Written by  :  Guy Chapman (2001)
Written on  :  May 14, 2007
Platform  :  Wii
Rating  :  3.43 Stars3.43 Stars3.43 Stars3.43 Stars3.43 Stars

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Great Controls Marred By A Drop In Overall Quality.

The Good

To hit the biggest point of the Wii version that, in my opinion, makes this version tower above the rest of the Spider-Man 3 games is the controls. The Wiimote/Nunchuk setup that is used to simulate Spider-Man swinging through the streets of New York is fun, intuitive (once you get used it), and very interesting. This is what I had hoped would be possible with the Wii's unique control scheme, and it delivers. I couldn't imagine playing it any other way now. Even using the webbing to fight seems interesting, and several clever ideas have been implemented.

Spider-Man 3 takes the missions from the second game and provides more realistic goals. Spider-Man spends more time breaking up street gangs and disarming bombs than helping whiny kids recover their balloons.

There are also some fun story elements, and a satisfying selection of villains from both the movie and comics to contend with. The black suit aspect is interesting, and it's also novel that Spidey has to struggle to get it off each time. The Wiimote based cinema scenes are also novel.

J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson adds a lot of fun to his role, and actually sounds like he's enthused to be there. Bruce Campbell also returns as the Narrator, and provides the same level of humorous and snarky commentary.

The Bad

Graphically, something went horribly, horribly wrong. This is by no means as pretty a game as the Gamecube version of Spider-Man 2. The lighting is weird and inaccurate, buildings down the street or from high up lose all of their textures, looking worse than any Nintendo 64 or PSX game. The draw-in is embarrassing, and makes the game feel incomplete, or at worst, like a Nintendo 64 game sans the fog effects. Everything in the game looks bland even up close. The character models are hideous, especially in the cut-scenes.

Sound-wise, with the exception of the two above listed actors in the "good" category, the main stars sound bored out of their skulls during their reading. It's line recital, and little more. The NPCs are just as bad. Sure, NPC characters are not the focus, but female characters speaking with male voices, Caucasian characters speaking with Asian accents (not the only ethnic switch-around - there are several different varieties), it becomes unsettling. Even New York itself is quiet. This is New York City. It's never quiet there. Ever. It sounds more like a small town with the occasional car honk or pedestrian comment.

While web-swinging controls are great, the fighting is merely okay. Waving the Wiimote back and forth starts to feel silly after a while and gets a little tiresome.

There are also several glitches in the game that allow Spider-Man to have trouble climbing buildings, clip through walls, fight for a good view with the camera... the game even crashed once during its tutorial. Sequels to games are supposed to improve upon the original title, not regress in quality. The character of Spider-Man sticks TO walls. He does not get stuck IN them.

The Bottom Line

With as "right" as this game gets it with the incredible web-swinging control scheme, it does so many other things wrong.

It's easy to dismiss a lot of these problems as it being "just a movie-based game". But Activision has always (until now) treated the Spider-Man license with a lot of care and enthusiasm. The first two movie Spider-Man games were great titles, and even the original story games were very good and a lot of fun. This game feels like it was rushed to make sure it came out in time for the new movie. and it shows in almost every facet of the game.

The Wii version is a visual step back from the pretty Gamecube version (the previous system), also lacking the polish that allowed Spider-Man to "do whatever a spider can".

Activision needs to try again with a new game. Those clever controls are wasted on too much of an average game, and that's unfortunate as that's the best part of the entire title. Hopefully, they'll actually spend some time and care on the next title, and allow players to experience the elements of what made the past games so cool, and the ideas introduced in this one.

At least try this for the control set-up....