RELEASED: November 1995
AVAILABLE ON: GEN, PC, SNES
DEVELOPER(S): Software Creations
PUBLISHER(S): Acclaim Entertainment
1995 - what a great year for gamers and Spider-Man fans alike. Spider-Man - The Animated Series had spread like wildfire across the globe just as expected after the success of DC's award-winning Batman series; Spider-Man comic books and merchandise sold better than in years, perhaps ever. Gamers rejoiced when LJN was officially merged into Acclaim Entertainment, and this merge resulted in some honestly good licensed games, like Stargate. 1995 was also the SNES' final stand; games were made right up 'til 1997, and 1996 sure had its share of great SNES releases, but if I had to point out the greatest overall year the SNES ever had, it's 1995. Chrono Trigger, Yoshi's Island and Diddy's Kong Quest made it at least the most magical SNES year since the console's international launch in 1991. In the final days of the SNES, in the midst of the Spider-Man heat, Acclaim put out a sequel to 1994's Maximum Carnage, named Separation Anxiety after a Venom series of the same name, and based on a Venom series called... Lethal Protector. That's a little bit confusing, but it's a sequel to a quite decent game, and it's at least supposed to star my favourite Marvel villain, so basically I have no choice but to take the game out for a spin.
|I thought I was.|
I pitted yesterday's sequels against today's sequels against each other, not so long ago - in fact, I must've been reviewing a Spider-Man game. I think I can count failed sequels from this generation with my fingers, while two decades ago sequels went both ways all the time. I can't say I never heard about this game, but what I can say is that I never a read a review of the game, and thus it didn't make much of an impact on me, even though I was a huge Spider-Man fan at the time. I had never played Maximum Carnage at the time, either, but I knew how the game looked like and I was dying to try that out, even though the review wasn't that flattering. The only Separation Anxiety preview I ever caught a glimpse of only mentioned Spider-Man, not Venom, and even less the fact that Venom actually starred in this game instead of Spider-Man. When I read about this game a couple of years ago, I found out that Venom stars in the game and that it's actually a direct sequel to Maximum Carnage. That's when curiosity hit, big time, and after finally getting to play Maximum Carnage and finding it quite decent, I hoped for the best. This is how it turned out.
|I've seen this before.|
The gameplay's virtually identical to the gameplay of Maximum Carnage, and while there's a certain light side to that statement, it has a whole bulk of dark ones. It's not only the fluid controls that pay respect to Maximum Carnage, it's also the complete inability to block enemy attacks, and the level design is almost exactly the same, not to mention character design - they're recycled with minimal effort. In-game graphics might be just a tad better, but seriously, you wouldn't know the difference between Level 1 in Maximum Carnage and Level 1 in Separation Anxiety by a quick glance.
|What the hell am I doing in the Technodrome?|
The last soaking wet piece of crap I'll throw at this game and its makers is the promotion of Spider-Man; I haven't quite finished with it yet. A game that's supposed to star Venom feels quite weird to play when it's the other playable character that simply is better, by all means except for his inferior health. Venom's what drew me to this game, and playing as him from the beginning was what I thought to raise this game even above Maximum Carnage. That's what I expected, a game at least equal to its predecessor, not a wholly watered-down bundle of badly recycled fluff, but that's exactly what I got. What a shame.
+ Looks and sounds good, but so did the last one; no real improvement here, and no GJ to provide the music
+ The controls... yep, _still_ good...
- ...But where the hell is the block button?
- Spider-Man's sticking his nose too deep
- Pathetic health, totally unfair combat situations (such as thugs with guns, and robots), long and repetitive levels, no continues... get a picture of how unreasonable the game is, already?
- Every remotely good thing about it is ripped straight off Maximum Carnage
- Extremely lacking presentation in comparison to the previous game
< 5.5 >