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Videogames-To-Flix #40

VIDEOGAMES-TO-FLIX is a JoBlo.com column showcasing reviews of videogame translations of Hollywood films (or games soon-to-become Hollywood movies). With both industries getting closer and closer, and videogames, in general, getting so much more popular, you knew it was just a matter of time before we hit that stuff!

FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER

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Developer: Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Games
Systems: XBOX 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, DS, and Wii

INTRODUCTION:

Beloved super heroes The Fantastic Four now have two movies (that count) to their credit and yet another game adaptation tags right along. This time they have to figure out who the hell The Silver Surfer is and why he's visiting Earth. Is Dr. Doom involved? And who is this Galactus fella we've heard so much about.

FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER is the second modern era game based on the comic family and, like most movie games, is available on a million different consoles. You can check this game out on XBOX 360, PlayStation 3, DS, Wii, and PlayStation 2. No sign of a PSP or PC version. This review is of the XBOX 360 version.

GAMEPLAY:

There isn't an ounce of creativity in the gameplay of FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER. The team fights as a group for a majority of the game, fending off endless drones, solving pretty simple puzzles, and facing bosses. For most of the teamwork portion of the game you won't need to use the different character. I used The Thing and Human Torch for most of my fighting and only used the other two characters when the game forced me to (solo missions). I didn't mind sticking with these two guys because in the comics they were the only ones worth caring about.

Besides the character attributes, gameplay suffers some camera issues, some glitching (including one horrendous immobile camera glitch I found), and repetition. The camera issues affect both single and co-op play and mainly hinder puzzle solving. The other issues are common in movie games because they are usually rushed and the design is given zero creativity. How many button mashing GAUNTLET clones will they have to make?

One of the things I did enjoy in FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER was the light beam puzzle involving Terrax. Terrax is one of a Galactus' old heralds and is a boss in this game. While playing with the alignment of the light isn't new to games, it was challenging enough to make me want to spend some time exploring. This was a shining star moment in the midst of otherwise repetitive and derivative gameplay design.

Gameplay: 6.1/10

GRAPHICS:

You've heard the phrase "if you've got nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all", right? That doesn't work in game reviews and I'm not going to remain silent. The graphics in this game stink. The characters look like the movie but look like they were designed with the GameCube in mind. Characters look overly cartoony and someone decided their crotches should take up most of the screen. How is it that this game wasn't rated M for explicit sexual content? The bulges are unacceptably silly looking.

The backgrounds are weak and make me pine for the expansiveness of SPIDER-MAN 3. Sure Spidey repeated the same building 100 time but at least you felt like you were in a city. The lone city scene in this game gives you a total of two blocks worth of space. The non-city levels are simplistic settings that repeat a lot of the same textures and architecture.

The enemies are also graphically weak and having to fight the same ones over and over made me even more depressed. This game isn't as ugly as SHREK THE THIRD but it comes damn close. This is a perfect example of lazy graphical design. Who needs variety when you can just fight the same Skrull or robot 50-100 times in a row?

Graphics: 5.5/10

SOUND:

Like the graphics, the sound in FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER stinks. The voiceovers are crap and not recorded by the original actors. Whoever they hired to speak was just there for the pay check and that's it. Any emotion conveyed is transparent and any comedy falls flat consistently. Somehow the one-liners are better than those in SPIDER-MAN 3 (the game) but that isn't saying much at all.

The sound effects and score don't pose any problems and I found the score to be better than expected. Despite the game's average gameplay and the characters obnoxious verbal encouragement, the score kept me moving along and in the mood. That isn't always standard issue with movie games and it was a nice silver lining to find.

Sound: 5.4/10

FINAL VERDICT:

This is not a movie game worth playing. The movie, itself, was weak at best and this game is worse than it should be. The graphics look silly, the voice actors are a major detriment, and nothing about the gameplay will keep you going. And to top things off, this game may have the worst product placement I've ever seen in a game. In a cut scene, the Dodge brand is featured not once but twice. I haven't seen the movie so I can't say that this was just lifted from the movie - but the idea that Dodge paid for placement in this shitty game is laughable. Not only that, they paid for the worst and most disruptive placement I've seen to date. If you have read down this far, please never rent or play this game.

Final Verdict: 5.6/10

STATUS OF THE MOVIE:

FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER has apparently earned back its budget with its domestic box office and the worldwide cash is just more money in the bank. No news on a third movie but I'm sure it will just take a few bumps in the road to get the whole crew back together. Perhaps, they'll just make a Thing or Human Torch spin-off.

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