Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage
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Written by: Psydd
Ever wonder what it's like to be Peter Parker? Well, wonder no more! Just pick up Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage for your SNES. Look carefully, though, it's rather tough (at least in my area) to find a copy anywhere these days.
I think we've all longed for the days when we could travel, Streets of Rage style, across town. And, I also think we've all longed for the day we could do so virtually, as none other than Spider-Man himself and later, Venom. Your main objective in the game is to rid the city of Carnage, the symbiotic offspring of Venom, who runs his game from the body of Cletus Kasady, a convict. Now, to get to this point, you must battle various sub-super-villains like Doppelganger, and you must make it through each level after battling wave after wave of street thugs. And with names like "Paul," "Malcolm," and "Alex," you could guess just how bad ass these thugs are. In theory and practice, the ruffians are simply there to slow your attack upon Carnage, and take up your time, so that when you spend five minutes going through a level only to have to do it again and again, just to get to another bad guy, you feel more fulfilled in your need to kill.
One thing that really throws this off, however, is the comic book style scenes used to progress the story with dialogue and segues into new situations. These just slow the game down, however, are very annoying, and were seemingly written by a team of dyslexic bears on Rohypnol. What I'm trying to say is the comic scenes simply aren't worth anyone's time, so be prepared to press "start" when they begin to come onto the screen.
But, to end this section on a more positive note, battling vagabonds rocks! If you manage to successfully attack them a certain number of times in a certain amount of time, you get old Batman style words popping up on the screen. It may not be "SNUF," but I think my favorite Spidey three hit combo word is "KCHAK!"
The graphics are very well done for 1994. Everyone and everything on the screen is vibrantly colored, and is very full, with very well done outlines and drawings. There seems to be no trouble with pop-ups, or anything of the like, and the game maintains a steady frame-rate, with no slowdown. Again, the only trouble is the comic book progression scenes. They look pretty bad. Not utterly horrible, yet while given that the game was released in 1994, they leave much to be desired. And when was the last time you saw animation (besides speed lines and what have you) in a comic book? Could it really have taken the group in charge of the comic scenes to have cleaned them up a little? For shame bears, for shame
Mostly your basic punching and kicking sounds are here for combat. The sound for most web slinging activities, however, seem to be the product of a lazy sound engineer. When you wrap a vagrant street thug in your web to hold him while you deal with his cohorts, it sounds very un-web like. I'm not sure how to best describe it. It's like if you were to fill a plastic garbage can with water and empty cans, and then hit it swiftly with a bat, or some type of mallet. It doesn't fit the rest of the usual fighter sounds.
Much of the music in the game was done by Green Jelly, a group who had a hit single around the time SM:MC was being developed. Overall, the music does fit the game, even if I may not like Green Jelly. It's catchy, just like the REAL Spider-Man theme song.
There isn't anything special to unlock by beating this game. Let's just get that out of the way first off. Now, a few levels into the game, you get a choice to make. You can begin stage progression as Spider-Man or Venom. Venom, being the stronger of the two, physically, is naturally, the slower one. They both have the same attacks, however, though they are animated differently. The Spidey or Venom choice is the only thing I can think of that is unlocked in the game, and it's just a natural part of the game, so make of that what you will.
As for replay value, well, it's a Side-Scrolling Fighter. Each level is pretty much the same anyway, with little to no variation in the skill, number, or authentic thug names of those street toughs that keep you occupied on your way to Carnage. Regardless of that, you can play it again and again and seldom get tired of it.
This is by far the best Spider-Man game available on any console, hands down. Luckily, they give you the ability to skip the horrid comic book scenes, making this game entirely worth whatever someone's asking for it. Go buy this game, you need it.
Final Score: 4.5 (out of 5)