This simple Spider-man game can be fun, but it isn't for everyone.

User Rating: 6.5 | Spider-Man: Friend or Foe PS2
Spider-man Friend or Foe has enough challenge and game-play to keep some younger players engaged, but veteran gamers are more likely to get bored.

You of course play as Spider-man, and are called upon by Nick Fury to help investigate symbiote activity happening around the globe. When you start you can punch, kick, and have a basic web attack. You can swing, but it's unnecessary. You'll only swing once, and there was never a need to, as far as I could tell. The kick attack you get out of it doesn't warrant the availability.

As you complete missions you'll start unlocking new web abilities. These are broken up into 3 categories.
1. Grab/Trip attacks
2. Web-ball attacks
3. Restraint attacks
Each category has about 4 different attacks, with 3 levels of upgrades each. You purchase your upgrades with experience points gained throughout each mission. In addition to web attack upgrades you can also upgrade Spider-man himself. His life bar, his strength, and his resistance to attacks are all upgradeable qualities. The moves available are the one thing that helps keep the game-play interesting as you move forward. You can get pretty good as switching between powers on the fly and mixing up your moves.

The playable teammates (both heroes and villains) you'll unlock as you complete levels also have the same character upgrades available. Unfortunately, at most, they'll only have 1 or 2 special moves. This makes them less fun to play, and almost pointless to use as your main character. As far as support during a mission, the AI will help you out enough during game-play. You're allowed to have one extra character follow you into a mission, who you can switch between at your leisure. A second human player can also jump in and take control at any time. Since it costs experience points to upgrade these characters, it's somewhat of a hindrance to switch which partner you're teaming up with between stages. I mean, I got Doc Ock fairly early on and worked on leveling him up. Then I used him for most of the rest of the game, because it didn't make a lot of sense to switch to a lesser character as I was using my experience points to level up all of Spider-man's special abilities.

You earn more experience the higher you get your combo meter. When you die, instead of losing life, you lose experience. This is a nice touch for novice players, because there's no lives to worry about. Of course, without experience to buy upgrades it will make already awkward players have an even harder time later on. You can of course go back to previously played levels at any time and run though them again to gain more points.

To help make things easier, special power ups are dropped throughout the levels. These power ups will allow you to do things like perform a special team attack that takes out all enemies on the screen (provided it's not a boss), become invincible for a short period of time, or allow your attacks to cause extra damage for a little while. You can also purchase these power ups before entering a mission if you don't want to break up the scenery to find them. There's also health refill power-ups available for purchase (you won't find these dropped in the levels), but they seem just as expensive as dying is, so I'm not sure what the point is.

What will disappoint most players is the repetitive nature of the game. There are 5 areas broken up into 4 missions each. How each mission plays out is exactly the same, it's just a different look. The enemies are also the same, just with a skin that matches the theme of the area. Instead of getting harder to beat, they only throw more at you at one time. And in each area the 2nd and 4th mission will either have a boss to fight or a hero to meet up with. At one point the game even makes fun of itself and how recycled everything is. It's one of the worst cases of wash-rinse-repeat game-play I've seen in a while. The most variety you get is when you face off against a boss, as the tactic to get close enough to cause damage is a little bit different (but not much).

Unlockables are also hidden throughout the levels. I say hidden, but you have to be trying hard to NOT find them. Some of these unlockables include artwork and game tips. You can also unlock arenas for use in a 2-player death-matches. For the 2-player head-to-head events they graciously limit Spider-man's special powers to keep the players balanced. Like the main game, these brawls are made so that novice players can easily get in there and rack up some wins. It will quickly bore anyone that may consider themselves an expert in fighting games however, as despite the different special moves for each character, the strategy is pretty much the same.

The repetitive nature and slimmed down game-play should have this game ranking lower on the love scale. However, I'm going to give it some bonus points for the niche that it fills. It's simplicity and ease of use has made it the perfect game for me to play with my kids. Having the controls also work without a hassle and a camera that although fixed rarely impedes also adds to the ease of use. It's a great Father-Son co-op game. The "son" just has to be younger than the E10+ rating suggests they should be.