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Spider-Man 2: The Game (Windows)

50
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2.5
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Written by  :  Tomer Gabel (4388)
Written on  :  Oct 24, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars

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Summary

Godawful.

The Good

Not much, really. Kind of strange, as I vaguely recall Tycho ranting positively about the game in a news post at one time? -- maybe not, doesn't really matter.

To cut a long story short, the graphics are not incredible but not horrible either, particularly the spider suit actually looks really neat. And swinging around was really cool for a little while (about 10 minutes, if you insist).

If you can believe it, that's about all I liked about it...

The Bad

To begin with, though the graphics are not horrible, they are definitely subpar for year 2004 games. I mean, come on, this game doesn't look much better than Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project, and that game is over two years old and even then sold for half the price of a brand new game. You think they'd have been able to do better with such a movie license, no?

Moving on, the sound is dreadful, and so is the music. Sound effects are tacky and reminiscent of mid-90's 3D shooters; the music is almost absent, and when it plays you almost wish it didn't. The voiceovers are sometimes acceptable (Spiderman himself is OK, although nothing more than that) but for the most part dreadful, and the variety in voices is so low that 10 minutes into the game you'll already know the entire bad guys' taunt repertoire by heart.

Speaking of lack of variety, it is not limited to sound: the locations look, for the most part, the exact same (with some notable exceptions, although not necessarily for the better - more on that later). There are only three enemy classes: the regular goons (which you kick on a regular basis); the "advanced" goons (which take a lot more punches to kill, can actually hit back and occasionally "floorstomp") and the bosses. You'll be fighting the exact same enemies throughout the game.

The controls are awful. Although it might seem manageable at first, it quickly becomes obvious that the control system is completely non-responsive and will often ignore mouse or key clicks at strategic locations. Often times you will zap or swing only to find your respective action cut midway for no apparent reason and with no provocation on your part. Worse still, surfaces that seem perfectly usable for climbing or zapping onto are simply "dead" and cannot be used, and it is neither obvious nor consistent which surfaces are useful and which aren't. Lastly, it is not always obvious just what you're supposed to do; for example, one of the first missions is to extinguish a burning fire. The fire hydrants conveniently located at the scene (and conveniently located nowhere else...) seem like the obvious solution, only because the control system is so bad you have to figure out that in order to turn on the water, you don't just go to the hydrants and use them; you have to step back, look at them from a certain angle at which point a "Pull" icon appears. Why would you pull a fire hydrant is anyone's guess, but it seems to do the trick, ripping it off and spraying water all over the place.

To call the combat system primitive would be a gross understatement. Considering last year's successful Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (although I had my gripes with the controls in that particular game as well), or even 2001's Oni, there is absolutely no excuse to have just one punch key, one combo in all, no possibility to hit in different directions, throw enemies around or anything for that matter. You hit, you duck (at least there's that) and you hit again. All in all, it was a pathetic experience.

Last but not least, the story is a grossly castrated version of the movie, with some of the same locales and none of the intensity. They've even added an irrelevant "Mysterio" boss character (whose level was actually the one saving grace of the game). Oh, and to top it all off, the game is extremely short: I finished it in one five-hour sitting.

The Bottom Line

Horrible. Bad. Very bad. Movie license of the kind we've unfortunately got used to. Just don't play it.