Written: 1.11.07 Acquired: 11.28.06 Status: Cart only Price: $47.50
Most people know that four Spider-Man games, specifically starring the webbed wonder, were made for the SNES
What few know, however, is this Super Famicom exclusive!
Lethal Foes eluded me for many months. I never saw a copy online once. Fortunately, a friend tracked one down for me in Japan. I still haven't seen a copy online myself to this day
The price was a bit steep for it being cart only, but having searched for several months, what the hell
Pretty sick-looking cover eh?
MARVEL COMICS PROUDLY PRESENTS....
HE'S YOUR FAVORITE... HE'S MY FAVORITE... ALL THE KIDS KNOW HIM AND LOVE HIM.....
Sorry, Spidey. C'mon kids... you know who he is!
Let's try this one more time....
Alright, on with the show... Lethal Foes is a side-scrolling action title featuring nine (short) levels
Because he can cling to any wall he touches, Spider-Man feels a bit sticky. Each button is put to use. The web attack is very small and there seems to be an odd delay. This is especially discernible when shooting in mid-air
Still, the web has its moments. Just don't ever use it during boss battles -- it's way too slow leaving poor Spidey ripe for the pickings. The bosses also have a sixth sense regarding the web shooter. Before he can barely raise his wrist, they're on him like white on rice
The web attack should have been more smooth, but it's effective where speed is not a factor
Also in his crafty play book:
The shoulder buttons send Spidey to the air, L for left, R for right. It's fun to toy with, but outside of the first level, you could get by without ever using it
Flying Shoulder Tackle
Hang upside down to avoid hazards like this poisonous gas
[I got your poisonous gas right here! -Ed.]
Crawl under tight spots
The boot never fails
His tendency to cling on to any surface makes him a bit sticky at times, but I guess one could argue it's more authentic this way
And to stay trim and fit, take up a light jog
For all the damage he can dish out, he can take a lot in return, too
Lots of characters make a cameo throughout the game -- here's a look at just two
So, it looks pretty alright eh? Unfortunately, some flaws hamper the experience
As mentioned, Spider-Man is a bit sticky. At inopportunate times he can cling to unwanted spots. This results in wrestling with the controller to get him back on track
The enemy roster is lacking in both quantity and quality. It's a huge missed opportunity
The timer forces the player to rush through the levels, giving one little time to enjoy the various sights and sounds. The levels are short to begin with, so the timer only makes the game that much shorter. The timer doesn't reset when you meet up with the boss, so you REALLY have to rush through the levels, or else pay the penalty of the timer expiring. It's lame if you ask me
The boss battles are of the "mindless press attack rapidly" variety. I was quite disappointed with the lack of imaginative and stimulating boss fights. On the higher difficulty levels the AI is ridiculously cheap
Speaking of the bosses, here's the first five
The levels contain your standard fare cliches seen in many other action titles. The portal set pieces in level 3-2, however, displayed the kind of absorbing creativity I was hoping the rest of the game would have
Here you must kick the switch to activate the door above. Be quick about it -- the door doesn't stay open for long
A second portal soon appears
Spider-Man is no dummy. His spider senses inform him this second portal is unlike the first harmless one. And he's right. Come into contact with the second and you're whisked right back to the first one
Granted, this is nothing new, but it's these cool little moments that I find really enjoyable in these sort of games
My favorite level was the 2nd one... it's a sewer maze containing many passages. Some are dead-ends with money or health bonuses. Others are dead-ends with enemies. The rest take you towards your goal of reaching the exit. Because of the open-ended chaotic nature of the sewer stage, the game was a lot more thrilling, interactive and gratifying
This was also the only stage where I didn't mind the time limit. It made it that much more of an adrenaline rush. For the other stage designs, the timer didn't work for me and just ended up pissing me off
It's a real shame, then, that the game's level design fluctuates so wildly. To me, a great game has a brilliant, engaging, captivating design throughout, but especially moreso as the game progresses. Well, I don't know what happened here, as some levels in LETHAL FOES make you cheer quietly in your seat, others have you scratching your head wondering if the developers just wanted to pack up and head on home early
For example, in the later stages (not shown) Spider-Man goes through a park. It's all linear, keep walking right, beating up the odd villain here and there, and finally it's the boss. And it's yet another "punch him rapidly" boss affair. What gives? Why is one level so fun, like the Sewer, and the next so dull, like the Park? Due to the dramatic swing of the pendulum, you wonder what could have been had ALL the levels been as indulging as the Sewer
Therefore, I think you all know where I'm going with this. It's a mixed deal. You take the good with the bad. In the end though there were JUST ENOUGH cool cheer-out-loud moments that made it worthwhile
Still, you wish the developers were more consistent in their efforts
"The best 2D Spider-Man game" one guy once said
I'm not as impressed
Agenda could have fleshed certain ideas much better; pushing the envelope to keep the player enthralled. More frames of animation, more imaginative boss fights and just more, more, more
But for all the negative points I raised, I like LETHAL FOES. It doesn't break any new ground, but it plays well enough to be enjoyable
If you're a casual gamer though, there are so many action titles out there that are better AND easier to find... so LETHAL FOES shall go under the "For diehard fans and collectors" file
All things considered, I have no regrets dropping $48 on it, but others might