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Platform

Wiii

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Next Level Games

 

ESRB

E +10 (Everyone)

 

Released

October 4, 2007

 

 

- Relatively deep combo system, even for the Friends and Foes

- Kids between 8 and 11-years old can get right into this

- Reminiscent of old time beat 'em ups

- A "versus" mode rounds things out

 

 

- Older gamers will be bored by the repetitiveness and lack of true variety and won't likely play the title again once the easy Achievements have been unlocked

 

 

Review: Mario Strikers Charged (Wii)

Review: Marvel Ultimate Alliance (360)

Review: Spider-Man: Friend or Foe (360)

 

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Spider-Man: Friend or Foe

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

Spider-Man: Friend or Foe is a combination of classic side-scrolling beat ‘em up games and more recent titles like X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse and Marvel Ultimate Alliance.  It’s actually a winning combination: beating up bad guys with a big roster of superheroes.  With a twist.  That twist being you have to be between 8 and 11-years old to get the most out of Friend or Foe, because older gamers will have absolutely no problem breezing through in an afternoon.

 

spider-man friend or foe          spider-man friend or foe

 

It’s also repetitive in the same vein as those classic side-scrolling beat ‘em ups but what Friend or Foe lacks in variety it makes up for in the depth of fighting styles.  Throughout the game, both friends and foes of Spider-Man become unlocked.  

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You’ll eventually unlock New Green Goblin, but before that you’ll have access to Venom, Blade, Black Cat, Lizard, Dr. Octopus, Rhino, and Green Goblin among a few others.  The great thing is that the basics don’t change too much from character to character, but the more finesse moves require just a bit of practice (like the air combos).  By far, Spider-Man has

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the most moves, plus he has three different web types that can be upgraded alongside his basic stats.  The other characters can also have their stats upgraded via the “store” as well at the cost of “coins” collected through each level. (Hint: Smash everything.)

 

It should also be mentioned that Next Level Games did not shoehorn in motion controls.  It's used to a minimal extent to switch characters and to modify the web-slinging moves.  There's no wild flailing!

 

Augmenting these moves a bit more are collected power-ups that can be activated, which include temporary invincibility and increased damage, and health boost.  But a game like this wouldn’t be complete without some kind of stylized uber move, which will clear out all the enemies on-screen.  Like Next Level’s work on the Mario Strikers series, these unique, close-up shots show-off some really nifty animation and are cool enough where you won’t look at your watch and say, “I wish this part was over!”

 

spider-man friend or foe          spider-man friend or foe

 

Within each of the five different levels (with four stages each) there’s not a lot of exploration to do.  The hidden items throughout each level should be plainly obvious to pretty much everyone and the game pushes you neatly along a path relatively restricted path.  Some of my fondest video game moments come from playing Streets of Rage so maybe the sense of nostalgia pulls me from away from thinking this strict linearity is a problem.  Besides which, Friend or Foe is a lost nicer to look at – the animation and overall sensibility is slightly “Tonka-fied” that is to say, everything looks bright, somewhat exaggerated, and kid friendly.  Clearly, the target age group is slightly lower than something like Marvel Ultimate Alliance.

 

And you can’t die either.  Drop off a cliff edge and you’ll be right back in the action at the cost of a few coins.  Lose a boss fight and it’ll just restart.  It definitely takes the edge off for younger players who just want to have fun but it provides little risk for those expecting some kind of severe punishment or challenge.  No, the older gamers will only feel guilty and perhaps a little bored earning some Achievement Points.  But for their kids, Friend or Foe is excellent preparation for more complicated action games until they graduate to Teen games thanks to the depth of the combos.

 

- Omni

(November 6, 2007)

 

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