Maximum Carnage

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Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

The MCU is king for superhero movies right now and while Marvel hasn’t been very heavily involved with video games lately, that wasn’t always the case. Back in the 8 and 16 bit eras, Marvel video games were everywhere! Today’s game is one such game that may suggest why Marvel ducked out for a while. Today’s game is Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage, developed by Software Creations and released on the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo in 1994.

The story begins with Cletus Kasady, better known as the super-villain Carnage, escaping from prison and quickly recruiting Shriek and Doppleganger to assist him in defeating Spider-Man and Venom. Spider-Man and Venom must team up once again, despite their history of being at each other’s throats, to defeat this threat and save New York City.

The game is a side-scrolling beat-em-up much like Double Dragon or Streets of Rage. Playing as either Spider-Man or Venom, depending on the level, characters move from left to right in a 2.5D environment. Enemies walk in from the sides and players must defeat them by jumping, punching, and using their webs. Unlike most beat-em-up’s however, Maximum Carnage is only playable in single-player. An odd choice considering the story is perfectly suited for two players and the genre is built on multiplayer.

Maximum Carnage is one of the few games to be designed around an actual comic-book storyline. Most Marvel and DC games up to this point had original storylines or were based on a movie tie-in. Maximum Carnage is based on the Spiderman comic storyline of the same name and the game received some praise for this. However, it wasn’t enough to save it from critics. Many considered it to be bland and the lack of multiplayer was a glaring oversight. The game was missing unique moves beyond the basic combo and a lack of environment obstacles or items made even the hour long playtime feel stretched out.

Maximum Carnage would be commercially successful enough to justify a sequel, Separation Anxiety, but this game would remove the cutscenes and keep the bland gameplay, which would end this series of games.

Thank you so much for listening! Do you like reading about retro video games as much as I do? Then you should check out Old School Gamer Magazine. It’s a physical and digital magazine all about retro gaming, whether it’s retrospective reviews, in-depth articles, or discussions of modern peripherals that every retro gamer needs. To sign up for their completely free digital magazine, go to That’s Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day!

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Devin "Katosepe" Sloane is a long time gamer and host of the show Video Game of the Day. He firmly believes Darklands is the pinnacle of gaming achievement and this is a hill he will die upon. Where his nickname came from is a secret to everybody.