Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four finally makes their video game debut, but in a pretty nonheroic effort for the PlayStation.
Up to four players may choose from the Fantastic Four members, plus She Hulk. Each hero possesses a unique super power in addition to standard punch and kick moves. The action is paced through five levels of standard side-scrolling punch em-out fere and features classic comic-book villains such as Dr. Doom and Moleman.
Unfortunately, the character animation is stiff, the sound effects are campy, and the game-play quickly becomes repetitive as waves of enemies attack in predictable patterns. Even diehard comic-book fans will find this game far from fantastic.
- Maneuver all enemies to one side before taking them on. Don't let them surround you.
- Be careful when picking up items to use as weapons--some may be booby traps.
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They may not be as cool, edgy or supernal-orally lip as the X-Men. but the Fantastic Four-Marvel Comics' elder statesmen of the do- gooder supcrpals crowd-have surely battled enough baddies in the past 45 years to earn starring roles in their own game, right? Acclaim thinks so. and they're giving the cosmic-ray-enhanced heroes the same treatment they've given Batman in his numerous console outings. In other words. Fantastic Four is a side-scrolling. Final Fight-esque adventure, with all the visual pizazz of Acclaim's ultraflashy Batman Forever-except set in a polygonal universe.
The game lets you guide any one of the five most famous faces in the Fantastic Four family. You get the brainy, stretchy leader Mr. Fantastic; the brawny rockman The Thing; the force field-wielding Invisible Woman; the head-to-toe hotfoot Human Torch; and fair- weather team member She Hulk. Each character has at least four special moves, usually combinations of shoulder buttons and taps on the D-pad. Mr. Fantastic, for instance, molds his rubbery bod into a 10-ton weight and drops on baddies when you hold R2 and double tap upward. Other specials include Torch's fireballs and The Thing's floor-rippling Foot Stomp. Some special moves, and all blocks, drain your hero's supply of Force Power, which you fill by collecting power-ups.
Your character can also pick up and toss enemies and objects, including cars. This tactic is especially useful when you're battling Bosses, most of which can't be injured by run-of-the-mill punches and kicks.
Up to four players may join in the game if you own a Multitap. Each controls a different team member, and you may switch between unused members in mid-game. But if no fellow humans are available, you con have the computer control as many as three teammates (this option makes the game both easier and confusing, since the screen becomes cluttered with characters). You and a friend can also duke it out in Training Mode, which lets you practice moves in one-on-one bouts.
The game is divided into five episodes, each culminating in a confrontation with an infamous enemy from the comic book (Dr. Doom being the final Boss). Although the heroes and enemies are all sprite-based, the environments-from the streets of New York to the sunken world of Atlantis-are almost entirely polygonal, and your characters can wander into and out of the background and behind distant structures. But that's far from being the game's most impressive visual effect. With all its exploding vehicles, gigantic Bosses and explosive special moves. Fantastic Four is about as flashy as a game can get.
Just when you thought it was safe to use the same lame moves over and over again in your side-scrolling adventures, Acclaim has gone and added o skill rating to Fantastic Four. Perform the same move too many times and a block of cheese appears next to your life gauge, showing you and everyone else just how lazy a player you are But. if you come out swinging with a wide variety of punches, kicks, throws and special moves, you're rewarded with a special Thumbs-up icon. Although neither Icon affects your score, having a block of cheese next to your health I for too long could make you the laughing stock of a multiplayer game.
- MANUFACTURER - Probe
- THEME - Action
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-4
Marvel Comics and Acclaim have teamed up to bring you a side-scrolling beat-em-up featuring the comic book heroes, the Fantastic Four. The evil Dr. Doom has been trying to construct a time machine so he can become the master of all worlds and eliminate the Fantastic Four in the process. It is up to you as one of the members of the Fantastic Four to stop this evil plan and save the day. Sounds pretty exciting, doesn't it? Don't get too excited yet.
Fantastic Four is an old school, side-scrolling, kick the crap out of anything and everything type game. Everyone has played a game like this. Double Dragon and Fighting Force are both perfect examples. The only difference is that your characters happen to be comic book superheroes.
Speaking of our heroes, here is the breakdown on your different characters. First, we have Mr. Fantastic, the leader of the Fantastic Four. Next, we have The Thing. He is as big and strong as he is ugly. Third is the Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic's wife, and she has the ability to become invisible. Fourth, we have the Human Torch. He is The Invisible Woman's brother and has the ability to control the fire that covers his body. The fifth (?) member of the Fantastic Four is She-Hulk.
Now I have two questions about the characters. First, I'm not a comic book fan, so I'm not familiar with the characters. Who are they? Acclaim might be limiting their audience by having five main characters who might not be immediately recognizable to the game playing audience out there. Second, is if this group of characters is called Fantastic Four, why are there 5 characters? Did they just throw in one to try and make the game more enjoyable, or is the Fantastic Four actually 5 characters?
In terms of Fantastic Four's gameplay, the game starts out decent enough. You have your enemies attacking you from all different directions. It is up to you to punch, kick, or special-move them to death. Of course the level starts off easy enough. You fight these little munchkin-looking dudes that swarm around you and throw clubs at you. Beat this first wave of little guys, and you move on to face a giant ape. So far so good. After the ape, it is more little dudes. Then more apes. Then more little dudes. Then robot looking guys. More little dudes. More apes. And on and on and on. After playing for about 15 minutes, I just wanted to see a different type of enemy. This lack of variation plagued every level. The same enemy over and over. How hard is it to make up a few different varieties of enemies just to shake things up?
One of the other things that really bothered me about the game was the control. Everything seemed sluggish, like it was moving in slow motion. Not only did it seem slow, but the character animations were very clunky. In no way whatsoever did it actually look like your character was walking. The idea behind video games is to make you feel like you are actually a part of the action. With the terrible animations, there was never a chance of this.
I will say the game did have one cool feature. If you continued to use the same attacks to kill your opponents, a piece of cheese would flash on the screen signifying that you are "cheesing out" and need to vary your attacks. You do not get penalized in any way for cheesing out, but it was still a cool idea, especially when you are playing multi-player, because your buddies are sure to ride you for fighting like a wimp.
Some of the graphics looked pretty good and other things looked awful. Some of the backgrounds and characters were well done. Other backgrounds and characters would make any 16 bit system blush with embarrassment. The character animations were very lame and so choppy and stiff that it would have almost been better to not even animate the movement at all. I will say I liked the look of the apes, but their breath was terrible.
I really enjoy this type of game, so I was very disappointed that Fantastic Four was not done better. The long, monotonous levels will leave you screaming for some variety. I still don't understand why there are 5 characters and they are called the Fantastic Four, but this really does not matter when playing the game. Overall, you will tire quickly of the game, which is a shame.