Spider-man: Friend or Foe is a a simple game. In fact, your foes are such a non-threat that you'll wonder if their hearts are really in it. Over the course of the 5-6 hour story you'll fight some of Spidey's most feared enemies, including Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, Sandman and more, but there's never really a challenge, leaving you with a feeling that these guys were never that bad to begin with.
The premise is simple, if rather silly. An evil doer - whose identity is unknown at the start of the game - has got his hands on shards of a meteorite, which can be used to brain wash people to do his bidding. This evil mastermind naturally uses his new-found power to control the many enemies in the Spider-man universe, placing them in various locations across the world. Of course, it's up to Spider-man to save the day, setting off on missions from the safety of the S.H.I.E.L.D. sky base.
Of course, the "Friend of Foe" part of the game's title must mean something. You always fight alongside another character (optionally controlled by a real friend), with the big twist coming from who that character is. As you beat the various boss characters, they'll be so thankful that you've freed them from their controlled state that they'll choose to join you, effectively becoming selectable characters from the S.H.I.E.L.D. base.
So, that's it. Over the course of 20 levels, set over five locations, you fight off enemies - holographic enemies named phantoms, quite bizarrely - until you reach a boss. Beat the boss and he becomes your best mate. You can switch between playing as Spidey and whoever you've selected as the second character, but in truth Spidey's move set is far more advanced, making the repetitive combat at least bearable.
'... you can even tag-team with your partner to perform amazing combo attacks that wipe out all the enemies on the screen.'
New moves can be bought using tech tokens that are dropped by all defeated enemies, but you could quite easily use the same combos you start with to button-bash your way through to the game's conclusion. Special abilities can be activated if you have picked up certain items and you can even tag-team with your partner to perform amazing combo attacks that wipe out all the enemies on the screen. It's all very basic though, and is unlikely to impress anyone over the age of 10.
For all its problems - of which there are many - Friend or Foe does have some charm. The visuals are basic in the extreme but at least resemble the comics these characters originated from; the voice work is also rather good, but again falls in the "for 10-year-olds" section. The whole game is very much like an interactive cartoon, complete with a plot that only a child could love - or make sense of.
Differences between the various versions are minimal, but the Xbox 360 game does look the best, albeit only slightly and only if you're running the game on an HD TV. The simple cartoon-like visuals work well on all systems, although the PS2 game suffers from a few frame rate issues. The Wii game actually doesn't use the motion controllers all that much, with grab modifiers and player selection being its main use - all the main character controls use standard buttons.
With no online play the only other difference comes from the Achievement points found in the 360 game. These must rank as some of the most lazily thought out of any Xbox 360 game, with most being awarded for finishing a chapter with every item and secret found. This isn't hard to do if you set out to do it from the start, but surely it wouldn't have been hard to hand a few points out for finishing levels without having collected everything.
Spider-man: Friend or Foe is another title that clearly isn't made for experienced gamers, and certainly won't please anyone aged in their teens or older. The visuals are basic, the storyline is laughable and the gameplay is overly simplistic. Kids may well find some simple pleasure in repeating the same combos over and over again, but everyone else will be looking ahead to whatever Spider-man game arrives next.
VideoGamer.com Score5 Score out of 10
- Simple to play
- Bland visuals
- Very repetitive
- Storyline is bizarre