|System: X360, Wii, PS2, PC, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Next Level Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 2, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jwan Jordan
Spider-Man Friend or Foe is one the newest games to jump off the Marvel gravy train. Developed by Next Level Games, this title borrows heavily from the Spider-Man movie trilogy while taking its own creative liberties to create an entertaining gaming experience.
The title gives a large hint as to what the game ensures, and since the novelty act of web-slinging had been used in previous titles, Friend or Foe offers the option of finally playing as Spider-Man's many foes. For many comic fans, this is either a love or hate situation since most hardcore fans know it would take something unfathomable to make Venom fight valiantly beside Spidey. Comic trivia aside, Friend or Foe turns out to make a pleasing beat-em up with a close friend.
The story begins with Spider-Man casually sitting on a rooftop when just about all his most memorable villains attack him. It is when the web head is completely surrounded that each villain begins to abruptly disappear right before his eyes. As if things weren't strange enough, you are then teleported aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D helicarrier and greeted by Nick Fury, the original version not the Samuel L. Jackson iteration. You are quickly informed that it is up to you to find, defeat, and recruit your enemies use their help to solve the mystery of their disappearance and the rise in symbiotic life plaguing the area.
Before starting a level, you are informed about the stage via Nick Fury and the artificially intelligent helicarrier, which ensures some comical commentary from time to time. While in the helicarrier, you can access a variety of options such as character upgrades, rewards, bios, and unlockable content. As you defeat enemies, they drop orbs which you can use at the helicarrier for all the aforementioned reasons. Things like toughness, abilities, items, and special attacks can be bought and upgraded.
Friend or Foe is in fact a beat-em up game, and before I elaborate on the gameplay, it is important that I point out that this game is truly designed for young kids. From the second the game begins you will notice a very cartoon-ish and kiddy charm that the game possesses, added with lots and lots of humor. Do not be surprised when you realize the pure hearted web head isn't the only one cracking the funny one liners. In fact, the game possesses no seriously epic moments that are trademarked with Spider-Man's uncanny bad luck.
Don't think I'm bashing the game though; Friend or Foe is a pleasing beat-em up title. You are constantly aided by one of many unlockable friends or enemies which you can switch to at the press of the button. Characters also possess their own signature moves which can also be upgraded with the points you collect during missions. With the use of a special item, you can unleash a team attack combo that not only destroys all enemies on screen but makes for really dynamic cutscenes. I strongly suggest unlocking Venom and using the team combo attack; it is hilarious! If you are not satisfied with the A.I. as the second player, a friend can grab the second controller and jump in at any time and leave without ever breaking up the gameplay. Unfortunately, Friend or Foe is not online compatible so you will have to settle for friends within close proximity like "ye old days."
Since combat is the heart of the game, you are swarmed by dozens of enemies at one time and you and your selected ally unleash a flurry of combos. Combat moves are divided into several fashions. You have an attack button and a grab button which you can combine to unleash combos. I can confidently say a lot of work was put into the characters specific movements and fighting styles. Spidey pulls off some amazing moves even before he is fully upgraded. Since the game is designed for a younger audience, the combo system is very watered down, but the positive effect is that it is easy to pull off a lot of fantastic and colorful attacks that can only come from the Marvel universe.