Howdy, retro gamers and welcome back to The Last Official Release – the premium source on the internet of information concerning the last official releases for your favourite consoles. “Premium” is, of course, a matter of taste, but it’s a blistering 41°C (105.8°F) where I’m tip-tap-iting this column out currently, and I think I’m getting a bit delirious and talking myself up more than deserved. I found out today that the A/C in my home only spits out warm air (this is the first time I’ve turned it on since moving in 6-months ago) and that my trusty pedestal fan has become all but useless since last summer. I could go out and buy another one, but I’ll likely melt into the sidewalk meaning no The Last Official Release for you.
Today is not a good day to own a leather computer chair.
Phew. Okay. I’m quite relieved to have that out of my system. I can now sweat bullets content in the fact that I’ve at least unleashed a big whinge onto the internet. Sorry, but it was necessary. We can now proceed.
Readers of previous entries might remember when I covered the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. That departed with Frogger in 1998, but what about the 32X? For the uninformed, the 32X was a 32-bit add-on (released in 1994) for the Genesis intended to make it competitive with consoles like the Atari Jaguar until Sega successfully rushed out the Sega Saturn. Releasing 6-years after the Genesis, it naturally included specs of the time, including two CPU’s that were, of course, 32bit, as well as an additional processor for 3D graphics.
Unfortunately, it was a commercial failure. This was due to poor third-party support (most titles were enhanced ports from the Genesis and thus not using its full potential) and the fact that the Sega Saturn was already announced. A lot of consumers understandably saw no point in purchasing something like the 32X when an entirely brand-new console was on the horizon. While the Saturn had problems of its own (which I won’t get into) it saw release in North America in 1995. The 32X was discontinued in a timely matter only a year later.
A total of forty games were released for the add-on, with the vast majority being released in 1994 and 1995. So vast in fact, that only one title was released in 1996. Logically, that’s our last official release.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Web of Fire is incredibly apt for me right now since it’s so bloody hot (okay, enough – I promise). It was developed by BlueSky Software and published by Sega towers – however, it was released after Sega had announced that they were canning the 32X so sadly for the Spidey, this game didn’t quite see the largest release. A knock-on effect of that means that Web of Fire is now quite rare and goes for large sums of money when it does pop up. As of writing, there is one complete listing on eBay and that’s for $800. Yikes.
So, what of the game its self? Well, the story goes that a terrorist group called HYDRA have placed generators all over Manhattan that produce a grid of friken-LASERBEAMS over the city because, well, I dunno. Regardless, the city turns to chaos. For some reason, they also kidnap that lovable scamp, Daredevil so it’s now up to you, as the Spider-Man, to sling around, beat up some goons and save Manhattan and, I guess, Daredevil.
The gameplay is simple platformer/beat ‘em up fair, although you have the added advantage of your spiderweb hands. Here’s a gameplay video, but be warned, the audio is awful:
I’m not sure if it’s because the footage might be from an emulator and there’s an error, but it hurts. Regardless, it seems like an okay game – although one I could definitely imagine seeing on the Genesis. It doesn’t appear like a 32-bit game at all – and that was the whole issue with the 32X’s game library in a nutshell.
Previously, on The Last Official Release:
3DO – Creature Shock (1996)
CD-i – Solar Crusade (1999)
Atari Lynx – Super Asteroids & Missile Command (1995)
N-Gage – Civilization (2006)
Fairchild Channel F – Alien Invasion (1981)
Atari Jaguar – Worms (1998)
Virtual Boy – 3D Tetris (1996)
Sega Saturn – Undefined Japanese Game (2000)
Intellivision – Spiker! Super Pro Volleyball (1989)
Super Nintendo Entertainment System – Metal Slader Glory: Director’s Cut (2000)
Sega Genesis – Frogger (1998)
Sega Master System – Mickey’s Ultimate Challenge
Game & Watch – Mario the Juggler
PS1 – Schnappi: 3 Fun-Games
N64 – Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3
Game Gear – The Lost World: Jurassic Park
NES – The Lion King
Atari 2600 – Klax
Game Boy – Shikakei Atama o Kore Kusuru: Kanji/Keisan no Tatsujin
Dreamcast – Karous