Released in October 2007, “Spider-Man: Friend or Foe” clocks in at $17.99 at Gamestop and can even be found for as low as eight bucks on Amazon, making it a bonafide bargain bin title.
Ever since the days when games like “Ninja Turtles II” and “Double Dragon” hit the shelves in the mid-80s, beat-em-ups have always been a popular choice among gamers. However, over the past decade, games of this genre have been severely reduced in quality, thanks in part to greedy developers rushing their games or trying to make a quick buck by using licensed material, such as a movie or comic book character.
With that being said, a game like “Spider-Man: Friend or Foe” shouldn’t even have a chance to win over fans. However, in the end, the game is a tribute to the titles it shares so much in common with that are over 20 years old and not only works well on a next generation system like the Xbox 360, it actually thrives at times.
Not to be confused with the free-roaming “Spider-Man 3” game that was released a few summers ago, “Spider-Man: Friend or Foe” centers around a mysterious development on Earth that has left the planet in dire peril. As a matter of fact, the situation is so bad that Nick Fury, the head of SHIELD, has asked Spider-Man to personally travel the globe and destroy the powerful enemies and enlist the services of both his old sidekicks and friends, as well as some of his most notorious enemies. What proceeds after that is a barrage of missions where you first save your confidants and then use them to help you take down the enemy.
While the story itself isn’t amazing, the dialogue in between missions and in cut scenes is oozing with references and jokes that real fans of the series will eat up. Helping matters even more are the cartoon-graphics that will remind many of the original Spider-Man game that appeared on the PlayStation in the late-90s. Full of color and good-looking backgrounds, this game’s graphic are definitely not going to stop you from giving this game a shot.
However despite that, the frame rate isn’t the cleanest, as there are instances of slow down with multiple enemies on screen that can make fighting a chore at times, it doesn’t ruin or hamper the experience nearly enough not to enjoy the game though. The fixed camera as well takes a bit of time to get used to, but again it’s nothing so bad that it will make you stop playing.
As far as the gameplay is concerned, while being a tad on the easy side, “Spider-Man: Friend or Foe” plays well with others [as it features a well-designed and enjoyable two-player mode as well] and has plenty of things to unlock along the way, such as weapon upgrades, characters and arenas to fight in while playing in the other game modes. Again, the depth of the gameplay is far from something you’d see in a game like “Fallout 3” or “Grand Theft Auto 4,” but it is a fun 6-10 hour ride through the Marvel Universe that you won’t have to drive yourself crazy over.
Simply put, “Spider-Man: Friend or Foe” is a tribute to the beat-em-ups of yesteryear that will provide plenty of smiles your first play through. After that, much like the games it gets its inspiration from, it becomes a title that is played in company with friends looking to just relax, rather than be immersed in a hardcore game. Any fan of the series owes it to themselves to try the game, while anyone looking to reclaim some of their youth needs to look no further.
Those looking for a deeper gameplay experience may be disappointed at the length of the game, but those looking for something fun to just pick up and play will be pleasantly surprised.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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