Fun but flawed, this game is great for kids and a casual stroll through the Spidey universe for the rest of us.

User Rating: 6 | Spider-Man: Friend or Foe PC
Spider-Man: Friend or Foe pulls off an interesting feat- it feels both fresh and stale at the same time. It's refreshing to play as villains along side Spidey, but the gameplay is lacking in variety, and Spider-Man is so strong and versatile compared to other playable characters that playing as another character feels like a down-grade.

The villains in Friend or Foe could use some work as well. They come in four sizes, and that's all the variety you get outside of the boss battles. You can customize Spidey's web abilities to better take out the small, medium, or large enemies. The extra-large enemies are what the group-attack power-up was made for- as soon as one pops on-screen, cue it up and watch it evaporate.

The customization that you can do to Spider-Man's web abilities is actually the most interesting thing in the game, but it comes at the cost of making every other character feel totally lacking in options and skill.

Whereas Spider-Man has 3 web modes (Sling, Shoot, Stun) that each have special attacks for each enemy, the unlockable characters only have 2 special attacks each that consist typically of a projectile/ranged attack and an AOE (area of effect) attack.

I understand that this game was designed with kids in mind, and maybe having robust customization for the secondary characters would be too complicated, but it would have at least made the game feel balanced. Put simply, whoever has the player 2 controller in their hand the whole time will miss out on most of the fun this game has to offer. And for a co-operative game, that seems kind of unacceptable.

The level design is also quite uninspired. The formula is to walk into an area, watch brief cutscene, kill the enemies, hit a button, open a door/lower a bridge, and move to the next area. Yawn. At least the game throws enough enemies at you that it usually still feels fun and invigorating. There is also unlockable content to find, but it's not incredibly worth it.

And this may be a bit picky, but there's one more flaw I'd like to address before getting to the praise- the Tech Token system. Basically, you kill enemies and smash objects to get Tech Tokens which can be used to upgrade Spider-Man and the other characters. It's also tied in with your life system, in that when you die, you lose 15 of them. But here's the kicker- depending on the way you die, you may also lose your combo multiplier which is actually more crucial than the 15 or so tokens that you lose on death.

How does one lose their precious multiplier? By dying in combat while fighting the forces of evil.

How can one avoid losing their multiplier? By committing suicide by diving off a cliff.

Um yeah. To recap, you die fighting and are punished, but if you kill yourself before your health meter runs out, you are punished much less. Isn't that a bit backwards? Especially for a kid's game.. jeez.

BUT.. after all those negative points are tossed out there, at the end of the day Spider-Man: Friend or Foe is still a pretty fun diversion. I was only able to play single-player, but the AI was decent and it was fun switching to Blade or Venom when they were unlocked and fully upgraded.

Also, the game has a wonderful sense of humor. The game doesn't take itself too seriously, and that is one of the things that made it so fun. Also, the art style and graphics were well-suited to the mood of the game, and pretty sharp- though there were some instances where I could clearly see through seams in the walls/floor.

Spider-Man: Friend or Foe is 100% compatible with the Xbox 360 controller, and I played the game with it. The rumble features are intact too, which was a nice surprise. The controls are smooth and responsive, and this would be a great game to plug in 2 controllers and kick some simbiot tail- no matter what your age.

Just don't expect too much.

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