Spy vs Spy PS2 Review

Spy vs. Spy… what’s all that about then? I will admit I never knew anything about Mad Magazines and the oh-so-cool black and white spies before playing this game. After playing the game and searching a few sites for info on the whole Spy vs. Spy craze the one thing that kept popping into my head was “why has there not been that many games made about these little guys” and the more I thought of it the more perfect it seems for a madcap game in the virtual universe. Well now, for the first time since their appearance on the Sega Master System, NES, Commodore 64 and some weird Apple machine I can’t remember Global Star Software have attempted to bring Spy vs. Spy kicking and screaming into the 21st centaury! Do they succeed?

The premise behind Spy vs. Spy is very, very straightforward. The only task the game sets you is to destroy the other spy. It can’t get any simpler that that! The sad fact is that although this format worked well in other “party style” games and seemed to work well with the other games in the Spy vs. Spy series it just doesn’t work too well here. Far too many big mistakes have been made and the game suffers because of it.

As you would expect for a budget title the games does not give you too many options to mess about with. There’s a single-player adventure available but it is broken beyond belief and a chore to play. There is next to no AI in the game and the layout of areas is just downright confusing. At times the game gives you no clues about what to do next and you are left walking around wondering what to do. All you really do is run around the place opening safes then set a trap which will hopefully catch other spies. Then you can buy extra weapons, and look for some items and escape before the other spies you are playing against. It sounds fun but it clearly isn’t and starts to grate on your nerves after a few minutes of play.

Want more? Well it just gets worse as we go on. There’s a classic mode available but it just strips down an already terrible game to make it that bit more awful. Then there are the multiplayer options which do not help to raise the game’s appeal in any way, you can opt for deathmatch or last man standing but neither of them are a whole lot of fun to play. In fact the whole game is just bloody annoying and makes you wonder why anyone would release this in the state it is in?

The graphics are also a big mistake as they do nothing to take advantage of the licence. If you look at some of the art used in the comics it is obvious that the charm they had is lost in the game. It should have been possible for the company to use some form of cel-shading to keep Spy vs. Spy identifiable with its source material but instead they have gone down the polygon route and the game suffers greatly because of this. An awful lot of the surfaces in the game are overly shiny and have too many pointy angles. At times the presentation just looks totally shambolic. I am usually not in favour of cel-shading in games (it is highly over used) but it would have worked wonders for the appeal of this title. The sound effects and music also grate on anyone’s ears in the vicinity of your TV.

For any of you guys and gals that loved the older Spy vs. Spy games of yesteryear then this title will be a truly heartbreaking experience if you choose to pick it up. If you are not a fan of Spy vs. Spy and just want to pick this up because it is a budget title to pass the time then you are also in for a disappointment. In all honesty the only way I could recommend this tile to anyone is if they found it in the bargain bin for less than a fiver but even then it may be best to keep your money and save up for something else. It’s a sad thing to say but the best thing about Spy vs. Spy is the cool minimalist boxart as it pays homage to the source material which is something the game itself clearly does not.

1.7 out of 10