Making their debut in 1961, the Fantastic Four were the first team of Marvel Comics superheroes created in collaboration between writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby. The “four” gained their super powers after exposure to cosmic rays during a scientific space mission. Mister Fantastic (aka Reed Richards) is the group’s leader, whose body can stretch into all kinds of shapes and lengths.
The other three members of Reed’s crew are Susan “Invisible Woman” Storm, her younger brother Johnny “Human Torch” Storm and their pilot friend Ben “The Thing” Grimm. Together they battle evil villains, the likes of Latverian monarch Doctor Doom, planet-eating entity galactus and light-speed-traveling Silver Surfer.
In 2005, Twentieth Century Fox made “Fantastic Four” into a movie with Chris Evans, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis and Ioan Gruffudd. That same year, Cryptologic introduced its Fantastic Four slot game, with five reels and 25 paylines. By the time the film sequel called “Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer” hit the big screen in 2007, Playtech was looking toward a tie-up with Marvel Entertainment that would allow a competitive game to be developed.
Playtech’s “Fantastic 4” eventually launched online in 2010 as a 5-reel, 50-payline slot. It borrowed somewhat from the Sliver Surfer theme, but the characters appearing on the reels do not resemble the stars in the movie version, most likely due to royalty concerns. Still, the graphics are quite sleek.
Players can win payouts by lining up three or more traditional card symbols, Nines through Aces. Higher awards come from combinations of Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch or The Thing on active paylines. Fantastic Four Emblems are wild, while Earth symbols initiate bonuses.
With credit denominations from €0.01 to €5, Fantastic 4 slots accept 1 to 10 credits per line bet on any number of paylines from 1 to 20. The maximum bet is 500 credits or €2,500. Changing the credit value is possible by using the pop-up menu beneath the first reel. Play is initiated by clicking “Spin.” Winnings can be seen in the “Win” area under the fifth reel. The current balance shows in the lower left corner of the screen. Use of Auto Start will allow up to 99 repeat bets to be made automatically.
Fantastic 4 slots are linked to the Marvel Multi-Level Mystery Progressive Jackpot with four tiers initiated at random—Power, Extra Power, Super Power, and Ultimate Power. The jackpots start at €50, €500, €5,000 and €100,000, respectively. Among line payouts, the top prize is awarded for a combination of five Logos on an active payline, worth 10,000 times the line bet. Other line payouts range from 5X to 2,000X.
Scatter bonuses are paid and 12 free spins are awarded when three or more Earth symbols show anywhere on the reels. The four superheroes each have their own “stacked” symbols in the free play mode. If they completely fill a reel, extra free spins and bonuses are awarded.
For example, the Mr. Fantastic expands the length of the third reel and becomes a fixed wild symbol for four extra spins, while the Invisible Woman gives a bonus equal to the total bet plus incremental multipliers each time she appears over the course of four extra free spins. The Thing goes wild and freezes wherever he appears for three extra spins, and the Human Torch initiates four extra spins, taking over the entire first reel and igniting wild blazes everywhere else he appears.
During the extra free spins, the stacked symbols other than Mr. Fantastic are disabled. Throughout all of the free spins, the appearance of three, four or five Earth symbols still award scatter bonuses at rates of 5X, 25X and 200X, respectively. However, free games cannot be retriggered.