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Game Profile
FINAL SCORES
5.5
Visuals
8.0
Audio
6.0
Gameplay
5.0
Features
4.0
Replay
3.0
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Game Boy
PUBLISHER:
Activision
DEVELOPER:
Activision
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1-2
RELEASE DATE:
June 27, 2005
IN THE SERIES
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Fantastic Four

More in this Series
 Written by Dave Hulick  on July 28, 2005

Reviews: These four aren't so fantastic.


It is an old adage in the gaming world that games based off of popular movies generally tend to be poorly made. Often, they are rushed and underfunded in order to capitalize on a popular movie and maximize profit. There is another adage that states that console to handheld ports are often too ambitious for their own good. Developers try to squeeze mechanics designed for powerful home consoles onto much weaker handhelds with mediocre results. So, what happens when you cross these two unfortunate rules of gaming? Well, the result might look a little bit like Fantastic Four for the Game Boy Advance.

Fantastic Four is a beat ?em up action game that is played from an isometric perspective. The draw of the game is the ability switch between members of the Fantastic Four at will and team up to solve puzzles and defeat bad guys. Unfortunately, you very rarely are given control of more than two characters at once. You control one character while the AI controls all of the others. However, the AI is not very intelligent and will often get stuck on random objects and generally lag behind leaving you to fight new threats by yourself. This may seem problematic, until you realize that all you need to do is run through a door and your partner will be teleported next to you, free of harm. In fact, it is possible to run through almost half of this incredibly short game without throwing a single punch.

Speaking of punches, hurling your fists around is surprisingly easy thanks to a simple control scheme. The A and B buttons are for ?soft? and ?hard? melee attacks, and pressing R in combination with either of them will unleash one of your characters cosmic moves. Yet, throughout the game you seldom need to press anything other than B. There is very little style or technique involved in the fighting system, and the game tends to be nothing more than a button masher.

There is a lot of wasted potential in Fantastic Four, even outside of the obvious Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee style puzzle solving and teamwork elements that should've been included. Scattered throughout the levels are various Hot Spots, pads that your character can stand on to execute a special move that somehow alters the level or reveals a secret. Instead of letting players figure out who to use and where, the game tells you exactly who to use and what to do to advance. Not even in the final levels does the game offer any sort of independence to the player, as these Hot Spots are mandatory and required throughout the entire game.

Despite some inconsistencies with artwork style, the visual presentation of Fantastic Four is well done. Graphics are detailed and the levels scroll smoothly and consistently regardless of how much action is happening on-screen. While the character sprites are a bit small, they are easily distinguishable from one another. The sound is also satisfactory, but generally unmemorable. The music, while fitting, is generic and sound effects are somewhat repetitive. To its credit, there are a few digitized sound clips such as the classic ?It's clobberin' time!?

Bottom Line
Like the movie upon which it is based, Fantastic Four is really nothing special. It's yet another generic, short, and easy to complete licensed title for a handheld that is already littered with the like. If you're a fan of the Fantastic Four, there are better things to spend your money on such as the actual comics. If you're a fan of beat ?em up fighters, then the Game Boy Advance library offers many titles far superior to this quick cash-in.


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