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Carnage Is The Perfect Antagonist For A Grisly Survival Horror Game

Carnage Is The Perfect Antagonist For A Grisly Survival Horror Game

Let there be Carnage

Ewan Moore

Ewan Moore

Spider-Man has many enemies, but I'd argue Carnage has the potential to be both the most and least interesting of them all.

Originally conceived as a one-and-done spawn of Venom, Carnage and host Cletus Kassady soon established themselves as far too popular (by which I mean lucrative) to simply kill off or forget about. And so it was that Carnage - and the concept of symbiotes in general, really - soon came to resemble the very worst excesses of 90's comic books.

Excessively violent, extremely powerful to the point of being unbeatable, and with zero motivation outside of murdering as many people as possible, Carnage soon proved he had nothing of any value to offer beyond sheer spectacle. If you disagree, I'd recommend you go and read the hyper-violent clusterf*ck of an event comic that is Maximum Carnage. Just awful, awful stuff in which he goes on a killing spree for like 12 issues straight.

Make no mistake, the 90's kid that still lives in my soul gets ridiculously excited every time Carnage shows up in a Spider-Man story. But before long the reality sets in, and it becomes clear that the slimy red alien parasite isn't adding anything unique or interesting. He kills a bunch and looks cool doing it. That's it. Gets old fast, to be honest. Or maybe I'm the problem and I'm just too old and boring to care about these kinds of stories anymore. I don't know.

But there are writers who have found ways to make Carnage genuinely interesting, in my humble opinion. Back in 2018, Donny Cates' excellent Carnage Born reimagined the serial killer as a full-on horror movie monster to delicious effect.

Rather than putting Carnage at the forefront of the story, Cates made him the shadowy antagonist - a Lovecraftian threat worshipped by a cult. His terrible tendrils slithered and snuck throughout a book that knew Carnage worked best when the excessive murder was dialed back. That's not to say there wasn't still plenty of bloody violence - it's just that it was much better paced so as not to rob it of all meaning.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage /
Sony

It's with this particular interpretation of Carnage in mind that I think the symbiote would be the perfect antagonist in an Alien: Isolation-style horror game. Carnage has appeared in plenty of Spider-Man games as a boss - but where's the fear there? Spidey always wins!

The fact is villains like Carnage, villains that are supposed to be extremely powerful, start to lose all meaning when they're beaten by the same superhero for the hundredth time. We know Spider-Man can beat Carnage in his sleep at this point, but put us in the shoes of one of those many victims he slashes his way through before Spider-Man can get to him? My friend, you've got something properly scary on your hands.

What if instead, we're forced to meet this bloodthirsty monster as a completely powerless individual? Just imagine trying to escape the Daily Bugle in a first-person horror game. Carnage has cut off the power and is killing everyone. You're nobody important - just another potential victim trying to stave off the inevitable. As you cower in a supply cupboard, Carnage slips and slides through vents, whispering taunts as he pulls screaming colleagues into the darkness. Where is Spidey? Unclear, but he's definitely not coming to save the day.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage /
Sony

Or maybe you're a guard at Ravencroft and Carnage has escaped his cell yet again. Armed with little more than a sonic blaster that will only temporarily stun the symbiote and needs to constantly recharge, you have to rescue as many survivors as possible and get the hell out.

Carnage is infinitely more engaging whenever Marvel leans into the inherent horror of the character... and you can't get more horrifying than a survival horror in which Carnage relentlessly stalks you through the dark, right?

Of course, an R-rated horror game in which a Spider-Man villain slowly butchers a building full of people while the wallcrawler himself is nowhere to be seen is not something I imagine Marvel would be in any rush to give the green light, but I can dream.

Featured Image Credit: Marvel

Topics: GAMING, News, Marvel, Spider-Man