Friday, December 14

Spider-man (2002) Review

Available on: PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC
Price: Varies Second-hand
I played on: PS2
Notes: N/A

Spider-man follows the events of the first Sam Raimi film while being built on the gameplay foundation of the earlier PS1 games; Spider-man and Spider-man 2 Enter: Electro. Does this movie tie-in improve on a tried and tested formula or become just another awful movie adaptation? Let's find out.

The graphics here are ugly everywhere besides Spidey himself, the NPC’s look terrible, the levels are dull and the bosses look uninspired. The voice acting is just awful with characters having absolutely no emotion to any of their lines. Somehow they sound even more bored than I feel while playing this mess of a game. During a few of the later missions, I had the frame-rate drop to a crawl. The presentation of this game is bad boarding on terrible. I remember liking the graphics when I first played this back in 2002 but it’s obvious that it has not aged well at all.

The plot is also a mess with the events of the film only taking up the last few missions while the rest is pointless filler with other Spider-man villains such as Shocker and the Vulture. The terrible voice acting means that it’s next to impossible to get even a little invested in what’s happening. After defeating the Scorpion he just gets up and runs off with Spidey not even trying to follow him. That’s the last we see of him in the entire game. This leaves a massive plot thread unresolved. Who was he in this universe? How and why did he end up in the mech suit? Seeing as he is being hunted by Oscorp similar to Spider-man this could have made for an interesting and uneasy alliance. But nope, he just walks off and Peter lets him despite the fact that he's proven that he is unstable and being hunted by dangerous machines. Leaving him alone just puts both the Scorpion himself and the people of New York in danger. Honestly, this is just one example of why this plot is horrible with it not even matching up to the film it’s based on. Spidey has web canisters despite him having organic webbing in the film, Norman Osborne never finds out Spider-man is Peter Parker and we never even see or hear from Harry or Aunt May.

The gameplay has a solid starting point being based on the very enjoyable PS1 Spider-man games but the controls break it completely. When moving on the floor Spidey will get stuck moving in one direction and you will need to stop and start moving in another direction to fix this. I tried two PS2 controllers, 2 versions of the game and 2 PS2's and had the same issue each time. Beyond a doubt, it’s a problem with the game and not my hardware. The controls besides this still feel slow and unresponsive. I love the PS1 games this is based on but sadly this undoes all of the improvements made during Enter Electro. Worse than that it manages to feel even stiffer and more unresponsive than the PS1 original. During the few levels set outside you will be able to web swing. This feels less like swinging from the rooftops and more like flying while constantly moving forward. I didn't feel like Spider-man at all during these moments. The combat has most of the same moves from the PS1 game available to use but I found using them more difficult here. Similar to the movement controls the button input for these attacks felt unresponsive. Awful movement, combat and controls are what ruin this game but even without these problems, the levels are bland, boring and short. There is very little gameplay to be enjoyed here.

Honestly, if you were to ignore the voice acting, terrible cutscenes and broken controls this game would still just be average. When you take into account all of the game's problems it quickly becomes one of the worst Spider-man games ever. Avoid this game, only the most loyal and dedicated Spider-man collectors should pick this one up.

Recommendation rating: 1 out 10.

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