Spy vs. Spy – XB – Review

It all started
with a simple comic strip. No more, no less, just that, a simple comic strip.
Its crazed antics and unpredictable characters were shunned and beloved by many.
Yet at some point the notion was made to create a game out of these very
characters, and just so, they came to life on the Nintendo Entertainment System.
A few years have passed since the titles glory days, but the black and white
spies are back, and now in 3D. I’ve always been taught that newer equals better,
but alas, this newer version offers a disappointing story mode, stiff-controls,
a hodgepodge of weapons, and a classic mode (a small light within the darkness
of insipidness), all to no avail and little enjoyment.



To start things
off, the game’s multiplayer features (particularly Classic Mode) are definitely
its highlight. To my surprise… Classic Mode is best compared to the game’s NES
predecessor. Four items lay dispersed throughout a number of rooms, and the
first Spy to gather all four key items and escape is the victor. Of course there
is the little matter of traps, a few of which being Buckets of Acid placed upon
doors and Boxing Gloves put within safes. Die, and all your items are lost. Not
necessarily to the other player, but placed randomly within the room’s various
safes; you’d best hope that they’ve all been trapped!


As for the game’s
other modes of play, prepare yourself for a taste of blandness. Story Mode is…
well, you guessed it, a single-player platformer that offers very little
incentive beyond the unlocking of costume fragments. Such costumes fragments can
be worn, matching and/or clashing, within any of the game’s multiplayer
side-games. Story Mode’s gameplay and tale may have been alright a few years
ago…  Back before Sly Cooper and Jak came about, but not any more.  No longer
can clunky controls and an uninteresting plot be over looked. Sit down long
enough, and even the most arduous gamers and MAD fans will become bored.



Regarding the
game’s graphics, there’s little to account for. The spies themselves are due a
small reprieve thanks to their classic appearance, but the majority of the
enemies you’ll be faced against are rigid-looking and disappointingly
uninteresting. The music is simple and rhythmic, which makes out okay for such a
simple game. It’s sad to say, but if you expect too much, you’ll likely be let

It’s hard to believe that it’s been
nearly a decade (1986) since the NES version of Spy vs. Spy was released for the
NES. It brought forth a degree of enjoyment that was hard to come by in those
days. Now those games are a dime a dozen, and newer ones can cost anywhere in
the vicinity of twenty to sixty dollars. Fortunately enough, Spy vs. Spy (Xbox)
does entail a few elements of the original that can be surprisingly fun. After
all, it had all started with a simple comic strip. No more, no less, just that,
a simple comic strip.

Reviewer’s Scoring Details

Gameplay: 5.7
Come one, come
all, dump a pail of acid on your friend’s head and knock ‘em down with a boxing
glove. The game’s controls are a little bit clunky, but due to the characters
limited abilities, they’re easy to get use to. Within fifteen minutes you’ll
know what’s going on, and unless you’re playing with a few friends, you’ll
likely be ready to be done wanting to know what’s gong on. As for the game’s
multiplayer modes, sit down with a bowl of chips, salsa, and a few friends, and
set the style to classic.

Graphics: 6.0
So many colors… I
had thought that everything was supposed to be black on white. Or is that just
us spies? Oh well, no matter I’ll wear a new costume, and you won’t be able to
tell me (Black) from old Whitey.

Sound: 6.0
Rhythmic and
catchy music is always a plus, but a few extra tracks would have extended its
life, delaying the realization of its receptive nature.

Difficulty: Easy
Spy vs. Spy is a
surprisingly simple game, especially if you stick to ranged attacks. Any and all
platform fans should have no problem with the games Story Mode (given you decide
to play it). As for the multiplayer, learn the controls and you’ll do fine. This
game offers little to no mental application, and can be played by practically
any age group.

Concept: 6.5
Traps, traps and
more traps. I need more traps, I tell you! I need a Fire Mine for the filing
cabinet, an Acid Bucket for the doorway, and a 900 lb. Gorilla for the filing
cabinet… You heard me! A 900 lb. Gorilla for the filing cabinet! Don’t worry
about squeezing him in! It’s the only way to finally eradicate White!

Overall: 6.0
Ultimately, what
makes a great game just isn’t offered within Spy vs. Spy. With a few friends (or
online), you may have some fun for a time, but more than likely its clunky
controls and limited offerings will quickly become a bore. Definitely being a
rental, Spy vs. Spy is best seen as a party game, just as it was on the old NES.