Spiderman is no stranger to the DS. After several games, Friend or Foe is probably the worst Spiderman title for the system and actually brings a decent level of disgrace to the super hero name.
The plot and opening cinematic is the same as the console versions. While seeing this video on the DS is an impressive feat even though it is heavily compressed, it is a let down that the rest of the game’s cutscenes are displayed with still images.
Spiderman is recruited by Nick Fury to stop the menacing phantoms – robot versions of that black stuff that made Venom. Using a similar co-op theme as the console games, the DS version suffers from lack of hardware power, graphical choppiness, and coding issues.
The game visually looks like it wants to have that comic book flare, but falls very short due to horrible 3D modeling. I understand that the DS has a lot less power under the hood than its console brethren, but there are other DS games that transitioned well into 3D like the Activision published Transformers. The frame rate droppings and terribly animated and modeled 3D characters completely bring this game down and almost make the title unplayable. When idle, Spiderman looks like he has serious back pain issues and when in motion, the frame rate often skips making for a very jumpy gameplay experience.
Using both screens, Spiderman can travel from one screen to another by climbing on buildings or jumping from rooftop to rooftop. However, the transition from one screen to another is so strange, the player has a great possibility of getting lost. This screen movement is not like your typical move-from-the-top-of-the-bottom-screen-to-jump-into-the-top-screen transition either. Instead, the camera zooms and pans to create an inconsistent experience. It is one of those things you have to see to believe.
The rest of the gameplay is pretty cut and dry. Move to point A, maybe save hostage B along the way, and beat villain C. Once the villain is defeated, he joins your team and can fight along side you. Combat is so jerky, I can foresee players putting this game down before the end of level one. Because the animations skip and chug along, gameplay is sent straight to the garbage. And to top things off, the game takes only hours to complete. But to extend the replay value, the game encourages the player to go back and collect worthless items to unlock bonus modes… but why would I want to struggle with the broken combat system anymore than I have to.
Spiderman Friend or Foe contains nothing but broken gameplay and was created to make a quick buck from the ignorant consumer. Everything that is fun about being Spiderman is taken away in this game thanks to the awkward level design and camera movement, the terribly shoddy combat system, and the very dull and inconsistent frame rate and 3D modeling. Turning villains into good guys seems like a neat idea but grows old quickly. If you need to get your Spiderman fix on DS, play the titles that Vicarious Visions created instead. Or play Friend or Foe on 360 and gain some easy Achievement Points.