Monday, November 8, 2021

Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage (Super NES / Genesis, 1994)


Man, I loved this game in the 90's. Pay no mind to the rainbow, because this might just be the best LJN game. It's the reason I wanted to see a Carnage movie for decades (now we finally have one and I haven't seen it yet).

The cutscene theme in this game is kinda iconic, and the first track I remember from it. Probably because it's the first thing you really hear, as...

...notorious murderer Cletus Cassady (no relation) is being wheeled into Ravencroft. Would be cool to see Marvel do their own Arkham Asylum type game with Ravencroft. Maybe the next Spider-Man game, since most of the asylum residents are former foes of Spider-Man.

Cletus is actually Carnage, and his symbiote suit takes over...

...resulting in Hella Death.

Man this game is 1990's AF

As Carnage rampages around, I'm left to wonder if I should have watched the new movie first. In any case, the cutscene stills from this game are really good, and immediately let us know that Carnage can form his arms into knives and slashing weapons.

Carnage stumbles upon his one friend from the asylum, Shriek. I've never heard of Shriek in anything except this game. She's sorta a combination of Harley Quinn and Sindel.

They swoop away to wreak havoc, and we learn here that Carnage is able to swing from high places like Spider-Man.

The asylum also held Doppleganger, this six-armed Spider-Man copy. Man, they are really stealing all of Spider-Man's heat here.

But wait! Here's Spider-Man.

Dr. Evil's Son: "Why don't you just kill them?"

The first stage is the Streets of New York, which are full of trench coat clad peen-flashers. Still only 1/10th as horrifying as NYC under Bill DeBlasio.

The streets also contain this guy who looks like the Jerichoholic Ninja.

My favorite thing about playing this is the way you can swing across the screen to dodge enemies or unleash dropkicks. Nowadays we've got incredible modern Spider-Man games to spoil us, but in the 16-Bit Era this was pretty damn good.

The first boss is this pair of chix. Spider-Man clonks their heads together like Hulk Hogan in the 80's.

While most of this game is a standard beat-em-up, occasionally you have these ill-advised vertical levels where Spider-Man has to dodge beams.

We're also greeted by Carnage's side-piece, Doppleganger, who ALSO can swing from high places. So do all the bad guys have Spider-Man's powers?

Well, Shriek doesn't, at least. She just has the power to fire ENERGY BEAMS.

Doppleganger alone is tough enough, but get used to dealing with him + other villains in gang-beatdowns. This game is DIFFICULT.

Elsewhere, Carnage drops in on Jonah Jameson's office. He wants Jonah to take time out of running hit pieces about Spider-Man's connections with Russia to help find Venom.

After getting blasted off the rooftop by Shriek, our hero is pretty beat-up.

What follows is a brawl with a bunch of large New Yorkers.

Who is this supple miss?

It's Dagger, seen here with Cloak. They rescue Spiderman at this point and warp him elsewhere, since Cloak is able to teleport people by wrapping them up in his cloak and warping.

This leads to Spider-Man recovering in a church, Cloud-style, before being ambushed by the Turks Shriek and Doppleganger.

Speaking of Venom, here he is. Eddie Brock, also known as Disney's Venom.

Man, the artwork in the cutscenes is SO GOOD. That's half the reason I wanted to cover the game at all. The other half...let me get to that.

This artwork makes Carnage and Venom look like the baddest dudes in the Spider-verse. I've never been that into Green Goblin or Spidey's other main antagonists because to me they can't measure up to Carnage and Venom. Though I do like Doctor Octopus, and he's as over as any non-symbiote villain is with me.

Venom now teams up with Spider-Man to battle Carnage. Well, sort of. They're on opposite sides of the country while having the same common enemy. You get different stages depending on which one you choose at any given point.

Venom starts out in San Francisco, where the streets are all diagonal. His movement/attacks are slower than Spider-Man while doing a lot more damage. Personally I find Spider-Man a lot easier to play as, while Venom is more of the "experienced player" character.

Elsewhere, we focus on a completely pristine car roof. I SURE HOPE NOTHING LANDS ON-

-oh too late.

Since this is NYC, there's a good chance that couple will be arrested for vehicular attempted manslaughter for Carnage jumping onto their car. I'll need to check in with Weatherman Andy Dick on this one.

Next Venom has to battle Shriek and Doppleganger together while Carnage looks on creepily. So far he's basically just been the observer while his goons fight.

Suffer a game over, AND YOU WILL, and this is the screen you find yourself at. That's right, the beginning.

Here's the music from the title screen, and I still have PTSD from it. Hearing this was usually accompanied by the crushing weight of failure, and failure was not something a teenage me had much concept of. I wish I could have back 10% of the massive overconfidence I had back then. Probably not any more than 10% though.

Nash: "There is a new member! To Carnage's gang! The new member! Is..."

...Demogoblin, who throws flaming pumpkins. Also if you knock him back, he looks like Kefka's combat model from Final Fantasy VI.

Elsewhere, Venom falls through Spider-Man's roof. Wait, is that Aunt May? Damn, Aunt May.

The good guys sure get beat up a lot in this game. However within minutes they're back to top form, throwing dumpsters at goons in alleyways.

As Venom tangles with a duo of umbrella-wielding pedophiles, I'm forced to face the realization that maybe the good guys should just vacate this area and nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Here's something I remember well, because it's as far as I ever got as a kid: The club scene. You fight Carnage's goons on a dance floor with strobe lights and it's pretty cool. Here we see Venom socking Shriek directly in the face.

After that is the Fantastic Four HQ, which is home to this guard-droid that looks like a refugee from that Ballz game.

I never got past the club fight as a kid, but I did manage to beat this game many years later as an adult by making judicious use of summons. Basically, you farm summons and hoard them for the entire game, then use them against the tougher boss-schmozzes later (the parts where it makes you fight a bunch of bosses at once / in a row).

Noted elevator Cloak teleports in and opens his cloak to reveal Firestar, who is hot as hell, and you can't teach that.

No word on if a sweaty and tousled Dagger also stumbled out of the cloak moments later.

Cloak: "I didn't see NOTHIN."

Spiderman and friends now drop in on Jameson, who is having a very bad day. We've got Black Cat now too.

Elsewhere, Carnage's gang has another new member!



Looks like it's WWE Superstar Karrion Kross!

He's particularly nasty because he hovers around and tries to leech your energy like a Metroid.

Elsewhere, Venom dishes out a stunning Haggar Spinning Clothesline as the endless boss fights with this squad continue. Besides hoarding summons, the other key to victory is to just fight tooth and nail to not lose any lives. Keep everyone at arm's length even if it means running away a lot.

Spider-Man and Venom THROW DOWN after a difference of opinion on how to handle their foes.

Venom's all "why don't we just kill 'em" basically.

Venom proceeds to backhand Spider-Man into oblivion.

But wait! Captain America shows up to lend a hand, which gets us our latest summon (and a few charges of it). Again, don't use it. The summons are extremely damaging.

Carnage captures Venom and dangles him over a bonfire. Wait, is that an INDOOR bonfire? Smokey Bear would be INFURIATED.

"This building is entirely made of wood, moron! Other people live in this forest and we don't need this shit!"

Charlie: "!!!"

Firestar's summon is particularly great because she fires a beam. Firestar movie when?

Captain America shows up to knock out everything onscreen as summon-fest continues. This last street brawl has you fighting all of the bad guys in the game in succession, so this is the time to spam whatever summons are left. As long as there are 2+ foes onscreen at once, you're getting the most out of the summons.

Carnage briefly shows up at the end of the brawl, but it mostly saves him for the final stage...

...the Central Park pond. This is it, your character of choice versus Carnage one-on-one.

This fight is actually pretty gorram difficult in and of itself if you don't have any summons left. He likes to form Knives and Slashing Weapons and just swing them all over the place.

Win that and the game is over, with the Avengers finally getting off their ass and showing up to haul Carnage to justice.

This is still a very cool game, that difficulty though. And the combat is pretty rudimentary. And we have better Spider-Man games in the modern era to say the least. The cutscenes are well worth seeing though.

Oh yeah, the other reason I wanted to cover this, besides the cutscenes: As a kid, I remember talking to other kids at school about this game, and teachers overheard it and complained. They said I was telling other kids about a violent video game (tm) called "Total Carnage". No, it's Maximum Carnage. Like Broly's power level, which everyone knows is Maximum. Well, that didn't stop them from lying and making up bullshit about some fictional Total Carnage thing I was telling the other kids about. Just carnage and death and destruction! And this was pre-1999. I can only imagine how insufferable the anti-video game rhetoric from teachers got in the wake of that one awful event.

Weird thing is, later I found out there actually IS a Total Carnage video game, not that the teachers knew this. Was dat game about, I wonder.

On a lighter note, dat Firestar though.


  1. I feel like Game Genie was made for this game.

    Oh cool, I like Cloak and Dagger.

    Ah yes, "casual attire" Venom.

    Ha, that is Kefka's pose.

    Really hard game, major props for being able to finish it.

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