Spider-Man 2 Review - The Next Level

Game Profile

System:
N-Gage
Release date:
July 6, 2004
Publisher:
Activision
Developer:
Backbone Entertainment
Players:
1
Genre:
Action
ESRB:
T

Spider-Man 2

"Does whatever a spider can?" Not quite.

Review by Chris Bahn (Email)
August 5th 2004

I am just going to get this out of the way -- Spider-man 2 is not a entertaining game. Unlike its console brethren, the N-Gage installment seems to go out of its way to do everything wrong. Just when you thought the era of crappy Marvel superhero games had finally ended, Backbone Entertainment proves otherwise.

Players are bound to pick up on the game's inherent flaws quicker then Spidey can spin a web. The essence of the film is retrofitted to some extent, so movie purists are bound to notice a few significant changes. Ultimately, its up to you to make things right in the Big Apple, saving hostages in distress, preventing tragic disasters and putting some old foes in their place.

Like its GBA counterpart, Spider-man returns to his conventional 2D roots. Unfortunately, the game is nowhere as enjoyable as his earlier 2D web-slinging adventures. Although all of his unique abilities such as sticking to walls, webbing and his spider-sense are intact, they seem more like an novelty than an asset. And in some instances, they actually end up doing more harm than good. Often you'll find yourself struggling to evade an enemy's attack, only to end up unintentionally sticking to a wall. This squashed my enthusiasm fairly quickly, despite the open-ended level design... screw exploration, I simply want to survive. All of Spidey's tricks of the trade are used too irregularly for my tastes; even Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu was more forgiving then this. The action also gets very redundant, especially during combat situations in which the player is generally forced to engage enemies in direct hand-to-hand combat. Spidey's equipped with an extremely limited, random combat roster of moves that can best be summed up as a mash fest. Pass. It's too bad the web-head wasn't graced with some of his Marvel vs. Capcom moves; Spider-sting could really come in handy here.

This doesn't bode well for a system that's struggling to establish a niche in the midst of the juggernaut success of its biggest competitor, the Game Boy Advance. To its credit, Spider-man 2 features some exceptionally impressive cut scenes, albeit the occasional grammar inconsistencies. Plus, there's a few 3D levels thrown in the mix, challenging players to race through the city and reach a specific destination within a certain time limit. Pretty average at best -- the levels would feel a lot more dynamic and entertaining if the frame rate was a bit smoother and longer. They're also pretty simplistic, so you'll end up breezing through them all quicker than the pizza delivery scene in the film.

One can't help but feel this was a rushed project developed for the sake of cashing in on the marketing craze of the film. It's been said countless times by avid gamers and comic book fans -- we deserve better. If you're looking for an authentic experience doing anything a spider can, I'd suggest giving the console versions a spin.

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