|Spider-Man and Venom:|
Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage cover art (North American version)
Tony Williams (Genesis)
|Platform(s)||Super NES, Mega Drive/Genesis|
|Genre(s)||Beat 'em up|
Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage is a side-scrolling beat 'em up game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Mega Drive/Genesis, developed by Software Creations and published by Acclaim Entertainment and its subsidiary LJN in 1994. The game, based on the comic book story arc of the same name, features numerous heroes, including Spider-Man, Venom, and their allies from the Marvel Comics fictional universe like Captain America, Black Cat, Iron Fist, Cloak and Dagger, Deathlok, Morbius and Firestar, all teaming up to battle an onslaught of villains led by Carnage, including Shriek, Doppelganger, Demogoblin and Carrion.
The first prints of the game for the Super NES and Genesis were sold in red-colored cartridges. Later prints came in standard-colored cartridges. It was followed up by a sequel titled Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety.
In this single-player side-scrolling beat 'em up (with a format similar to Double Dragon and Final Fight), the player controls Spider-Man and Venom through various levels to stop the supervillain Carnage and his team, as well as hundreds of criminals they inspire in their wake, from taking over the city. The two 16-bit versions are virtually identical.
Other Marvel heroes can be summoned by collecting appropriate items hidden within certain levels. The locations of the power-ups necessary to summon aid are set. Depending on which character summoned them, the summoned heroes may help out in different ways, usually being more effective for whichever character (Spider-Man or Venom) they favor.
Maximum Carnage is one of the first video games to be directly based on a comic book story, rather than simply using comics characters in a standard video game "action/adventure" plot. Many of the game's cutscenes feature semi-animated versions of art taken directly from the comics. It was also the first Spider-Man video game to receive a teen rating (while the SNES re-release version had a rating of K-A, the Genesis version was rated MA-13).
The game received mixed reviews. The reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly scored the SNES version a unanimous 5 out of 10, commenting that the appearances by other superheroes are "cool", but outweighed by the "sloppy" graphics and mediocre control. The SNES version was also given a 3.45/5 from Nintendo Power. Reviewing the Genesis port, GamePro commented that "All the graphics, features, and fighting action are identical on the Genesis version--unfortunately, so are the drawbacks that made this only an average SNES game." They elaborated that the game controls well but is overly long and repetitive due to the player character's limited selection of moves, the lack of objects to interact with, the low variety of enemies, and the similar look to all the backgrounds.
The game's soundtrack was written and produced by American rock group Green Jellÿ. The title screen theme song appears as the first track on the band's 1994 album 333 as "Carnage Rules". Due to the limited storage capacity of SNES and Genesis cartridges, the soundtrack was not recorded music, but a computerized rendition of the songs.