Review by tolonius

Reviewed: 06/08/01 | Updated: 06/08/01

I must have a love for pain...

Yes, I enjoy playing Arcadia's Silver Surfer, if only for the fact that I hate to admit defeat to something that I know can be beaten. Many have declared the game unbeatable and impossibly hard: and at first try it may seem overwhelming. Personally I've only conquered three worlds (Emperor, Possessor, and Firelord). Don't let this game's insane difficulty grip you in its foul clutches!

You take control of the superpowerful Silver Surfer, servant of the all-mighty Galacticus, on a quest to save all the universe. You must collect the five pieces of the cosmic device, and each piece is guarded by a supervillian. The cosmic device is the only thing which can save the universe from the evil threatening to destroy it. Ok, BIG problems here. For one, what is the cosmic device and what does it do? Why is it the only thing which can save us all from supreme evil? What is this evil? Why is this stupid thing in five pieces guarded by those supervillians? Why doesn't Galacticus do it himself? And why isn't the Surfer wearing any underwear? These plot holes weaken the storyline beyond repair.

This is my favorite aspect of the game. Granted the sound effects are not the best ever conceived (are they ever?), but they get the job done. The firing sound the Surfer makes isn't excellent, but there are no cheesy effects which are often found in other games. The real gem here is the music. The selection is limited to the beginning theme, high score music, level music, and various fanfares. The beginning music is futuristic, but it has a beat. The level music is awesome! Its like heavy guitar riffs, and if you get into it you can have more fun. This adds extensively to the gameplay.
Music: 10
Sound FX: 8

Graphics can make or break a game. Well, each game has its pitfalls, and its unfortunate that Silver Surfer's is in this area. This game is infamous for one hit from anything taking out our hero, and this includes platforms, walls, ceilings, poles, floor, anything not in the background. That makes the game hard, but why is this here in graphics and not gameplay? Simple: most of the time its hard to discern background (harmless) from foreground (deadly). This can be exceptionally frustrating. Another problem is the Surfer. Our hero looks like a humanoid form on a horizontal sick, and that's giving him some credit. He is not detailed at all, as is the same with most of his animation. The boss characters and some enemies are equally terrible. But the graphics are not all bad: some things were done right. Most enemies resemble what they are, including the dreaded rubber duckie! At the beginning of each stage a portrait of the boss is displayed, and they are well done. Whenever the surfer dies or regains a piece of the device the game displays a detailed picture of him. Most likely you'll be seeing the dying one of him more often than not, but if you mimic it you can have lots of fun. Yet it would seem more time was spent on these still portraits than on the game graphics, and with the background/foreground problem its not enough to save face.
Score: 4

This is where most criticize the game the most: they shouldn't be so harsh. You have a full range of control of the Surfer and using the side kick shooting powerup you can shoot behind you or under you as well as in front of you. The only real limitation in his movements comes from the terrain. You start off with only yourself shooting at a power of one (out of a possible five) and with one bomb, which is able to clear the screen of enemies. You can increase your firepower and bombs with powerups in a stage, but if you die its back to square one. Many people have a problem with the surfers starting equipment because his starting firepower is barely enough to defend yourself, much less attack hordes of enemies. People also get peeved that one hit from anything will kill you. Let me assure you that a weapon power of even two and a good knowledge of enemy patterns and obstacles will be sufficient enough to defeat a stage. Contrary to other shooter-type games, you cannot complete this one in just one sitting. The game tries to make up for the one hit things by giving you five lives and something like six continues. Even so it can be frustrating.
Score: 6

Replay value
The game doesn't offer much variety in the way of gameplay, and after completing it a first time it is unlikely you will want to try again: I wouldn't know, I have not beaten the game. I suppose you can always play it for some quick fun or to listen to the music.
Score: 5

With the restrictions on breezing through the game in place causing severe frustration and abuse you may need a love for pain or patience to complete it. But if you're looking for fun then you can have it playing this game.

Final Score: 6

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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