RELEASED: November 1992
AVAILABLE ON: GB, GEN, GG, SNES
DEVELOPER(S): Software Creations, Unexpected Development (GB)
PUBLISHER(S): LJN (GEN, SNES), Flying Edge (GB, GG)
The 100th SNES review! ...And it's only fitting that this milestone for my favourite video game console of all time involves two of my favourite Marvel comics, marking the debut of the X-Men - still a way to go to their first exclusive entry in the marathon - at the same time. ...And, I guess you could call it fitting that this is a game once again financed by my arch nemesis in the business. Spider-Man / X-Men: Arcade's Revenge was the fifth console game based on the X-Men, and the first 16-bit video game installment in the long-running franchise. Although this was his first SNES appearance as well, Spider-Man already had nearly a total of ten games under his belt, and each one of those games - with the exception of Sega's Spider-Man - had failed critically and commercially, especially those financed by LJN. So, I'm willing to bet they considered X-Men the main sales point here, especially since the X-Men animated series had premiered a month prior to the release of the game's first version - which was this one for the SNES. Let's have a look.
X my heart and hope to die
My first image of this game was something along the lines of RoboCop versus The Terminator; essentially a one man's show, but kinda "reinforced" with another brand, so the game would sell better. That image certainly didn't go away instantly, as the game begins from the abduction of the X-Men, with Spider-Man as the only playable character in a very strange - and dull - game of fetch. Well, then the game truly begins, and you'll be able to choose between Spider-Man and four of my favourite X-Men. Having no idea what this game would be like, I nearly piss my pants in excitement, get myself a cup of coffee and have a smoke before heading into what might be an entertaining game.
Entertaining game, my ass.
First off, the graphics. OK - colour me impressed that there's a specific graphical style, and to some extent, even a specific gameplay style designed for each character. But, what binds all characters is a confusing background design and hectic atmosphere. It's impossible to make out what's going on half the time, and those nice graphical effects - even some Mode 7 there - why are they here? It's like: "look, we invested time and money to make this game look as great as we possibly could". Well, that's great, it really is, but the one thing LJN never got through their tiny little minds is gameplay's importance to the consumer. Besides, the game sounds like ass. The music's better and more diverse than usual, but the sound effects suck, especially the _one single scream_ each guy or gal let out when they die, and Spider-Sense.
|What a cheerful chamber of death.|
The characters take much more damage from a single blow than it would first seem, and whenever they're hit, there's no invisibility period of any kind - they just stand there, taking constant damage from a rapid-fire source, ultimately dying, and checkpoints are nowhere to be discovered. With this long, boring and confusing level design, that's a fatal mistake from the developers. Collision detection is completely off at the most important of times. The first boss in Wolverine's episode (Apocalypse) is almost impossible to hit without taking some damage yourself. He's fucking enfuriating with his long arms, and Wolverine's surprising inability to do just about anything isn't worth a smile either. You're in for something much worse, and that's where I'll stop - I tried all the different "games", but I think what I'm about to say is quite enough for me to draw a conclusion without further due.
|Spot the spikes before the spikes spot you.|
I hope there's some sort of image forming in your head, and I hope it's one of refusal to ever touch this piece of garbage. I'm sorry the 100th SNES review had to end this way, but I guess it couldn't have been avoided with such assholes calling the shots - year after year, game after game, I grow to loathe them more. It's time to take on their last few Spider-Man games, which I used to hold in much higher regard than the rest of their whole catalog - I fear time might've played some tricks on my mind.
+ Good graphics and presentation... again
+ The controls are basically all right this time around
- Unreasonable difficulty, stemming from such things as...
- Half-assed collision detection
- Lack of continues
- Confusing level design
- General inabilities of all characters
< 3.5 >