Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer

It was a mammoth task and a true test of endurance. But I made it. After six painful hours I have emerged from playing the latest Fantastic Four game. Every now and then I would put the controller down and say to myself, 'Why are you doing this to yourself?' But then I would think of the greater good, knowing that afterward I could write a review that would try to warn as many people as possible. Please, unless you are six years old or enjoy dripping hot candle wax on yourself - read this review before getting this game.

I'm going to start off with the good aspects of the game because once I start ranting I'll be too blinded by rage to remember them. Firstly, it has Jessica Alba in it and she is a fox. It was a shame then that the graphics are so poorly rendered that she resembles a piece of microwaved beef jerky. The other good feature in the game was the storyline, which started off promisingly and borrowed from the movie plot. Reed (Mr. Fantastic) and Sue (Invisible Woman) are all set to get married when the Silver Surfer and Dr. Doom show up and start making a nuisance of themselves. Unfortunately the game makes little mention of the real villain, Galactus, and therefore makes the second half of the story fall apart at the seams. And that's about it for the positive side of things.

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Many people would assume you get a chance to play as the four super-heroes that make up the Fantastic Four. And they would be right. There's Mr Fantastic, who can stretch and beat anyone in a limbo competition; the Thing, who resembles a giant crunchie bar and insists on wearing just pants; the Human Torch, with the ability to engulf himself in flames and fly at super speeds; and finally the Invisible Woman - who funnily enough is indeed a woman and sometimes invisible. During most points in the game you have all four members to use and you can switch between them using the D-Pad. Obviously each one has their own abilities and you will need to utilise the right characters at the right times. The problem is half of the characters are crap to use. The mathematical ones out there will have realised this leaves two and most of the time you'll be either the walking yellow brick road (the Thing) or the fire-starter (Human Torch). The Thing can take out bad guys with his mighty strength and the Torch can make a mean barbeque out of his foes. You might succumb to using Mr. Fantastic for getting to some hard to reach places or for a couple of puzzles here and there. Meanwhile the Invisible Woman is even more useless as her only advantage seems to be that she can travel through lasers, which would be very handy except for the fact that for some unknown reason she can't go through ALL lasers. She can move objects and create shields as well but you'll still find yourself avoiding her like the plague. Each character can be upgraded but you'll still be wanting to power up your main two characters. That unfortunately leaves the remaining two even more useless than before in comparison. Combat wise you'll just be mashing buttons and maybe looking out the window thinking 'what the hell am I doing in here when I could be outside in the pouring rain throwing rocks at cars?'

Wait. I am being rather harsh here. Taking a deep breath, I'll move onto the mission locations, which are pretty good. Over the course of six different levels your team will be travelling between an evil lair, New York City, Shanghai and even outer space. Each area is recognizable, with a decent amount of detail, but the problem is what you need to do in each one is repetitive and boring. Each objective usually revolves around needing to find a switch in order to open a door. Once you're through a door you need to activate an elevator which takes you to a series of lasers. Pass the lasers and you'll find another door so you can repeat the whole process again. Some of the levels get better and one to mention is the chase scene where you are the Human Torch flying through tunnels in hot pursuit of the Silver Surfer. But before long you'll be back trying to find that switch in a maze of identical rooms. Did I mention that the game tends to lag as soon as enemies appear on the screen as well? At least the actors in the movie weren't stupid enough to lend their voices to this half-baked piece of franchising extract. However, full kudos to the voice-actors who do the dialogue, as they did their best to save it vocally. I would mention the sound effects round about now but I can't remember them. That's how good they were.

Rise of the Silver Surfer does include a multiplayer co-op mode for up to four friends to all control different heroes. The problem is you might lose three friends in the process. I'm sure the little ones will enjoy the button mashing madness and cartoon-like cut-scenes, but for the big kids I would stay well clear.

"Makes the movie three hundred times better in comparison."
- Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Follow Own it? Rating: PG   Difficulty: Too Easy   Learning Curve: 5 Min


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