STAFF REVIEW of Spider-Man (Xbox)

Saturday, May 11, 2002.
by Queasy Buddy

Spider-Man Box art This is without a shout of a doubt the best Spider-Man videogame that has ever graced a videogame system, Activision have succeeded, where no company has ever even come close. With this game, the team have re-created the image of The Amazing Spider-man in an engaging, charming, and stylish platform/action game that truly brings out the best traits of the long-standing comic book. The team has created a title that enables you to do nearly everything Spider-man can do, and it feels nearly perfect. From crawling skyscrapers to web slinging across city skies to tangling up opponents to crawling upside down in buildings, or pummeling opponents with web balls, this game makes you feel like Spider-Man. Spider-Man is a great game, but it isn't perfect. It's too easy, oftentimes the camera angles are too complex for their own good. But despite these little problem spots, Spider-man is more than respectable, it's a phenomenon in videogame physics and presentation. It's a big license game that plays well, and brings you into the world of Spider-Man. I'm extremely glad to say that it has been worth every day of this 11 week wait. It doesn't matter if you're male or female, young or old, fan or newcomer -- if you own an Xbox and enjoy a good action/adventure game every now and then, then Spider-Man will certainly wrap you up in his web. The gameplay is just as simple as any punch and kick action title, but Spidey's unique abilities such as clinging to walls and swinging like a monkey have been produced perfectly and are so fundamentally addicting themselves that you will play the game for a long time to come. The training is also very intriguing, from wage battles against various enemies to obstacle courses and even bowling mode, Spider-man has it all. You can also unlock an abundant of secrets by obtaining points. Spider-man will keep bringing you back for more.

Following a rather traditional action/platform character formula, Spider-Man is an action game that follows the adventures of Peter Parker, a.k.a. The Amazing Spider-Man. Using the evergreen Tony Hawk engine, Spider-Man is a piece of 3D engine genius. Players can literally do whatever a spider man can: shoot webs, create a web shield, form web cones on their hands, kick, punch, throw, sneak attack, tangle up enemies with a large shot of web, and shoot web balls. In short, it's amazing how life-like, or should I say, "comic-like" Spider-man is. It's amazing. Once you have control of Spidey, you'll find that the guy is quick, nimble, and will cling to just about any surface he touches. You name it: walls, ceilings, the side of buildings -- if you can touch it, Spider-Man will grip it and crawl all over it. Then you can leap from it, swing to another location, or pounce on an unsuspecting enemy below. This makes for some very rewarding and creative gameplay since you are not limited to simply running around on foot like the average action title. The play mechanics in this game will have you hooked the first time you realize how effortlessly you can cover every inch of the play environment. For whatever reason, swinging around in Spider-Man never ceases to be fun, and it's this kind of basic gameplay design that will keep you coming back for more. As a fledgling Spider-man exploring his new found powers, you will learn new combo attacks as you progress through the game. Combos beginning with a standard punch or kick and can involve up to three moves that are chained together to receive different results. Using a variety of combo moves will add to style points that are awarded at the end of the level. While web-swinging Spider-man maneuvers quickly and effectively which makes the aerial combat that much more fun.

One thing is for certain: Activision has nailed the comic book look of the Spider-Man characters perfectly. Spider-Man doesn't look like the stupid live-action dufus from the TV show of the '80s. He's sleek, smooth, and nimble looking. He is graced with tons of classic poses from the comics, and his suit and animations are !&%$@#* fine. . The level designs are interesting, too. It seems that Activision wanted to create a standard platform/action game that was styled and tailored to Spider-Man's specific powers. So, if you have ever played a platform game, such as Mario or Crash, for instance, you'll recognize the standard action-based puzzles, throngs of baddy attacks, and the all-too-familiar end-level bosses. The movies are very well defined peter parker looks exactly like Tobey Maguire in the spider man movie. The game is rarely slowed down at all, and much credit must be given to the development team for not only keeping this game beautiful, but for adding a few extra bits of eye-candy and keeping the framerate silky smooth.

This title also features some of the best in-game dialog on the Xbox. Every single voice in the game, at least as I had always imagined them, is perfectly read, from the gutsy, gravelly accents of New York thugs, to the maniacal ventilations of Green Goblin, to the primal rage of Shocker. The dialog appears to have been written by Stan Lee himself or by a true fan of the series, because the classic one liners of Spider-man in battles are dead on. Even the lowest rung thugs have the right sound: Dumb, greedy, and lazy. The web sounds and Peter Parker's voice are also top-notch. It's all so good! Spidey will say a few jokes now and then for that much needed comic relief element. The narrator in the training session is also very humorous. The music is also done very nicely, adding dynamic elements similar to the Batman title on Xbox. Whenever you enter certain areas, or begin fighting groups of baddies, you be treated to an extra hard guitar channel on top of the current tunes, which really helps intensify the action and let you know when the heat is on.

Spider-Man is a game that will surprise and delight anyone who buys it. My hat is off to the Activision team.

Overall: 9.0 / 10
Gameplay: 9.0 / 10
Visuals: 10.0 / 10
Sound: 9.0 / 10


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