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Over the past few years, Todd McFarlane's comic book series Spawn, has
seen several video game incarnations of itself on the SNES, PS1,
and the Gameboy. However, unlike the great comic book series which
it was based on, none of the games themselves were even close to
being great. Now, Capcom has stepped in to give it a shot at the
Spawn license in the arcades and on Dreamcast with Spawn: In the
Unlike past Spawn games on other consoles, Capcom's version of this
dark hero is a deathmatch based shooter such as games like Quake 3
and Unreal Tournament. Although the gameplay style is pretty similar
to those games, Spawn is not a rip-off and does more then enough to
distance itself from those 2 classics as i'll explain.
For character, you have a good 24 or so of them in there to choose
from the Spawn universe. These characters include Spawn himself,
Spawn 4, Dark Age Spawn, Al Simmons, Clown, Jessica Priest,
Redeemer, Brimstone, Grace, Sam and Twitch. Each character. Each
character starts out with their own unique weapons and special
moves. These weapons include things such are machine guns, pistols,
grenades, swords, axes and land mines. Special moves vary from
character to character and range from mundane looking kicks that
Jessica uses to Spawns ultra cool looking chain attack.
The levels themselves look really well done and the style of art
Capcom used to create them looks very faithful to the series from
what I can see. You'll fight in various locations like an ally,
caves, a forest and a volcano like stage. Levels are a fairly good
size and seem to be on par with the size of most of Quake 3's
levels. In the levels you can also find several different types of
power-up including weapon upgrades, speed boost, increased defense,
life recovery and extra weapons.
Now for the gameplay. Gameplay is pretty similar to Quake 3 or
Unreal Tournament like I mentioned but plays slightly different
depending on the mode your playing in. First in the Arcade Mode
there's the Boss Attack where up to 2 players (split screen) can
fight it out in a level against a boss and his goons. When your in
the Boss Attack your on a set time limit to defeat them. Each time
your character is killed, you loss time. When time is up, its game
Then there's a 1-4 player Team Battle mode where 2 teams fight to
the death. This is probably my preferred mode of play.
Next up is the free for all Battle Royal Mode that can be played
with up to 4 players. Now teams here. Its just everyone for
themselves. This is probably my second favorite mode of play.
Finally there's also a single player Tournament Mode where you can
play Team and Battle Royal Modes in that as well. These are pretty
much the same as the ones found in the Arcade Mode except their a
single player experience and seem to be abit tougher. You also have
to earn special KO points which are needed to advance to further
stages of the game rather then simply killing a boss.
Now, unlike Quake 3, Spawn is set in a 3rd person behind the
shoulder view like in Tomb Raider. While this may look cool, Capcom
unfortunately didn't spend much time and effort on the camera
system. This make running around and tracking enemies far tougher
then it should be. Many times you'll find yourself getting killed
time and time again and you'll never even be able to see what killed
you. This is especially problematic in the Boss Attack mode where
your swarmed with the bosses goons like no tomorrow while trying to
take on the boss. It's really a damn shame Capcom opted not to fix
this problem. You would figure that the programmers would have
realized that this major problem during development.
Now, another big gripe that I have here is the total lack of online
play. Why? Isn't multiplayer online the biggest draw to games of
this type? I mean, the split screen runs ok and all here (despite
the camera problems anyway), but nothing beats full screen when it
comes to multiplayer games. Who wants to play in a tiny scrunched
down box anyway?
Graphics 7: Graphics in Spawn are mighty pretty. The frame rate runs
around a steady 30 frames per second, textures are clean and well
drawn, the environment look fantastic and strait from the comic.
Character models are also very well done and animate very fast and
fluid. Some of the larger boss characters such as Violator look a
slight bit blocky but still very impressive nonetheless. Then there
the final boss Malebogia who looks simply amazing. He's hands down
one of the most impressive looking bosses i've ever seen in a game.
Like I mentioned earlier, the camera is the only real problem with
the games graphics. This has got to be one of the worst camera
systems i've ever seen. If not for it, this game would have easily
scored a strong 8 or 9 in the graphics area.
Sound 8: Another impressive area of the game is the sound. The music
is your typical heavy metal type soundtrack that fits the game
perfectly. Sound effects are very well done too. The one real
complaint I have here is with the voices. There's just really not
many of them here and the ones that are here have sort of a low and
slightly muffled sound to them. Still pretty good job on the sound
Control 7: Grrr this camera. The horrid camera angles make
controlling your character far tougher then it should be. Also, why
won't the game let me use the analog stick to move my character
around? It would have been much better for me then using the digital
D pad. Despite these 2 flaws, the control is pretty responsive and
easy to learn. Again, this would have scored higher if Capcom chose
to fix the camera.
Overall, Spawn: In the Demons Hand is a good game held back from
being great because of the camera. There is simply no excuse for
this except for sloppy programming on Capcom's part. I would have
easily given the game 4 stars if not for the problems. However, I
still found myself drawn to the game despite its flaws. I'd
recommend this game to fans of the genre or Spawn. I just wouldn't
suggest paying over $20 for it.