Two of MAD Magazine's most popular characters have become more popular of late thanks to their appearance on the aforementioned humor publication's Saturday Night Live clone. Don't think, however, that this game has been released just to cash in on their recent upsurge - this is a colorized version of an early '90s release, which in turn was based on a Commodore 64 game released nigh on 15 years ago. So much for being on the cutting edge, eh?
The gameplay basically goes like a prototype capture the flag. White and black operate in their own flick-screen window, moving from one area of the level to another, looking for goodies. In each stage there are four essential spy-related items for you to find before getting shot, stabbed, blown up, or electrocuted. Each screen has areas for your spy to search or leave traps for the unsuspecting opponent to discover. These traps make Spy Vs. Spy such a hilarious experience. Put a bucket of water above a door, and, with a bit of luck, you are soon treated to the sight of your hapless foe receiving an unexpected dose of H2O. If you can't think of any tricks to pull on the scenery, you can always just go and throw the other spy a well-timed punch or two. Knocking them out is vital, so you have more time to search for those precious documents. Find all four, and you can escape in a nearby getaway plane.
For a game that worked perfectly in black and white, Spy Vs. Spy makes excellent use of the new color capabilities. Being able to identify your location simply by the color of the walls in the room you're in makes the gameplay a lot smoother than having to look at the always accessible map. This is essential when you're enjoying a two-player linked game, and the race against time is really on. Everything else is pretty much the same as before, which translates as merely adequate these days.
The gameplay is still as addictive as ever, although playing against a computer is nowhere near as much fun as taking on a real live human challenger (as opposed to a dead one?). Spy Vs. Spy is a fast-paced, comedic strategy title especially suited for the more vindictive of players (which is pretty much all of us, really).