Review: Spiderman 2

Spider-man is an underdog among superheroes. When he's not webslinging around town or beating up baddies he's Peter Parker, an insecure student and photographer. Sometimes he even seems to have more problems as Peter Parker than as Spider-man, he's constantly late for appointments and has trouble with girlfriends all the time. Probably because of this very human side his comics are among the most popular comics around. Recently Spidey also enjoyed huge success with two movies, Spider-man and Spider-man 2, so making them into games would be the next logical step. Luckily for us Treyarch tried to make Spider-man 2 a special game, so instead of yet another superhero licensed action adventure or beat-em-up we get a genuine superhero game. What's a genuine superhero game you ask? Well, for one you actually feel like you're controlling Spidey instead of just another muscled guy in a Spider-man costume. What else? Read the rest of this review and find out.


GTA: Spidey City:

The first thing you should know about Spider-man 2, and you probably already do, is that it's based loosely on the idea of the Grand Theft Auto series. You get to travel around a big play area; all of Manhattan in this case, take random challenges from people on the streets and do a few storyline missions to advance the plot. The amount of freedom you had in GTA 3 and Vice City is toned down a bit though, you won't be able to hijack cars or beat up innocent people. Instead of by car you travel around Manhattan jumping along rooftops and swinging from building to building with weblines. This makes up for the lack of freedom completely; swinging around the city feels great and looks really cool. In GTA you could often find yourself just driving around town looking for cool cars to steal, in Spider-man 2 you'll often forget about your mission completely and just explore a part of Manhattan you haven't been to yet. Just like in GTA, Spider-man keeps track of all kinds of statistics, so if you're getting bored you can always try to beat your webswinging top speed or climb up the Empire State Building and try to fall more than 1400 feet without dying.


Your friendly neighborhood Spider-man:

The game starts of with one of the most amusing tutorials you'll ever come across in a game, Treyarch got Bruce Campbell to guide you through the controls with style and a sense of humor. After the introduction you're free to do what you want. You can choose to start doing the story missions right away or you can just swing around town for a bit and see what else the game has got in store. There are tons of tokens to collect, over two hundred hint markers with a spoken piece of advice (or just a bad joke) by Bruce Campbell and all kinds of random crimes waiting for you to be solved. You usually start these random missions by talking to a citizen calling you. They can range from stopping a mugger from getting away to saving people of a sinking boat and from bringing a wounded man to the hospital to chasing a carjacker. Sometimes the citizen calling you is luring you into a trap, he'll try to take you down with a couple of his buddies so they can brag about beating Spider-man. Solve a crime, complete a story mission, find a hidden token or access a new hint marker and you're rewarded with hero points, which you can use to buy new moves or improved stats at your local Spidey store. You also have to earn a certain number of hero points to get to a new chapter in the game's story, so you're forced to solve a few random crimes in addition to the story missions if you want to finish the game.


Does whatever a spider can:

On paper a city full of random citizens in distress looks nice of course, but in the game there's not too much variation in the kind of problems these people get themselves into. After a while you're seen all the scenarios and collecting hero points can become a bit repetitive, even the story mode missions often play a lot like the random crimes. At this point you should try to practice the moves you've bought at the Spidey stores, they make the fights much more diverse and enjoyable. Spider-man can punch with B, shoot webs with Y, dodge attacks (after a flashing spider-sense warning over his head) with X and jump with A. If you use these buttons in combinations you can do the most outrageous moves; he can tie bad guys to light posts, juggle them, disarm them or use his web lines to throw them up, pull them towards you to hit them, swing them in circles or throw them into a couple of their friends. The longer and harder the combo is to pull of, the cooler it looks and the more effective it is on enemies, so keep an eye out for those nifty Spidey stores.


There's even a Spider-man take on bullet time called Spider reflexes, in which you (guess what?) slow down time to make dodging more easy and your punches faster. You don't really need to use this anywhere but in boss-fights, but it's a nice touch anyway. Controlling Spidey outside fights is at least as involving and rewarding as the fighting itself. Spidey can jump to immense heights by charging A, he can crawl over walls with X, run with L and shoot a webline to a building with R. Combining these buttons makes him do all kinds of cool stuff like running along walls, yanking him forward along a webline or even do summersaults and other tricks in mid-jump. The swinging and jumping through the city is so much fun you'll even find yourself collecting tokens and other relatively useless stuff just to have an excuse to zip through another couple of blocks.


Sights and sounds:

Another good reason to climb buildings is the sight. Up close on street level Spider-man 2 may look very cheap with it's lo-res civilian models, but climb up a reasonably high skyscraper and the view gets better with every meter you advance. Stay up there long enough to see the game go into its night cycle and you'll get an even nicer view. Most of your missions take you to the streets or even inside buildings though, which look rather unpolished. Spidey himself moves very fluidly though, so it's hard to stay mad at the game for long. The voice work in the game is also a bit uneven. We already mentioned Bruce Campbell's funny lines and Toby Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and Alfred Molina all stepped in to do their parts pretty well. Toby could've done a few more lines though, he repeats himself a lot. The civilians you'll encounter on the streets are a whole different story, their voices are delivered with a complete lack of feeling, just like you usually get in a movie license game. The sound effects are a lot better fortunately, jump down a high building and you'll hear the wind blast by until you shoot a webline to save yourself.

Final Say:

If you like Spider-man you probably already have this game, and that's a good thing because it's the best Spider-man, make that superhero game around. It does great justice to Manhattan, which has always played a big role in Spidey's comics and movies as well. True, the missions repeat themselves a little often, but you make them more interesting for yourself by trying out your numerous combos. The story is nice, it adds a few villains to the movie's Doc Ock to make it more exciting, but it's not the reason you'll find this game so hard to put down. That honor goes to the swinging, the wallcrawling, the building jumping and the fighting. Treyarch set an example for other movie licenses, you can make a highly enjoyable game that does justice to the license and will probably sell a lot. Now we want Batman, Superman, Punisher and all the other masked musclemen to follow suit! Please.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Not perfect but a lot of fun

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability5
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan4
Final Score



Swinging controls
Reality of Manhatten


Similar missions
Could look better

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