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     " ...while you'll certainly be entertained by a few hours of mindless violence it'll get old quickly. "

      Title: Spawn: Armageddon by Namco

      Format: Xbox action game

      Reviewing Monkey: Our Ape Masters

      The Hype: The comic book equivalent of John Romero, Todd McFarlane has pimped his wares in just about every way imaginable. But given that some of his properties have some real potential, like this review's subject Spawn, we remain cautiously optimistic that Namco can make turn ego into a killer action/shooter. But is that hoping for too much? Read on and find out.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: The first few seconds of Spawn will likely strike you as a very pleasant bit of eye candy. Why only the first few seconds? Because after that you'll quickly begin to notice the myriad of flaws in the games graphic design. Textures are hokey and shallow, environments and objects repeat far too often, and though little details are often noteworthy, the overall experience will leave you wanting a whole lot more. Though not shameful or embarrassing by any stretch Spawn does little to capitalize on the Xbox's capabilities and will leave you wanting a whole lot more. 3 out of 5

      Playability: Essentially a 3rd person action game, Spawn draws pretty heavily on other games in the genre (namely Devil May Cry) to create what it wants to be a smooth playing gore fest. Unfortunately, while on paper play seems intriguing, in practice it's just too little too late to make the game interesting. At its heart play is functionally little more than a button mashing mid-level arcade experience, though the possibilities will make you hope there's something more. The game progresses with Spawn marching through level after expansive level, grabbing goodies, using magics, and generally whupping ass. At his disposal are a ton of modern arms, his trademark axe and chains, and some of his hell-channeled abilities…all equally designed to make the enemy dead. Unfortunately, as you will quickly learn, one weapon is very much like the next and in the end little more is required for successful play than pulling up a target and mashing the attack button. Whether with axe, chain, or machinegun, the lackluster AI and mediocre design won't trouble you for more than a few seconds and you'll tear through this game like a hellspawn through rice paper. Equally unrewarding is the attack combo and special move systems, which tend to suffer from overly precise button requirements and difficulties in aiming. And while you'll certainly be entertained by a few hours of mindless violence it'll get old quickly. 3 out of 5

      Story and Drama: Oddly, Namco seems to have started to make the murmurs of putting a story in place, and one that befits the depth of the Spawn universe, but then falls horribly short. The game begins with two major situations befalling our hero-he's both harassed by demons accidentally released from hell by angels and by a super soldier created by his earthly nemesis. Unfortunately, as good a start as that may be, the story is flagged through a complete and total lack of development. A bit of a briefing and some quick in game cut scenes are all you'll get to only give you the slightest taste of what should have been a much deeper offering. 2.75 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: No multiplayer may not surprise (though did disappoint), but what really shocks is how incredibly short this game is. Even on the hardest difficulty, if you're taking more than six or seven hours to maul through Spawn you're unquestionably slacking off. And while some bonus unlockable comic-related stuff may be incentive for the die hard to keep playing, if you're only an idle fan there won't be much to bring you back. 2 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       Mediocre and uninspired, Spawn: Armageddon does little to separate itself from the myriad of other mindless action games out there. Its dull mindless play and near storyless telling doesn't do anything to make good on the license it has, either.

      The Good: Lots of violence.

      The Bad: That won't keep you entertained for long.

      The Overall Ugly: If you're really interested give it a rental…that'll let you start and finish it in an afternoon.

      What it's Worth: Rental

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