Written by  :  carolflynt (4)
Written on  :  Apr 09, 2018
Rating  :  3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars
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Mr. Fantastic versus Iceman

The Good

Fantastic Four for the PlayStation 1 gets a bum wrap, and I think that part of the negatively is misplaced.

This game was never going to be an vast open world concept, ala Skyrim. The technology and development budget didn't exist.

This is a game designed during the early days of the PlayStation 1. As such, this game was always going to be a side-scrolling, beat 'em up, with familiar superheroes and super villains.

The Fantastic Four is actually a pretty good game, as a basic beat 'em up platformer. Multiple players (up to 4) can play at once, a rarity in gaming, and each character looks like their comic book counterpart.

Comic Book fans will recognize many of the game's levels, because they are based on past issues of the Fantastic Four, such as the destruction of Skull home world by Galactus.

The game also has some nice little details that often get overlooked; you can change which character you play as, a narrator announces the superheroes as they are beamed into a level and sometimes the bosses will trade witty, comic book barbs with our heroes.

The Bad

The biggest complaint with the Fantastic Four is the control mechanics.

Compared to another game in the same genre, i.e. Streets Of Rage 2, our "fantastic" heroes often struggle to quickly and consistently pull off their offensive and defensive moves.

It really hurts the enjoyment of the game and is a flaw that could have easily been prevented with a bit more fine tuning, even looking at how game play mechanics worked in other games of the genre.

Not only are the special "superhero" moves tough to consistently pull off, they deplete a energy bar, which you must collect icons in order to replenish.

The result, for many players, is to stick to basic punching and kicking attacks. When this happens, the game becomes repetitive because you are doing very simple attacks on the same sort of minions, until you make it to the boss.

Again, all of these game play problem that could have been prevented with better game play mechanics. It is not rocket science.

The available moves themselves are OK, although I find it annoying that playing as the Human Torch doesn't mean regular use of fire balls.

Some aspects of the game are not good or bad, but rather weird.

The storyline has Doctor Doom kidnapping our heroes and forcing them to relive past battles. It is not the most creative storyline, for a comic book game. It is also not terrible easy to follow. The game really could have benefited from more work on telling the story, beyond a series of text.

I personally did not dislike the funky, jazz sound track. However, the music is seeking to create a much more lighter, if not campier, tone then is common for a side-scrolling beat 'em up.

If you manage to make it to the "bonus rounds", you will see one of the more infamous aspects of this video game.

These bonus rounds come after you defeat a boss, without losing a life, and feature a member of the Fantastic Four doing battle with likes of say, Dragon Man.

These battles are setup to be similar to a "versus" battle in a fighting game. Although, the problems with the game play mechanics remain.

The game never explains that this is a bonus level, and one of the battles involves a member of the Fantastic Four battling with another super hero, Ice Man?!

Why are the Fantastic Four battling Ice Man? Ice Man is a member of the Uncanny X-Men, and generally not working for the likes of Doctor Doom. Comic book fans will have a hard time trying to think of a scenario where such a battle would make sense.

The Bottom Line

Fantastic Four for the PlayStation 1 is a solid, side-scrolling, beat 'em up with some game play mechanics that will take time getting used to. It is one of the few games of the genre that allow for four players, which makes it a great retro game to bring out at a party.