Friday marks the release of the new Fantastic Four movie, and as the
four of them did not prove to be a significant box office draw, the
producers decided to bring in another famous Marvel character and
friend/foe of the F4: The Silver Surfer. As with just about
every Marvel superhero, a movie deal means that a video game tie-in
can't be far behind. Is it a foregone conclusion that games based on
movies (and, unfortunately, vice versa) are doomed to suck? I think
so. Still, in defense of the Silver Surfer, this is not the first
video game to feature him prominently, nor is it likely to be your
best choice for Surfer fulfillment. Instead, consider the Silver
Surfer's first video game (on the Nintendo Entertainment System), which was not spawned from a movie deal and
is most assured not a self-titled affair.
story goes that the Surfer has been called back to his old master,
Galactus, because he has need of him. Does he need the Surfer to scout
out more planets for him to eat? Does he need the Surfer to polish the
antlers on his helmet? Does he need the Surfer to pick up some
colossal contact lenses for monumental eyes, with their goat-like
rectangular pupils? No, nothing so pedestrian as that.
there is a threat to our universe from the "Magik Domain" and only by
collecting and assembling the pieces of the "Cosmic Device" can we
hope to defeat the "evil" and continue to "live". Of course, all this
begs the obvious question of why doesn't the all-powerful Galactus,
who freakin gave the Silver Surfer all his powers, just go and get the
damn device himself? Here's the thing: Galactus is known and feared
across the universe for his insatiable hunger, but he is also lesser
well-known for his uncanny laziness. For instance, here he is
traveling across the universe on his giant Rascal scooter.
Surfer once again has to do Galactus' wetwork to save the universe
from the ill-defined Magik Domain. Luckily, he at least knows who has
the pieces of this Cosimc Device, whatever it is:
off chance that you don't recognize all, or any, of the villains shown
here, the game's creators were kind enough to throw up name of each
character as you attempted their stages.
green fellow up top is the Emperor, or more specifically, the Skrull
Emperor. He has the distinction of controlling all of the vast Skrull
empire that spans hundreds of galaxies and countless worlds, and he
can be described in but two words: corrugated chin.
surprisingly happy fellow is the evil Mephisto, Stan Lee's delicate
attempt at bringing Satan into the Marvel universe. He's caused
trouble with just about every Marvel superhero, plus he has a neat
stage in the game:
with the French fries on his head is Firelord. I'm not really sure why
he's fighting the Silver Surfer. I figured they would be best buds
since they're both a part of the "Former Galactus Heralds Club".
other two guys are small fries by comparison, to the point where even
Wikipedia was hard-pressed for info on them. The first is Reptyl, some
kind of anthropomorphic space dinosaur, all of which I could tell from
the fancy spelling of "reptile". The other guy with the snappy red
shades is called the Possessor. He doesn't have the power to possess
you; rather, he possesses a magic staff. Good for him.
Enough about these losers, though. What about the title character?
is. Our last hope against what is surely an army of presumably
dangerous enemies from what is apparently the evil Magik Domain, I
assume. When I first jumped into the game, I was raring to go to town
with this grey-white stick figure, but after five minutes or so, I
began to wonder why I was constantly seeing this life lost screen:
story: in the comic books, the Silver Surfer has an incredible
list of superpowers all derived from the Power Cosmic (which is not to
be confused with cosmic power), including immunity to both temperature
extremes, an almost impervious silver skin, time travel, telepathy,
the ability to travel faster than the speed of light, immortality, and
he can transmute objects on a molecular level. Fans have actually
complained that he's too powerful. Can you imagine that?
Therefore, the creators of the game decided to go the exact opposite
direction with the Surfer and his game. For instance, instead of
shooting blasts of pure Power Cosmic at his enemies, the Surfer of
this game instead subdues his foes with snowballs. I assume they're
snowballs, as they are about as deadly as snowballs, and though you
can power them up a little with... well, power-ups, but that begins us
to the next problem: the game is set up like a side-scrolling shooter,
and the Surfer has a pretty large profile for such a game, and though
he has been empowered by Galactus and the Power Cosmic, a single hit
from any fish/ghost/robot/whatever will knock the Surfer right off his
board. And of course, all this is in addition to the fact that the
game requires you to hammer the fire button, which means your puny,
mortal thumb will tire long before the Surfer has completed his
mission. On the plus side, though, at least this Surfer doesn't have
those silly silver hotpants drawn onto him:
I admit it looks pretty bleak for the Surfer. Still, despite the
overwhelming odds and crazy difficulty, the game does have some pretty
schnazzy music that plays while you're getting your ass handed to you.
Unfortunately, there are only a handful of tunes (and only two for the
actual stages). Thankfully, though, the miracle of modern emulators
means that you can enjoy the game without ripping out fistfuls of your
hair until you're as bald as the Surfer himself. Sorry, Surfer, but
your Power Cosmic is no match for the ultimate power of the Save State
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Robocop vs. The Terminator!