perjantai 13. joulukuuta 2013

REVIEW - Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer | DS | 2007

GENRE(S): Action
RELEASED: June 17, 2007
DEVELOPER(S): 7 Studios

The sequel to the 2005 box office success, but critical flop Fantastic 4 premiered on June 15th, 2007, co-starring and subtitled after one of Marvel's cult antiheroes. After Activision's failed video game adaptation of the previous movie and a Game Boy Advance-exclusive spin-off Fantastic 4: Flame On - which went largely unnoticed - 2K Games took the reins and delivered a video game adaptation of Rise of the Silver Surfer for all major systems on the very same day. A couple of days later, another version was released on the Nintendo DS. Long story short, it's a horrible waste of space, one of the worst games I've played in a while, and it could just as easily be a bad Game Boy Advance game.

Clobberin' time.

Reed predicted this game was going to suck.
An unidentified manifestation of energy enters Earth's atmosphere and the Fantastic Four is sent to investigate. It is identified as the Silver Surfer, an intergalactic traveller on a good will hunt for the "planet devourer" known as Galactus, but whose mere presence on Earth is a threat to the whole planet. While the Fantastic Four seeks to contain him and negotiate with him, a certain arch enemy of theirs is seeking to "align" with him and use him for his very own agenda.

I just read my review of the first Fantastic 4 movie license again; I told you that I couldn't bear to watch Rise of the Silver Surfer to the end 'cause it was so horrible, while I kinda liked the first one. I just remembered that I did watch it to the end, 'cause my ex-fiancée thought it was a lot better than the first one and wanted to watch it to the end. I remember being pretty hung over, so I probably watched the later half of it with one eye open. I remember parts of it, but not all of it. Ironically, the critics liked Rise of the Silver Surfer more than the first movie, too. It was probably the presence of the character of the Silver Surfer that cut the deal; after all, prior to the movie's release, one of my friends was hell bent on seeing it even if he hated the first one, "'cause it has the Silver Surfer in it". Back then, I had no fucking idea how popular this guy was, as I had not been a comic book buff in years. There was a vague childhood memory in the back of my head relating to the Silver Surfer, but he's the kind of character that can be confused with many other characters, especially in the Marvel Universe, if you're a child. So I just said, "yeah, umm... yeah, sure, great." The movie turned out a freakin' mess, the flaws in the original stood out even more and it was punched full of all-new holes right from the start. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is probably the worst Marvel movie in the last 15 years... and at least this Nintendo DS version of the video game is one of the worst Marvel games made, ever.

Is that Sue Storm or a bald, male Vault Dweller?
So first of all, the game is trying really hard to explain itself for being a Nintendo DS game, and fails miserably. The cutscenes and mission results span across both screens, and some levels are straightforward vertical 2D shoot 'em ups - the best this game has to offer, not much - but that's it for the usefulness of the DS palette. Power-ups are stored on the touchpad, just to come up with some excuse for it, and there's another very distracting problem: since there are no immediate power-ups, you'll have to halt all action every once in a while in a very dangerous game to use a power-up from the touchpad. As far as general graphics go, this could quite easily be a (bad) Game Boy Advance game. Same goes for the music - it's the same ambient boom you hear in every stock action title, especially the licensed ones.

The game is of the typical platformer variety, where you switch between all four members of the Fantastic Four at steady intervals and make good of their "special abilities". Which are everything you know they have - Reed has an elastic body, Sue has the abilities of invisibility and telekinesis, Johnny can set his body on fire at will, and Ben... well, Ben is Ben. A hulking monster with rock for skin. 'Nuff said. But, they also have some additional abilities to either spice up the game (tasteless, more salt please) or just to make SOME use of the Nintendo DS scheme. Or both. Don't know, and stopped caring two seconds into the game.

Yep... THIS is the game at its best.
The controls are HORRIBLE. Or rather, it isn't the controls that are horrible, how the characters respond to the controls is horrible. That might sound like the exact same thing, but actually it isn't. You see, very often when you have bad controls, your character just refuses to do things. It might be a slight error in programming which turns out a massive problem at some point during the game. For example, I recently replayed Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - the first one, I'm never touching the second one again - and as I said in the review, main character Starkiller kips up stylistically after he's struck down, and during that move, and for maybe a second after that, he isn't able to do anything. That can really break your momentum in such a fast-paced action game, that one second. Well, refusal is not the problem in this totally different game. The guys do everything you ask them to... but, that one second comes into play in the form of a delay. For every single action, whether it's just walking, jumping, or punching. Once again, at first it isn't such a problem, but you know it's going to be - and the breakpoint where it turns out a problem comes sooner than you might expect. It's just something you can't get used to - it's like you're shouting orders to some guy, who passes them over to another guy, who barks them out at the character a few short but felt moments late.

You start as Ben, and I thought the problem would go away once you switch characters 'cause just maybe Ben's size affects his speed, but it doesn't go away - it turns worse. With the lighter characters, the problem just grows with overshot jumps that usually lead to a one-hit kill from spikes or something worse, and these jumps aren't your fault - they're just inadjustable. Actually you don't need more than one misjudged (read: delayed) step, and it's back to the beginning of the level. That's right, no checkpoints. Also, the logic of the game can be questioned almost every passing moment. Like, why Ben's the physically weakest character of the bunch. Or why Reed's technical expertise is absolutely needed to PULL LEVERS. Like I said, Johnny's simple arcade-style shoot 'em up levels are the best this game has to offer - really easy, really dull, but at least controllable and entertaining on some extremely slight degree.

So, a new Fantastic Four movie's coming out, and I'm sure many of you have already made your reservations by the very tiny bits of leaked information, but I'm pretty sure it will be lightyears ahead of these two movies, and I hope it will spark game developers' interest to finally make a playable Fantastic Four game - no, I don't want a licensed product, I want an original game. There have been plenty of perfectly playable superhero games inspired by great movies - it can't be that hard to make a good Fantastic Four game. Although games like this might prove otherwise.

+ I really can't come up with anything; even the Game Card's not good for anything recreational

- Horrible, delayed controls
- Poor use of the device's capacity and features, stock music

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