Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 11/21/03 | Genre: Action
Spawn hasn't had the luxury of having a good game. After taking over the comic industry, action figures, and trying to take over Hollywood, the only two Spawn games ever developed have been plagued by several shortcomings. However, we haven't seen a Spawn game since the DreamCast days and Namco now tries their hands and correcting the mistakes of the past. We saw a really early build of Spawn during E3 and it was looking nice. However, the game wasn't any more than a single room to showcase a little bit of the action. Does this Namco lead project succeed?
For those of you who are not familiar with Spawn, it is a story about Al Simmons who was killed by a government conspiracy only to be reborn as a soldier of hell... a hellspawn! However, Simmons rebels against hell and decides to fight against evil. In Spawn Armageddon, the story continues with hell being under siege by a group of angels. They drop a new type of weapon in hell's depths in an attempt to destroy it. This gives everyone in hell an easy way to come to earth. Spawn has to deal with this and a super soldier who escapes from his rival Jason Wynn over the course of 20 missions. Unfortunately, unlike in Max Payne, the story does not progress as often as I would have liked to seen it. Also, the game runs really short. At only about 6 hours or less, you can get through this adventure fairly quickly.
Visually Spawn looks as good as he does in the comics. In fact, all of the characters in the game appeared to be ripped out of a Spawn book, transformed into 3D, and then began running around on your TV. To help ensure there is plenty of variety in the environment and textures, there are over 30 different areas to explore as you play through the game. No matter where you are at in the game, the framerate is good on all versions. However, the Xbox version looks much better than the one on the PS2 or GameCube. Developer Point of View has included 16:9 support for all three versions. For those of you who can take advantage of it, this mode looks absolutely stunning.
While the graphics are good, the best part about this game is the sound. All of the voices are done by the actors from the HBO Animated show. It is just a shame that they don't have more story to work with in the game though. I would have really loved to see Point of View add more story elements like Remedy did with Max Payne 2. Besides wanting more story, the sound effects satisfy my need perfectly. The music consists of a few heavy metal tracks and can get a bit old but it fits the game style.
The gameplay in Spawn is pretty standard. This is an action game that plays a lot like The Devil May Cry. I don't have any big complaints about this other than the fact that it is all very easy and the AI, except for the bosses, is stupid. Shouldn't hell's minions be a little bit smarter...? I guess this is why they are in hell...
The biggest problem with the gameplay is the inclusion of platforming mechanics. Some of the levels are really not designed well at all and ask that you go from location to location trying to break switches or other items to get a door open so you can continue. However, when you are asked to complete a few jumping puzzles, you will really pull your hair out. Since your jumps are not very responsive, the flow of the game is interrupted and you will get really frustrated. Fortuantely, there are only a few of these jump puzzles.
Overall, this is by far the best Spawn game we have ever seen. However, it falls a little short of my expectations. I hae seen enough to say that I would be intereseted in seeing a sequel though. Perhaps a longer game, with some of the gameplay mechanics refined, and the inclusion of a much deeper story would help the next Spawn game score a little higher. Due to the short length of this one, I must recommend that you rent before purchasing. However a rental should prove to be a weekend full of fun.