Review by blueninja4444
"The Power of Spidey and His Enemies In Your Hands"
Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can! Even on the Nintendo DS and even when teaming up with bad guys! That's right, Spider-Man: Friend or Foe has come out, and was expected to be met with a lot of success much like Spider-Man: Battle for NY, but how does the legendary web crawler stack up on the portable system in Friend or Foe, when the next-gen Xbox 360 version could barely muster any respect? Well, let's find out....
Spider-Man: Friend or Foe on the DS's strong point is it's graphics. Unlike many other games on the DS, both screens are used to show action not one screen and then the other is used for something, like say, inventory or a map. Usually, in Friend or Foe, the top screen keeps track of the roof tops while the bottom screen is used to keep tabs on the streets below. Spider-Man, and his list playable side kicks can, at will, change between roof tops and streets below, which is a nice feature.
Overall, the animations are smooth, but the models are a bit fuzzy, though its not impossible to tell the difference between Spidey and, say, Venom but still you must wonder why web will, occasionally, come from Spideys mask. To make up for this the 3D environments showcase a small variety of beautiful location such as New York and Nintendo DS exclusive Paris, France. A lot of the items around town are destructible including boxes and mail boxes, and though the graphics are nothing special, you may find the opening video sequence and a couple others quite impressive.
The audio is fairly decent. While the BGM is quite lackluster and leaves much to be desired, there is full voice acting in the game in cut scenes, which adds interest to the story. Other than basic sound effects of a beat em up game, and an off beat sound for Spidey's web, there's nothing of note here. You could, if you plan on playing in a noisy environment or just can't have the sound, play this game with the sound muted. The sound and dialogue is not important to the game play or puzzles.
The controls are much like you'd expect, and since this is the DS, the DS touch screen is used for mini-games, menu navigation and essentially nothing else. The buttons are quick and easy to learn, but the mini-games are a bit boring and at times very difficult. With easy controls and a kid aimed Spider-Man game, you might consider getting this for a little cousin or something, but truth be told, your little cousin might not be able to get past the first couple of levels thanks to frustrating mini-games, such as the lock picking mini game, and these stylus mini-games are not optional, if you get in a jam, you might not get out of that jam. Perhaps if the stylus mini-games were designed a bit better, this wouldn't be an issue, but your little brother or you, or whoever this game may be for, better have a lot of patience for this game.
Ok so there is a story, but you're better off reading about it on a web site or picking up a used copy of the PlayStation or Xbox version. The opening cut scene shows a bunch of villains attacking you (with no background plot or reason at all? Hmm, that's odd.) but before they successfully get you, they are teleported away. Your buddy, The New Goblin, shows up, but alas, he too is teleported away. As an odd plot hole, New Goblin is never seen again in the game. But the other villains can be freed and join you on your team, ala the title: Friend or Foe. The story is quite boring, and as you'd expect, the big bad guy behind the whole scheme has no real reason for doing what he does, and the ending is somewhat lackluster.
Ahh the meat and potatoes of any video game! The gameplay! So what separates Friend or Foe from other Spider-Man titles? Coo-p! When playing single player, there's a cpu-controlled ally (usually an enemy) fighting along side you. So what happens when you got a friend with a DS and you hook up Ad-Hoc? Your buddy or you can play co-op, teaming up to take on the bad guys! The Nintendo DS is known for lacking co-op, so this may seem like a welcomed feature. But the gameplay is terribly repetitive and the story is boring, among other complaints. Do you really want to drag your buddy through that? If the game seems appealing, then go for multiplayer because nothing changes.
Of note is that several characters from the other consoles are missing from the DS version, and Spider-Man can not be swapped. So you must have Spidey on the team at all times, which is a little bit of a downer since it's not every day you can play as Doctor Octopus and Venom.
But other wise the game is exactly like you expect, roam through some repetitive levels, complete some frustrating and lame mini-games, engage in a not-so-impressive boss fight, and then unlock a new sidekick for your team. The characters aren't very personalized and you won't get much depth, nor will you get much depth from the same old bad guys over and over and over again. If the PlayStation 2 version of this game was lampooned for having repetitive baddies, how do you think the DS version fares? Yikes.
Replayability/ Longevity: 4/10
In addition to the main story, there are a few other modes here that attempt to keep your attention. Despite all the playable character, it's highly unlikely you'll find any motivation to run through this game a second time, which is why it's great they decided to add free play mode, boss rush mode, and survival mode. If you like this game, you can definitely squeeze some extra fun out of it, but not much.
All in all Spider-Man: Friend or Foe isn't a spectacular game, and you can probably find better Spidey games, cheaper and used for the Nintendo DS. It probably won't impress you much, and if the game does seem appealing, it may be tempting to rent this or the same game on other systems to see if it's truly worth buying or convincing a buddy to pick up a copy for multiplayer. The say this game is average would be giving it too much credit, it just feels too rushed, the game play is much too repetitive and nothing like what a Spider-Man game should feel like, so it gets a low 3 out of the maximum 10. Better luck next time for your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man....
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 02/28/08
Game Release: Spider-Man: Friend or Foe (US, 10/02/07)
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