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July 19, 2005
Fantastic 4 - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
7/7/2005Activision7 Studios1-2MMedium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen

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Graphics are fairly good.
A couple of weeks ago Fantastic 4 was unleashed in cinemas. Needless to say while it hasn't been receiving the most glowing reviews the general consensus seems to be that it is still a very good movie for fans of the genre. As with most big movies a video game tie-in was a certainty, and Fantastic 4 is no exception with Activision publishing the game.

The game follows a similar line to the movie, although it does add some new scenarios and enemies. A team of astronauts are bombarded with asteroids and radiation in space. When they return they discover they have special powers including turning invisible, stretching limbs, creating fire or super strength. The problem is a fifth astronaut has also gained powers - powers for evil. Your role as the Fantastic 4 is to stop Dr Doom.

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The four superheroes include Mr Fantastic/Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd) who can stretch his limbs and squeeze into tight places. He also has the ability to use his brainpower to heal characters, hack computers, over-ride security systems and take control of enemy’s weapons to use against them. The Invisible Girl/Sue Storm (Jessica Alba) can turn invisible and perform stealth moves with ninja like speed or use her telekinetic powers to immobilize enemies. The Human Torch/Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) can create walls of fire and supernova fireballs, shoot fire from his fingertips and bend flames at their will as they ward off enemies. Finally The Thing/Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) has brute force to pick up objects or tear them apart, break through walls and obstacles and obliterate enemies.

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The Thing going off!
As expected the game is primarily an action based title which sees you controlling each of the four superheroes. Of course it is possible to use their special powers to solve puzzles and continue through the 10 levels. As you play it is possible to switch between characters in some of the levels simply by pressing the D-Pad, certainly a requirement during some of the boss encounters. The four characters start out with a fairly limited range of attacks, but as you progress you earn credits which can then be spent on upgrading the characters (or purchasing unlockable content - more on that later). Each character has six normal combos, and also three cosmic powers.

As you progress through the game you will encounter Fantastic 4 'hotspots'. These are coloured differently and provide areas where one of the characters will have to use their special abilities to complete a task. Perhaps these include slipping Mr Fantastic through a narrow gap or getting The Thing to break down an obstacle.

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Slams him into the wall.
One of the most exciting aspects of this game is to play each level in a co-op mode. The game is tremendous fun and the developers have even added in arenas to battle in. Another really neat addition to the game includes the swag of extra content which can be unlocked. From character bios to artwork and even interviews with the stars it's all here. Interestingly these are unlocked by spending the same credits which could be used to upgrade your characters in the game - it's your choice.

Now one of the features listed in this game is that it includes full destructible environments. That may be the case, but when you enter a room which only has a couple of chairs and a table it's not exactly a feature that reaches full potential. The game also just lacks that special spark. At times it just seems like you're progressing through another beat 'em up. The special powers of each character are cool but once again they just don't seem anything new. It's strange but the game just doesn't give you that special feeling.

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Mr Fantastic.
Graphics are also a little disappointing. Despite some sparse levels the frame rate and animations can be a little choppy at times. Probably the biggest problem, however, is the camera angles which will quite often have you looking in the wrong direction or focused away from the enemies. The in-game cut scenes do look pretty good and some of the special effects are pretty sweet to watch but we just feel that with a little more time the developers could have taken this game to the next level, as it is - it's average.

Sound includes voiceovers provided by the main cast including Michael Chiklis, Ioan Gruffudd, Chris Evans, Julian McMahon and the very sexy Jessica Alba. Despite the fact they recorded dialogue for the game their talent still semms quite under utilised which is a shame. The music and effects are fortunately quite a bit better having been taken from the movie no doubt, although they won't be winning awards.

Fantastic 4 is a good game and one which fans of the movie and beat 'em ups should pick up. The lower $69.95 retail price is a bit of a bonus too and the game will certainly have you playing through more then once if only to unlock the extra content. In all Fantastic Four is a solid movie tie-in.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Games Warehouse (PAL Version)
GRAPHICSThe frame rate could be a bit better. Middle of the road overall.
SOUNDThe voice work was a little disappointing, good music and effects.
GAMEPLAYSingle player is OK but this game excels in the co-op mode.
VALUEReleased at $69.95 this game is pretty good value. Good extras.
OVERALLFans of the movie and beat 'em up games will probably enjoy this game quite a bit, casual gamers may struggle. Another slightly better then average movie tie-in.

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