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The 5 Best And 5 Worst Venoms In Gaming

Spider-Man is known for having some of the best villains of all time, many of whom have seen their fair share of representation in video games. Considering how big Venom has become, even outside of his dealings with Spidey, it makes sense that he's been featured quite prominently in a number of games. It's safe to say that Eddie Brock and his symbiote pal have become a couple of Marvel's most recognizable figures, along with Venom's other hosts.

Venom has popped up in fighters, platformers, and beat-em-ups, among other genres. Whether he's presented as a one-time boss or a fully playable character, it's usually a highlight to encounter Venom and see the fan-favorite black-suited antagonist wreaking havoc onscreen.

Video games have the power to provide a faithful platform for the original source material to go wild, but some games can also completely desecrate that same material. For every jaw-dropping Venom moment, a cringe-inducing nightmare follows. It's a mixed bag overall, with some accurate portrayals and a few that barely resemble the character at all. An even bigger disappointment is when Venom himself looks great but doesn't play right. With "Marvel's Spider-Man 2" set to feature the infamous anti-hero, it's time to look back at the best and worst Venoms in gaming history.

WORST: Spider-Man: Friend or Foe

"Spider-Man: Friend or Foe" is one of those games featuring neat ideas with poor execution. Taking down iconic bosses and recruiting them as allies seems fun enough, but awful controls and bland combat bring down the Spider-Man entry, and Venom's appearance in the game also suffers.

Venom is playable in the main story and in the game's versus mode, but there's disappointingly little to see in part, since Venom performs the same moves over and over. It can be exciting to pull in projectiles with his webs and toss them back, but it quickly gets old. 

Special abilities aside, even the most common attacks fall flat. IGN's review slammed the game's boring combat, noting the move sets are "very basic" and combos are "nonexistent." Venom's one-two punch is animated well, but like everything else in the game, it eventually becomes a joyless chore.

One noteworthy item, however, is Venom's boss battle. In the comics, Venom is weak against sound, so the web-crawler has to use this to his advantage. In "Friend or Foe," Spider-Man dukes it out against the symbiote in a church, with the main objective being to ring the bells. The developers got a bit creative with the fight, as Venom webs up these bells to make things more difficult.  It's a clever and faithful encounter, and proves to be a silver lining to this subpar version of Venom.

BEST: Disney Infinity 2.0

Although short-lived, the "Disney Infinity" line successfully crossed over a number of properties on consoles. Avalanche Software not only made great figures based on the characters, but also cleverly translated them to gameplay, with Venom being especially well-represented. Some might overlook the game because of its kiddie design, but "Disney Infinity 2.0" is a worthy contender for one of Venom's greatest gaming appearances. The bulky symbiote bears his trademark white spider plastered across his chest, as well as his signature tongue, all in a bright "Disney Infinity" style that complements his weirder characteristics. Luckily, gameplay is just as successful.

Venom's moves are a lot of fun; tentacles fly left and right while attacking enemies. These tactics extend to combo moves and devastating ground slam attacks, and unlike "Friend or Foe," "Disney Infinity 2.0" keeps things interesting by providing skill trees. Players can upgrade Venom's attacks and combos, which heightens replayability. Forbes' review stated that overall, the skill trees and upgrades were "improved" over previous "Disney Infinity" titles.

Web swinging and wall climbing are both available and feel just right; Venom's hefty weight and seamless web swing is somewhat of a combination between Hulk and Spider-Man. It can be addicting just moving around cities with Venom.

It isn't all great, though. A glaring flaw with this iteration of Venom is due to how "Disney Infinity" functions as a game. Because "Disney Infinity" is a less plot-driven sandbox experience, it lacks the high-stakes cinematic cutscenes and battles present in more Marvel-focused games.

WORST: Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects

"Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects" was just one of those games that didn't stick the landing and flopped hard. Arena fighters can be a tough genre to really nail and "Rise of the Imperfects" proves that. Its dark tone seems like a perfect match for a menacing creature like Venom, but somehow it completely flubs the opportunity. 

The game pits the Marvel characters against a new group of enemies called the Imperfects, who are trying to control fan-favorite Marvel heroes with alien devices. During the story, Venom comes in contact with one of these devices. After attaching himself to it he gets a sudden surge of power and a makeover. The brand new design for the antagonist is a welcomed one, with its greenish, almost digitized appearance setting it apart from other symbiotes.

That's about all the praise that can be given to this version, unfortunately. Despite the occasional web ball or web swing move, Venom is just a lifeless fighter in a lifeless game. Yet again, picking up and throwing projectiles is the name of the game, and it becomes redundant. GameSpot noted that "ragged gameplay mechanics and balance issues" didn't help much.

"Rise of the Imperfects" has a simple control scheme, yet fighting is too basic and repetitive. None of Eddie or the symbiote's personality traits or strengths are really put on display, despite an off-the-wall character design spicing things up a bit in the story mode.

BEST: Marvel Ultimate Alliance series

The "Ultimate Alliance" games are for pure fans who want to see all of their favorite heroes and villains in one place, no matter how iconic or obscure. Every one of them is given full attention and faithful power sets. Therefore, the "Ultimate Alliance" series has had a lot to juggle with; the first game featured 24 playable characters, while the third featured a whopping 52. Regardless, Venom lovers will be happy to know that their face character was given justice in not one, but all three "Ultimate Alliance" entries. 

This series pays respects to the antagonist's entire history, with both the Eddie Brock and Mac Gargan incarnations making playable appearances. A thick black web swing, a series of tongue attacks, and a number of lethal somersault kicks are just a few tricks Venom has under his symbiotic sleeve. One fantastic addition is his power to suck up an enemy's life force to refill health. This brutal move not only offers an advantage in battle, but it shows how threatening the super villain really is to Spider-Man.

The cutscenes featuring the character are surprisingly well done. In "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3," there is a good deal of banter between Spider-Man and Venom that captures the spirit of the comics. The only issue is that there isn't more of that. With such a staggering character roster, the games have to balance screen time. Nevertheless, Venom has a phenomenal presence in these crossover titles, even if he isn't the main attraction.

WORST: Marvel Avengers: Battle For Earth

Playable only on the Xbox 360 and Wii U, "Marvel Avengers: Battle For Earth" forces gamers to use either the Kinect's motion controls or the Wii U's touchscreen controls to play, which was a bad sign already. Venom suffers just by being a part of this monstrosity of a game.

Venom himself isn't all bad at first glance; the art style is quite nice and creepy, and his moves have some smooth animation. The issues lie in how the character feels to play, and the game's occasionally unresponsive controls are a drag. In spite of the fact that the game plays better on Wii U, CGRUndertow points out that the game as a whole is "still simple, repetitive, and shallow." It's sad to see a great character model and move-set be wasted on this kind of game.

Another disappointment lies in one of the game's cinematics, which sets you up to expect so much more. An extremely detailed scene features a short fight between Venom and Wolverine. It's epic to see the gigantic black symbiote creature dash towards Logan, breaking walls and creating chaos. Sadly, none of the gameplay matches the thrill of this cutscene, making "Battle For Earth" feel like a huge missed opportunity. 

BEST: Spider-Man (2000)

Developed by Neversoft, 2000's "Spider-Man" is an amusing adventure that puts Venom on the center-stage with the titular hero. Eddie Brock and the symbiote ride a fine line between intimidating and hysterical throughout the game. Although a full-on threat at first, Venom teams up with Spider-Man later on in the journey and makes the game feel like a buddy cop movie at times.

After an imposter Spidey breaks Eddie Brock's camera at a scientific demonstration hosted by Doc Ock, Brock kidnaps Peter's wife, Mary Jane Parker, to lure him into a trap. This leads to an extensive chase level and a terrific boss battle. After defeating Venom and clearing up the mishap, Spider-Man joins forces with him to stop the true villains. 

YouTube channel The Cosmonaut Variety Hour points out that Venom plays a unique role in "Spider-Man," stating, "in this game, Venom isn't the villain ... he seems to be trying to be a better hero than Spider-Man."

Venom is hilarious here. One scene has him appearing on screens in Times Square to taunt Spider-Man. There are even more one-liners and moments throughout, and they are more in-line with the newer Venom films. One of the biggest factors in this memorable version of Venom is the voice of actor Daran Norris. Well-known for his roles in lighter animated shows like "The Fairly Oddparents," Norris really shines in this villainous performance, giving Venom a gruff and ominous voice while throwing in the occasional joke.

WORST: The Amazing Spider-Man (1990)

2D sprites and portable consoles haven't always been kind to comic book characters, and "The Amazing Spider-Man" on Game Boy just isn't a good representation of Spider-Man or his villains.

First of all, Spider-Man talks with villains through walkie-talkies and cell phones. These scenes are particularly laughable and any potential serious moment is ruined by how the goofiness of the limited character designs and dialogue. As a result, a menacing antagonist like Venom barely leaves an impression.

In an underwhelming boss battle, Spider-Man fights Venom in the sewers. The web-slinger must avoid obstacles while shooting web balls to defeat the symbiote. The fight is laughable, thanks to the image of Venom awkwardly moving up and down on his web (which doesn't meet the ceiling) while shooting back at Spider-Man. He follows the same pattern over and over, making victory unbelievably easy.

The only salvageable part of this Venom is his fully evil portrayal. As noted by YouTuber kNIGHTWING01, Venom's portrayal as an outright villain  was "correct" when compared to the comics of the time. Even so, it's a forgettable blip in Venom's lengthy video game timeline. 

BEST: Marvel vs. Capcom series

Venom has been featured in a number of fighting games, and they haven't all been great. Luckily, Capcom perfected superhero fighting throughout the "Marvel vs. Capcom" series. In these crossovers, everything about the Spider-Man baddie gives players the feeling that those who worked on the games love and appreciate the character.

Venom first appeared in "Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes." During match intros, Venom first appears as a gruff Eddie Brock before being wrapped in layers of symbiote goo. His bluer color palette in the game allows him to pop out from the stage and the rest of the cast. Most of his attacks are incredibly detailed and savage. For instance, Venom Fang sees him transforming into a giant mouth creature that springs towards opponents.

After a brief hiatus in which he skipped "Marvel vs. Capcom 3," Venom returned in the slightly disappointing "Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite". The game is considered by many as the low point in the series, but the later addition of Venom though DLC was greatly anticipated (and appreciated). Even though "Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite" is the most flawed game in the series, Venom was a high point, which is a testament to the love the fans have for him.

WORST: Spider-Man 3

"Spider-Man 3" is commonly regarded as one of the worst Spider-Man movies to date, as well as a poor depiction of Venom. Eddie Brock's personality is absolutely butchered, and his transformation into a lanky symbiote is less than exciting. Venom deserves better, and it's no surprise he was rebooted with his own film series.  The game based on the movie is even worse.

It's not far off to imagine that the "Spider-Man 3" video game would fix a lot of the issues in the film, but it's entirely the opposite. A number of the film's scenes are straight up gone; even some actual good Venom moments in the film are removed from the game's narrative. 

In the film and comic, Eddie has a life-ruining moment in which Peter exposes his fraudulent photography and ends his career at The Daily Bugle. The game sees Spider-Man stealing Brock's fake pictures and punching him in an empty alleyway. As  YouTuber GodzillaMendoza puts it, "Eddie's career is fine, his reputation is fine," and the game really doesn't give him a clear reason for wanting revenge on Spider-Man.

Even the game's final act is a significant downgrade from the movie. Rather than trapping Venom between steel poles and throwing one of the Goblin's bombs at him, Spider-Man's objective is to break piles of poles to agitate Venom with the sound. The awful depiction of the symbiote ends with him falling on another bunch of poles at the bottom of a construction site. A fitting end for a truly terrible adaptation.

BEST: Ultimate Spider-Man

"Ultimate Spider-Man" is easily the best portrayal of Venom in gaming. Although mainly a Spider-Man game, Venom is a playable character and is the main driving force of the story. It may say "Spider-Man" in the title, but Venom steals the show entirely.

While swinging around this open-world as Spider-Man is a blast, Venom is the real deal. Leaping around New York is simple and exhilarating, but players need to be careful. As noted by IGN's review, Venom's life bar is constantly dropping, meaning players will have to seek out civilians to eat in order to regain his strength. No, really. It's a great and twisted gameplay loop that perfectly captures the chaotic spirit of the character in the "Ultimae" universe. 

Much of the story deals with the origins of the symbiote, making it a must for Venom fans. Also, remember that cutscene in "Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth," in which Venom and Wolverine battle it out against each other? Well, that awesome fight is a reality in "Ultimate Spider-Man." A classic bar fight with Logan and a brutal exchange with Carnage are just a few of the excellent set pieces in this game.

Playing as Spider-Man only makes Venom seem cooler in this game. Players come across Venom multiple times while playing as Spidey and each fight is as memorable as the last. "Ultimate Spider-Man" allows gamers to see both sides of the coin, making it the "Ultimate" gaming experience for the biggest fans of Eddie Brock.