STAFF REVIEW of Fantastic Four (Xbox)


Friday, July 15, 2005.
by mattgame

Fantastic Four Box art It seems as though the latest craze is making blockbuster movies about the superheroes we only used to read about in the comic books. I must admit that I love it. From Superman to Spiderman, from X-men to Batman, I always imagined what it would be like to put on those spandex suits and go out in public and declare myself a hero. Of course, I grew up. And now I realize that if I did that in today's society, I would have a tough time declaring myself sane. However, I still wonder what it must be like to be a superhero. That's why we love videogames. It allows us to imagine that we are something else. It gives us powers beyond belief. That's why I love videogames and that's why I am a sucker for a superhero videogame. Do you feel me? If you do then you know my frustration. Why, for the love of cosmic rays and humans that can set themselves on fire and survive, can't someone take these superheroes from the silver screen and transfer their greatness to my 36 inch T.V. screen? From what I understand Fantastic Four the movie is pretty good. However, Fantastic Four the videogame needs a dose of some cosmic rays to make it worth purchasing. For the uninformed, the Fantastic Four is a Marvel Comics created superhero team. The story goes that these four astronauts were on a mission in space and got hit with enough cosmic rays to turn them into super beings. Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards, is the leader. His power is to stretch his body into whatever he wants and almost how far he wants. Invisible Girl, Sue Richards, who is also Mr. Fantastic's wife, can turn invisible, duhhh, and can also use force fields at her leisure. The Human Torch, Johnny Storm, can turn himself into a flaming flying fiery torch at will, or at least when he says "Flame On!". Last but not least their is The Thing, Ben Grimm. He is the token strong man with one twist, he is made up of what looks like my little nephew's rock collection. Each one of these heroes can be in their own videogame and it would be a hit. Combine the four superpowers and it should be fantastic, pun intended, yes? Not quite. The game falls short where it is most important. The implementation of the superpowers of the Fantastic Four.


Once again, it is the gameplay that really hurts this game. It makes absolutely certain that the game is mediocre as opposed to great. The Fantastic Four have incredible powers. However, in this game you don't quite get that feeling. The game follows the plot of the movie but adds wave after wave of enemies to stretch it out. You will have the opportunity to play as all of the heroes and can switch between them by using the d-pad when given the choice to do so. In some parts of the game you will have the option of switching between all of the heroes. This is usually during boss battles. Each hero can perform upgradeable combos combined with your basic kick, punch and throw maneuvers. Sounds good, yes? Well, it was decent. It just didn't have that intuitiveness I hoped for in the game. What I mean is that in some parts of the game you can't use some of your more impressive powers when prompted to do it and even then the CPU takes over and does it for you. It takes away from the freedom that I was looking for in a videogame. These are the mini games that the game has in store for you. And I mean mini. There is nothing too challenging about the mini games, the puzzles or the game itself. This makes for a less than fantastic experience, again...pun intended.


Our beloved Xbox is capable of some amazing graphics. We all know that. My 4 year old son knows that for Heavens sake! I just don't understand why don\'t some of these game makers don't know that. Developer 7 Studios could have put a little more effort into making this game look as fantastic as the heroes it depicted. There is nothing about this game visually that stands out. Absolutely nothing. The backgrounds are bland, the heroes are blah, the average Joe could have done better with two graphics art classes under their belt. Visually, the game is just a step above PS1 game graphics.


The sounds in the game are as generic as they can possibly be. The voice acting in the game is horrible. The sound effects are dull at best. It seems as though this part of making the game was an afterthought. It's almost as if 7 studios said, "the game is done, uhh, wait a minute, did anyone do the sound I don't hear anything?" And then they took all of 5 minutes to add the sound. Once again with just a little time and concern for the consumer this aspect of the game could have been and should have been much better.


Suggestions:
7 Studios, listen to me, please. Take your time on a game. You had the Fantastic Four to work with. You should have been able to make four video games with these guys let alone one! For all that is holy, let the gamer have the freedom to do what they want in a game, to make choices, to figure out things for themselves. Please don't tell us exactly what to do, it makes us feel like idiots and trust me, we don't need any help with that. I'll end this review with Mattgame's "The Ugly Truth". Here it is, this game isn't even a rental. Only play it if you are a diehard Fantastic Four fan and your friend already blew his stash on it.


Overall: 4.8 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 4.0 / 10
Sound: 4.0 / 10

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