Review by Aganar
"Before the movie liscense took over"
Well, here we have another licensed Spider-Man game. But this one has a twist. It's actually not bad! It seems that one company has finally managed to make a Spider-Man game that is really great! Let's face it folks, with the exception of two (one of which being Maximum Carnage), the rest were crap. They were very tedious at trying to do ''whatever a spider can'' and provided no real death.
Activision has somehow managed to finally make a good engine for the game. Instead of just wall scaling or all just beating up guys, the game finally has a good mix. This game has the perfect balance of a good story, while not pissing off Spider-Man fans, good gameplay, and pretty good sound, with some good plot twists here and there. While sequels and other games have tried, this remains the best 3d Spider-Man game to hit the industry.
Considering when this game came out, the graphics are fairly pretty. Characters, while not exceptional or anything, have fairly high polygon counts. The large-scale bosses manage to look pretty good, as do the special effects. The game also manages to stay at a solid 60 frames per second throughout most of the game (unless there are 5 explosions happening at the same time). While there is some fog and a bit of pop-up, most of it is acceptable. The over-world areas are large enough to allow the pop-up to be forgiven. My only real complaint is something, which really isn't their fault. Mary Jane looks pretty bad, even though she has no less polygon counts than any other character. I guess it just takes more detail to make a woman look normal.
The story starts out pretty typical for a superhero game. Hero is going to see some public display; villain shows up, they have to spring into action, etc. Also typical of the Spider-Man storyline, Mary Jane is kidnapped, so you must go rescue her from Venom. Along the way you also battle the Sinister Six (like you do in every Spider-Man game for one reason or another). Carnage pops up here and there to crash the party, and Doctor Octopus once again proves that he his working for his own purposes. Basically, he somehow harnesses the power of the symbiotes (the organic suits that make of Venom and Carnage's costumes), and slowly releases them into the city. I won't spoil anything, but I will say that you will be pleasantly surprised with the final boss.
As for Spider-Man's gameplay, it's what we have always been hoping for. Sure, we liked beating up hordes of thugs and using some web techniques here and there, but we never really got the fun of just going around the city. This game finally gives fans the free-roaming capabilities that we were always dreaming of. The first couple levels of the game are the most fun, simply because you are just webbing around the city. You can web to certain buildings and just beat up some random thugs there, then either explore it to see if the building has any use and continue webbing around the city. Hell, you can even find the Hobgoblin's secret hideout!
If that were the entire game I would love it to death. Unfortunately, once you go into the sewer, say goodbye to your nonlinear city and say hello to wave after wave of fighting monsters. Now that is not to say fighting them is fun, but around your eighth consecutive of doing it in the sewers, it gets a wee bit tedious. Most of the game however, combat is quite fun. Spidey has an array of attacks her can do, as well as all the things he can do with his web. He can web guys up just so they'll hold still and you can get a hit on them, or in some cases they will die. You can fire your web at them as an impact-webbing ball and knock them back. You can put webbing around your hands and make your hand-to-hand combat moves stronger. Finally, you can create an explosion of webbing and knock everyone down temporarily. Rarely do you get to use the effects, since you are always trying to conserve your web fluid, but nonetheless they are very effective in combat.
It is unfortunate, because the beginning and ending parts of the game are very strong, the middle fizzles out. One particular area has you crawling around in a sewer for four hours going from end to end flipping switches only to have to go back to the other end because you went the wrong way, etc. Along with that, some areas are so difficult you literally just have to web a couple guys and run like hell. The boss battles are quite good, but some could have been a bit better. For instance, I would've liked more combat against Venom instead of shooting switches (and also, since when can he dematerialize?).
Control works very well. Tapping a direction and a C button will allow Spidey to use the different forms of his webbing. When using webbing, it has somewhat of a targeting system to use on enemies, which helps. Roaming around the city and climbing around is very easy and responsive. People for some reason complain that the camera is very bad, but I have reason to believe they are just stuck in the last area, since that is the only place I can really think of where it gets bad.
Sound quality is fairly good. It looks like they got most of the actors from the Animated Cartoon from 1995 to add to the experience. The voice acting is great, considering they were voice actors from the TV show. Stan Lee narrates a lot of the levels, and you get to hear Spider-Man's typical sarcasm when you can't figure out a puzzle or he is getting the crap beaten out of him. Music itself is ok, but more importantly the sound quality of it is some of the best seen on a cartridge.
The game is a bit short, which is a little disappointing. But, there are some reasons to play it again. First of all, for all the die-hard fans like me, there are comic books scattered throughout the entire world for you to find. Secondly, Spidey has several different costumes he can unlock by playing through the game over and over, each of which has its own special power. Spiderman can unlock costumes to play as ''The Scarlet Spider'', him in his symbiote costume, which has infinite webbing, his Spidey Unlimited costume, which makes him invisible, etc. There's even a a costume which lets him be invincible!
Overall, this is probably the best Spider-Man game there ever will be. Sequels only do more of the same, and any new game will probably take the concept to far and not really be Spider-man anymore. If you just want a game to be Spider-Man and get a feel of what it's like to be on one of his regular adventures, this is an excellent game to get. While it is a bit short and does have some flaws, the good greatly outweighs the bad. To sum it up for you:
Graphics- Great, considering this used the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater engine. 9
Gameplay- If you ever wanted to ''do whatever a spider can'', you'll enjoy the gameplay. 9
Enjoyment- I sure got a kick out of it. 10
Replayability- While there could be more, it still has a decent amount. 7
Value- If you're still paying 50 bucks, that's a bit pricey. But any lower and it's probably worth it. 8
Composite: 8.6 is the technical score, but a tilt brings it up to a solid 9 for me.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 08/16/03
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