Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage is a side-scrolling beat ’em up game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Mega Drive/Genesis, developed by Software Creations and published by Acclaim Entertainment and its subsidiary LJN in 1994. The game, based on the comic book story arc of the same name, features numerous heroes, including Spider-Man, Venom, and their allies from the Marvel Comics fictional universe like Captain America, Black Cat, Iron Fist, Cloak and Dagger, Deathlok, Morbius and Firestar, all teaming up to battle an onslaught of villains led by Carnage, including Shriek, Doppelganger, Demogoblin and Carrion.
The first prints of the game for the Super NES and Genesis were sold in red-colored cartridges. Later prints came in standard-colored cartridges. It was followed up by a sequel titled Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety. The game received mixed reviews upon its release, but in later years, reviews have been more positive and it is regarded as one of the better Spider-Man games in the 16-bit era.
Eddie Brock is proven innocent after being in jail for a while, and promises to not use the Venom symbiote for evil. While leaving prison, the symbiote bonds to Brock’s former cellmate, Cletus Kasady. Later, Spider-Man meets Venom and asks him if his promise to do good was true, but Brock says he is still thinking about it, angering Spider-Man. The two fight, with the showdown being broken up by Kasady, who has become Carnage via the symbiote. Brock, desperate to stop Carnage, attempts to attack him, but the two are evenly matched and Carnage manages to escape into the city. Spider-Man and Venom vow to stop Carnage, despite their rivalry. In the city, Carnage begins a criminal empire in the sewers, and hires Shriek as his second in command. Hobgoblin attempts to join, but is rejected by Carnge, causing him to gain demonic power and become Demogoblin, who Carnage hires. Later, Carnage finds a four-armed reproduction of Spider-Man called Doppelgänger, who he manages to employ after restraining him. Finally, Carnage finds the degrading clone of Jackal named Carrion, who he hires as the final part of his team. Carnage then attacks New York with his team, causing Venom and Spider-Man to almost be killed when they confront them. Spider-Man and Venom retreat, but create a “resistance” out of his previous allies, who they finally confront Carnage with. Despite the power of his team, Carnage is defeated after an epic battle, retreating into the sewers. Spider-Man thanks Venom, saying he hopes he will work with him in the future, but Venom retreats before replying. Meanwhile, the Carnage symbiote escapes the scene.
In this single-player side-scrolling beat ’em up (with a format similar to Double Dragon and Final Fight), the player controls Spider-Man and Venom through various levels to stop the supervillain Carnage and his team, as well as hundreds of criminals they inspire in their wake, from taking over the city. The two 16-bit versions are virtually identical.
Other Marvel heroes can be summoned by collecting appropriate items hidden within certain levels. The locations of the power-ups necessary to summon aid are set. Depending on which character summoned them, the summoned heroes may help out in different ways, usually being more effective for whichever character (Spider-Man or Venom) they favor.