Mat Langford’s Gaming World – Spider Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage

In keeping with the Spider-Man theme this week, and in anticipation of the new movie coming out, I figured it was only natural that I delve into the video game side of Spider-Man. There are a ton of Spider-Man games out there, with a few gems in the mix. The one that I loved however – and a LOT of people will disagree with me on this one – was Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage on the SNES.
 Now this clearly wasn’t the best game of the lot. Heck, it wasn’t even close. But it was my first real introduction into Spider -Man gaming, and I loved it for a number of reasons.

Thwak! All the comic-isms are intact!
Thwak! All the comic-isms are intact!

First of all, the game reminded me of classics like Double Dragon and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. The play style was a scrolling side-view fight game, with weapons that you could pick up and use, as well as grab attacks and power hits. It was a great pick up and go type of game, and it was incredibly addictive. I can remember playing it for hours on end and then waking up the next day to keep going. This old-school style of gameplay really lent itself to the sprite driven graphics, and the overall comic book presentation really brought the visuals together. Were the graphics good? Not really, but the addictive game play made up for it.

Also, the fact that every single person you beat up – and there were a lot of them – had a name. Waves of enemies would come at you, and under their life bar on the top of the screen was their name. You were constantly beating up Billy, Steve, Danny…and even the odd Haydn. It was an interesting choice for the developer, Software Creations, to make. It didn’t make the violence any more personal, but if you were overcome by a group of enemies, you at least knew whose name to swear at when they killed you.

I even liked the music. A lot of people didn’t, which is warranted I suppose, considering the entire game is basically a wailing guitar solo from beginning to end. But it kind of just fades into the background after a few levels, and doesn’t really get in the way after that. And really, who doesn’t want a wailing guitar solo accompanying a bunch of face-punching. It worked well.

Maximum Carnage was also one of the first super hero games to be based entirely on a comic book, with a lot of the cut scenes being slightly animated versions of actual images in the comics.

Straight from the comics!
Straight from the comics!

This game is considered to be up there in the same difficulty echelon as Battletoads, and while I don’t necessarily agree with that – Battletoads was brutal – I would have to say that this game isn’t easy by any means. It’s a tough play-through, and is definitely one of the tougher games on the SNES. Carnage’s fight at the end of the game is nearly impossible, and if you even get the chance to play this game, either on the original system or an emulator, try it and let me know what you think!

Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage is one of my favourite SNES games of all time, and deserves a spot on any real gamer’s shelf. Try it and see for yourself!

Ps. For those of you who haven’t had the chance to play it, but want to see it, here’s the entire game, from beginning to end! Enjoy!

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