Todd McFarlane's Spawn: The Video Game

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Todd McFarlane's Spawn: The Video Game
Todd McFarlane's Spawn: The Video Game
North American version box art
Developer(s) Ukiyotei
Publisher(s) Sony Electronic Publishing
Distributor(s) Acclaim Entertainment[1]
Designer(s) Mike Giam
Kenshi Naruse
Programmer(s) Norihiro Tokeshi[2]
Artist(s) Michiyo Komura[2]
Writer(s) Mike Giam[2]
Composer(s) Harumi Fujita
Platform(s) Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Release
Genre(s) Action, beat 'em up
Mode(s) Single-player[5]

Todd McFarlane's Spawn: The Video Game is a video game based on the Spawn comic book character and released in the United States and Europe for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System console. Developed by Ukiyotei and published by Sony Electronic Publishing in late 1995, it features Al Simmons, Spawn, trying to save the lives of thirteen children in a beat 'em up type of video game. The game received mixed reviews by critics; the graphics were praised while the unoriginality of the game was criticized.

When the video game was released, the comic book series of Image Comics Spawn were immensely popular, at least in the United States.[a] It is the first video game based on the Spawn comic books.[6]

Development[edit]

Todd McFarlane's Spawn: The Video Game is based on Image Comics Spawn comic book character.[3] Ukiyotei developed the game on behalf of Sony, who published the game in the United States and Europe.[1][5] Mike Giam elaborated the story and concept of the game. Together with Kenshi Narushe, the pair designed the core elements of the game. Comic book-style Cutscenes were designed by C. Bradford Gorby and displayed between levels in order to move the story forward.[7] The music in the game was composed by Harumi Fujita.[2]

Story[edit]

The protagonist of the game is Al Simmons, an undead being. Simmons used to work as a secret agent for the U.S. government, but was betrayed and murdered by one of his own.[3] Longing after his wife, a deal was made with the Lord of Darkness named Malebolgia to make Simmons return from the dead and thus become Malebolgia's Spawn.[8][3] In the deal, Simmons would get access to infinite powers. Unfortunately, the powers, though infinite in force, were limited in supply. If Spawn's powers are used to their full extent, his soul will belong to Malebolgia and he will do Malebolgia's bidding for all time to come.[8]

In present time, a renegade crusader named The Mad One has kidnapped thirteen innocent children, including Simmon's stepdaughter, and locked their souls in a magical orb called Orb of Purity. The Mad One's long-term goal is to make use of the Orb of Purity to destroy Malebolgia once and for all, and he has already entered the area where Malebolgia resides. Al Simmons must now stop The Mad One in order to save his stepdaughter, the other children and himself.[9]

Gameplay[edit]

Todd McFarlane's Spawn: The Video Game is an action-style side-scrolling beat 'em up video game with some platforming elements.[b] The player controls the main character, named Al, who can walk, run, duck and jump throughout the seventeen levels of the game.[6] In combat, Al can punch and kick in order to attack enemies.[10] In addition to the melee attacks available, the main character has access to an arsenal of special powers that requires the input of a special button combination on the controller. Using a special power will drain his life force meter, and different special powers use different amounts of energy.[11] Several of Al's special powers will fire projectiles, but the main character can also teleport as well as use a special power that completely refills his life force meter. Also, the main character's health can be replenished by collecting a special item dropped by one of the end-of-level bosses when defeated.[5] The game is over when the life meter is fully depleted, or the in-game timer runs out.[12][13]

An unlimited continues system allows the player to keep playing the same level even if all lives are lost.[14] Also, a password feature allows the player to stop playing a level and continue later. However, the amount of life left in the life force meter will not replenish by the use of a password.[15]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 61.27%[16]
Review scores
Publication Score
EGM 6.125/10[17]
Nintendo Power 3.325[7]
Next Generation 1/5 stars[18]
Super Power (FR) 81% [3]
Total! (DE) 3+ out of 5[6]
Super Play 56% [5]

Todd McFarlane's Spawn: The Video Game received mixed reviews. The graphics, animations and music were praised by critics. However, a reviewer from the German Video Games magazine noted that the graphics and sounds were good for a 16-bit system, but relatively low quality compared to the graphics shown on 32-bit consoles. Several reviewers thought that the gameplay neither was innovative nor varying enough. Also, some reviewers considered the special moves too difficult to perform. On the other hand, the special moves available was seen as one of the highlights of the game. In addition, critics from GamePro and the French video game magazine Super Power liked that the game was faithful to the comics. Others, however, found the game unsatisfying even in this regard; Andrew Baran of Electronic Gaming Monthly said it "doesn't really have the feel of the comic", and all but one of the magazine's four-person review crew judged the game to be mediocre, citing a good variety of special moves but slow character movement and an excessive number of cheap hits, especially when fighting Anti-Spawn.[17] A reviewer for Next Generation was even more condemning: "Suffering from problems with just about everything, a lack of speed, poor play control, and lousy graphics, this completely generic attempt at a videogame is less enjoyable than a skin rash."[18] Still, most reviewers recommended the game for fans of the comic book series.[c]

Notes[edit]

^ "Since Spawn is one of the hottest comic book properties available /.../",[19] "Spawn is the hottest-selling comic-book series since the X-Men.",[13] "Hierzulande ist er eher unbekannt, in den Vereinigten Staaten hat "Spawn" eine große Fangemeinde."[6]

References[edit]

^ Reference group b [3] [5] [6] [13]

^ Reference group c [3] [5] [6] [7] [13] [19] [20]

  1. ^ a b First screen displayed in Todd McFarlane's Spawn: The Video Game, North American and European version: "ACCLAIM ENTERTAINMENT, INC. PRESENTS SPAWN ™ AND © 1995 TODD McFARLANE PRODUCTIONS, INC. © 1995 SONY ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING COMPANY ALL RIGHT RESERVED DISTRIBUTED BY ACCLAIM ENTERTAINMENT, INC. LICENSED BY NINTENDO".
  2. ^ a b c d In-game credits for the North American release of Todd McFarlane's Spawn: The Video Game.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "The Spawn". Super Power (FR) (in French). SUMO Éditions (37): 42–43. November 1995. 
  4. ^ "Super NES Games" (PDF). Nintendo of America, Web Archive. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "UK Review: Todd McFarlane's Spawn". Super Play. Future Publishing (40): 42–43. February 1996. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Spawn". Total! (DE) (in German). X-Plain Verlag: 32. April 1996. 
  7. ^ a b c "Now Playing: Spawn". Nintendo Power. No. 80. Nintendo of America. January 1996. pp. 104–105. 
  8. ^ a b Instruction booklet 1995, p. 22.
  9. ^ Instruction booklet 1995, p. 2-3.
  10. ^ Instruction booklet 1995, p. 6-7.
  11. ^ Instruction booklet 1995, p. 9-11.
  12. ^ Instruction booklet 1995, p. 8.
  13. ^ a b c d "Spawn: The Video Game". GamePro. No. 87. International Data Group. December 1995. p. 102. 
  14. ^ "Next Wave: Spawn". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 97. Ziff Davis. November 1995. pp. 96–97. 
  15. ^ Instruction booklet 1995, p. 4.
  16. ^ "Todd McFarlane's Spawn: The Video Game". GameRankings. Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  17. ^ a b "Review Crew: Spawn". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 77. Ziff Davis. December 1995. p. 41. 
  18. ^ a b "Spawn". Next Generation. No. 13. Imagine Media. January 1996. p. 173. 
  19. ^ a b "Spawn". Game Players. Signal Research (59): 72. December 1995. 
  20. ^ "Batman-Clone: Spawn". Video Games (DE) (in German). Markt&Technik: 107. November 1995. 
  • "Instruction booklet for the North American version of "Todd McFarlane's Spawn: The Video Game" (SNS-A9WE-USA)". Acclaim Entertainment. 1995.