Spawn: Armageddon
Game Info
Platform(s)
GC, PS2, Xbox
Publisher
Namco
Developer
Namco Hometek
Genre
Action
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
 
Grade
The Good

• Solid voicework
• Lots of familiar touches that draw upon the comics

The Bad

• Repetitive music
• Combat lacks depth
• Graphics could use more detail

 
Grade
C+

Ever since Todd McFarlane and Namco struck a deal to have the famous comic artist do some work on the multiplatform release of Soul Calibur II, we knew it would only be a matter of time before Todd's own Spawn would show up in a Namco developed title. In Spawn: Armageddon, the story starts out with Spawn watching over the city as a wave of green energy strikes, filling the city with demonic hordes. This of course, leads Spawn into slaughtering his way to familiar locations to find out what exactly is happening.

Most may initially compare Spawn: Armageddon with the likes of Devil May Cry, and while those comparisons are not too far off, there are enough elements to set Spawn apart. Weapons-wise, Spawn uses his axe, Agony, with the X Button and an assortment of ranged weapons with the B Button. Using the D-Pad, players can switch between Pistols, a shotgun, miniguns, sub-machine guns and even Spawn's own chains. To lock on to enemies, players need to hold the R Button. Spawn also has at his disposal the use of Hell Powers, which can be used by selecting the power with the D-Pad and pressing the Y Button. These powers include explosive balls, a laser-like beam and enhanced speed.

Other gameplay mechanics include the ability to jump, double jump and even glide with Spawn's cape using the A Button. There will also be places which the focus is more on platforming elements. In these locations, you'll often see blue circular icons which turn yellow when you can shoot Spawn's chains at them to pull yourself up to that location. Spawn also has the ability to wall jump, bouncing from once wall to another. For those familiar with another Namco title, I-Ninja, these moves will feel very familiar.

Defeated enemies and destructible items in the environment will yield ammo, health and necroplasm powerups and souls, which can be traded in between missions for more ammo, health and necroplasm bonuses and even to level up Spawn's weapons. Much like Wolverine's Revenge, Spawn can locate hidden comic books throughout each stage, but these are really only for collection purposes rather than to offer up alternate costumes.

Graphically, the game engine serves to be functional, though I wish there was just a little bit more there. Levels have a good bit of size and sport a fair bit of detail. Textures are good on their own, even if a bit repetitive, but I wish they just had a wider range of tone. A lot of the locations tend to be washed in the same tonal scale. In other locations, like Wynn's office level, there's more than enough color and texture detail variety to make things interesting. Also, the lighting effects and location lighting are good, but could be more impressive. Games like Devil May Cry and Otogi have shown what an impressive game world can do for a game such as this. When it comes to character design and models, most of the ones drawn from the comics are pretty good and Spawn himself sports some familiar poses, but the legions of demons you fight tend to get repetitive in design.

When not in battle, the music is fairly low-tone and ominous. Once battle kicks in, the music switches to an antiseptic heavy metal that could charge up battle if it wasn't so repetitive. Sound effects are pretty dead on and work well to give life to the various weapons and legions of demonic monsters. My only beef with the sound effects is that too many of them sound like they were pulled straight out of Devil May Cry. The voicework for the story sequences is actually not bad, on par with most cartoons, and really helps give life to the game.

I won't kid you when I say that Spawn: Armageddon just feels like it needs something more. What the game gives you in terms of abilities is a great start but after a while may leaving you wanting more. Especially when it comes to Spawn's physical attacks with his axe. Yeah, they can get old pretty quickly, especially when certain enemies tend to block your ranged attacks. If the game had featured some special attacks, not unlike what's found in Devil May Cry, I think combat in Spawn would have proved to be more interesting. On top of that, enemy AI is pretty weak. Most enemies won't act too aggressively and can be wiped out from a distance while you casually sidestep their attacks.

For an action title featuring Spawn, this game will please the die hard fans as it's quite playable and features a lot of familiar names and faces. On its own, it's not in the top tier of action games and could have used something more in the way of depth, but if you want to play as Spawn, this is your best bet outside of the Xbox version of Soul Calibur II.

- - Vane

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