Review by Robert Wagner
"Like a comic in video game form....."
In my local video rental store I was hanging around the dwindling Nintendo 64 section after already picking a game to buy. I decided to rent Spider-Man, and I found it pretty good.
Gameplay - 9/10 Definitely one of the better game engines on an action game I have seen in a long time. Not only are the controls easy to use, but Spider-Man has all the powers he uses in the comic book, and all were used properly. The spider sense kicks in automatically when your in danger and there is a variety of ways to use the webbing. In addition, Spider-Man will eventually run out of webbing, which is good, since it's true to the comic. Also true to the comic, is how instead of trapping opponents with web, you can let Spidey's fist and feet do the talking. Speaking of talking, I noticed how in yet another similarity to the comic, you can hear Spider-Man spout taunts and jokes during combat. There are minor flaws however, as the game can be incredibly easy. I had this game beaten on easy in 24 hours (that's non-continuous), then beat it in normal in the same amount. The training mode can often be harder than normal gameplay. (One of the modes I found incredibly hard was zip-line training.)Additionally, Spider-Man's adhering to the side of any wall automatically is good normally, but not when he sticks to the side of a plant, or the screen on a computer monitor. All around excellent gameplay, with little to be disappointed about.
Story - 7/10 I can't say much without spoiling the plot, but the story is true to the comics most of the time. Half the game doesn't have very much to do with the story,
but deals more with Spider-Man doing various acts of heroism before moving on to what actually pertains to the story. Several villains have the wrong motives, but at least Scorpion, Venom, and Rhino were done right. 3 out of 7 isn't so bad as far as villains go. This game obviously makes references to other comic books, as cameos are made by Black Cat, Daredevil, Human Torch, Punisher, and Captain America. You can even web swing to Four Freedoms Plaza, the home base of the Fantastic Four.
Graphics - 8/10 Clean, good graphics, even without a lot of detail. The graphics provide for some good scenery, and despite the fact that there is fog, they at least went out of their way to explain it in the story. What's up with Black Cat though??
Sound - 9/10 The sound track fits the game perfectly, and voices are well done by the actors. There is nothing bad here, and it has to be some of the best sound ever on a cartridge game.
Replayability - 7/10 To get any decent replay out of this game you would have to put up the difficulty level. The game is a cakewalk on easy, so once beaten, If you want to replay, take this advice and put up the difficulty one level. Fortunately there is a good training mode with some combat and web swinging test. These test can be quite challenging at some points and can be fu on their own. the folks at activision also place collectible comic books throughout the game, which adds to replay if your looking for them. You can also replay your favorite levels once you've gotten to them in the game. You can also unlock alternate costumes, which is a bonus. If you need added challenge (and you will) you can play as Peter Parker.
To buy or to rent? Rent first. Then make the call yourself. This is an excellent game, and definitely worth your time, but it is offset by its ease. Hard however rarely equals fun, and you'd probably wind up buying it anyway. I'm getting it soon myself.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 07/02/01, Updated 06/09/03
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