VGF.Net - Video Gamers First Network
   Navigation menu
  New Page 1
Release List




The Budget Gamer's Repair Kit
-Things To Do While Waiting for Final Fantasy XI to Install
-Virtual Reality or Art?
(More Specials)

Harvest Moon: Back to Nature
-Wheel of Fortune
(More PS2 Reviews)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
-Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter
-Final Fantasy X-2
(More Previews)

Leisure Suit Larry Announced
-New Greatest Hits
-Unlimited SaGa FFX-2 Prologue Bonus
-XIII Multiplayer Details
-Acclaim Releases XGRA
-Sammy Ships Lethal Skies II
-SNK Announces King of Fighters Pack
-Chris Vrenna Scores Area 51
-PS2 Shipments Hit 60 Million
-Grand Theft Auto "Double Pack" Announced
-Soul Calibur II Ships
-New PS2 Bundle
-Soul Calibur PS2 Bonuses
-Atari Announces DBZ: Budokai 2
-Midway Announces NARC
-Midway Announces Area 51
-Lethal Skies II Dated
-Sony Announces PSX
(More News)

Message Boards | Free Email | | Hosting/Get Affiliated  
Ad Info
Review By: Joe Rolfe
Developer:   Neversoft
Publisher:   Activision
# of Players:   1
Genre:   Action
ESRB:   Everyone

When was the last time a console (or any platform for that matter) featured a decent super-hero game? Seriously, beyond the spin-off Capcom fighters the X-Men and Marvel comic characters have never enjoyed a good game. After so many attempts at creating a good super hero game, you would think that at least a couple of them would be OK at best, right? Wrong. Just about every mainstream comic game in the past has been a flub, from the Atari 2600 to todayís current generation systems. Though certainly not horrible by any means, previous Marvel character games have been nothing but duds that do little to show off a characterís persona.

Neversoftís latest entry into gaming, though, has basically done a 180-degree turn on that fact. Instead of just taking a famous Marvel license and slapping it onto a tired genre *coughAcclaimcough*, Spider-Man combines classic arcade gameplay with a cinematic-quality feel that will leave Spidey fans with a great sense of satisfaction. While plagued by a few control problems and story irks, Spider-Man still ends up as the greatest super hero title ever released and the most exciting action romp youíll come upon this year.

Early in itís development cycle, I always questioned Neversoftís ability to truly create a good world for our favorite web-head to live in. I mean, how exactly would the guys behind the legendary Tony Hawkís Pro Skater be able to convey a realistic tone of web slinging through the city-tops of New York City? A question that Neversoft answered not with words, but rather in the game itself. Actually utilizing the Pro Skater engine (which is now officially the most versatile engine in existence considering it spanned three different genres of games), Spider-Manís world is so full of imagination and character that youíll be checking your wrists ever now and then to check for supplied webbing. Spider-Manís distance view is outstanding, letting you peer over buildings and look out hundreds of feet ahead without distortion in graphic quality or slowdown whatsoever.

Spider-Manís gameplay hails back to old platform action titles that were heavy on action and little on anything having to do with intellect. Spidey closely follows that same pattern, but ironically the game leaves behind any of that standardís flaws and honestly never really gets old. Playing consists of line swinging, wall crawling and beating up bad guys at its simplest form. Though the puzzles are few and far between, they all carry the same Spider-Man theme and will never make you ask, "What is that doing in this game?"

Sadly, the gameplay itself tends to expose Spider-Manís two largest flaws: character control and camera perspective. First, Spider-Man really never handles quite well. His jumping is too erratic, button precision seems to be off, and the webshots themselves do not have an auto-lock, which means youíll be doing a lot of time wasting web goo on the walls rather than the baddies themselves. My second gripe is the camera never really feels tight or snug. I'll give Neversoft credit in the fact that (most of the time) it will give the best look and view for the web head, but often Spideyís too quick for the camera to follow fast enough. (Play one of Venomís chase scenes and youíll understand). Itís not the point at which Spider-Man is unplayable, but some parts in the game tend to be extremely frustrating on account of this.

Spider-Manís story follows the life of Peter Parker, journalist for the Daily Bugle and better known as our favorite web-slinger. Spider-Manís plot takes place at a science expo where Dr. Otto Octavious is showing off his most recent scientific technology when out of the blue Spider-Man appears and runs off with it! Oddly, Peter Parker himself is in the crowd that night, so it couldnít have been the real Spider-Man, right? This is just a snippet of Spider-Manís engaging story that will have you crossing paths with some of Spider-Manís most classic villains and friends.

The only weak link to the otherwise fantastic tale is how Neversoft guided it. Donít get me wrong, Spider-Manís story is classic as itís strait out of a comic itself, but the latter half of the game seemed a little rushed in the light that so many characters were introduced in such a short time span without much development of them in the process. As a result the game tends to be rather short in length, since it took me only a little under two days to beat the game on both the Normal and Hard difficulty levels. Sure, the extra incentives of gathering hidden costumes and comic covers are nice, but they donít replace a good solid adventure in the end.

On the other end of the spectrum is Spider-Manís presentation and that, my friends, does not slip up. Spider-Manís graphics are without a doubt the best ever in a super-hero game. Everything from the textures of NYC to Spidey himself make a believable world for Spider-Man to swing around in, with the frame rate always keeping at a respectable pace no matter how heavy the action gets on screen. Like I said before the draw distance is outstanding for a PlayStation game, always making Spider-Man an ease to play and a pleasure to watch as well. The best looking Marvel game in existence, no ifs and buts about it.

Luckily Spider-Man shines through in the aural area as well. Narrated by Stan "The Man" Lee, co-creator of the Amazing Spider-Man comic series, Spider-Man gives off a feeling of polish that even most of todayís PC and Dreamcast titles canít match. The classic web swipt! sound is here, and the usual kick and punch noises are represented as well. Background music is a mix of techno and rock which blends surprisingly well with Spider-Manís gameplay and never acts as a nuisance to your play.

But the real stars of the audio are without a doubt the voice acting and dialogue. Whether it is Spider-Man, Rhino, or Mysterio, just about every major character has voice acting on par with todayís movies. Venomís remarks are humorous and witty, as Carnageís voice is sickingly eerie but comical on the other hand. Added with the gameís perfect CG cinemas and itís like a digital version of a Spider-Man episode unfolding in front of you. I truly commend Neversoft for not leaving this vital, important part of the Spidey universe out on the doorstep behind everything else. Hearing this game is nearly as good as even watching it Ė Spider-Manís sound is that damn good.

So is Spider-Manís first PlayStation take a good one? For the most part, yes. Some confusing camera problems and control frustrations may bog it down, but Neversoftís charm positively gleams through with their Spidey effort. Even I, a huge Spider-Man fan, am hard pressed to find a truly large quandary with the game, which shows a testament to its quality. Spider-Man faithful or not, do yourself a favor and give Spider-Man a few swings Ė I guarantee you wonít regret it.

Highs: Incredible presentation and production values. Classic gameplay that never gets old; delightful character representation that will entertain the ages.

Lows: Annoying and frustrating camera; controls are a bit too loose; questionable length.

Final Verdict: While a few rough spots stop it from grabbing truly greatness, the positives far outweigh the negatives. Spider-Man fans rejoice: the king of super-heroes is back.

Overall: 8.9
Cheat Codes
Nintendo Gamers First
PC Gamers First
Xbox Gamers First



© 1999-2005 All Rights Reserved. All content contained herein is property of VGF, Inc. VGF is not affiliated with any video game companies. Logos, trademarks, names, images, etc. are property of their respective companies. More legal info. Privacy Statement

Cooler than IGN.

Click for Main Nintendo Sony PlayStation/Playstation 2 Sega X-Box PC