Review by danwheeler

"Is it better than the PSone Spiderman Game? Well ... uh ... No."

Comparison to the PSone Spiderman game is inevitable. That is a great game. It’s been called the best game based on a comic book on any platform. I happen to agree with the assessment. While PS2 game (based on the movie not the comic book) doesn’t pale in comparison it doesn’t quite measure up either. Close but no cigar.

Third person adventure games are notorious for having camera problems and Spiderman, it’s sad to say, does not escape those pitfalls. Pop quiz, hot shot: you run down to the end of a corridor and discover a foe is waiting for you just around the corner (you know this because someone seems to be punching you in the side of the head. Even though you can’t see him, let’s assume for the sake of argument that he’s an enemy.) Do you ... 1.) wait for the slow-as-molasses ''active '' camera (please note sarcastic quotes) and meanwhile get beat down 2.) fiddle with the camera and meanwhile get beat down or 3.) mash the punch button, watch Spidey’s back and elbows thrash around and hope you take the thug out? You’ll find yourself choosing #3 a little too often to overlook this camera flaw.

A combo system has been implemented which should add depth and variety but I didn’t find the combos all that useful. They’re unreliable to perform in heated battle situations. Essentially it boils down to one or two nice powerful combos that, if you earn them, you use over and over again to clobber everyone or, if you miss them, you might as well run around mashing the punch button. Same difference.

Gripe number three is control. I never felt in control of Spiderman. It was more like I was poking him with a ten foot pole from twelve feet away, shouting desperately ''Go over there, idiot, no over THERE!'' It’s too easy to get disoriented. But in all honesty I think half of this problem was the bad camera. I’m certain I would have felt more in control if they just nailed that camera down four feet behind Spidey’s head.

By now you’ve noticed the score and are probably saying to yourself ''Seven out of ten? What gives? So far it sounds like you hated this game.'' The game had issues, this cannot be denied. But it’s not a total loss.

The in game graphics are decent and the FMV is passable (I suppose.) The fact that both Tobey Maguire and Willem Dafoe provided voice talent speaks volumes to how respect for this formerly snickered at industry has risen. Not only that, they are also *gasp* good actors. Some of their lines get a little repetitive during a long battle or anytime you’re doing the same thing more than twice.

The missions include a pleasing variety of chases and combat, searches and stealth. A fantastic example of this is the aerial combat missions, unsurprisingly they’re the real stand out feature of this game. Plummeting hundred of feet to dodge razorbats or pumpkin bombs, trading long range attacks then swinging in to land on top of your opponent and box his ears is exciting stuff and worth the rental price alone.

What it boils down to is: if you never played the Psone Spiderman game you’ll see all the things this game did right and have good time. If you did play it(and you know you should), you’ll be disappointed. In comparison, the camera, the controls, the whole package of Spiderman: The Movie is just lacking. Rent it to play the aerial combats missions, the rest will leave you a little cold.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 10/21/02, Updated 10/21/02


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