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Spider-Man

Review By:  Nick Arvites

Developer:   Treyarch
Publisher:   Activision
# of Players:   1
Genre:   Action
ESRB:   Everyone
Online:   No
Accessories:   N/A
Date Posted:  

6-6-02

I will be the first to admit that I am a long time Spider-man fan. With this in mind, it should be no surprise that I saw the movie and got the official game adaptation of the movie. Activision has been publishing Spider-man games since the Playstation and they bring the franchise to the next generation consoles with this latest addition. Thankfully, the gameplay has been improved and the game actually turns out to be a fairly decent game.

One of the major problems with designing a game around a movie containing only one villain is the lack of a variety of boss characters. Sure, its fun beating up the Green Goblin, but it will get rather repetitive if thatís the only character you fight. The game expands the story of the movie to include all time favorite punching bags such as Shocker, Vulture, Scorpion and Kraven the Hunter. These side bosses do not really advance the main story, but they do provide a change in scenery and a change from fighting the same old boss over and over again.

The game does manage to capture the entire essence of the movie. Instead of some games that use voice actors doing a bad impression of the character (like Obi Wan), the actual actors did the voices for the main characters in this game. Yes, this means you get to hear Toby Maguire make sarcastic comments as Spider-man and Willem Dafoe cackling as the Green Goblin. Bruce Campbell (Wrestling announcer in the movie and the star of Director Sam Raimiís cult classic Evil Dead series) does the voice of the narrator. You also hear people saying things like "What was that?" or "look!" Basically, everything from the wisecracks to the people gives the game an atmosphere that resembles the one shown in the comic books and in the film.

This game looks great. The web-slinging stages in Manhattan are simply mind-blowing and a far step from the last web-slinging stages seen in the Playstation versions. The costumes for all of the super heroes (and villains) look great. All of the effects like explosions, smoke, rain and webbing look pretty good.

This game is a major step up in terms of controls for Spider-man games. The control scheme is easy to learn yet hard to master. The Web-slinging controls are the easiest so far. Zip-lines are easy to aim with the targeting feature and are also auto-aimed in the direction you run. The fighting system is interesting. It seems to be a basic punch-kick-jump system, but there is so much more. Players unlock special fighting combos throughout the game that are obviously modeled after typical Spider-man moves in the comic books. A new ability is to jump and land on the shoulders of an enemy. From here, you can either pummel their head or body-slam them. The coolest use for this attack is in the flying stages with the Vulture or the Green Goblin. You can actually land on the Vultureís shoulders and the Green Goblinís Glider and fight them.

While this game is short by most peopleís standards, it is still an excellent game in terms of gameplay. Spider-man games are just fun by nature. After beating a stage, you can jump to it from the main menu to replay it. Also, by playing the game on harder difficulty levels, you can gain more bonus points and unlock more secrets (like organic webbing and playing the game as the Green Goblin). Since it is short, the fun can wear off quickly. There are only so many times one can play through a game without it becoming boring.

There isnít anything really wrong with Spider-man outside of the length. The game is fun and a major step up for Spider-man games. Hopefully they get a few sequels out that carry this formula out as well (plus, some more baddies would be cool).

Highs:

  • Graphics
  • Easy to learn yet tough to master controls
  • Spider-man, Spider-man, does whatever a spider can

Lows:

  • Too short
  • Green Goblinís modern costume (yes, this is the main thing I hated about the movie too)

Final Verdict: 

Rental. Most people would be satisfied playing this and beating it in a rental. If youíre a hardcore Spider-man fan like myself, buy this game. If this game were longer, I would say this is a must buy, but the length really hurts it in terms of replay value.

Overall Score: 8.8

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