While the Fantastic Four may not be as cool as Spider-Man, as epic as the Avengers, or as badass as the X-men, but if you’re a fan or Marvel Comics, you should be familiar with them, ans for good reason: they are Marvel’s first superhero team since The Golden Era of Comics. They are well known enough to spawn a slew of spin-off comics, three animates cartoons, three movies (though one was unreleased), and a series of video games. Two of them are of course, based on the movies. Those weren’t very well received, but compared to this Acclaim Playstation clunker, they are like BioShock and Mass Effect.

I knew I was in trouble when the game opened up with a series of cornball vignettes about each member of the Fantastic Four that are set to jazz music. In Acclaim’s Fantastic Four, you battle through five stages and fight familiar Fantastic Four villains such as Doctor Doom and Super Skrull. Players have the choice of one of the four, or She-Hulk. Yeah, she’s in there, although she isn’t advertised anywhere on the packaging. Actually, this is not one of the game’s issues that I have a problem with. In fact, this is actually pretty cool. Longtime Marvel fans know that the Fantastic Four has seen several temporary lineup changes. A recent line up included Storm and the Black Panther, while Spider-Man, Wolverine, Ghost Rider, Hulk, Crystal, Ant-Man, and She-Hulk have all been members of the team at one point.

No, the issue I have with the game is with the bland gameplay. Set to the tune of some cheesy jazz tunes you might hear in an elevator, you move sluggishly to the right, beating up generic enemies. Both the Fantastic Four plus one and their opposition are represented by small-looking pre-rendered sprites. As you go between each section, sometimes, one of your players will have to fight one-on-one against Iceman, The Incredible Hulk, or Dragon Man. The point behind these battles is never explained, you just head there randomly. There is also a racing minigame when the game is loading. Surprisingly, it’s more fun than the main game itself. That’s another bad sign. When there is a loading-screen minigame, that means that the load screen is too long and the developers have to do something to cover it up. When this minigame is better implemented than the main game, that’s even worse.

Apparently it’s impossible to make a good game featuring the Fantastic Four. Thankfully, both Marvel Ultimate Alliance games feature the Fantastic Four as playable characters, so if you’re a fan of the Fantastic, you’re better off grabbing one of them instead.