Review: Spider Man: The Movie
Posted 19 Dec 2002 at 02:24 by Gualtiero Forte
Who hasn't heard of the only hero who can climb walls, swing from building to building, shoot webs, and do all sorts of nifty things? I'm guessing not many people, especially after the huge movie blockbuster was released this year. The movie reminded us all that besides Superman and Batman there was another marvellous male protagonist that could capture our minds and imaginations. The amazing Spider-Man!
Activision, after acquiring this moneymaking license, turned the work over to Treyarch. A developer also in charge of the up-coming game Minority Report, another game based on a movie. In fact, Treyarch does an excellent job of recreating the cinematic atmosphere in this game. For those of you who don't know the story, Peter Parker, regular teenager, gets bitten by a genetically mutated spider and thus obtains powers that only an arachnid could have. The adventure starts here!
The first level is exactly what a gamer would want as soon as you buy the game. Peter Parker finds himself chasing a group of villains, called the Skulls, on top of a city's horizon (New York, although it is never mentioned), after he finds out that one of them killed his beloved Uncle. Right away players are presented to some lovely graphics, like skyscrapers that reflect other buildings, busy streets and a very detailed model of the main character. This trait repeats itself throughout the whole game. You can expect to find some delightful visuals in this game, especially from the enemies that Spider-Man will face, who are beautifully produced; Shocker, one of the main villains, is a good example of this. Treyarch, without doubt, has done a great job in this sector.
Although the game doesn't feature music from the movie's soundtrack (that would have been too much), there are some nice tunes for your ears to listen to. The only problem is that these tunes repeat themselves over and over again. Don't get me wrong, every level has it's own titles, but once the song is over, it just starts again after a brief pause. Trust me, if the music would keep going it would sound a whole lot better. Treyarch has also added various phrases spoken by Spider-Man during the game. Some brief comments, usually insulting the villains. While they may get a quick smile from you at the beginning of the game, they get quite frustrating and bothersome after you listen to them five-hundred times. It was a good idea to implement this talking deal, but they should have added more phrases. You'll know them all by heart by the time you get to the third level. One thing that I appreciated in this game was the voice of Bruce Campell, the often useful and humorous narrator of the game who guides you in times of difficulty.
Spider-Man is your typical linear game. There isn't much wrong with that, except that the completion of the levels becomes quite dull. Kill the bad guy, take the key, open the door, press the switch, are some instructions that you'll almost certainly find often in this game's strategy guide. The best levels are certainly those based on top of skyscrapers where you have the possibility to just explore by swinging from building to building while shooting webs for no reason. Unfortunately, not many of these are present since Treyarch have filled this game up with ground levels, full of tunnels and small rooms.
You can do a lot of things with Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man. I've never seen a game character that can perform this many moves! The possibility to swing almost into any area you please is particularly exciting. It has never been so easy to run away from your enemies! Not only can you swing by using your web, you can shoot it, use it to protect you (by forming a little dome), and even have it function as a little up-down elevator, to land softly on the ground.
Fighting is another enjoyable activity in this title. You start off with your basic moves, kick, punch, jump on people, and move on to find new moves. These are power-ups (located in numerous areas of the game) that enable you to perform new attacks. There's so many that it will be difficult to remember them all, you'll probably find yourself performing the easiest and most efficient ones. Nonetheless, it's nice to know that you have such an array of actions at your disposal.
In a game that presents such immense levels, it's going to be hard finding your way. Treyarch thought of this and decided to help you out on the achievement of your objectives. The handy compass tells you two things: how high you are and where you need to go. With the help of this handy instrument you'll reach your goals in no time.
Along with the voice comments/insults problems that I mentioned above, this title also presents another difficulty. The camera is often in a position that in no way favours your gaming experience. Even though Treyarch tried to fix this problem with the use of the C-Stick, it is often deadly and distracting to move the camera while you're fighting the boss since you never know where it will end up, in my opinion a big no-no. As for the rest of the controls, they were all positioned adequately.
After you complete this title, you may feel the need to go and do it again. By collecting a certain number of points you can unlock bonus games such as bowling or various obstacle courses. There are also some pleasant videos and art that can be viewed with the points collected throughout the game's 22 levels. The bonuses may seem fun to some, but I found them rather repetitive. Most of them have you swing from wall to wall in the least time possible.
There are some levels that are worth playing again, like the first one for example, which is coincidentally the one that gives you the most freedom and allows you to just jump around wherever you please. Regrettably, the boss levels are rather easy, even though you often find yourself fighting with the villain and the camera. Too bad a multiplayer mode wasn't included, maybe next time.
If there are any Spider-Man fans out there that are looking for an entertaining game, with clean graphics, faithful to the movie and the legendary comic, then this is the game for you. If you're a gamer that needs a little more than only a certain amount of playing time then you might want to look into this game as a rental.
N-Europe Final Verdict
A well-done title that should have offered more in terms of levels and camera efficiency.
Nice, clean graphics.
Controls are easy to learn.
Faithful to movie and comics.
Bad camera angles.
Irritating voice of SpiderMan