McFarlane began working on Spiderman and made it one of Marvel
Comics' best-selling titles. He then left Marvel, citing policies
that inhibited his creativity, and formed Image Comics, whose first
comic book was Spawn. Spawn went on to a become a huge success,
spawning a line of action figures, clothing, a movie, an acclaimed
animation series, and, now a video game. Today, Image is a comic
book company right up there with Marvel and DC. but amongst all the
characters that have been created for this company, Spawn still
remains a cut above the rest.
Successfully combining two genres together has always proved to be
a difficult task. Some, such as strategy/adventure or strategic
shoot-em-up, go hand in hand while others often end up as a
mismatched shambles being neither one thing or the other. Strategic
beat-em-ups in the past have failed to get the juices flowing with
the best offering to date being the reasonably acceptable Fighting
Force, while less successful attempts include the embarrassing Crow
- City of Angels.
is an adventurous first person strategic beater from Sony. The
player controls a comic book superhero who must battle his way
through prehistoric, medieval and modern worlds in an attempt to
reach the keeper of his soul. The game areas include plenty of
secret rooms that reveal hidden weapon power-ups.
The opening movie is all over in a blink of the eye making it hardly
worth mentioning - so I'll not.
Soon you are in control of a six foot plus, wide framed, masked
superhero. The game is initially viewed from behind the main
character and first impressions of him are that he seems to be
breathing heavily because of the way his whole body expands and
contracts when standing still. A flick of the shoulder button takes
the view into a first person perspective, but make sure that you are
not standing too near the scenery because this will only highlight
the awful blocky effect. Pressing left or right on the directional
pad smoothly pans the view swiftly around the opening cave area to
allow you to get your bearings. Unfortunately it is so dark and
gloomy that it is difficult to see where the floor ends and the wall
begins. All around the walls mosaic flames rise from torches but
these fail to emit any light sourcing whatsoever, only acting as a
distraction to the task in hand. On moving forward Spawn sets off on
a medium paced jog that scrolls along fairly smoothly but his
shorter steps are very jerky.
Once out of the opening area your character moves around a network
of gloomy tunnels and dark subways, although he sometimes ventures
above ground onto the village streets at night and investigates the
surrounding buildings. Many obstacles in your way can be smashed by
a wave of his fist or a kick out with the foot until he eventually
approaches an enemy. Here the perspective changes to a side on view
for the beat-em-up stages. You must quickly adjust your train of
thought because the up and down controls suddenly change to left and
right to move him forward and backwards. There are a couple of
effects worth mentioning during the fighting scenes. Your character
spills green blobs of blood when struck by an enemy and if your
health bar becomes low you can summon up the power to recharge it by
pressing a combination of buttons which give off a flash of green
light. When it's all over the view returns to the standard
perspective and the game continues where you left off.
music is quite complimentary to the action. As you tirelessly plod
around the miles of corridors you are treated to a background of
haunting sounds that will keep you on the edge of your seat. When
the action changes to beat-em-up style the music follows suit as it
becomes a little more rock orientated.
The sound effects during the fighting stages are fairly well
handled with every connection providing a resulting scream of pain
or roar from the sheer effort involved.
begins his adventures in an enclosed room facing four doors of which
one will open. This leads to a dead end but by leaping onto a higher
level and waving his fist he can smash a hole through a timber
window. The puzzles are hardly mind boggling and follow the format
that has been seen many times before. A locked door requires the
correct key, pushing switches activates interactive objects and
moving platforms must be negotiated to pass over hazardous areas.
This continues throughout the game and the tasks become more of
nuisance value than thought provoking
The enemies are a wide range of suspicious looking characters who
fight in a style that compliments their appearance. Noblemen move
into a raised fist stance and offer a fair fight according to
Queensbury rules. Japanese businessmen dressed in immaculate suits
throw caution to the wind and really believe that they are Bruce
Lee. Unshaven rogues strut around dressed in jeans and Caribbean
shirts, ready to rumble. Creatures appear in various shapes and
guises attacking from an angle that suits their size. If they are
short and stumpy then they will duck and weave under your line of
attack while the larger monsters will slam down their fists from
above and attempt to pummel you into the ground. Unfortunately the
fighting scenes are more of a chore than an enjoyable experience and
even the toughest bosses can be defeated by sticking a foot out
while in the crouch position.
When moving around the levels your character can jump in the air,
kick open crates, punch down barriers and perform small actions such
as clicking switches. When in fight mode he can side step, high and
low kick, punch and acrobatically sweep the enemy off his feet.
Throughout the game Spawn will come across various power ups that
appear in glowing orb form. Names such as Pyromantic and
Necroplasmic may be mildly confusing but basically they will boost
his striking power, increase his health or render him temporarily
not a great deal more to say about Spawn. You plod around the dingy
settings collecting items and clicking switches before sooner or
later you either enter fight mode or switch off and do something
more worthwhile. I suggest you rent this title before you buy.
main character reminded me of those masked wrestlers who take part
in the TV charade that poses as a sport. In fact I would rather
watch televised wrestling than play Spawn through to the very end.