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Shorts!

Silver Surfer - The NES Game!
by: Dr. Boogie
 

This 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.

And yet it uses a red font...

The 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.

Drama!

It seems 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.

Am I talking to myself here?

So the 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:

Who are you people?

In the 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.

Ho ho ho, Green Giant!

The 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.

I'm feeling fresh!

This 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:

Decorated in early haunted house.
Ooh, creepy!

Oh, those redheads...

The guy 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".

Look at that plaque buildup. He possesses... the METAL!!

These 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?

Ooh, that one got away from me.

There he 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:

Why does my wrist smell funny?

Funny 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 just surfed in and boy is my shiny head tired. Cosmic BVDs!

Very unseemly.

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 function.

Beware!

Questions or Comments about this piece?
email Dr. Boogie


*** You too can play Silver Surfer! ***

[CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD SILVER SURFER!]

Note: to play this game you'll need a NES emulator.


Want to see some more video game related content?
Then check out Dr. Boogie's feature on:

Robocop vs. The Terminator!
Robocop vs. The Terminator!



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