Review by Flyersfreak85
How did they go from THAT game...to THIS game?
Introduction: In 1994, Acclaim decided to release Spiderman and Venom: Maximum Carnage on to the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis. It was unique for a couple of reasons, one being that the game pitted two hated foes against each other to take out a much more despised and deadly foe. Another reason was that, for all that was right with the game, Acclaim decided to take the Final Fight hits the SNES way out and make it only one player (but I guess Capcom was guiltier, considering the arcade version did have three characters and two players). But over them two reasons was the fact that Acclaim took the high road and made the game an original release, like LJN did with a couple of the Spiderman and X-Men games on the old NES, but I say that because there was an arcade version of Spiderman released in Japan by Sega.
Then, in 1995, Acclaim came back with a sequel for the red colored cartridge game entitled Spiderman and Venom: Separation Anxiety. Now, let it be known that Acclaim made SOME improvements from that game to this one, but for the most part, seemingly everything else not mentioned as I forge ahead rolled downhill.
Gameplay: Okay so, in keeping with what Acclaim DID get right from the first game to this one was the most obvious, and that was the addition of a two player function (although to a point, one player HAD to be Spiderman and the other Venom, you could only switch the controllers after you flipped a coin over the issue) but it was a start. Also, Acclaim was nice enough to include passwords, which came after so many levels (you didnt get them after every level, but at the toughest stages you would find them) and were there long enough for you to copy them.
But THAT is where the improvements end, and everything else falls apart from here on. I dont even know how to describe it (but I will try my damn hardest) but if you looked at this game and the prequel, you wouldnt even know they were supposed to be related unless you knew that from the adverts or the game manual.
Basically, the story is that a mysterious group known as the Life Foundation has somehow managed to capture Venom and they extracted symbolites from his costume, creating five children to the black suited anti-hero. Now, if this was the Venom of S&V: MC fame, he probably could have wiped the floor with the ENTIRE group: however, starting the game and seeing how both Venom and Spiderman fight, its no wonder Big Tough Eddie got captured: its honestly more surprising how the suddenly tough guy-turned-pansy got away. Im not sure who thought it was a good idea to make them fight like slow moving twerps, but I sure hope that person was promptly hazed and fired.
And if it isnt bad enough that Spiderman and Venom seem to have about one half of the fighting ability that they did in the previous game, the AI now is suddenly a LOT smarter and a LOT cheaper. Yes, Acclaim said they wanted to make this game original and not Maximum Carnage-lite but can someone explain to me why they kept the SAME DAMN STANDARD ENEMIES FROM THE PREVIOUS GAME? I mean, the ONLY difference is how they are drawn, much like your characters: the thugs, the trench coat guys, and the overgrown girl scouts are all back, albeit only for the opening level. Because after that, you face the Life Foundation soldiers who are cheaper than a bubblegum machine ring: they shoot you, they drop little fart bombs and they kick you down low, but look like they are break dancing. Oh, and the game brings back the Floating orbs that look like soccer balls and omit strange lights while also including a little robot which looks like a cross between a scrap pile of garbage and a mouser from TMNT fame.
But it gets worse, because one of the problems I mentioned with S&V: MC returns here with repeating boss fights, and these guys make Shriek and her gang look like pop icons. Amongst them are two variations of a toy soldier, one in blue in white and the other green and white that flies around on a hover board, a guy who attacks EXACTLY like Shriek does, and a guy who is an EXACT copy of War Machine from Iron Man fame. In fact, the last one is a total JOKE considering that Marvel CREATED said character, and then allows Acclaim to turn around and rip it off: nice going kids. Oh, and lets not forget the Five unwanted Children of Venom, which range from one who looks JUST like him, to a little brown Venom with Carnage claws, a green little Venom with weeds sticking out of his back, and two girls, one red and orange and the other purple who loves to break dance.
What is a LITTLE bit interesting about the game is that some stages contain maze sections, having you go in the right door or Ventilation duct to continue. While some of them are good, (like in the jungle you can find dead ends but they give up valuable items) others are just a PITA (like the aforementioned Duct stage, which has the player as confused as the blonde girl in the corner in the circular room joke).
As with the previous game, Superhero help is available, but while the characters are more well-known, they limit you to only FOUR of them, those being Hawkeye, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, and the returning Captain America: talk about originality.
---Gameplay Grade: 4/10
Controls: The Controls are the EXACT same that they were from the previous affair except, knowing that Acclaim screwed up SO much of the game before it, they had to make some of the control functions impossible. It used to be that if you tapped the D-Button twice right or left your character would charge ahead, but now it randomly happens when you hit it once. Oh, and the hit detection turned into garbage: you would think the closer you were to an enemy that you would connect on hits right? Wrong: this game believes the farther you are away from any given enemy you can hit them, so basically you are now Gumby-come-Stretch Armstrong when attacking foes.
---Controls Grade: 4/10
Graphics: Oh my Dear, Dear God for ALL that Acclaim screwed up, they MIGHT have committed their worst offense here. They went for a more unique and trendy vibe with this game to separate it from the hard-edged look of the previous, and they failed MISERABLY might I add. If you could imagine the graphics being HALF the size of the previous games and while the backgrounds are TWICE the size, you get the idea: I swear I put my thumb up against the screen against ANY given enemy and I had no idea they were even there. This goes two-fold for the games final boss, I dont have to tell you who that is, but they seemed to have shrunk him from a donut to one of them munchkins they make at D&D and hes a total joke. The backgrounds and colors look like a Kindergarten student attacked the campus with water colors, and Spiderman and Venom look BEYOND stupid.
---Graphics Grade: 2/10
Sound: Gone is Green Jelly, and in their place is a mix of trance and techno music that while not offensive, will not be remembered either (The Boss fight songs, MAYBE). The upside is that, its all original, except for one which they remixed from the previous game, one of the stage songs. But what is the kick in the butt is that Acclaim wanted to make this game original, and like with the first stage civilian enemies they ripped ALL of the sound effects from the first game. That means that, when a LF Solider parishes, he sounds JUST like any of the guys screams from the previous, and when the two girl Venom children die, they sound JUST like Shriek, or the overgrown girl scouts.
---Sound Grade: 4/10
Challenge: I think the complaints that were warranted for the prequel can be placed HERE instead: yes, you do have the usage of passwords to continue SHOULD you die (or you and your comrade) but guess what if you DONT make it to one of them stages that has one, you go RIGHT back to the beginning. Because unlike in the previous game, there are NO continues to be found. And as another user mentioned who reviewed this game, you can see the LF Soldiers and the bosses being tough on you, but seemingly the CIVILIANS are capable of putting an end to you as well. On the upside, the game is MORE than generous with extra lives and hearts to help your health meter, and the Superheroes are pretty helpful as well. But what good does that do when you cant even get out of the jungle of endless cycles and get to a stage that HAS a password?
---Challenge Grade: 7/10
Final Thoughts: Aside from the addition of passwords and a two-player function, everything that S&V: SA tried to go for to separate its self from the previous installment failed miserably: it made about as much sense as going in for knee surgery only to have the doctor chop your ears off. The graphics suck, the premise of the game sucks, the entire thought that TOUGH Venom was captured and probed by some stupid group sucks, and the fact that the War Machine rip-off captured you when he wanted to and took you to a trap room SUCKS too. Thank GOD they did not make a sequel directly related to this game, as I would fear for the general game playing publics safety if it had happened.
---Overall Grade: 3/10
Rating: 1.5 - Bad
Product Release: Venom - Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety (US, 11/30/95)
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