"Separation Anxiety, however, does not have that style. Not a bit of it. It doesn’t progress the story with comic panels; it gives you a wall of text before each mission and lets you go. The storyline it came from was weak in the first place, and there’s no attempt to hide that here; most of your time is going to be spent fighting color-swapped versions of the same enemy in exotic locales like the mall and the sewer for poorly explained reasons. "
To fully appreciate how much Separation Anxiety sucks, you must fully appreciate how much Maximum Carnage rocks.
Maximum Carnage had a definite and definitive comic book style to it. You had the moving comic book panels, the written sound effects with every punch, even the occasional sound bite of Carnage laughing his Joker-wannabe head off; damned impressive for their time, still cool for ours, faithful to the subject material. Like it or hate, it was there in full force.
Separation Anxiety, however, does not have that style. Not a bit of it. It doesn’t progress the story with comic panels; it gives you a wall of text before each mission and lets you go. The storyline it came from was weak in the first place, and there’s no attempt to hide that here; most of your time is going to be spent fighting color-swapped versions of the same enemy in exotic locales like the mall and the sewer for poorly explained reasons.
Maximum Carnage was full of throwaway villains like Shriek and Doppleganger, but at least they were quasi-interesting when they first appeared; Separation Anxiety pits you against a bunch of ill-conceived symbiote clones and the people who created the ill-conceived symbiote clones, the oddly named Life Foundation. Chances are, you don’t know what the Life Foundation is. Chances are, you’re not going to recognize any of the D-grade villains they’ll be sending your way, and you’ll wind up referring to them with names like ‘that guy in a green suit that shoots lasers out of his chest’ and ‘that guy in a gray suit who flies around on pads’.
But let’s just forget about the cosmetics for a moment. Forget about the way things move slower than Maximum Carnage, forget that the enemies are repetitious even for a beat-em-up, forget that almost every screen in every level looks like the one that came before it; hell, even forget that the Spider-Man and Venom and all the returning enemies actually look crappier and less detailed than they did in the predecessor. Push that all out of your mind.
Separation Anxiety still sucks.
Walk here. Beat up people. Walk there. Beat up people. Tap, tap, tap. Fight the end boss and move on to the next level. Yes, that’s pretty much the essence of any beat-em-up’s gameplay. But most beat-em-ups, most good beat-em-ups, usually have enough sense to keep things spicy. Maximum Carnage had that one level where you had to climb up a wall so you could get to Shriek, dodging sonic blasts from above and leaping from building to building. Streets of Rage 2 had that part with the aliens in the funhouse and that part on the bridge with the kung fu guy in the truck and that sweet part with the dominatrix girls in the elevator. A beat-em-up needs stuff like that, because if it doesn’t, it gets really old really quickly. Unless jumping over a gap counts, Separation Anxiety comes up short.
Do not buy Separation Anxiety or download the ROM or pick it up on that weird Wii thing Nintendo has going. Do not confuse it with Maximum Carnage (it’s not hard to tell the difference: Maximum Carnage is the one that doesn’t look like crap) As a matter of fact, it’s probably best to pretend Separation Anxiety never happened. You’ll live a healthier life for it.
Staff review by Zack Little (April 28, 2006)
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