Friday, December 14

Spider-man 2 (GBA) Review

I played on: DS Lite
I paid: £3
Available on: Gameboy Advance
Notes: There are many versions of this game across many devices so be sure to check what you're buying before paying for it.

This is the third Spider-man 2 game I’ve reviewed. It feels strange to be playing the same basic story in so many different forms. I dare say this won’t be the last time I tackle this as I have the infamous PC version in my sights. But for now, let’s focus on the Gameboy Advance game.

The graphics use 2D sprites and for the most part, they look amazing. The art style is similar to that from Spidey’s comic books and this translates really well into pixel art. Watching the Webhead swing around the city or taking on a group of bank robbers looks amazing.

It’s just a shame that as good Spidey looks controlling him feels awful. Attacks won’t register, jumping is slow and cumbersome with web swinging being the most enjoyable thing in the game. This isn’t because it’s good it’s just the one part of the controls that don’t feel broken. The level design seems to exploit these awful controls in an almost cruel way. For example, during a bank robbery, there are fans that prevent you from getting near them by pushing you away if you get to close to them. The challenge is to try and figure out a way around them, which is fine. But they don’t affect the enemies. Then those bad guys use machine guns that fire very fast presenting a challenge on there own. But when you try to fight them with a fan in the area they will retreat behind it. Of course, then you can’t reach them so you’re forced to use your web attacks, which are limited. This means if you use your webbing poorly you will not be able to finish the level at all. This sort of poor design is present throughout the entire game and it’s just horrid. I don’t mind games that feel hard in a fair way but this is just poor level design leading to an unfair challenge.

This poor design carries over to the context of each mission with them making very little sense when you think about them for even the smallest amount of time. The first mission opens with Peter Parker getting told he has 7 and a half minutes to deliver 5 pizzas and then Spider-man picks them up and delivers them. So the pizza place where Peter works knows he’s Spider-man then? During the bank mission I mentioned before, the security guards will attack you despite Spidey being a well-known superhero at this point. This gets even more stupid when they start throwing grenades at you as you stand next to hostages. Then near the end of the level, you will be attacked by the thieves and guards at the same time. Why are the guards that are supposed to protect the bank, attacking Spider-man and not the people robbing the bank in front of them? Once again this is just bad and lazy design.

Now I try to be as honest as possible during these reviews so I feel the need to tell you that I didn’t finish Spider-man 2 on the GBA. I got just over halfway through according to a mission list I looked up online. Normally I try to finish every game I play. However, I got so frustrated with a level that had you trying to manage the awful combat and platforming controls along with a time limit to defuse a series of bombs. I could have pushed forward but I asked myself one simple question. If not for this review would I continue playing this? The answer was a resounding no so I gave up. Spider-man 2 on the GBA is simply awful game design right down to its core and no amount of pretty pixel art will save a game like that.

Recommendation Rating: 2 out of 10.

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