Top 100 SNES Games: #32 – Spider-Man & Venom: Maximum Carnage (1994)

Hurts The Mind and Fingers.

A unique use of repetitive challenges that tests the human spirit.

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A city perilous with fraughts: an umbrella wielding citizen.

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #32/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

A superhero beat-em-up game shouldn’t be hard to pull off: make the rewards equal the challenges, give some nice tight control over the superhero, and provide a nice array of combos. Simple.

I guess if you were to make it insanely difficult, have poor control over the character, and make combat moves suicidal and random, it could affect the quality of experience. Oops.


It’s based on a 14-part comic book released in 1993. The phrase alien symbiote is used rather frequently. The story only appears in cut scenes between nondescript locations such as “Alleyway” and “Rooftop.” Nothing really matters.

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Stacey assumed her 90s afternoon would be filled with dunk-a-roos and slap bracelets. She was wrong.


 I can’t think of a more archetypal side-scroller-beat-em-up game than this. While it receives high marks for having all the expected, fundamental tropes of the genre, it fails to do some very basic things right:

  1. It’s too damn hard. The evolution of gaming is similar to ours as a humankind; the beginnings were a meager existence that slowly climbed out from a primordial mud (aka – the NES). No longer is a game required to be prohibitively difficult to boost its replay value. This game, instead of being an evolution, is a return to one-hit deaths, tricky acrobatic maneuvers, and unjust sequences.
  2. It’s unfair. You never quite feel secure playing this game — there is no solid connection between your actions and the outcome. You could be in the middle of a majestic series of melee combos to only be sadistically wiped out by a man with an umbrella or the club of an obese man. The aplomb of your ability matters little here and more on a random series of AI calculations.
  3. The controls suck. Sometimes you get stuck running in a direction and can’t stop. Many of the combos don’t have a reason for appearing, which wouldn’t be such a big deal except one of them is when you lift an enemy off the ground, opening your flanks to easy hits. In one battle against a mob with umbrellas (when it’s not even raining mind you), I had a series of misfortunes where I would pick one up with the other one spearing me in the back. I couldn’t stop picking them up,
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Muzzoid requires 41 hits to die (I looked it up). You only require one.

The enemies are too hard, the bosses impossible, the fighting unimaginative, the narration poor, the story insignificant, and the gameplay repetitive. I’m not sure how this game cracked the top 50 of the best SNES games given how much there is to dislike.


The beat-em-up genre on the SNES was like reality TV of today — cheap to produce and hard to get wrong. Maximum Carnage proves that we should delight in those who successfully create kitsch because it’s harder than it looks.

Other People’s Take:

  •  Just Games Retro: “Those are the highlights, but the list of disappointments is just as long.”
  • Big Comic Page: “Potentially, this game could have been amazing, as it DOES have a decent atmosphere to it and that’s a hard thing get right, but it’s nothing more than a lazy run-of-the-mill brawler, that encourages, nay invites boredom to set in quite quickly.”

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