Review by Eptiger
"Spiderman is a good game, but is it $50 good?"
Hello and welcome to my review of the Spiderman movie game! There's been quite a bit of promotion for this game and quite a bit of commotion over its quality, but is it worth your hard earned money? Does it live up to its hype? Let's begin to answer these questions and more in my first category...
Story Rating: 7/10
Have you seen the Spiderman movie? If so then you already know the story! If not, then you should probably see it because unless you've read the comics or seen the show this game will most likely confuse you. The game itself follows the same storyline of the movie but with a few extra things so that there could be some more levels. It goes a little beyond the movie to include characters like Shocker, Vulture, and Scorpion. When you watch the cinematic sequences though it feels like it was just thrown together to remind you of what happened in the movie for the most part. In fact, it starts off after Uncle Ben dies and skips over Mary Jane or how he got his powers and all that stuff because they assume that you already know all of it. I really didn't like how they did that and I wish that they could've put it together in a more detailed fashion because it feels as though the cinematics are treating me like I'm 9 years old! I really do love the original Spiderman storyline for the movie and for the comics and the television show, but I hate to see it so loose and tattered in this game.
Graphics Rating: 7.5/10
Maybe my judgement on graphics isn't as wholesome as it should be because I just beat Metal Gear Solid 2 before playing this game, but the graphics looked like a PS2 game from early last year. There was nothing innovative about it and it didn't try to make full use of the Playstation 2's potential. When you're playing the game though it does look rather smooth though. The design of the enemies in the game was rather good, except for the thugs. I really did like most of the level designs and settings, especially the New York skyline. Even the cinematics were crisp and well done.
Most of the in-game cutscenes though looked similar to Tomb Raider 3, and they really did disappoint me. Another downfall in this game was the camera. I found it especially pesky when I was in an important fight and all of a sudden the camera changes for no reason or it doesn't change when it should. The problem with the sudden camera angle changes is that it throws off your whole control direction because his movement is based upon the camera's view, not based on his view (games like Metal Gear Solid and Resident Evil have movement controls based on the main character's viewpoint). You can pan the camera using the right analog stick, but that isn't very convenient a lot of times.
Gameplay Rating: 9/10
The best point of this game is that it's a lot of fun to play. Learning the controls isn't a daunting task though because they have plenty of training missions for you to go through to make yourself comfortable with controlling Spiderman and I actually spent 2 hours in training because it was just fun to do. You only have to do a few missions though to really get the hang of the controls. I enjoyed playing as Spiderman and doing ''everything a spider can'' from webslinging to crawling on ceilings. It's also cool to freefall and then all of a sudden start swinging and doing tricks and stuff. The really neat thing though about fighting in this game though is that you can pick up gold spiders that represent special combos that you can use and it will list them in the pause menu so that you don't forget them. It really does help diversify the fighting and make it pretty neat to watch as well. You can also lock-on to an enemy target so that you don't lose it if you're moving around or swinging around. There are also ways to move in stealth by hiding in the shadows (it'll indicate that they can't see you because the Spiderman icon next to your health meter will change), which will be pertinent in certain missions.
The only real problem that I could see is that it left me wanting more. I wanted to keep playing in missions like the ones in the game but the story wasn't wide enough to support anymore. You could tell that they were running out of missions when you have to spend 5 minutes just chasing the Green Goblin. Usually I feel satisfied at the end of a good game because I want to go back into levels and redo some of the things, but I really didn't feel that here. I just kept expecting more missions that were more satisfying. Also, if you swing too low you automatically fall and die. I really do not like that you can't interact on the streets and that you have to swing above a certain height. Another issue for me was that you could only save between levels. Some of them were rather hard and took me a looong time just because I couldn't save in the middle of a level. The AI though was actually better than I was expecting with enemies that use their eyes and their ears.
Sound Rating: 8/10
Treyarch actually enlisted the voices of Tobey Macguire (Peter Parker) and William Dafoe (Norman Oswald) for the game, and while Dafoe showed a good portrayal Macguire was a mixed bag. Sometimes Macguire would say his lines really well and Spiderman-like, and sometimes you wonder if he just rolled out of bed and into a studio for some of his lines. He does make witty Spiderman remarks in the game though and even though they get irritating if you play the level too many times I think it's neat that they decided to include those. Spiderman isn't the only one who makes remarks in the levels though, sometimes your enemies and people on the streets will also make comments. The music is good but it isn't very loud by default so a lot of people miss it, but you can turn it up in the options menu. FX sound is rather good as well, but a little flat a few times.
Lasting Appeal Rating: 7/10
Treyarch really did try to come up with ways for you to keep playing this game, but it falls short in the end. The gold spiders that give you combos are one incentive for you to find, but they weren't too hard to find when I was playing through. I got about 3/4 of those the first time I played through. They actually have a secret store where you can enable things that you unlock through points, and you earn those points at the end of each level for completion, combat style, secrets found, time, and a few other things on certain levels. You can also go back through levels via a level warp feature so that you can replay them to get more points if you want to unlock the more costly secrets. These secrets include bonus movies, extra costumes, and even a Pinhead Bowling training level that is multiplayer on one controller. You can also unlock some of these secrets by beating the game on certain difficulty levels. The problem is that you get most of the interesting ones the first time you play through the game (which will probably take 10-12 hours) and you can go back and get points and stuff for the other neat ones, but it still isn't much. Some of the secrets are actually cheats and don't even require replaying. And only hardcore gamers will care about getting ALL of the costumes.
The fact of the matter though is that I really didn't want to play through the game again and again. I dont think I could play it more than two or three times because there isn't much of a point to it. It's fun when you play through it the first time, but then it starts to get a bit tedious. They also included some videos going through storyboard drawings of the cinematics, but you unlock those after you beat certain levels.
Buy or Rent?
I'm glad I rented it because I don't see any point in buying it. Those who have bought it have regretted it because it's just collecting dust on their shelf. If you play the game enough for each of the five nights you rent it out for you can easily beat it and even get all of the neat secrets. Just make sure that you beat it on Hero mode; it unlocks a special secret that I don't want to spoil for you. I don't regret renting it because it was a very fun game to play and I enjoyed the experience as I'm sure you will too. I'm just hoping that they make another Spiderman for the PS2 that transgresses this one...
Overall Score: 8
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 08/16/02, Updated 08/16/02
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