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SNES REVIEWS: Spider-Man & Venom: Maximum Carnage - Destructoid

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Hello all, I am Lord Spencer, your friendly neighborhood royalty. Yes, the ancient bloodlines are letting absolutely anyone in these days.

Being the lurker that I am, I have been following Destructoid for more than four years. Well, its 3 AM where I live now, and I just plunged in getting HUGE in the way.

Here is hoping for a fun time.

Oh yes, here is a little more info about me that is probably not as interesting as I think it is:

-I am an Iraqi-Saudi living in Saudi Arabia.
-I owned and played about 1000+ games.
-I owned and read about 2000+ books (I counted comic books I read as a kid so this is not as impressive as it sounds).
-I absolutely love Legos.

Out of all the games I played, I only regret playing a few. I am a big fan of gaming, and thus I really like most of what I play.

Seeing as my top 10 games of all time would change depending on the day you ask me, I am just going to put in Random games I don't think are in anyone's top 10 list:

-Blood Will Tell
-Mega Man Legends 2
-Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
-Donkey Kong Country 2
-Suikoden 2
-Some weird game in the PS1 that caused my grandfather to kick me out of the house because it had me giving a girl an orgasm by massaging her feet.

Six is as good a number as any, so here is that:

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For those reading one of my SNES review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

"While the SNES was a constant presence in my childhood, I never had a large collection of games for it. In fact, many of the games I played I still don't know the names of. It wasn't until I say the uproar over Breath of Fire 6 that I knew I played Breath of Fire 1 in the SNES.

After reading the excellent top 100 SNES games list by IGN:

http://www.ign.com/top/snes-games

I decided to go back and play those 100 games and review them. Well, as I looked closer at the list, I realized that there are many genres that did not age well from the SNES (racing, sports) and many other genres that I am simply not good at (shmups, arcade shooters) and others that I need other players to play against for an accurate representation (fighters). Also, I played many of the more well known games such as Final Fantasy and Super Metroid."

We finished with the legacy reviews, so we are beginning with the reviews after my hiatus. Please feel free to give me advise on my reviews, as I always look for improvement.


Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the IGN list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

85- Spider-Man & Venom: Maximum Carnage:
Year: 1994.
Genre: Brawler.
Publisher: LJN.
Developer: Software Creations.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Most of the superhero licensed games in the SNES era were brawlers. In part, because it allowed the titular super heroes to unabashedly punch their way through scores of enemies. In another because brawlers are ridiculously easy to make. Most brawler use the same format, the same moves, and the same tropes.

For such a stagnate genre, it is no surprise that the eccentricities and special powers of the comic book heroes would shake things up positively. We see that in Batman and Superman games, and we see it in this Spiderman and Venom game (S&V).

"You should never trust a raving lunatic"

Based on the famous Maximum Carnage spiderman comic, this game benefits from a fan favorite story. Not content with just sharing the name, S&V actually goes the extra mile in giving a story to this brawler. True, the still comic-book screens that tell the story are not revolutionary in anyway. However, it does offer us a glimpse of the amazing comic, with many quotable lines and some hilarious quips by Carnage.

In fact, the game not only lifts the main characters of the comic, but every supporting member which fans of Marvel would surely appreciate. In one side, you have Carnage and his "family, including Doppelganger and Shriek. In the other you have the uneasy alliance between Spidey and Venom along with some other heroes and anti-heroes of the marvel universe.

Taking inspiration from the comics, the game uses facets of its art including punch and pow words for punches. Even though these visual word effects repeat themselves, they give a unique flavor to this brawler. It is unfortunate that the bland backgrounds contrast with the brisk animation of the main characters.

MC Storyline and Characters: +3
Comic Book Art Style: +2

"I sincerely hope I can return the courtesy by slaughtering you quickly with minimal agony"

With the superpowers of Spidey and Venom, you would expect the familiar brawler formula to change. Well, it doesn't change much, but suddenly, the usually super repetitive brawler combat becomes peppered with web slinging tactics.

Both heroes can shoot web to trap an enemy for 4 seconds, or use the web to pull an enemy nearer for a grab. Suddenly, the tactics of brawlers goes upside down. Now instead of jumping around like a fool trying to isolate a strong enemy, you could just pull them towards you and beat them to a pulp.

While Spiderman and Venom both have the same web slinging move, both fight differently. While Peter Parker's better persona fights faster, Eddie Brock of course hits harder. Unlike other games with two characters, you can choose either at some points in the game. Depending on the character, the story and locations change a little bit, which make different play-through a little bit different.

Besides regular combat, the duo can use their webs to sling around for some light platforming, and uncover some obtusely hidden secret rooms.

Above Brawler Combat: +2



"Tandyyy"

With many superheroes in the game, it would be a waste for S&V not to use them outside of story screens. Sure enough, they function as a summons to use when the going gets tough. Each hero has his/her own summon move, which get filled by grabbing icons for each character.

Each move can be used in different ways, and knowing when to use each hero is pivotal for success. It is surprising the level of care that went into these summons, and I found them to be necessary to use in the later stages.More than their use however, is the fact their presence further grounds the game into the Marvel lore, with Maximum Carnage storyline specifically.

Summons: +3

"Every enemy I defeat seems to return"

It is a running joke how every superhero faces the same villains hundreds of times. We can imagine it to be a terrible feeling for Spiderman facing Doppelganger again and again and again. In S&V, we don't need to imagine, because we do face the villains again and again and again.

While the core combat and levels don't reach the level of boring repetition, the unimaginative repeat of the same gang of bosses do get in your nerve. You would imagine fights with these super-villains to be more exciting, but after maybe five fights with the same villain duo it get boring.

Yet, the final fight with Carnage was in some ways brilliant. With an access for a tag-team of the titular heroes for the first time, it was a different fight that should have been an influence for other boss fights in the game.

Repetition and Bad Bosses: -5
Great Final Battle: +2

"Green Jelly"

Green Jelly is the pseudo-rock band that wrote the music for the game. Surprisingly, they did a great job.

Starting from opening theme chords, you realize that you are into some seriously good game. The music both fits the title, and accentuates it. While it is rare for the game's tunes to reach the heights of its opening theme, they are constantly very good.

Unfortunately, they are not very many tracks, and do repeat themselves after a while. However, there is nothing to complain about besides the cut in the music whenever a summon happens which is annoying but not experience wrecking.

Great Music: +3

In Conclusion:

I am not a fan of brawlers in general, as I find them devoid of personality and dependent on repetitive mundane mechanics. However, S&V proves that when the genre is mashed with the personality of comic book heroes it produces some good game.

This one game puts all the "best" brawlers such as Final Fight and Double Dragon to shame, and is only ignored because of the license stigma to its name. Still, the brawler genre is not a high standard in and on of itself.

Final: 35/50

*****************************************************************

"Tips"
1- Search for secret rooms.
2- Save the summons for bosses and such.
3- Search the levels for 1ups.
4- When tagging in the final boss you gain some invincibility frames.


"Next Game"

After actually enjoying a brawler, I find myself about to play another one. After Batman (DC), Spiderman (Marvel), it is only right to go back to DC comics. It is no other than the man in blue himself in #81 The Death and Return of Superman.

Stay Tuned

For Previous SNES game Reviews:

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