While video games based on famous movies, cartoon shows or comics are, by and large, quite polished productions today, there once was a time when publishers would simply rely on the name alone to shift copies and would often farm out the development work to small external teams – teams who were given precious little time to pull projects together before shipping to retail.
One such studio was the UK's Software Creations, and one such project was Spider-Man and the X-Men in Arcade's Revenge. Released on the SNES in 1992 (and later on the Mega Drive / Genesis, Game Boy and Game Gear), Arcade's Revenge is your typical '90s action platformer – and its development was also sadly very typical of the time.
Kevin Edwards, who worked on the title, has been sharing some memories of its development, which took place 30 years ago. A team of just three people made the game and Edwards has shared a fax from Acclaim (publisher of Arcade's Revenge via its LJN label) which illustrates the kind of intense pressure developers faced at this moment in time:
Our personal favourite comment from the fax – which, as we'll sure you've noticed, features a lot of capital letters – is: "NINTENDO HAS INFORMED US THAT WE CAN'T USE THE TERM 'MURDERWORLD' PLEASE REMOVE IT."
You'll notice that the fax also seems to single out one of the developers – Mike Follin – for specific criticism. Edwards adds context to this, saying:
Mike is a wonderful person. A superb programmer too and was thrown at the project to help get it out of the door. This probably helped in make a decision to leave the games industry a few years later.
Despite the astonishing number of fixes being requested and the short time it was produced in, Arcade's Revenge turned out pretty well; UK magazine Super Gamer awarded it 75%, saying: "A whole host of superheroes make this attractive for any comics fan. Gameplay is varied and tough, graphics impressive and sound brilliant."