Retro Review Corner: Spider-man and Venom: Maximum Carnage
As a lot of you may know the movie Venom: Let There Be Carnage was recently released in theaters and we do have a review for that here. However, I wanted to take it all the way back to the year 1994 and talk about the video game Spider-man and Venom: Maximum Carnage for the Super Nintendo.
Now if you were a kid in the 90’s, Spider-man was all the rage largely because of the animated series that aired on Fox Kids. Remember Fox kids? Coming home from school every day grabbing a snack and watching Power Rangers or Spider-man etc… Ahh, the good old days. Before the animated series, there was this game. This was one of the first video games to be based solely on a comic book story which for this was Spider-Man unlimited #1(See Image 1 Below)
So to really break this game down I’ll go through 5 categories and rate them as I go. Story, Gameplay, Graphics, Music, Replay-ability.
The story to me was very well done. I really enjoyed the comic book feel that was brought to the game through the cutscenes between levels. The dialog was concise and the story was clearly conveyed through that. I wasn’t left wondering ‘how did I get here?’, like many SNES games left me due to lack of story development.
Another point I really enjoyed about the game was the cameos from other characters within the Marvel Universe. Everyone from Captain America to Black Cat to Shriek and others appeared in this game. I’m a huge fan of the MCU and this game having that cameo’s really made the game feel like it was bigger than solely just being a ‘Spider-Man saves the day in NYC’ feel.
Carnage was great. Exactly what I wanted him to be in the game. He was a deranged Psychopath and his dialogue really reflected that. (See Image 2 below.)
After essentially the first level “Edward Brock” reads the newspaper to find out that Carnage has returned and unleashed Venom! At this point, you are able to choose to play as either Spider-Man or Venom! So basically after that, the story weaves through a shortened version of the 14 part comic book arch mentioned earlier – “Maximum Carnage”. The whole game as you can imagine culminates into the final battle with carnage. After you beat carnage the final scene is the avengers coming to collect carnage and then Spiderman walks into the distance saying he’s glad it’s over with the tease of course “or is it (really over)?
All in all, I give the story 3/5 because of the condensed version and really didn’t tie up the ending for Venom at all. Good story, Okay execution — too fast of an ending.
The gameplay was fun….yet repetitive. You end up fighting the same henchmen through the entire game. Nothing really changes a whole lot. The bosses make the gameplay more interesting but it is usually the same thing over and over. Zero mechanics to beating the bosses other than avoiding the hits and beat ‘em up. Spider-Man and Venom each essentially have the same move sets. They just look a little different. The movement control is a platform side-scrolling game with the ability to move up and down, like a lot of SNES games were at that time. However, one thing I appreciated about this game was the fact that you could easily climb the walls of buildings. The game even incorporated this into the levels where you would have to climb walls and swing to buildings to keep going up. All in all the gameplay was better than average but not anything entirely new. That’s why I gave it a 3/5.
To me, the shining point of this game is that it was aesthetically pleasing to look at. The sprites were done very well. Easy to look at. Clear and not over pixelated. Spider-Man looked great but to me, Venom looked AWESOME. The interactive comic-style cut scenes were great. The levels were very well animated and overall just made you feel like you were on the streets of New York City (and other places) fighting as your favorite wall-crawler. The intermittent in-game cutscenes and animations, usually before or after a boss fight also looked great. For that time period of gaming, graphics were definitely a 5/5 for me.
Not too much to say about the sound. Wasn’t great but also wasn’t downright bad either. Pretty much the same approach that every game at that time had. Can’t fault it too much 3/5
While this game was fun while it lasted. I was glad it was over. I don’t think I would often replay this game. The characters are iconic. The story elements had some similarities to the Venom movies which was cool to see. All in all, it was just too repetitive to make me want to play it over and over again.
So was I happy I went back and revisited the game? Yes, I was. It’s a classic SNES game in my opinion. I loved games like these growing up. Spider-Man and Venom are one of my favorite hero/anti-hero/villain duos. Seeing them battling each other is awesome but seeing them team up to defeat a larger foe is even cooler. If you want a fun interactive comic experience and to see where a lot of story plots of the new movies come from in a condensed way you should definitely spend an hour or two playing this if you have the chance.
OVERALL SCORE 3/5
Until Next Time!