Despite a lack of depth or next-gen shine, Spider-Man: Friend or Foe is nonetheless a terrifically fun and addictive brawler evocative of similar titles such as Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and Gauntlet Legends. However, even more surprising is that Next-Level Games’ film-inspired effort overshadows the official Spider-Man 3 games by exercising something uncommon in movie adaptations, namely creative freedom. As an officially licensed movie product, Friend or Foe scores points with this reviewer for having the courage to exist outside the boarders of its source material, in so doing becoming its own experience rather than just a thinly veiled copy.
Playing as the friendly neighborhood web slinger, Friend or Foe partners you with any one of several heroes and villains, including such familiar faces as Venom, Green Goblin, and Doctor Octopus, as well as more fringe comic book personalities as Silver Sable and Iron Fist. The game’s paper-thin plot tackles the third film’s notion of an alien symbiote threat with tongue firmly planted in cheek as Spidey and a companion button mash their way through wave after wave of similar beasties using a fistful of combos and unlockable super powered antics. Long story short: if you are looking for an old-school brawler that doesn’t take itself too seriously, Friend or Foe could be just what you’ve been looking for.
The title, which was obviously designed for younger gamers or those young at heart, features gameplay that scales to support a wide assortment of skill levels and ages, from veterans to toddlers who just might be cutting their teeth on this very game. Environment and character designs favor a more cartoonish style rather than one based in realism, and together with lighthearted, at times humorous dialog, playing this game feels not unlike taking an active role in a Saturday morning cartoon.
Still, for something that is easy to pigeonhole as a A