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Spider-Man: Friend or Foe (Xbox 360) artwork

Spider-Man: Friend or Foe (Xbox 360) review

"Imagine breaking your arm. You'll find that the pain is unbearable and you just want it to stop as soon as possible. Now triple that pain. Hurts, doesn't it? Well, This pain is similar to that of which you will find in Next Level Games' Spiderman: Friend or Foe, in this case for the Xbox360. "

Imagine breaking your arm. You'll find that the pain is unbearable and you just want it to stop as soon as possible. Now triple that pain. Hurts, doesn't it? Well, This pain is similar to that of which you will find in Next Level Games' Spiderman: Friend or Foe, in this case for the Xbox360.

Spiderman: FoF's opening cut scene has a surprising amount of potential. It opens with Spiderman and classic villains in a toned-down “kiddie” style that actually looks good. The action is rather intriguing and gives you quite a bit of hope as to what this game could unfold into. These were my thoughts exactly, and I was devastated when I actually started to play the game.

In the game, Spiderman is brought in my Nick Fury of SHIELD who informs him that a meteorite has smashed into 5 five pieces that have been spread across the world. As Fury sends Spiderman out to retrieve the shards, Spiderman learns that classic villains from the series (such as Rhino, Green Goblin and Venom) are being mind-controlled by a mysterious super-villain, who has also created PHANTOMS, a massive army of generic soldiers. By collecting the meteorite shards, you will save the world. How? Who cares?

Not only is the plot of Spiderman: FoF unbearably idiotic, its also mind-numbingly forgettable. I had to re-watch various clips just so I could double check if the game was as stupid as I thought it was. Well, I was right. Spiderman:FoF churned out one of the most generic, clichéd and pointless plot lines ever devised.

I suppose you could call the 360 version of Spiderman:FoF a side-scrolling beat-'em-up, as all you do in the game is fight enemies, walk to the next section, fight more enemies, step on pressure pad that creates bridge, walk over bridge and repeat. This is repeated for the 5 or so hours of the games existence. This process may seem fun for the first area, but when you realize there are 4 more to go, each with 4 levels a piece, things can get ugly. If there was one word I would use to define the game it would have to be tedious.

Besides bosses, there are only 3 types of enemies you will encounter throughout the course of the game in sizes of small, medium and large. Arguably the funniest point in the game is when you realize that the games enemies get different costumes and colours to try to give the player the illusion that they're fighting new, unique enemies.

An element of the game that had the potential to be great were the boss battles. Somehow, Spiderman:FoF has managed to make fights with Rhino, Scorpion, Green Goblin and especially Venom boring. You'll simply find yourself picking up items and throwing them at the enemies with the occasional burst of punching and kicking. Worst of all, your web attacks as Spiderman are nullified against bosses. This really hurts the potential of what the fights could have been.

Teaming up with classic Spiderman villains and characters is a fantastic idea that was never fully realized. It could have been great fun using some of Spidermans web attack on enemies then switch over to a guy like Venom to use some of his trademark moves. Sadly, all 13 of your potential partners play very similar to one another. None of the classic characters have any creative moves, they're all built with basic jump, throw and regular attacks, which is probably the biggest disappointment in the game. This game had a chance to be unique and do something original to make it a good experience but the developers really missed the mark.

Clearly, a graphical update wouldn't hurt.

Simply put, the game just is not fun to play. The combat is unbearably repetitive and dull, and the game is far easier than one would imagine. Despite the fact the game is clearly aimed at a younger audience, kids enjoy a challenge as well. Spiderman:FoF does not implement any sort of challenge, as even if you die, you just keep coming and coming and coming; game overs are non-existent.

The best part (and perhaps the only good part) is the co-op. Co-op mode is really your only chance to enjoy the game, so take advantage of it if you were suckered into trying this game. It can be a somewhat average experience if your playing with a friend, or a parent and kid combination can work as well. However, there's no on-line co-op. Why not? Having on-line co-op not only would have significantly boosted sales but it may have made this game playable.

I'm pretty sure this game was an experiment. The developers clearly wanted to make a terrible game, insult MARVEL and the people behind Spiderman by attaching the Spiderman name to it and then seeing how well it would sell. I could feel the developers laughing at me the entire time. I am also convinced that the people at Next Level Game's have some sort of infatuation with bridges. The bridges are always there. In every single level of the game, there are pressure pads. You step on them, and bridges come out. Spiderman:FoF has taught me an important lesson: the only way to go from one place to another is by bridge. Thanks, Next Level Games.

Spiderman:FoF looks it belongs in the previous generation of video game consoles. The “kiddie” visuals do not transcend as well as one would anticipate. The environments are bland, and the effects look like they belong in the 8-bit gaming days. Despite these issues, the character models look decent, and were created in a unique “comic-book” like sense.

Sadly, the game sounds terrible as well. The voice acting is horrendous, and the sound effects are unrealistic. Some of the lines of dialogue are actually rather funny the first time you hear them, but by the end of the game, you've heard each line at least 10 times. If I hear “ The itsy-bitsy spider's gonna web you in the face!” or “You better believe my Spider-sense is tingling!” one more time, I'm going to scream.

Spidermans' dialogue isn't even the worst part. The AI character is unbelievably obnoxious, constantly telling you that “a door has opened!” or “the bridge is up!”, despite the fact that you saw a short cut scene outlining the fact that a door or bridge has been made available. Honestly, its just ridiculous.

The developers have made a bold statement here and its that they don't care about the consumer enjoying themselves. Spiderman:FoF has no enjoyment factor if you are playing by yourself. The only chance you won't completely hate your experience is if you play with another person. The game should run you about 5 hours, and if you can make it through, you'll feel like you just ran a marathon. After all, you should be proud, as only those with the highest tolerance of pain can handle such attrocities as this one.

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Community review by Azumangaman (March 21, 2008)

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