Game Review: Spider-Man and Venom: Separation Anxiety

Geek specs:

Title: Spider-Man and Venom: Separation Anxiety
Platform: SNES
Genre: Action/Adventure
Developer: Software Creations
Publisher: Acclaim Inc.
Release: 1994

Introduction: Opinions on this game most likely differ depending on whether you look at this as a sequel, or just a game. Since it's a pretty disappointing sequel (to "Maximum Carnage"), this review will be written as if it weren't one. To easily analyze the ups and downs of this side scrolling adventure, the review will be split into the pros and cons. Sadly, the "cons" section will most likely be larger.

Review: Let's start with the good points of the game. The settings are great; they vary from a forest, to an underground city, to an elevator, to a secret lab, all of which are very well detailed. The backgrounds are colorful and add depth to the game, while providing a very fun environment for beating the crap out of people! All of the secret rooms are well hidden, and quite rewarding upon finding.

The story is incredibly long, so a short summary will be given. As the name implies, "Separation Anxiety" is based on Venom's separation from his symbiote. The mysterious "Life Foundation" captured Venom and took five samples of his symbiote. With the five samples, they intended to create five invincible super soldiers. Unfortunately for them, before they could destroy Venom to prevent opposing symbiotes, he escapes from the lab. Realizing he needs help, Spider-Man is brought into the scene to form an unlikely alliance. Together, the two of them are on a quest to defeat the five symbiotes, and make their way toward the Life Foundation's last hope...Carnage.

One of the better features in the game is the story. Although it may get confusing at times (what does a 5 minute mission on a moving elevator have to do with the next level, a mall?), most of it sets the scene for the next stage and really gives you the feeling that you have an objective to complete. The storyline may also be considered motivation for progressing through the game, which you'll probably need.

The choice of playing as Venom or Spider-Man is a plus. Venom is much stronger and is probably better for beginners, while Spidey provides more of a challenge, as his moves aren't as powerful. There's also a wide variety of other marvel heroes that you can summon to help you when you're in the midst of a large crowd of enemies with no way out. Captain America uses his America Shield, The Daredevil uses his Ninja Whip, Ghost Rider uses a chain, and Hawkeye uses his bow and arrow, all of which destroy every on-screen enemy. They have an odd inconsistency during boss battles, though. Sometimes they do much more damage than others.

The music is pretty good, for a while. The opening tune is really good. Each boss has his/her own unique music, which provides diversity. Another amusing detail are the small, comic-like "sounds" when you punch/kick an enemy (ie, "POW!", "FWACK!" and such)

That's about it for the good points of the game. Time to move on to...the bad stuff! While the backgrounds for the levels may be great, the character animations are terrible. Spidey and Venom have almost no detail within them, and the bad guys are identical, except for the difference in colors. It's disappointing to face the same boss 3 or 4 times. The special moves aren't the most impressive looking things, either.

The game gets very monotonous, very quickly. Mindlessly tapping the Y button over and over again through all the levels can get boring easily. The fighting style becomes frustrating---If you pick up one villain, all you can do is punch him and sit there helplessly as the others take advantage of you for ignoring them while focusing on a specific one.

The web moves are not impressive, as each makes you recoil, leaving you momentarily open for attack, which happens quite frequently as a matter of fact. The sound effects are odd, too.

Conclusion: If you're a hardcore Marvel Comics fan, this game will satisfy you for hours at a time. However, if you're not a fan of the comics or cartoons, you'll most likely get bored after the first play-through. It's worth a try though, as it is fun while it lasts.

Ratings: (scale of 0.0 - 5.0)

Gameplay: 2.5 Graphics: 3.5
The multiplayer mode is surprisingly fun, but there's almost no replay value if you're by yourself. The fighting system becomes a bore. Although the backgrounds are rich and detailed, the characters aren't at all impressive. There's little to no detail in Spidey and Venom, and the enemies are all identical.

Sound: 3.0 Overall: 3.5
The music is good while it lasts, but rapidly becomes monotonous. The sound effects are strange. It sounds as if you're punching a punching bag when you hit an enemy. Good title for the SNES, and does the genre justice, but just doesn't add up to other Spider-Man games as far as overall excitement.

Written by Eggy


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