Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy
May 11th 2005

Introduction: Mad Magazines loveable black and white spies have been brought to life on the Xbox by Global Star. The devious duo go head to head in this budget title which can be enjoyed by all ages.

The Game: The premise behind Spy vs. Spy is very simple, destroy the other spy. Things haven't changed much from the print version of the comic to the console, or from it's original video game conceptions. Back in 1984 First Star Software released the Commodore 64 version of Spy vs. Spy, and it was one of the most addictive and fun games available at the time. Spy vs. Spy also reached other home computer systems besides the Commodore, and it even stretched to the classic NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) and SMS (Sega Master System). I know all this, because I put many hours into the original. Spy vs. Spy 2: The Island Caper, its sequel was released later which didn't have the same feel as the original, and as I understand a third version was released for the Apple computer system. It's good to see Vicious Circle revisiting the franchise to produce a version that rivals my memory of these classic games.

I was really excited to get my hands on Spy vs. Spy because these two rat-looking trademark characters have always been a highlight of mine from Mad Magazine. One thing is for sure is that these spies know how to have fun! What could be better then ambushing a fellow friend with a bucket of acid? My expectations where slightly lowered knowing this was a budget title, but Vicious Cycle stepped up to the challenge and made a great game following the style of Antonio Prohia's original comics.

The story is rather simple in Spy vs. Spy; stop the other spy from achieving world domination with his doomsday machine. Basically you'll be running around trying to outdo the other spy level by level. Each mission is has a theme, and you'; have to overcome a number of obstacles before your final battle with the other spy. During the game you can use traps and use a wide variety of weaponry to overcome the odds. The levels are straightforward and offer some easy puzzles for you to solve. Keeping it simple is import and you shouldn't have too much trouble on any of the levels.

Graphics & Sound:Spy vs. Spy is exactly what I expected in the graphics and audio department. Spy vs. Spy being a budget title still manages to keep my eyes on the screen thanks to the development teams creativity. The levels are fairly basic in design, but they do have some neat twists. The enemies characters are based on the themes of the levels are very humorous, and the spies have fun little animations. The audio portion only delivers the basics. The spies really don't talk so you're not going to be treated to much more than spy gibberish which is similar to Simglish. The production quality is average, but its works well enough that we don't pop her out of the drive.

Innovation: I've mentioned several times in this review that Spy vs. Spy is purposely a simplistic game, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have a few cool selling features. Innovative? Sure. For one thing the spies have been around forever and I'm surprised no one has copied their cartoon styled sabotage violence before. The multiplayer is where spy gains most of its innovation points because this is the only game where can lay aberrant traps for your friends. The old exploding fist in the safe? The bucket of acid over the door? It's all good, and a lot of fun. Keep in mind that you have to remember where you laid your own traps because they can backfire. Spy vs. Spy doesn't break too much new ground in the gameplay, but it's the concept that wins this one over.

Mojo:What's the dilly with that flying monkey? I guess an explanation isn't needed considering Spy vs. Spy originated in the over the top Mad Magazine, which is still cool and going strong after all these years. The black and white spies have the mojo for sure. I really dug the sabotage feeling the game radiates and it's a great game to hack around in for a while. I loved the spies in print, and they have translated into nice wacky next-gen game. They don't need to speak; all they need to do is sneak!

Lowdown: Spy vs. Spy is a great little game which mirrors Mad Magazine characters perfectly. It's not groundbreaking, but it's fun, and that's the main key to remember. For the low price of Spy vs. Spy is retailing for it's definitely worth the few bucks.

Gameplay: 7, Graphics/Sound: 6, Innovation: 6, Mojo: 7. Final: 6.5

  • Weapons of crass destruction.
  • Unlockable disguises, weapons, and gadgets.
  • Diabolical traps, ridiculous explosive and outrageous hazards.
  • Outwit up to three other Spies via broadband network and split screen options.
  • Unique spy disguises with Mod-A-Spy mode.
  • 5 multi-player game modes. 8 game modes in all.

Spy vs. Spy
Global Star
Vicious Circle
April 2005