The “Paint the Town Red” expansion for Legendary is the third expansion in the series, and the second in a row with a stronger thematic concept. Although the second expansion came right out and declared itself the Fantastic Four expansion, this is definitely the Spider-Man expansion even though it doesn’t really identify itself as such except for the box art. As an overall analysis of this game series reveals, it is the street level characters that are the bigger push in terms of popularity, but it is also these characters, their villains and these villains’ schemes which make for a much easier game play experience. The Dark City expansion helped a bit to counter this trend of the street level scenarios being that much easier to play, but this expansion goes much closer to the original trend. As opposed to the grand schemes of certain villains, this expansion plays out a lot more like a Spider-Man comic, fun at times but never in any real danger that the characters (or in this case the players) are in much danger.
The focus here is all Spider-Man, meaning that anyone expecting more variety will be disappointed. Instead this sticks close to the Spider-Man story lines with Black Cat, Moon Knight, Scarlet Spider, Symbiote Spider-Man and Spider-Woman. The schemes are equally related, focusing on Carnage and Mysterio and various spider-related problems, although one does strive for a bit more by trying to take on the Clone Saga. As with the Fantastic Four expansion, this does little to expand any of the more disappointing mechanics of the game, as the S.H.I.E.L.D. draw pile and the bystanders are once again left untouched. This is an expansion on the same scale as the Fantastic Four expansion, incorporating in fewer cards while also adding to the refinement of the game play experience.
At this point the “street vs. skies” divide in this game might almost be moot anyway. At the very least the base game is required to play Paint the Town Red, but by incorporating in the other expansions the imbalance between the two character types is less evident. While heavy hitters like the Fantastic Four might have no trouble in a street level scenario, at least in this way one can face Black Cat against Galactus and see what happens. That is the fun of these expansions, is that their price is not outlandish, and that they therefore help to build the game easily and inexpensively, even if the individual expansion offers little else new, the sum ends up being greater the parts.