Spider-Man exists longer than today, everybody knows that. The spider that saves the world first appeared in comic books after which a cartoon series was made for TV. Of course, movies can’t be left out with a popular character and recently a second one was released. It’s starting to become a habbit, each big movie gets a game.
Unfortunately we can’t always rejoice this. Since a game has a fixed deadline (it needs to be released together with the movie) things tend to get overlooked making the game buggy, too short, or just plain boring. After a rather mediocre Spider-Man 1, Spider-Man 2 gets the chance to proove himself. Has he succeeded ? We’ll see…
For those that aren’t familiar with Spider-Man, first of all: “Shame on you!”, but you’re lucky, I’ll explain a bit. Peter Parker was a normal student until one day he got bitten by a radioactive spider which gave him superpowers. Suddenly he can jump extremely far, stick to walls, shoot webs from his hands to transport himself, … Peter Parker soon starts to lead a double life; on one side the boring student, on the other the coolest super hero who has to be ready to save New York; Spider-Man! Now you now a bit of who Spider-Man is, I won’t tell the storyline of this game.
Activision seems to have something with huge cities lately. First we already have True Crime: Streets of LA where we could admire a giant virtual version of LA. Now there’s Spider-Man where you’re turned loose in one of the most crowded cities in the world; New York. This is immediately the biggest pro for this game: the freedom. Where in part one you had to follow the storyline in a strict sense, in part two you can do whatever you want. You’ve got a gigantic city to explore and there’s lots to do.
The web slinging alone already gives a “kick”. You also really shoot your webs to buildings now and not just in the air. You can choose between 2 modes to sling: Normal and Easy. In the latter you just push the R button to shoot a web, L to turn up the speed and meanwhile press A to charge your jump. It takes some practise but quickly feels normal and when you can sling through the streets at high speed you’ll definitely feel good.
Everywhere people are crying out for help: someone about to fall from a building, another who needs to get to the hospital, an armored truck that gets robbed, etc etc etc… It’s up to you to decide what to do, follow storymode or go on a roll to solve some minor demeanors and such/ I nthe beginning you’ll find it great that you can do what you want but after a while it starts to get boring as there are only about 10 different missions. Also you’re sometimes obliged to do small tasks since you constantly need to collect Hero Points which you get by going around town and help yelling people.
These points can be used to buy upgrades in the Spidey Shops. These vary from faster slinging to new moves and combo’s. Indeed, there’s a real battle-system integrated in this game where you have the choice between dozens of combo’s, some which you’ll need to purchase. It’s definitely worth learning these by heart, or at least some of them, since the enemies during the progress of the game become stronger. Of course it’s also pretty cool to just watch the combo’s as Spidey’s moves are extremely animated.
The great animations and huge detail only applies to Spider-Man. The rest of the population of New York certainly could use some variation. You’ll often run into the same characters and also the movies that start a small mission are almost always the same. Most of them are of in-game quality but there’s also Full Motion Video which is truly magnificent although the characters don’t look 100% like their movie version.
The buildings of New York are nicely done, at least when you’re close. From far it are empty blocks and when you get closer, windows will form and the closer you get, the more details becomes visible. Quite bothering but also understandable since it seems impossible to me to portray the gigantic New York in full detail all the time. The advantage of the used system is that there aren’t any loading times except in between missions, but the city itself is 1 whole. No loading times while slinging through New York.
The voice-acting is pretty good, especially since the main cast have lend their voice to the game, but the rest of the sound is another story. It will often happen that you’re wondering whether the sound is on or not because while slinging through town it often becomes awfully quiet. And with that I mean the *tsjoef tsjoef* sound of your webs that shoot from your hands. The sound of your jumps is well done but it’s really weird to hear only your webs without background music or anything, especially since you’re in one of the biggest cities in the world.
To make things worse, the random missions will start to irritate you, only because the people always say the same thing…
Spider-Man 2 brings movie-games to another level, for a change it’s a good game ! Still, it does have some unfinished things like the sound that could have been better and some more random missions. I even noticed a graphical bug but I won’t say anything more about it as I don’t want to give away any spoilers on the storyline. I’ve been looking around on the forums and apparantly I’m not the only one with this graphics problem.
All in all, Spider-Man 2 is a good game with some shortcomings and a playing length that’s way too short. I played the storyline in 8-9 hours. Luckily you can do as many random missions as you want afterwards.