Review by KasketDarkfyre
"Mindless Violence and Gore...talk about kick ass!"
Throughout the years, Spawn has been through changes that have ranged from comic books, action figures, movies, animated television shows, cartoons, books...and video games. In the beginning, there was Spawn on the PSX, a game that tried hard to pull a different approach to the licensing through an action video game that encompassed fighting, plenty of blood and mindless violence. Giving you control of several different characters from the Spawn Universe, you’ll fight your way through seemingly endless hordes of enemies and face off against bosses with ‘dream-matches’ that you always wanted to have but could never find in the Spawn comics! Years later, with the Sega, Spawn was finally able to step out of obscurity in the video game world and bring to life the true violence and gore that Spawn has always stood for. With several modes to play through, and several characters to choose from, Spawn has finally made a mark on the industry.
Spawn is basically a run and gun game in a 3-dimensional world. You have control of one character that you choose from the selection screen, that can either be ultra powerful or ultra weak, depending on what type of weapons they use. All of the characters have a special move that gives them the upper hand, and learning the stages is half the battle. One of the best aspects about Spawn is the fact that the stage layout changes depending on how fast you can complete the previous stages. Where you may go through and face off on the same stage in a new game, the proceeding stage could be different if you finished that stage in a shorter time. Another cool feature is that you can team up with the computer, and go against the onslaught of enemies with some back up. This can be very useful if you're facing off against a particularly difficult boss. Be prepared though...it's very easy to get killed in the game, so if you're attempting to go through without taking any damage, it's not going to happen!
Aside from all of that, there are plenty of things to unlock and find. Character portraits and weapons, along with new modes round out the replay and secret finding roster. With this being said, there is plenty of reason to keep playing the game, long after you've beaten it...especially to find the elusive Lance of Angela! Now, to really get into Spawn, you have to go through with just about every character in the selection in order to get all of the extras that the game has to offer. With the different characters, you’re pretty much looking at the same game, but with some minor changes depending on how fast you go through and just how long it takes to defeat key bosses in the stages.
The control is set-up pretty simple, and even a beginner can learn to use it. You have a weapon select, a firing button, a jump button and a power-up button, all of which can be used in battle. Where it gets a little hairy, is when you're trying to make crucial jumps, and end up falling off the platform, or when you're trying to run and find that there is nothing you can do but get killed! The control in the battles really isn’t all that hard to get used to with a little practice, although controlling where they hit and fire can take plenty of time. With each character, you’ll have to learn how to use the special attack that each one has and hit what it is that you’re aiming for each time. This can get confusing at some points, with the enemies re-spawning at every corner and when you’re backed into a corner, the camera can really come around and screw you over!
Fully detailed, and done in true fashion, everything that Spawn offers comes through with crystal clarity. With gunfire raging across the stage, and several different weapons to choose from, along with characters that are well known, and then those that are lesser known. You have a wide variety of things to look at flashing across the screen as well as fully detailed stages that come straight from the comics and to life here in the game. Certain problems however, deal with the fact that the camera angles don't really follow the action correctly, and you may find yourself looking at a black screen if something is right in your line of sight. Along with that, you have several cases of image break-up, especially when the action gets intense on-screen! However, you’ll find that the sheer detailing in the characters and in most of the stages is about as good as you can get with a game of this type. The size of characters such as Kil-Gor and Overtkill simply need to be seen to truly understand and the best looking out of the entire group is the Medieval Spawn with the bloodied sword and hanging chains!
A hard rock soundtrack for a hard core game. The soundtrack matches the mood down to the last bullet; save for the fact that the music track keeps looping over. You may find that in some of the stages, you'll hear the same track several times in just one stage. Sound effects range from gunfire to explosions, and the voice over from the stage announcer is pretty creepy all on it's own! However, if you’re really looking for something that is true to the Spawn Universe and sets each of the characters apart, you really won’t find it here as everyone and everything sounds pretty much the same after a few minutes. The stage music can also be a pain because the game takes on such a heavy and intense action sequence that the amount of sound effects can be staggering to the ears and painful after having you listen to it for too long!
Spawn for the Dreamcast is a hell of a game, and finally does the license justice. With plenty of action, mindless violence and gore, and then add in a ton of weapons and known characters from the series, you've got a game worth buying. For those who are fans of the series, the visuals and audio alone, along with the intense and overwhelming game play will find this one to be a keeper! For those of you who are into a more linear action game, then you may want to bypass this one and its recreation, Heavy Metal, for something with a little more substance and style than this one has to offer.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 05/15/01, Updated 11/21/01
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