Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Spawn: The Eternal (1997) - Hourglass review

During the mid to late nineties, comic icon and entrepreneur, Todd Mcfarlane was pushing his character Spawn to become the next big household name. This period resulted in broad mediums being covered, some successfully such as the HBO (Bravo in the UK) late nigh animated serial and some less successfully; i.e. the field from which Spawn: The Eternal rears its cowl of crap.

Following the mistake of placing this game in your system, the "plot" is revealed in a brief opening. Here, all the elements of 90s adolescence are on display. Grave, fire, cape, bats, cape more cape, Spawn and all encompassed by a theme ripped off from the movie Cape Fear. You may assume this would be a game involving steady amounts of cape; however you would be wrong, very wrong. In fact, this game is so far isolated from what one would want from the hero, villain or majestic cape genre that you could bury it in the artic prior to leaving orion's belt for a distant alien planet inhabited by talking bongo drums only to be find yourself less remote by comparison.

The game begins in the fiery pits of graphical hell, and this is where the fun begins. Should you decide to do something revolutionary, such as turn left, Spawn cranks over to the corner with all the charisma of a block of wood while the camera stares after him in frozen, utter, miserable disbelief. The camera, perhaps knowingly, simply refuses to follow you on your quest and will only budge if either A: You collide head first with it, whereupon it  shuffles behind you and refuses to move ever again or B: you find an opponent and enter combat, which fixes it to the side allowing more than a guess at just what in the whole of hell is going on.

Should you get him to turn around, you will be delighted to know Spawn contains approximately three colours and resembles a structurally unsound Jenga tower bounded together by dying opium addicts.

   elementary, my dear Watson.

Once this monstrosity leaves hell, in a manner faithful to the animated seres, by galevantic through some automatic doors, you are transported to a subway containing his mortal enemies: white man with sunglasses and black man with ‘tash.

The state of combat goes something like this: black man with ‘tash moves forward, Spawn moves forward, black man with ‘tash moves closer toward him, Spawn moves closer toward him, following this both spam kick repeatedly until the winner is decided. Punches can be used, however they hold no range and any spells used will deplete the power meter making Spawn keel over and die. As the kick is all you will need to complete this game, I wouldn’t worry about it at all and just enjoy the dynamite feel of that action button whilst lamenting all disillusionment knowing you are involved in some horrid 3D equivalent of Rock ‘em Robots.

"fear my foot, you tashy mistake!"

Realising all too soon these challenging feats could barely contain the sheer levels of fun, the developers include complex puzzles such as unlock gate using gate key! These along with special items are found by a painstaking traversal of each level while the camera, still frozen in shocked awe, observes you scrambling to locate boxes and bins. By tapping investigate, Spawn kicks out like an angry baby, naturally, making the bin explode. You will envy his rubbish disposing abilities.

Fun 1/5 This game perfectly recreates the excitement of a homeless man wandering through his own private purgatorial hell.

Graphics 2/5 Spawn and his enemies have never before looked so hellish, so grim, so gobsmackingly bad.

Longevity 5/5 There is no more apt a title than “The eternal” there are four stages in this game and you'll struggle to find a wasted day where you're crazy enough to play through a single one of them.
Endpoint 2/5 Spawn stands as a monument to the philosophy that medium crosses are predestined for eternal failure by representing the very foundations on which to design a bad game. 

Hourglass Recommends:
Batman: Arkham City (2011), Shadowman (1999), Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (1999).

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