|Fantastic Four:Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
Publisher: 2K Games
Available for: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii
Anyone who’s ever played “Marvel: Ultimate Alliance” knows that it’s possible to make a good video game based on pre-existing comic book characters, but the fact that two different companies have failed so miserably with digitizing the world’s greatest superhero family is beyond upsetting. Activision’s loose adaptation of the first “Fantastic Four” film was a button-mashing mess, and while the second installment (this time developed by 2K Games) isn’t nearly as bad, it’s entirely to blame for not remedying any of the glaring issues prevalent in the first game. Clunky graphics and annoying glitches are the least of your worries, especially when they still haven’t found a way to make the Fantastic Four experience fun.
Though it shares the same title as the second film, “Rise of the Silver Surfer” doesn’t even pretend to care about the story. The heroes are thrust into the middle of the action as if everyone has already seen the film, and though the player has yet to actually witness the arrival of the titular antagonist, that doesn’t stop the four superheroes from referencing him non-stop. In fact, you don’t actually meet the Surfer until the second act of the game, but by then, you’ve already seen and done everything that it has to offer. Unfortunately, it’s not much. You spend most of the game opening doors, walking into a room, beating up the goons occupying said room, opening another door and repeating the process all over again. Every now and then, a boss is introduced into the mix, but it doesn’t change your strategy at all.
Combat hasn’t been updated, either. Each hero can still punch, kick and jump their way through the monotonous gauntlet of baddies, or they can utilize one of four superpower attacks. Johnny Storm (The Human Torch) can fly, throw a fireball, create a fire shield or attack with a flamethrower. Sue Storm (The Invisible Woman) can throw a force disc, create a force shield, use telekinesis to throw enemies/objects around or can turn invisible. Ben Grimm (The Thing) has a power punch, a dash attack, a power block, or a pound-on-the-ground shockwave attack. And Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) can lob grenades, punch opponents high above, evade an enemy or turn himself into a human slingshot. In hindsight, they’re all pretty similar, with slight tweaks to each so they can be associated with each individual superheroes power.
Along with their usual abilities, two team members can also join forces to unleash fusion attacks on their opponents, but they’re really just exaggerated versions of the aforementioned powers. For instance, the Force Rush attack is nothing more than Ben’s dash attack plus Sue’s force disc ability. And since you can only use these special attacks once in a while, you quickly forget that you even have them at your disposal. Which brings me to the first annoying aspect of “Rise of the Silver Surfer,” the Cosmic Energy meter. Why, oh, why do game developers think that superheroes have limited superpowers? It’s not like they’re walking batteries and need to be recharged every so often. I mean, the game’s already not fun – why hinder the experience further by making the player run around punching bad guys? Worse yet, the game wants so badly for you to spend equal amounts of time with all four heroes that it actually forces you to switch between them in order to complete certain tasks. It’s no secret that the Human Torch is both the strongest and most fun member to play as (they even include special missions where you play only as him), so why force us to take control of the King of Lame, Mr. Fantastic? Well, because if you don’t, he just stands around and does nothing.Now, I’m not sure if this is a glitch in the game, or the character himself is just an incredibly lazy dude, but every time we faced off against a group of baddies, Mr. Fantastic would run to the other side of the room and just stand there. And do nothing, much to the displeasure to my dying team members. The game is also plagued with terrible voice acting, clunky graphics and a menu screen that looks like it was designed for the original Nintendo. It’s so ugly you’ll actually want to return the game before playing it, and while that might not be such a bad idea, you’d be better off just not buying the game at all. We’ve seen bad movie tie-ins before, and “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” isn’t any different.