Review by KFHEWUI
"Easily one of the worst PS1 games ever made"
When it comes to comic book video game adaptations, it usually turns out to be a flop however there are a few series that made a successful translation to video games like Turok and Shadow Man even Spawn for SNES which was brutal and tough as nails. Is the PS1 version the successor to the SNES game? Or is it another case of failed comic book to video game adaptation?
Honestly, there is not much that can be or should be said about the story, but basically there are demons and Spawn has to stop them etc. There is very little plot development or storytelling over the course of the game, but this would be forgivable if the game was good.
Controlling the game is a complete and utter nightmare thanks to stiff and unresponsive controls. Not only is the control scheme not that good, but some of the fighting moves make very little sense or at worse do not work at all. Shooting a fireball is done by pressing Up, Up+X, but it does not work in fact, I actually performed the move by pressing Up then sliding my thumb across the left then down before hitting X. Ripping enemy's arms off is done by pressing 1/2 circle front to back+X. Yeah with the clumsy controls good luck trying to get that to ever work.
Spawn the Eternal is an ugly mess of a game that is not only gameplay wise but also includes the graphics. Spawn does not look that bad, but the enemies are ugly and poorly animated. Some of the enemies are so badly designed that it is near impossible to even tell what the player is looking. One enemy looks like a giant rat but I believe it is supposed to be a werewolf. With the poor graphics aside, there are some serious pop up and disappearing textures, and at worse some of the textures seem to move or even slightly bend. The only saving grace of the graphics is that the cut scenes that look pretty good however they are few and are far apart. There are a few nice touches like punching objects will cause them to shatter or the running water in the sewers does not look that bad.
Music is like the rest of the game completely forgettable, and most of the levels are silent. The only time music seems to play is during combat and cut scenes, but what music plays during combat is generic rock music. There is some voice acting like most games at the time, the voice acting is atrocious, and some of the voice acting is so bad that it is impossible to tell what is being said. The final boss sounds like a trash compactor with asthma.
The game play is split into fighting, platforming, and puzzle solving, and these make up the bulk of the game. Frankly the level design is a complete and utter nightmare, and sometimes the correct path is hidden behind walls however it is not always clear which walls can or cannot be destroyed. Not only this but levels usually involve heavy backtracking to solve a puzzle after collecting the correct item, and it does not help that the level are all uninspired including city streets, sewers, and tower of Hell to name a few.
The combat sequences are frustrating and plagued by technical issues. Enemy AI for the most part is dirt cheap which does not help especially when the player is fighting against the sluggish and stiff controls but it gets better. Sometimes parts of the background will disappear, and if the player touches the area where the background disappears it means death. Knocking an enemy into the part will somehow have Spawn fall in too and die. As for depth of the combat, Spawn can punch and kick, and these get the job done however there are other moves including ripping enemy's arms off or shooting fireball.
Platforming sequences in this game are a complete nightmare thanks to the poor camera angles and to make matters worse, the platforming sequences are usually over a bottomless pit leading to instant death. Sure, the player can save at any time, but that is like putting a band aid on a broken bone. Only thing worse than having to do jumps over a bottomless pit is having to platform jump to moving platforms or even worse having to do platforming over a bottomless pit as an enemy throws projectiles at the player.
Sadly there are even more technical issues in the game including crashing, but one severe issue I ran into involves fire. At one point in the later stage of the game, I ran past a fire and Spawn took damage even though he did not touch the fire however I even ran through the fire but did not take damage. The hit detection in the game is also very terrible. To top it off there is no replay value at all except replaying the game and just beating the game once is more than enough.
At the end of the day, Spawn is a sad excuse of a game, and it is easily up there at the top of the worst PS1 games ever made. It is plagued by poor design and technical issues that drag the game down from the get go. There is not a single redeeming quality to this game at all.
Reviewer's Rating: 0.5 - Unplayable
Originally Posted: 08/15/07, Updated 04/22/13
Game Release: Spawn: The Eternal (US, 12/01/97)
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