186. Spawn

Spawn (1999, Game Boy Color) by Konami

Current Any% Leaderboard (speedrun.com)


–Spawn (Game Boy Color)
-Spawn: Armageddon (PlayStation 2)
-Todd McFarlane’s Spawn (SNES)
-Spawn: The Eternal (PlayStation)
-Spawn: In the Demon’s Hand (Dreamcast)

Some franchises become lost in the licensed game limbo of bad publishers, such as Ubisoft, EA, LJN, or Ocean.  Those unfortunate entities that never seem to catch a break, never able to get the competent developers to give them a fair shake.  Spawn is not one of them, actually getting some really nice backing from a number of different game studios.  And the legendary (well, at the time) game house Konami made Spawn for the Game Boy Color, so how could they fu- oh… this is Konami of America?

I… am concerned…

This game, for what it is worth, looks and sounds AMAZING for the Game Boy Color.  Chiptunes slap and hit hard with catchy riffs and great melodies.  The graphics are bright, with big sprites and fluid animation, and even some parallax scrolling.  This game’s presentation plays the part, and you look at it and think to yourself, it can’t be bad… can it?

Well, for starters, you probably forget about the controls.  And oh boy, are these controls special.  They’re not bad per sé; they are reactive and there isn’t any lag.  However, dropped inputs are just the icing on this cake; in Spawn, you get to deal with the amazing momentum-based jumping that made Kid Kool so wonderful.  Fortunately, the platforming isn’t quite that bad, but that’s not saying much.  It made for a frustrating experience in a speedrun-sense, as every missed jump was a big time loss.

The speedrun itself is as straightforward and vanilla as they come, almost to a fault.  There’s little RNG to speak of, and there’s practically zero routing options or speed tech to speak of.  This is simply ‘hold right and jump when you need to, rinse and repeat’.  Unlike other games like this, such as Super Mario Bros. or Batman, this game presents little challenge, making it more of a chore of frustration when you mess up, than you feeling like you got beaten by the game.

It’s not a bad game, and honestly, it’s not a terrible speedrun.  It’s just not a good one.  If you try this one out, you too will see why there were only 3 times on the leaderboard when I picked this one up.  Only hardcore Spawn fans and Game Boy speedrunners need apply.

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