After my painful experience with the N-Gage edition, I found it difficult to be faithful in another handheld edition starring the web-slinger. Thankfully, Vicarious Visions put my fears to rest and delivered a solid 2D platformer worth playing. No, it really is good - and it does a badass job utilizing the dual-screen technology.
For example, during the game, players can tap on the screen (using the thumb strap or stylus) to choose from Spidey's special abilities. Selecting a move will automatically register it to be used with the R trigger. On occasion, you'll use the lower-screen to play a variety of mini-games, or enjoy an remarkable FMV sequence. If you've played the GBA edition, the story is essentially the same, meaning you can expect to battle against Spidey's most notorious villains including Mysterio, The Vulture, and ultimately Dr. Ock himself.
Aside from a variety of web-based abilities like sticking to walls and ceilings, Spidey occasionally will have to resort to some fisticuff action to dispatch opponents. This essentially consists of mashing out a 1-2-3 combination using the A or Y button to pull off a flurry of punches or kicks, respectively. Tapping up on the d-pad will also allow him to execute "uppercut" moves in conjunction with either of the aforementioned buttons, ultimately taking out enemies much quicker. Further, when your spider-sense is tingling, tapping the L button will trigger the classic "Matrix" effect where time slows down, giving you the opportunity to defeat or dodge your enemies.
Graphically, the game animates incredibly smooth for a handheld game. You'll marvel at Spidey's animation as he zips through the city dispatching enemies along the way. All the missions are time-based but don't worry if you're too slow at the crime-fighting thing, it's only a secondary objective. However, you'll want to strive for completing levels under the conditions specified to unlock new abilities and other surprises.
Compared to the other handheld editions, Spider-man 2 on the Nintendo DS is an amazing title and easily one of the best action handheld games I've played this year.