man that’s made out of stone.

Characters and Combos 

Fantastic Four powers
Don’t mess with Storm’s super power.

Each character has six combo moves which are upgradeable. Each of the four characters has three cosmic powers. There are some instances in the game where players can actually pick which character, they want to use. Then use whichever power they think will get the job done. It’s just too bad that most of the game wasn’t done like this. There are some fine examples of teamwork which is a staple of the Fantastic Four as they use their combined powers to achieve one goal. Here is where players will have to match each character to their specific color cone.

Fantastic Four Gameplay

Rock guy in Fantastic Four
Characters have their own unique skill sets to combat enemies.

To lengthen the gameplay which is necessary to keep it running longer than the movie new characters, enemies and situations have been added. The enemies range from dinosaurs to evil mummies. Of course, you can expect Dr. Doom, a pre-Darth Vader-like madman that takes refuge behind an armored face shield. There are some run-of-the-mill thugs added for believability. They attack in groups and are relatively easy to fend off. 

Players can use Sue’s shield, which makes her virtually invincible to attack, and then unleash an attack of their own when the enemy is most vulnerable. For my money the best attacks are those of The Thing which best follow the premise of the comic book as he loves to clobber. Reed Richards is the nerdy professor type and not one that players would associate with hand-to-hand combat.

Final Thoughts

The in-game animation is good but it’s no better than the Fantastic Four cartoon of the late 60s/early 70s. The music is good as are the sound effects but there is nothing special about any aspect of the production. Unlockable such as new levels and interviews are bound to keep hardcore fans busy. If you’re looking for an interactive movie or something along the lines of a street fighting game like Capcom’s Final Fight, then you might find some satisfaction here. For the rest of you, rent it first.

To top