It’s July 31st and that means tomorrow starts the Amazing Spider-Man’s Birthday! In the month of August way back in 1962, Spider-Man made his comic book debut in Amazing Fantasy #15. The rest is history from that point on. Spider-Man is one of the biggest and most recognizable comic book heroes of all time. Spider-Man has been made into toys, movies, cartoons, and yes, video games.
So to celebrate Spidey’s birthday and with Chicago’s comic book convention “Wizard World 2012” kicking off in just over a week, I thought it would be a good time to look at two Spider-Man video games, one from the past and one from today. So, in this retro review, I’m going to talk about Spider-Man and the X-Men in Arcade’s Revenge for the Super Nintendo. Game On! will cover the newest Spider-Man game, The Amazing Spider-Man, for the Xbox 360
This game was developed by Software Creations and published by LJN back in 1992. I’m sure most of us are familiar with LJN and the insanely low quality games their known for. Seeing that little rainbow logo on this game’s cartridge made me a little nervous before I played it. As for the Sega versions of this game, they were published under Acclaim’s Flying Edge label and released after the Super Nintendo version in 1993 and 94. All console versions of this game share the exact same game play.
Both LJN and Flying Edge are publishing labels owned by Acclaim. The late 80′s and early 90′s were a wild west time for video games since LJN was created in order to skirt the rules Nintendo had about the number of games it was releasing for the NES. This was an effort to preserve the integrity of the NES catalog and keep it from being over run by a ton of poorly produced games from just one publisher.
Acclaim acquired LJN but managed to keep it its own separate business entity which meant that Acclaim and it’s little bastard LJN, could both publish games for the NES when in fact, it was all Acclaim games. Seeing as LJN games are shit you can see why Nintendo had a rule in place. If there was no regulation of the game catalog, Acclaim would have a massive list of games for Nintendo consoles with just a few of those titles being any good. With the rule in place, we have some really good Acclaim games and a bunch of shitty LJN games. Other developers are guilty of this as well. Ultra is another bogus publisher that was used by Konami.
This game is a 2-D platformer. The story of the game follows Spider-Man and the X-Men. The evil Arcade, an assassin that likes to kill his enemies by making them go through a fun house full of deadly traps, is the Marvel version of DC comics “The Joker.” In the game, Arcade kidnaps Storm, Cyclops, Wolverine, and Gambit. You get to play as each of these characters in the game as they try to escape from Arcade. Spider-Man is playable in the first two levels and then again in the final battle against Arcade.
In the first level, you control Spider-Man as he uses his Spidey Sense to locate explosives inside a building. This level is frustrating as Hell because not only is the level hard to navigate, but controlling Spider-Man is difficult. He can perform a web shoot where he fires a small wad of webbing like a bullet. He can also do a web sling where he can fire a longer strand of webbing onto objects so he can swing from them. The difficulty with the controls is with the web slinging. Spider-Man can only fire one web to swing from at a time. This means that if he shoots a web at a platform and then swings from it, he either needs to land on something or he’ll fall all the way back down to the where he started climbing from. You can’t shoot out a second web to swing across long distances.
Spider-Man and the X-Men in Arcade’s Revenge Game Play – This will show you what I’m talking about
It does help that he can climb on walls and ceilings with his spider abilities but not being able to shoot webs to swing from one right after the other is a little frustrating especially since I’m so used to seeing him swing through New York City like Tarzan with his webs. Also, he can’t fire a web to swing from while he is jumping or falling. What the hell?!
The first level, second level, and final boss fight against Arcade are the only parts of the game where you play as Spider-Man. The following levels you play as the X-Men facing various villains from the Marvel world. Spider-Man gets to fight N’astirh, Shocker, Rhino, and Carnage in the first two levels. Wolverine, Gambit, and Cyclops face Apocalypse, Juggernaut, Selene, and Master Mold in the following levels. It all ends with the Spider-Man versus Arcade boss fight.
Now, the game as a whole, is fun. Video games featuring almost any comic book character are fun. Unfortunately, since this game pretty much Nerfs Spider-Man’s abilities, it falls way short of what a Spider-Man game should be. I know this game isn’t a dedicated Spider-Man title but c’mon, who was making the decisions at Acclaim back in the early 90′s? Who at Marvel signed off on this portrayal of Spider-Man? I’m sure at some point someone from Marvel was like “How come Spider-Man can’t shoot webs to swing from while in the air?” The response from Acclaim must have been “Because we fucking said so!”
The game does come through on the graphics end. Everything is bright and decently detailed. The game even starts out with a nice little comic book styled intro to get things going. Character animations are pretty smooth except for a few small details. The animations of Storm swimming in the water levels are pretty weak and just look awkward. Even Juggernaut is awkwardly animated during his fight with Wolverine. These are all minor issues though as the rest of the game looks pretty good for a 16-bit game from the early 90′s.
This is where the game really shines. The music for the Super Nintendo version of this game is awesome as the SNES was capable of producing real instrument sounds. There’s lots of awesome heavy metal guitar riffs through out the game accompanied by the usual synthesizer stuff but even that stuff sounds good. Game sound effects sound good as well with just a few sounding dull or flat. Sadly, the worst sound has to be when Wolverine swipes at enemies with his claws. It sounds like an old straw broom sweeping up dead leaves. It sounds bad and gets worse the more you hear it.
More Game Play footage
Collectibility – Common
This game is nothing special in the world of collecting. It’s a fairly common game for the Super Nintendo which is a console with 6 games that feature Spider-Man. Also, unless you find this game still factory sealed, it won’t be bring any real monetary value to your collection. If you’re a Spider-Man fan, X-Men fan, or just a Marvel fan period then go ahead pick this game up since it does jam in a lot of content from the Marvel universe in one game. Otherwise, don’t feel bad if you leave this cartridge on the table at your local flea market or on the shelf at the game store.
Average Value – $8 Loose, $83 New in Box
Rarity – Common with a 30% rating on RarityGuide.com
Happy Gaming and Happy Collecting!
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