Satisfaction is an important term in videogaming. It's the difference between having a fantastic weekend stuck in front of the telly hammering at the joypad and feeling like you've been robbed of £30.
Beat 'em ups need to feel satisfying. At
its core, the genre is nothing more than an endless repetition of the same processes. Stand beside bad guy, hit the punch or
kick button until they fall over, repeat.
The illusion of enjoyment comes from
the satisfaction you gain delivering those punches and landing those kicks. Fantastic Four does not satisfy. It is, in beat 'em up terms, what a bag of roast beef crisps is to a Sunday roast with all the trimmings.
You operate four superheroes, each with completely different abilities. You can flick between them with a touch of the D-Pad and utilise their different powers to attack enemies and solve puzzles. But when the puzzles revolve around punching shield generators and pressing obviously signposted switches to activate bridges, you can't help but bury your head in anger at the overwhelming familiarity of it all.
A Fantastic Bore
As for the combat, well, the screen gets so chaotic as you're overwhelmed by enemy numbers that you eventually get frustrated with the initial coolness of the motion-activated attacks because you can't see your character or who they're fighting.
If you want to control your favourite Marvel characters in a fun beat 'em up with RPG elements, then grab Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. If you want a beat 'em up with excellent playability then download Streets of Rage II from the Virtual Console. That we're recommending a retro release over a full-priced retail game should tell you all you need to know.