NEWS - Monday, February 7, 2005

Fantastic Four Announced for Xbox

Using the slightly altered origin from the movie (in which the foursome are on Victor Von Doom’s research space station), the four are exposed to cosmic rays, altering their very genetic makeup and rendering them, each in their own unique way, super-humans. Johnny can manipulate fire, Sue telekinetics and invisibility, Reed transforms into a human rubber band, and Ben becomes an oddity of rock-muscle and power. Using a cinematic third-person camera that changes from fixed to moving positions, the game enables players to alternately switch from two to four of the team members. The first level demonstrates how each character leans their unique powers, and tasks them with escaping from Doom’s research hospital. The following levels switch from two to four characters and progressively throw more difficult enemies on screen.
As you would expect, the characters play to their own unique strengths. Ben is uncomplicated: For him, it’s always clobbering time. He easily lifts objects like trees and lampposts to swat enemies like flies. Aditionally, he delivers rabbit punches, suplexes, and can grapple enemies. Reed combines close-range attacks with long-range throws; he can transform his limbs into objects such as hammers to attack enemies and useful tools to unlock doors. The Human Torch is good for long-range attacks, using fireballs and walls of flame to create space between the four and their foes. Using her ability to turn invisible, Sue performs one-hit stealth kills. She’s good at close- and long-range combat, too, using force blasts, telekinetic throws, and force encapsulation to halt enemies in a split-second.
For most of the game, Fantastic Four enables you to play as one or two of the FF members, though in several missions you’ll be able to switch to all four. The game strategy evolves from single character action to team-based, strategic encounters, and it features mini-games to challenge players’ knowledge and skill of each team member. In other cases, some bosses require complete team work to defeat them. You can even play as characters outside of the Fantastic Four, though exactly who hasn’t been revealed. Even if you cannot play the enemies themselves, you will see classic rivals from the fabled four’s comic book past including arch enemy Dr. Doom, Annihilus, Diablo, and Puppet Master.
One of the more satisfying elements is that each character is capable of 40 moves, nearly all of which are upgradeable with significantly different moves. Players earn points manually attributed to each character’s skill set, meaning that, if you have the points, you can upgrade any one at any time.
Visually, the characters’ traits manifest in numerous ways, with Johnny showing off a heat blur, Reed’s head stretching out backward as he’s socked in the jaw, and Sue’s telekinetic shield blocking and reflecting enemy projectiles.


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