If you can’t beat them, let them join you. Spidey defeats classic villains then works with them to defeat a resourceful antagonist in Spider-Man Friend or Foe. Black Cat, Doc Ock, Green Goblin, Lizard, Rhino, Sandman, Scorpion, and Venom are just some of the baddies who help the agile web slinger defeat a worldwide threat. The game makers center the action story on a military type group called S.H.I.E.L.D. who recruit Spidey to rid the world of new baddies originating from intergalactic material. Soon Spidey globetrots to locations including Cairo, Tokyo, Transylvania, Nepal, and Indonesia. Players get an auto save option and three save slots to keep their progress intact.
Players earn additional web talents over time, including the ability to shoot projectiles and wrap enemies up. The game keeps a good balance of open ended options and easy navigation. You can’t carry items into some areas but there’s occasionally more than one way to navigate through environments. Players also can’t get knocked off or run off ledges, which keeps the action high and frustration low. Valuable inventory items are acquired after breaking objects and defeating enemies, so the game play moves through the mildly challenging levels quickly, if you like. Once players return to S.H.I.E.L.D. Hellicarrier Headquarters, they can disseminate upgrade funds in several different ways. Predictably, defeating the bosses is a high challenge level requiring players to try different techniques that usually involve avoiding rapid fire weapons or enemies. The versus mode has more limitations than the story mode, plus body throws sans barriers can create some easy wins.
This game could have used a question mark at the end, leaving a wide open field of battle where you weren’t sure if friends were your foes and vice versa. This element could have added some surprise and intrigue to the enjoyable proceedings, plus a constant sense of mild tension. A "spidey sense" slow motion element also could have showcased the fighting more as players could stop and enjoy Spidey’s multi-tasking mayhem. However, using the film trilogy and numerous comic books as source material, Spider-Man: Friend or Foe assembles some classic confrontations as well as "dream" match-ups for players of all ages.
The button mashing combat should fit the standards for most. Many players will also enjoy the foot loose and fancy-free antics of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. No angst ridden themes of responsibility and guilt here. Great voice work and minimal consequences (e.g. when you die you lose a few tech tokens) — a nice casual game you can easily pick up and play. (***, Nintendo DS, PC, PS2, PSP, Wii and Xbox 360 – rated E10+ for cartoon violence)