User Reviews

MAD Magazine's SPY VS SPY comes to life! Commodore 64 Christopher Whittum (7)
Less than playable. NES Game22 (42)

Our Users Say

Platform Votes Score
Amiga 7 3.6
Amstrad CPC Awaiting 5 votes...
Apple II Awaiting 5 votes...
Atari 8-bit Awaiting 5 votes...
Atari ST Awaiting 5 votes...
BBC Micro Awaiting 5 votes...
Commodore 16, Plus/4 Awaiting 5 votes...
Commodore 64 16 3.9
Electron Awaiting 5 votes...
NES 30 3.0
PC-88 Awaiting 5 votes...
Sharp X1 Awaiting 5 votes...
SEGA Master System 5 3.5
ZX Spectrum 6 3.9
Combined User Score 64 3.4

Critic Reviews

MobyRanks are listed below. You can read here for more information about MobyRank.
ZX SpectrumComputer Gamer (Aug, 1985)
This is an excellent game and every Spectrum owner should add it to their collection immediately.
Apple IITechtite (2000)
One of the best Apple //e games ever is equally one of Techtite's choices for the Top 50 Multimedia Classics, of all time! Based on the classic Mad Magazine comic strip, this is a battle of wits between two pointy-faced cartoon spies. You are on the top half of the screen, while the bottom screen is your opponent (either computer controlled, or a friend playing alongside you). The object was to get the secret plans, get the plane ticket, and get out, before your opponent. Meanwhile, both spy hopefuls could set any number of cartoon-caliber traps, behind doors or in cabinets. You could even protect an item you found this way, by putting it inside a drawer, then setting a trap. Stay alert, though; counter devices to disarm traps are scattered here and there, and a smart enough adversary could get the goods and run to the secret exit (yes, you had to search for that, too). While simple enough, it was a great arcade type game, and very addictive.
ZX SpectrumSinclair User (Aug, 1985)
Spy vs Spy will probably be as successful as Shadowfire. Playing against the computer, however, is unexciting and frustrating. A two player game is another matter - it's challenging and there is more fun to be had outwitting a friend than a mere circuit board.
Commodore 64Computer and Video Games (CVG) (Apr, 1990)
[Budget] A hilarious slapstick comedy classic, sporting superb one or two-player action and an utterly fab tune. A C64 classic that simply shouldn't be missed.
Amstrad CPCAmtix! (Jan, 1986)
Worth coming from the cold for.
ZX SpectrumCrash! (Aug, 1985)
I can't remember when I've had so much fun playing a game. I think the immediate appeal of Spy vs Spy is that it is pretty easy to understand. Once you have learnt how to move, search and lay traps and you are off. There are so many degrees of difficulty that the novice is in with a very good chance of winning, but without a hope unless he is well practised. The scope for weird and nasty tactics is immense. Let there be no doubt that bloke in the dark mac brings out the worst in me... it's as much as I can manage to keep life in perspective when playing against another person. I love it.
Amstrad CPCAmstrad Action (Dec, 1985)
This is a program which captures fully the maniacal humour of the cartoon strip.
Commodore 64Info (Sep, 1984)
True to the MAD magazine comic strip, these well known spy guys bounce back from repeated slayings and set backs. Fortunes change in favor of one spy and then the other as the two run through a maze of rooms in an embassy searching for the items needed to complete their missions. Two players can play simultaneously or the computer will be the black spy operating on the intelligence level you select. Remember where you set your booby traps (four varieties) or suffer the derision as the surviving spy snickers one last time before escaping in his spy plane.
Amstrad CPCComputer and Video Games (CVG) (Apr, 1990)
Fast and furious sabotage antics which CPC owners can't afford to miss.
NESMean Machines (Nov, 1990)
Spy vs Spy is one of the finest two-player games I've ever seen, and allows the combatants to pull the lowest, sneakiest, meanest tricks and stunts ever devised in a computer game. There's nothing more satisfying than letting your opponent think he's about to escape with all the goodies when in fact you've secretly booby-trapped the door to freedom a few minutes earlier. Watch him frazzle as he opens the door, and then grab the goodies yourself and make a getaway! Brilliant! Even with one player it's fun (the computer opponent is no dummy), but to really appreciate the game it's best to have a human opponent. Spy vs Spy might not have the best graphics and sound in the world, but if you have another gamer at hand willing to play you, this is a must.
AmigaAmiga Joker (Mar, 1990)
Die Grafik sieht bei allen Teilen so aus, als wäre sie ohne Abstriche übernommen worden — vom C 64! Der Sound klingt ST-mäßig, lediglich die Effekte sind ganz erträglich. Aber Gottseidank hat man von den Vorläufer-Versionen noch etwas anderes eins zu eins übernommen: die Steuerung. Man kann alles mit Joystick, Maus oder Tastatur steuern, und das äußerst komfortabel. Wenn Grafik und Sound also auch eher bescheiden sind, langweilig wird der Kampf der Spione so schnell nicht, vor allem zu zweit macht das quirlige Strategie-Gerangel einen Höllenspaß!
(page 52/53)
ZX SpectrumComputer and Video Games (CVG) (Apr, 1990)
A cracker of a game, especially when two players are taking part - Spy Vs Spy will go down a bomb!
Commodore 64Personal Computer Games (Feb, 1985)
The split-screen graphics are very good - watch the spies laughing - and in the background a tune plays menacingly. The game is great fun when played with two people, and becomes a battle of wits!
Commodore 64Commodore Format (Mar, 1994)
SVS1 was a lovely little game, based on the antics of MAD comic's two secret agents, out purely to kill each other with various devices, traps, bombs, snares, and other tricks.
Atari STAtari ST User (Dec, 1989)
Comic capers around in Spy vs Spy, featuring those two inept and bumbling secret agents Black and White. The graphics are good and the gameplay is exciting in two player mode (the computer is too good for me in single player mode).
SEGA Master SystemGénération 4 (1987)
Spy vs Spy est avant tout un jeu de stratégie où la ruse tient une bonne place. Si vous voulez l'apprécier pleinement, choisissez vous un bon adversaire.
ZX SpectrumSinclair Programs (Sep, 1985)
Graphically, the game is excellent, with rooms represented in three dimensions, and items of furniture shifting as you lift them up in search of the items you need. The game itself is good fun, with enough problems, action and speed to keep just about any games player happy.
SEGA Master SystemAll Game Guide (1998)
As mentioned before, two-player mode is where Spy vs. Spy really shines and if you can manage to drag a friend over and play against them, you'll find the fun factor increasing dramatically. While not for all tastes, Spy vs. Spy does have redeeming values and the one-player mode itself is above average, so MAD Magazine fans might enjoy it, but it won't present itself as a competitor to the likes of Wonder Boy in Monster Land or Space Harrier. If you find the idea of an Easter egg hunt with explosives, firearms and industrial espionage fun, you may enjoy Spy vs. Spy.
NESAll Game Guide (1998)
There's nothing like a game where your sole purpose is to kill the other player, in this case, as many times as possible. More often than not, you'll find yourself simply trying to kill your opponent rather than find the exit. It's more fun that way, and besides, most players will never find the exit anyway. So enjoy yourself, blow up your little brother (in video game form of course, any other way you'll have some very angry parents) or friends and get a good laugh out of it. After all, who among us doesn't like to see their little brother get blown up?
AmigaThe Games Machine (UK) (Feb, 1990)
Spy Vs Spy has changed very little in the translation from 8-bits. The spies have more room to wander around in and the graphics are cleaner, but that's all. Music is a wimpy version of the already insipid C64 tune of about five years ago. The game idea is great, but in execution it falls flat. For the first few plays it's fun, but the novelty wears off quickly.
SEGA Master SystemVideoGame (Feb, 1993)
Os espiões Heckel (branco) e Jackel (preto), já bastante conhecidos da moçada através da revista americana Mad, estão atacando nesta primeira aventura de videogame. Os dois espiões são rivais e tentam destruir um ao outro durante todo o tempo. O vencedor será aquele que conseguir chegar antes ao aeroporto.
Commodore 64Your Computer (Mar, 1985)
Although Spy vs Spy is no more than a maze adventure of the collect-the-object-and-escape variety, the split-screen graphics and animation are very good. You can watch what nasty surprises your opponent is preparing for you on his screen and take evasive action by collecting the right object to protect you from it — umbrellas hidden behind coatracks are the only answer to the old bucket-behind-the-door trick.
NESRaze (Feb, 1991)
Despite the poor graphics and sound there is something about this game that makes it extremely playable.
Atari STComputer and Video Games (CVG) (Mar, 1988)
However, the original Spy game is well worth considering - even if the price is a bit steep at just under £25. There are still not that many decent two player games for the ST — so the addition of one of the best is certainly welcome.
Atari 8-bitThe Video Game Critic (Jun 28, 2003)
The graphics were cutting edge at the time of its release, featuring some wonderfully humorous animations. The background music is superb, and fits the whimsical theme perfectly. Unfortunately, although the gameplay is certainly original, it's also rather difficult and confusing. It's easy to accidentally trigger your own traps, and collecting all the items is tedious. In addition, your opponent can wait for you at the exit door, beat you up, and win the game after you did most of the work! Spy Vs. Spy is still a nice collector's item despite its flawed gameplay.
NESThe Video Game Critic (Jul 02, 2000)
But while Spy Vs. Spy's gameplay is certainly original, it's also rather difficult and confusing. It's very easy to accidentally trigger your own traps, and collecting the items can be tedious. In addition, there's nothing to stop your opponent from waiting by the exit door and mugging you for the items! Spy Vs. Spy's background music is unforgettable, perfectly matching the whimsical theme. Despite its flawed gameplay, Spy Vs. Spy is extremely entertaining and a nice addition to any NES collection.
It’s challenging but frustratingly monotonous, with ugly colors and sound effects. There’s a cutscene when levels end, but it changes little. The difficulty settings only add more rooms. However, there aren’t many competitive, simultaneous two-player action NES games with a backstabbing premise. With human players the frustration will be mutual, and sometimes funny.
NES1UP! (Jun 21, 2013)
Si la version japonaise date de 1986, elle mit quatre ans avant d'arriver sur le vieux continent ! Heinquoicomment? Que s'est-il passé ? Peut-être le succès de Shadowgate incita Kemco à déterrer et commercialiser certaines de leurs antiquités. Mais le joueur moyen n'étant pas une courge (quoique), ils ne rencontrèrent pas le succès qu'ils espéraient obtenir grâce à leur tour de coquin. Malgré cette déconvenue, Spy vs Spy devint quand même un classique, un titre que tous les amateurs de la console reconnaissent immédiatement. Plus qu'autre chose, c'est dû à son originalité: celle de son format scindé, de ses deux agents farceurs et de son principe intrigant. Même dans la ludothèque foisonnante de la NES, il sort du lot et se démarque, plus qu'aucun espion sensé ne le souhaiterait.
Atari STASM (Aktueller Software Markt) (Jan, 1988)
Auch diesen Monat kam Redaktions-Kollege Otti wieder bei mir vorbeigescrollt, hämisch grinsend wie der schwarze Spion, der den anderen gerade „gehimmelt“ hat .Womit wir schon beim Thema wären. Wie gesagt, er (Otti) wollte mich auf ein altes Spiel aufmerksam machen, das jetzt für den Atari ST neu aufgelegt wurde. SPY VS. SPY heißt das Machwerk, das mittlerweile wahrlich keinen mehr vom Hocker reißt. „Besonders den Sound“, so Otti, „den Sound kann man sich höchstens zwei Minuten anhören. Dann fallen einem die Ohren ab!“ Recht hat er!
25 (Jun, 2013)
“Spy Vs. Spy” might be a classic comic, but the game fails to replicate the series’ unique subversive appeal. Random hilarious deaths only take you so far.
SEGA Master SystemSega Does (Nov 09, 2014)
Some cheapness aside, every feature of Spy Vs. Spy works – the traps, the collecting of items, taking down the other spy – assuming you like the style of play being offered to you. I don’t. I hate searching for the items. I hate searching for the briefcase to be able to hold all of the items. I hate the convoluted stage layouts past stage 3. I hate the time limit. I hate getting caught in a trap. I hate setting traps. The only aspect of this game that gives me any sense of release is punching/kicking the other spy until his ghost floats up to heaven. Everything beyond the brawling is unwanted tension and anxiety that increases with each passing level. Every level is the same tired trap-and-collect shenanigans, repeated over and over with an increasing amount of rooms that are frustrating to navigate, despite the presence of a map. If I never encounter Spy Vs. Spy again on some other chrono-gaming journey, it will be too soon.