Spider-Man has reigned supreme in the comic book
world for quite some time and now looks to topple the videogame world (again)
with Activision's latest entry.
The friendly neighborhood Spider-Man has been swinging
his way around our imagination for years. Ever since the googly eyed
teenage image of Peter Parker graced the pages of a Marvel comic the
world has embraced Spider-Man as a bona fide super hero. With the recent
release of the record breaking blockbuster film into theatres there has
never been a better time for a Spider-Man video game to hit the next
generation consoles and thankfully the Xbox has got the cream of the
crop. As with all games of this scope and size there are faults but thankfully
Treyarch has assembled a very enjoyable package for gamers of all shapes
and sizes to enjoy.
Sadly with every Xbox game there are high hopes of a
visual treat. Perhaps it was rude of Microsoft to release Halo as the
first Xbox title back in November. Ever since then we've had our hopes
raised to the amazing heights that every Xbox game can possess the beauty
of Halo. Spider-Man resides on the other end of the spectrum. In fact
it is so far down the spectrum PS2 age graphical mud is still in sight.
Maybe that's overstating a little, but Spider-Man was obviously not optimized
Horrible shadows and effects populate the world of Spider-Man
and almost every screen reeks of a PS2 port. Blotchy textures look moderately
better than on the PS2 and Gamecube version but the difference is negligible.
Quite possibly the nastiest of these effects is the rain. What happened
to the rain of Project Gotham? Instead we are treated to white lines
streaking across the screen mimicking the weather that we're all so accustomed
to. The frame rate doesn't improve on the situation as the game stutters
a bit when the landscape grows. Surprisingly the game holds consistently
on the cityscapes but stutters in the indoor scenery. Overall the graphics
aren't bad, but they could have improved the overall experience if Spidey
had been given his appropriate graphical prowess to match his stylish
If there's one aspect of Spidey's superhero status that
rings true above all others it would have to be his elegance in the air.
Thankfully the video game translates his aerial prowess with ease using
the Xbox controller. It would take me far to long to detail all of the
combinations that are utilized through the game. Your abilities include
kicking, punching, jumping, and some wicked web related abilities. Spider-Man
can make an explosive web shield and enhance his punching power among
a few other abilities. For quick travel Spidey has the ability to perform
a web zip, which entails our hero shooting a strand of web onto a surface
and quickly pulling himself to the location. Of course above all other
abilities there arises one overpowering superpower and that is of course
the ability to travel around the city by use of the web. Picture Tarzan
swinging around on vines and then make the vines come out of Tarzan's
hands and you'll begin to get the picture.
While the controls handle very nicely overall, there
is one flaw that will mar the gameplay experience for the few hours of
play. Sadly the camera system does get in the way a bit. The manipulation
of the camera's position is dictated by the right analog stick and can
be a bit perplexing if you are a rookie. After a bit of training however,
you'll be able to fly through the cities like none other (and see where
you are going).
The game is based loosely along the storyline of the
movie, as you'll be able to tell with a few of the locales and mission
objectives used throughout the game. While the movie features on solitary
villain, the Green Goblin, the game features almost all of Spidey's classic
nemesis including the Green Goblin, Shocker, and the Xbox exclusive Kraven
among others. Of course the villains are all trying to topple the surround
city and our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man must intervene and restore
peace to the citizens.
Unlike many other games derived from movies, Activision
has secured Tobey Maguire and Willem Dafoe to reprise their roles as
Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. While some may debate that Mr. Maguire
is too dry and clumsy to portray a comic book super hero, if you're a
fan of the comic series then you should know that Peter Parker is definitely
not your typical super hero. He's a bumbling mess of a man who fits the
mold of your standard nerd that every school possesses. And a villain
can't get any better when the sinister Willem Dafoe takes the reins of
As the sound effects go there isn't much that can go
wrong in the world of Spider-Man. The standard crashes; thuds, and slams
(plus the "thwip" of the web) are included in the game and perform nicely
throughout all of the levels.
The artificial intelligence of the characters and enemies
featured in the game could have used some more work but nonetheless gets
the job done. Enemies attack in packs but seem to have a very limited
range of attacks and come in very uniform styles. The game creators obviously
weren't very concerned in giving a very diverse fighting experience but
what they did succeed in doing is delivering a large number of fairly
challenging nomads to fight against, and that really is what this game
is all about.
The game offers four difficult levels with obvious variations
in challenge. On top of the standard single player games there are also
a few mini games that can be purchased using points earned throughout
the game. I won't give away any of the games but I will say that Spidey
is put in some very unSpidey-like situations.
Overall the game is a solid effort that is a lot of fun
to play and could have been ever better had the graphics been improved
upon. As it is Spider-Man is a good game that succeeds in providing a
fun experience. Sadly that's a fleeting feeling as the game can be completed
in a solid afternoon of playing.
Is afraid of heights...
In the end the game is fun for the short amount of time
it lasts. If you're not a fan of the comic book the game
still provides some good fighting action and an excellent
feeling of super hero status. This one is definitely
worth checking out.