If you’re confused about the release of two Spider-Man titles released this year then you’re not alone. However, the differences between the titles become quite clear once you play Spider-Man: Friend or Foe. It takes a more linear approach as opposed to the sandbox style of Spider-Man 3. The story is elementary at best, but don’t let that detour you because this game is completely aware of it, as evident in the dialogue, and offers an overall fun experience for gamers of all ages.
Friend or Foe means you’ll be playing with Spider-Man’s allies, but in an interesting twist you’ll also gain the help of Spider-Man’s previous enemies. You see, there’s a greater evil in town that has set its eyes on world domination. Even Doc-Oc and Green Goblin wont have any of that. Of course, you’ll have to beat them first before they’ll join your side (we suppose they have to save a certain amount of face).
Each character has their own unique fighting styles and super powers that you can upgrade using a monetary system. You gain coins by defeating various phantoms or taking the time to destroy some of the environments within the level. Players can choose their ally at any time by returning to the mothership. You can also upgrade your characters and view unlockable extras on the ship.
The basic gameplay involves punching your way through hordes of Phantoms utilizing a combo system. We found combos quite easy to master and it added to the overall fun factor of the game. By pressing the X button multiple times you’ll perform various attacks, but the real fun is found when you incorporate Spider-Man’s web slinging using the Y button. You can also tweak your combos by using the right analog stick to control grabs and throws. For example you can use your Web to grab an enemy in the distance, swing them up into the air, and then perform a few quick attacks in the air before grabbing them again for some serious hurt. It’s nothing original, but it’s sure nice to have solid controls and have your combo count announced as you get better at them.
The game offers co-op at any time where your friend can jump on either in the room or via Live. If you’re playing alone the AI will take over, but if you’re sick of being Spidey you can quickly switch over by holding down the Y button. While this is a nice feature, taking the time to hold down the button took a little too long for our liking. It would have been nice to switch quickly by using any of the two bumpers. There’s also a team attack function that if performed correctly will jump into a quick cinema where you’ll cause harm to all the enemies on the screen (it’s an achievement too). You’ll also use your teammates to get through various points on the map, but there’s never an instance where you have to switch between characters to advance through areas. It would have been nice to see more puzzles in the game, but the action and boss battles more than make up for it.
The game’s levels have a fixed camera which can be annoying sometimes when you’re trying to get a bearing of where you need to go. However, there are a lot of hidden areas to be found if you’re patient enough to explore beyond the linear path. If you’re lucky you’ll find keycards that allow access to hidden rooms that you can revisit in multiplayer Versus Mode if you beat all the enemies in the room. There are also DNA helixes spread out through the level that unlock various characters or videos that can be viewed back on the ship.
There are plenty of achievements in the game, but you wont get any for simply passing a level. In what amounts to instant replay value you need to find every hidden item in the levels to get an achievement. Since the game is relatively easy this shouldn’t be a problem for the achievement junkies out there.
Spider-Man: Friend or Foe is engineered for the younger player, but there is plenty of fun to be had for the more experienced player. In fact, the game rewards veteran players with special unlockable characters for finding hard to reach items, but keeps the crux of the game relatively easy for the younger set to plow through. If you’re looking for a serious challenge, or an open ended world in your Spider-Man game then you might want to skip this title. However, if you’re an adult looking for a fun game to explore with your child then this is definitely the game for you.
- Overall: 7
- There’s nothing new to be found in this button combo platformer, but solid controls, drop-in anytime co-op, plenty of unlockable characters and upgrades, and surprisingly entertaining dialogue save this game from being a forgettable addition to the Spider-Man franchise.