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Retro Fire

Written: 1.11.07
Acquired: 11.28.06
Status: Cart only
Price: $47.50

Most people know
that four Spider-Man
games, specifically
starring the webbed
wonder, were made
for the SNES

What few know,
however, is this
Super Famicom

Lethal Foes eluded
me for many months.
I never saw a copy
online even once.
Fortunately, a friend
tracked one down
for me in Japan. I
still haven't seen a
copy online myself
to this day

The price was a bit
steep for it being
cart only, but having
searched for several
months, what the hell

Pretty sick-looking cover eh?

Publisher: EpochReleased: 3.17.95
Developer: AgendaScarcity: 4.5


                                    HE'S YOUR FAVORITE...
                                    HE'S MY FAVORITE...
                                    ALL THE KIDS KNOW
                                    HIM AND LOVE HIM.....


Sorry, Spidey. C'mon kids... you know who he is!

Let's try this one more time....


Alright, on with the show... Lethal Foes is a side-scrolling action title featuring nine (short) levels

Because he can cling to any wall he
touches, Spider-Man feels a bit sticky.
Each button is put to use. The web
attack is very small and there seems
to be an odd delay. This is especially
discernible when shooting in mid-air

Still, the web has its moments. Just don't ever use it during boss battles -- it's way too slow leaving poor Spidey ripe for the pickings. The bosses also have a sixth sense regarding
the web shooter. Before he can barely raise his wrist, they're on him like white on rice

The web attack should have been more smooth, but it's effective where speed is not a factor

                                                                                 ALSO IN SPIDEY'S PLAY BOOK

                                        The shoulder buttons
                                        send Spidey to the
                                        air, L for left, R for
                                        right. It's fun to toy
                                        with, but outside of
                                        the first level, you
                                        could get by without
                                        ever using it

Flying Shoulder Tackle

Uppercut Swing

                                     [AreYouConners! -Ed.]

Hang upside down
to avoid hazards
like this poisonous

[I got your poisonous
gas right here! -Ed.]

                                     Crawl under tight spots


                                          The boot never fails

His tendency to cling on
to any surface makes
him a bit sticky at times,
but I guess one could
argue it's more authentic
this way

And to stay trim and fit, take up a light jog

For all the damage he can dish out, he can take a lot in return, too

Lots of characters make a cameo throughout the game -- here's a look at just two

So, it looks pretty alright eh?  Unfortunately, some flaws hamper the experience

  • As mentioned, Spider-Man is a bit sticky. At inopportunate times he can cling to unwanted spots. This results in wrestling with the controller to get him back on track
  • The enemy roster is lacking in both quantity and quality. It's a huge missed opportunity
  • The timer forces the player to rush through the levels, giving one little time to enjoy the various sights and sounds. The levels are short to begin with, so the timer only makes the game that much shorter. The timer doesn't reset when you meet up with the boss, so you REALLY have to rush through the levels, or else pay the penalty of the timer expiring. It's lame if you ask me
  • The boss battles are of the "mindless press attack rapidly" variety. I was quite disappointed with the lack of imaginative and stimulating boss fights. On the higher difficulty levels the AI is ridiculously cheap

Speaking of the bosses, here's the first five






The levels contain your standard fare cliches seen in many other action titles. The portal set pieces in level 3-2, however, displayed the kind of absorbing creativity I was hoping the rest of
the game would have

Here you must kick the switch to activate the door above. Be quick about it -- the door doesn't stay open for long

A second portal soon appears

Spider-Man is no dummy. His spider senses inform him this second portal is unlike the first harmless one. And he's right. Come into contact with the second and you're whisked right
back to the first one

Granted, this is nothing new, but it's these cool little moments that I find really enjoyable in
these sort of games

My favorite level was the 2nd one... it's a sewer maze containing many passages. Some are dead-ends with money or health bonuses. Others are dead-ends with enemies. The rest take you towards your goal of reaching the exit. Because of the open-ended chaotic nature of the sewer stage, the game was a lot more thrilling, interactive and gratifying

This was also the only stage where I didn't mind
the time limit. It made it that much more of an adrenaline rush. For the other stage designs, the timer didn't work for me and just ended up pissing me off

It's a real shame, then, that the game's level design fluctuates so wildly. To me, a great game has a brilliant, engaging, captivating design throughout, but especially moreso as the game progresses. Well, I don't know what happened here, as some levels in LETHAL FOES make you cheer quietly in your seat, others have you scratching your head wondering if the developers just wanted to pack up and head on home early

For example, in the later stages (not shown) Spider-Man goes through a park. It's all linear, keep walking right, beating up the odd villain here and there, and finally it's the boss. And it's yet another "punch him rapidly" boss affair. What gives? Why is one level so fun, like the Sewer, and the next so dull, like the Park? Due to the dramatic swing of the pendulum, you wonder what could have been had ALL the levels been as indulging as the Sewer

Therefore, I think you all know where I'm going with this. It's a mixed deal. You take the good with the bad. In the end though there were JUST ENOUGH cool cheer-out-loud moments that made it worthwhile

Still, you wish the developers were more consistent in their efforts

                             CLOSING THOUGHTS

                             "The best 2D Spider-Man
one guy once said 

                             I'm not as impressed

                             Agenda could have fleshed
                             certain ideas much better;
                             pushing the envelope to
                             keep the player enthralled.
                             More frames of animation,
                             more imaginative boss fights
                             and just more, more, more

But for all the negative points I raised, I like LETHAL FOES. It doesn't break any new ground,
but it plays well enough to be enjoyable

If you're a casual gamer though, there are so many action titles out there that are better AND easier to find... so LETHAL FOES shall go under the "For diehard fans and collectors" file

All things considered, I have no regrets dropping $48 on it, but others might