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Spider-Man: The Movie (Windows)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Written by  :  Zovni (9360)
Written on  :  Apr 18, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars

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Summary

A worthy adaptation of the movie that builds upon Spidey's proven formula for success

The Good

Spider-Man: The Movie could be considered an upgraded version of the previous psx Spider-Man titles and rightly so, after all while it's supposed to be based on the Spider-Man motion picture and the first next generation title for the webslinger, it's really based on the template of the previous 3D Spidey games with some minor additions and a gigantic graphic upgrade.

Basically, the graphics lost all the cartoony, primary-colored look of the previous games and now feature realistically proportioned models as well as more detailed and realistic textures and lightning effects, all courtesy of the improved hardware specs ("The movie" is a T&L-only game). The outdoor areas are also much more appealing, as the cityscape is now fully (or nearly-fully) rendered and you can actually look down and see the traffic in manhattan's streets as you swing around town instead of a conveniently placed fog as before. This change of look makes the game much more digestible and in-tone with the more realistic vibe the movie went for, as Spidey has to fight with diverse firearm-toting gangmembers and urban punks instead of the usual block-headed laser-shooting thugs (coz, ya know, it's cool to be shot as long as it's by colorful laser blasts that doesn't cause any gory wounds).

Under that shiny new coat of paint however, "The Movie" plays pretty much the same as the previous Spidey games except for the addition of more combo options and a slightly bigger control scheme (otherwise identical to the older one), another addition is the inclusion of better swing controls that allow you to effectively maneuver mid-air and introduces air combat into the classic gameplay you know from the prequels. The Green Goblin as well as several other guest villains are able to duke it out with you in mid-air thus several levels are composed of semi-boss fights in which your old swing-kick just doesn't cut it anymore, hence you are now able to grab onto your enemies, punch them (assisted by the game) or just turn and speed up while you are swinging to kick them where it hurts.

It may be a simple thing, but dropping on the Goblin's glider and slamming him while you both struggle for control atop the skies is a truly spectacular gameplay experience. The rest of the game is pretty much the same as before (which is rather good... don't mess with a good thing) but with minor additions here and there, the new web-combos, the introduction of sneaking as a gameplay gimmick, etc. etc.

As for the movie-adaptation issue the game does get a more "serious" treatment and incorporates production values befitting a class-A Hollywood product. So you have a streamlined movie-themed menu and interface, incredible pre-rendered cutscenes (You'll swear some of them are deleted sequences from the movie...) a stellar music score ripped right from the movie, original voiceovers from the movie's cast (William Dafoe in a videogame!!) and a host of other nice refinements such as alternate game modes and behind-the-scenes extras (both from the movie and the game). The coolest addition however, is the incorporation of Bruce Campbell as a narrator that introduces you to the game's mechanics, essentially doing the same work as Stan Lee in the previous games, but without making you feel like a retarded 5-year old by tapping into Bruce's charisma and wit that always makes you feel as if you were with an old goofball friend instead of listening to a game's tutorial, a dvd commentary track or any other thing that has Bruce's name attached to it.

The Bad

Few things to bitch about, except the lack of longevity when compared to other 3D action games, and the often times complicated control scheme (that still remains a carbon copy of the console original and neglects to take note of that thing we PC users have called a MOUSE).

Other than that the story and progress of the game is kind of a jumbled mess, the game starts with Spidey going of to avenge uncle Ben as in the movie (sort of) and then jumps to the Green Goblin's menace. In the middle the developers saw it fit to throw everything from the Vulture, to the Scorpion, the Spider-slayers and the Shocker to keep things interesting, and while nothing makes any sense it's all inmensely entertaining. By the time you get back to the Goblin's plot however, the game turns into a collection of barely related boss fights that try to mimick the Movie's final moments.... Oh, and you'd better have seen the movie if you want to understand what's going on, as the game doesn't explain nothing aside from the basics of the plot...

The Bottom Line

An upgraded and better-looking version of the 3D Spider-Man games is a winner by nature, it may not do it's best to adjust itself to the movie's story or ideas, and things might feel a bit uneven every now and then but the look and feel is there, along with the kickass gameplay and Bruce Campbell. And you know that anything with Bruce is worth checking out!