are killing each other with zany contraptions and
wicked weapons. Even though I find myself caught in
the middle I shrug and say, "What, me worry?"
grew up on Mad magazine. It's what made me the freak
that I am today. One of the highlights of the magazine
was a feature called Spy vs. Spy. It was a highly
stylized black and white cartoon that starred a pair
of spies that looked identical to each other with
the exception of the color of their wardrobe - one
was white and other was black. The strip was created
by a Cuban refugee, Antonio Prohias, who escaped to
America in 1960. The first version of Spy vs. Spy
was published in Mad magazine in 1961 and was an instant
liberties have been taken with the strip's original
design to create this videogame. Color being the most
obvious break from tradition. I'm not sure how a black
and white videogame would be accepted by the mainstream
market but I'm sure fans of the strip would have appreciated
it. I guess I'm something of a purist in that respect.
I don't think that one videogame is so important as
to basically disregard an artist's life work. I think
the developers should have paid a tribute to Prohias
instead of kowtowing to the unwashed masses.
in the third-person, Spy vs. Spy employs the deathmatch
formula. The object of the game is to collect a number
of gadgets from various safes located all over the
map and get out of the level without getting killed
or losing an item. If you get killed you automatically
lose an item which you'll have to recover from the
spy that took it. There are other threats in the level
that you have to watch out for. Most of them are labyrinths
filled with booby traps and other enemy bots that
will take a swing at you. There are some platforming
and puzzle elements in the game which can help you
get out of tight situations but you have to be careful
when platforming since a fall can be a serious drain
on your health.
begin with a few simple weapons such as a slingshot
and a club, eventually graduating to machineguns,
flamethrowers and heat seeking missiles. By acquiring
Bux from killing bots, you can purchase new weapons,
gadgets and some really inventive booby traps such
as electrified doorknobs and other Rube Goldberg inspired
machines that are the hallmark of the original Spy
vs. Spy strip. Some of these traps are really elaborate
but you all you have to do is get the spy to take
the bait and rest will take care of itself. You can
also purchase a form of insurance which will counter
these traps if you find that you're not too bright
when it comes to assessing a situation.
lock-on system will target the enemy making weapons
easy to use. All you have to do is cycle through your
weapon inventory, arm yourself with the best one for
the job, set your lock-on to the desired target and
fire away. The controls are easy to learn and just
about any level of gamer will be able to get into
the game in a few scant seconds. But that doesn't
mean the game is easy from start to finish.
you complete the single player mode there are several
other modes to keep you busy including online modes
such as Deathmatch, Armed and Loaded, Get Mad, Last
Man Standing and Run and Gun. Up to four players can
take part with the addition of a blue and red spy.
Each player begins at their hideout where they can
purchase weapons and recharge their health. These
hideouts are also safe havens where you can hide when
things get too heated.
from weapons you can purchase, or unlock, disguises
which can fool the other idiots and protect you from
their attacks. Disguises such as a Samurai, clown,
carnival barker and mechanic will work in conjunction
with themed levels and booby traps.
the game looks more like a newer Warner Bros. cartoon
than the original Spy vs. Spy. The animation is smooth
and the various backdrops look nice but they're not
very interactive. The cartoon violence is also reminiscent
of Warner Bros. - not that it's a bad thing to be
compared to a classic cartoon but it just seems like
we've seen versions of all these gags already. The
music is good and the sound effects are pure cartoon.
vs. Spy is worth the price of admission. At under
$20 there's not much to complain about. It's inventive,
funny, engaging and somewhat original although I think
the developers should have stayed true to Prohias'