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Talking Spider-Man: Friend or Foe on DS with developer A2M

Why Spidey has been specifically designed for Nintendo's handheld

Product: Spider-Man: Friend or Foe | Developer: Behaviour Interactive | Publisher: Activision Blizzard | Genre: Action, Film/ TV tie- in | Networking: wireless (adhoc)
For: DS   Also on: PSP
Spider-Man: Friend or Foe DS, thumbnail 1
As we reported back in July, everyone's favourite sticky web slinger will soon be the star of another DS and PSP game, Spider-Man: Friend or Foe.

Interestingly, with no film plot to follow Canadian developer Artifical Mind & Movement (aka A2M) has been let off the leash to come up with an intriguing game in which Spidey teams up with various characters, including both superheroes and supervillains, such as arch enemies Sandman and the Green Goblin.

It's amazing the differences you can sort out over a curry after a pint or three down the pub.

We caught up with associate producer, Carlos Rodriguez, of A2M to talk about the game, and find out why we should be excited about this bold and daring new Spider-Man digital adventure.

Pocket Gamer: Can you reveal a little about the storyline?

Carlos Rodriguez: Spider-Man is hanging out in New York and gets ambushed by Doc Ock, Green Goblin, Sandman and Venom. Just as things are about to get bad, New Goblin swoops in on his Sky Stick to lend Spidey a hand.

Once Spidey and New Goblin have everything under control, strange creatures appear and kidnap everyone via teleportation. As the creatures converge on Spidey, Nick Fury appears in the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier and transports Spidey to safety.

Nick Fury then sends Spider-Man across the world to find out what the creatures are and who is behind the kidnapping of the villains.

Will the game be structured into levels or does it follow a more free-roaming approach?

The game is structured into four different levels that take place in real-world locations. Spider-Man and his sidekicks get to leave New York for a change.

How do the DS controls will work? Have you tried to simplify them for the younger audience Friend or Foe seems to be aimed at?

The Spider-Man: Friend or Foe DS controls are simple so that anyone can pick it up and play. We wanted a more traditional controls system being that the title is aimed at the 8-12 market.

The DS touchscreen is used in puzzles and mini-games (like lock picking). The game does feature local co-op multiplayer through DS wireless (not Wi-Fi Connect). Each player will need to have their own copy of the game to take advantage of this feature. We don't use the microphone in the game.

What about the DS's dual-screen layout – is that something you've capitalised on?

We wanted to make sure that we took advantage of both screens of the DS during gameplay. This gave us the opportunity to not only display the ground and rooftops at the same time, but for gameplay to take place in both high and low areas.

When using both screens for 3D, we actually have two 3D cameras tracking the levels. In the case of boss levels, you will notice that some bosses (like Green Goblin) have their own 'Boss Cam', which allows the player to keep an eye on his actions and know when he's changing his tactics.

When thinking about the game's co-op element, did you have any other games in mind that you were striving to match in terms of quality?

We looked at a lot of different games when coming up with the concept for Spider-Man: Friend or Foe. We looked for things like humour, ease of play and co-op experience. Through our research we were able to identify the features that we wanted to bring to the game.

With the co-op mode enabling two to play through the single-player game, can we expect specifically designed two-player missions or modes?

When playing single-player, Spider-Man's sidekick will be controlled by artificial intelligence but the player can switch between Spidey and the sidekick with just the press of a button. When playing co-op, the second player will control the sidekick. We designed the game around Spider-Man and a sidekick saving the world together.

How do you recruit a character onto your team and what special abilities do they give the player?

Spider-Man: Friend or Foe
for the DS features seven playable characters from the Spider-Man universe (including Spider-Man). I don't want to give too much away but the storyline explains the reasoning behind why the villains are willing to team up with Spider-Man and how he convinces them to join his team. Each of the characters has their own unique special moves that can be used during combat.

Finally, what differences should we expect between the DS and PSP versions of the game?

The DS version of Spider-Man: Friend or Foe was built from the ground up to take advantage of the dual screens and touchscreen, while the PSP version uses assets from the console versions and looks and plays more similarly to those versions.

The DS and PSP versions were developed by Artificial Mind and Movement, while the console versions were developed by Next Level Games.

Our thanks to Carlos for his time.
Spider-Man: Friend or Foe will be released on October 12th for both DS and PSP.

Reviewer photo
Kath Brice 26 September 2007
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