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Cult Video Game Essentials: Spider-Man and Venom – Maximum Carnage

Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage is a side-scrolling beat ’em up game for the Super NES and Sega Genesis and Mega Drive, developed by Software Creations and published by LJN (a subsidiary of Acclaim) in 1994.

The game, based on a sprawling comic book story arc of the same name, features numerous heroes, including Spider-Man, Venom, and their allies from the Marvel Universe like Captain America, Black Cat, Iron Fist, Cloak and Dagger, Deathlok, Morbius and Firestar, all teaming up to battle an onslaught of villains led by Carnage, including Shriek, Doppelganger, Demogoblin and Carrion.

The game was followed up by a sequel called Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety.

In this single-player side-scrolling beat ’em up, the player controls Spider-Man and Venom through various levels to stop the supervillain Carnage and his team, as well as hundreds of criminals they inspire in their wake, from taking over the city. The two 16-bit versions are virtually identical.

Other Marvel heroes can be summoned by collecting appropriate items hidden within certain levels. Their effects vary greatly, and some of them have different effects depending on who the player is.
Of note is the rarity and set locations of the power-ups necessary to summon aid, and that each character has a unique set of music to accompany their appearance. In order of appearance: Cloak, Black Cat, Dagger, Firestar, Spider-Man/Venom (depending on the player character), Morbius, Deathlok, Iron Fist and Captain America.
Depending on which character summoned them, the summoned heroes may help out in different ways, usually being more effective for whichever character (Spider-Man or Venom) they favor. For example, if Spider-Man were to summon Morbius, then Morbius would simply glide slowly over the battle, distracting the enemies. However, if summoned by Venom, Morbius would instead viciously attack every single enemy on the screen with an extremely high damage attack, usually killing any enemy that is not a boss instantly.
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