Todd's McFarlane's Spawn is one of the biggest independent comic book properties of all time, with his comic recently reaching its groundbreaking 300th issue. Recently confirmed as a fighter in Mortal Kombat 11's Kombat Pack, Spawn is one of the game's most awaited fighters. Despite this, the game isn't the first or even second game that he's appeared in. First appearing in 1992, Spawn has starred in six games before Mortal Kombat 11. Not bad for a fairly R-rated property. While gamers wait for the Spawn DLC, they can look back at all of the other games that he's appeared in throughout the years.
Todd McFarlane's Spawn: The Video Game
Released in 1995 on the Super Nintendo, Todd McFarlane's Spawn: The Video Game was the first video game featuring the character. Despite the character's dark stories, the game was given the now outdated K+A (Kids and Adults) rating. The plot involves a villain called The Mad One, who kidnaps thirteen children, trapping their souls in a mystical orb. He plans to use the power to kill Malebolgia, the demon whom Spawn is enslaved to. Despite this, Spawn fights to stop The Mad One and free the children, one of whom is his ex-wife's daughter, Cyan.
The game was a side-scrolling beat 'em up with platforming elements, ubiquitous for the era. Spawn's special powers were also performed through fighting game-like inputs, which were notably difficult to pull off. While the generic gameplay garnered it mixed reviews, the graphics and music were typically praised.
Spawn: The Eternal
Beginning development in 1995, Spawn: The Eternal wouldn't be released until late 1997 on the Sony PlayStation. After the success of the first Tomb Raider, the game was rebuilt from scratch to imitate that title. This resulted in its long delays and the game ultimately coming out after the Spawn movie that it was intended to coincide with.
Unfortunately, though, the delays didn't result in a good game. Spawn: The Eternal was criticized for its grainy graphics, mediocre combat, and generally boring puzzles and gameplay. The combat was a particular sore point, as there was barely enough of it anyways. One of the only interesting elements from the game was that playing the disc in a CD player played an interview with Todd McFarlane himself.
Spawn (Game Boy Color)
Released in 1999, the Game Boy Color Spawn game is probably the character's worst. Though it stood out for its use of digitized dialogue during cut scenes, that couldn't save how floundering every other aspect was. Another side-scrolling beat 'em up, the game looked and played like a vastly inferior version of NES era titles like Ninja Gaiden. Though some of the backgrounds looked decent, the character models were particularly lacking. The worst part is that the game was produced by Konami. Along with great properties of their own, they had produced awesome beat em ups of existing comic book IPs like X-Men and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sadly, Spawn did not receive the same treatment, resulting in an unfortunately lackluster title.
Spawn: In the Demon's Hand
Breaking away from the genres of his previous games, Spawn: In the Demon's Hand is a weird sort of hybrid game. Released in 2000 for the Dreamcast and arcades, the game was halfway between a third-person shooter and a fighting game. Players run and gun through short 3D levels until a boss arrives. Essentially a glorified Boss Rush game, it featured over 30 playable characters from the Spawn universe. Points of contention were its wonky camera and lack of variation in gameplay, especially in single player. Despite this, it was far better received than most of its predecessors.
Spawn: Armageddon was released in 2003 for the Playstation 2, Xbox, and Gamecube. Previous Spawn games had blatantly imitated other, much better games. In this game's case, inspiration came from action titles like Devil May Cry and God of War. The game sees Spawn hacking and slashing through an abbreviated version of the story told throughout Spawn issues #1-99. Spawn is armed with both firearms and the Agony Axe that he would soon become known for wielding.
The game received mixed reviews, which is owed to its repetitive gameplay, cumbersome story, and uninspired combat. The graphics, though good, were also considered to be wasted on the bleak and boring levels.
Soul Calibur II
Possibly Spawn's biggest foray into video games was 2003's Soul Calibur II. The blade-based Namco fighter was released on all three home consoles, with exclusive characters on each version. The Xbox version of the game featured Spawn, again wielding an ax as a weapon. The game was an immense success, and Spawn's inclusion helped bolster the title's following to this day. Also included in all console versions of the game was Necrid, an original character created by Todd McFarlane.
Mortal Kombat 11
Spawn's biggest mainstream push in years will come as he's added to the roster of Mortal Kombat 11 on March 17th, 2020. Though footage of his gameplay hasn't been displayed yet, the reveal trailer does put particular emphasis on his chains. It's also been announced that Keith David will reprise his voice acting role for the character from the Spawn HBO animated series.
Another well-received entry in the revitalized Mortal Kombat franchise, the game features the most brutal fatalities yet. More than any previous game with the character, Mortal Kombat 11 will allow Spawn to unleash devastatingly violent attacks. Unfortunately, fans will have to wait until next spring to play as the undead Al Simmons and send their opponents to hell and back.