Spider-Man 2

February 6, 2006

In the weeks since [i]Spider-Man 2[/i] the movie was released, I’ve heard some very good things about [i]Spider-Man 2[/i], the game. People have boasted that it is one of the better movie-based video games to come out in a while, and with the recent [i]Chronicles of Riddick[/i], I felt that movie-based games were starting to make a turn for the better. Sadly enough, as I played into [i]Spider-Man 2[/i] for the Playstation 2, I found that it is a very repetitive game, has fairly dull game play, and really doesn’t look too good in the end.

Like you would expect, [i]Spider-Man 2[/i] the game is based off the most recent [i]Spider-Man 2[/i] movie. The game loosely follows the movie’s storyline, so if you want to see the movie, then it would be best to wait and play this game after seeing the movie. Even so, [i]Spider-Man 2[/i] alters parts of the story. In addition to Doctor Octopus, you will also have to fight other enemies of Spider-Man like Mysterio, Shocker, and Rhino. It also adds in other things fans of Spider-Man will recognize, and even alters one of the movie’s most important parts, most likely to keep you in costume as out-of-costume Peter Parker really can’t do a whole lot.

The game’s best feature is the web-swinging system. [i]Spider-Man 2[/i] takes place across Manhattan Island, and let’s you swing throughout the entire city. [i]Spider-Man 2[/i] actually takes some elements from games like [i]Grand Theft Auto 3[/i] and [i]Tony Hawk’s Underground[/i]. Like in [i]Grand Theft Auto 3[/i], you can go anywhere on the island without a loading screen getting in your way, and like [i]Tony Hawk’s Underground[/i], you can receive missions from various people along the streets of New York City. Although instead of a car or a skateboard, you use your trusty webbing to swing across New York City, and for the most part, it works really well and is the most enjoyable thing about [i]Spider-Man 2[/i].

Even though you can get missions from civilians, you will probably spend most of your time doing the missions assigned to you by the game. The game divides these missions into different chapters, and once you complete all these objectives, they go into the next chapter. There are three different types of mission usually assigned to you. The most common is the “hero point” goal, while the other two are either buy a certain upgrade or complete a goal to drive the story along. In the end though, most of these missions will get very repetitive, especially the hero point goal. The missions that drive the story can get old fast, as they usually have you either getting to a certain point before time runs out, or following Black Cat until she stops, or getting to the top of the building to take pictures. The point is, almost any mission will have you swinging across the city going from this building to the next, which is sad, because it ends up hurting the best part of the game to the point where it gets as old as the missions do. Occasionally though, a mission will get interesting, like missions that have you exploring a fun house or navigating an obstacle course.

Of course, the hero point goals are even more tedious than the other missions. Usually, the game will ask you to get a number of hero points. These don’t take a real long time to complete, as the other missions give you a hefty amount of hero points, but the bad part about these objectives is that as soon as you reach the goal, the game starts the next chapter, which gives you another handful of points. Another bad thing about the hero point goals is that usually, you will have to go around town helping people who see trouble going on, which adds even more to the repetitive scale.

It doesn’t help that there are only a handful of missions you can receive from pedestrians. They are somewhat enjoyable the first or second time, but after doing them all (which won’t take long), you’ll probably get bored. There are other ways to get hero points other than helping civilians, of course, they don’t stray too far from the other missions. You can do assignments for the Daily Bugle or deliver pizzas, but these don’t stray too far from the “swing here and come back” missions we’ve already come to love in this game.

[i]Spider-Man 2[/i] does have its fair share of boss fights. As mentioned before, you fight many enemies from the Spider-Man comics, as well as the main villain from the movie, Doc Ock. However, these boss fights can get a little dull. They aren’t incredibly challenging, and once you figure out the pattern the boss goes in, you shouldn’t have too much trouble with them. It doesn’t help that bosses are pretty random. The game doesn’t really incorporate them into the story very well, aside from Doctor Octopus, and it just throws them in and has them terrorize the place without much explanation of where they came from.

The combat system is a mixed bag of good and bad. On the good side, you can purchase many different attacks to use on enemies. The combo system works great and there is a good variety of attacks to use, provided you purchase them with hero points. On the bad side, the game is prone to button mashing. You can easily take out enemies simple by pushing the punch button in rapid succession, and unless you refuse to simply button mash, the multiple attacks to choose from can become useless and wasted hero points. Sometimes, enemies will block your attacks, but all you really have to do there is press the dodge button, then counter-attack them and beat the daylights out of them while still on the ground. There can be times where enemies will overwhelm you, and that’s when button mashing becomes futile, but this is on rare occasions. There is also “spider-reflex mode,” but this is essentially the “bullet time” we’ve all come to love, and like most games that use this, you will end up not using it a whole lot.

The graphics are yet another mixed bag. I don’t know what the story is on the Gamecube or Xbox versions, but [i]Spider-Man 2[/i] looks awful on the Playstation 2. Generally, things look all right from a far-off perspective, but it’s when you get up close when things get ugly. Character models look horribly blocky and jagged. When they talk, their lips don’t move, and when they move, they can start to twitch and spasm out of control. Because of this, cut scenes look pretty bad, not that it matters, since the game lets you skip over cut scenes, and if you’ve seen the movie, then you can simply skip over these without much worry. When the camera is far off, buildings and people look fairly good, although they leave a little to be desired, but in the end, the graphics could have been done so much better. The frame rate keeps up with the game fairly well, especially when swinging through the city. Spider-Man is probably the best-looking character in the game, whereas the main characters like Peter Parker and Otto Octavius look slightly like the real thing but not exactly, and the pedestrians look horrible.

Tobey Maguire and other actors voice their respecting characters. The dialogue is a little funky in [i]Spider-Man 2[/i]. Spider-Man usually says quirky little lines that sound pretty lame in the end. He seems to step out of the shy little nerdy character the movie sets up and into a more sarcastic tone, like the old comic books and animated series presents. Most of the dialogue coming from pedestrians, which mainly consists of asking for help, sounds weird as well, mainly because they sound like they are straight out of the old comic books. The music sounds pretty good, and is similar to what was in the first Spider-Man game and music from the movie. Bruce Campbell returns as the helping guide, and offers his sarcastic rambling throughout the game’s tutorial. It’s really up to the player to decide whether or not he is tolerable. The way he presents help throughout the game is unique, but there are probably some who find his presentation annoying to no ends.

[i]Spider-Man 2[/i] is yet another fairly decent movie-based game, but that’s not saying much. The web-swinging system is probably the best reason to play this game, although it isn’t an incentive for a purchase since it can become old after awhile. Everything else in the game is rather repetitive and gets old very quickly, and the graphic presentation is lacking at best. [i]Spider-Man 2[/i] will probably suit many people best as a rental, especially since the game can be completed in a fairly short amount of time. In the end, [i]Spider-Man 2[/i] is fairly dull and doesn’t do much to help the movie-based stereotype out.

Score: 2/5

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