Spider-Man: The MovieSpidey senses tingling! Spiderman is one of the most well known super heroes around. Probably next to Superman and Batman, â€œSpideyâ€ is one of the most popular characters in the supernatural universe. With his super-cool personality and awe-inspiring super powers, Spiderman seems almost perfect for a video game. Just how do his superhuman deeds translate onto the small screen? Quite well, in fact.
Spiderman: the Movie is the third Spiderman game in as many years. Two previous incarnations have been released for the Playstation, N64, and Dreamcast, both turning out above average, the second not quite as quality a title as the first. When the game was first announced, many were worried that the game would take on many of the negative traits of the first game, and while many aspects of the game have been improved, the game still fails to achieve the excellence that its ambition would make believe.
Graphics: The graphics are actually rather cool. The playing world is nicely created, especially with the Xbox version, with some really clear textures and some highly detailed character models. Spiderman himself looks excellent, featuring a high polygon count and some awesome lighting effects, especially in the outdoor environments where the sun shines on Spideyâ€™s bodysuit.
The framerate is generally excellent, and itâ€™s actually a great feat in this game because the Xbox actually has to process an entire city at once. Cars move, people walk, and city life occurs down below. Thatâ€™s rightâ€”most of the game occurs from above. Spiderman features most levels on top of huge skyscrapers, with you swinging from building to building. The game looks rather similar to the older games, except a little more polished and some extra power taken advantage of.
The game, sadly, suffers from some of the same problems that the first two did. The camera is abominable. It never, ever seems to be in the right place when you need it to be, especially when you are swinging across rooftops. Iâ€™d go so far as to say itâ€™s the most annoying aspect of the game. It nearly game me a headache as it rocked back and forth and changed from up-close and personal to far away and removed every twenty seconds. It could have been done better.
The graphics in the Xbox version are slightly better than that in the Playstation 2 version. The game is aliased, thankfully, and now the buildings no longer look like jagged staircases leading up into the sky. The framerate is also much improved over its PS2 cousin, and because Spiderman is a caricature that relies on visual appeal, itâ€™s nice to see the improvements that Treyarch made.
Boss enemies and monsters are also nicely rendered. Cloth patterns, vivid colors, and fluid animations inhabit the gamesâ€™ offensive threats, many featuring reflective surfaces and other cool effects used standard in most video games today. The overall visuals in the game are rather pleasingâ€”nothing to write home about, but an above average attempt by Treyarch.
Gameplay: Like I mentioned before, if you played the other two, this game is pretty similar. The control is identical to the PS2 controller which is identical to the PSone controller of the older games. The default controls are really easy to dive right into, as complex motions and actions are simplified, including hand-to-hand combat and web slinging, which are Spidermanâ€™s most useful actions. All the actions have individual buttons on the Xbox controller, which make them simple to pull off.
Web slinging is your main way of getting around in Spiderman: the Movie. Pressing a button and a direction, Spidey sends out a web that can do numerous things. With the ability to swing from building to building, attack an enemy, or cling to the ceiling of a room, all of Spideyâ€™s abilities are accurately portrayed onto the small screen, placing all of them at your disposal to mess with and have fun with. By the way, it is very fun to play with. I donâ€™t know about you, but I always have loved heights. Swinging from building to building still gives me and adrenaline rush.
Unfortunately, a problem that has plagued all versions of Spiderman: the Movie exists in its control scheme. Because you need to press a button and a controller direction, sometimes you can make a mistake and execute the wrong action. Itâ€™s actually more noticeable on the Xbox because of its lack of a gigantic main button, like the GameCube offers. There is a way around it using the â€œadvancedâ€ control scheme, in which web attacks are done by pressing a web-modifier button and then pressing the action button. It works better, but is just how it sounds: advanced. It complicates the control scheme, and quite frankly, I believe most people will do better without it than with.
Most frustrations are not due to the control scheme, but unfortunately due to the gameâ€™s horrible, horrible camera. The camera has no default position to stay, so it roams around and zooms in and out without limits, and you have literally zero control over it. You are basically at its mercy. Itâ€™s difficult, like I said, when on the rooftops and in mid-jump. When on the ground, however, itâ€™s just a poor. When running, the camera may just change directions while you are moving and soon you will be heading in the complete opposite direction.
Because the world is so extensive, the game always tries to keep Spidey and his enemies on the screen at once. Because of that, the camera will zoom way, way out so that it can accommodate the spatial relationship between the two 3D models on screen. Unfortunately, I would (and probably many of you) have liked it if instead they let you move close enough to the enemy before changing it.
I must say, though, it does work in certain situations. Most missions that require you to slither around and avoid combat work well with the camera, because the game knows you donâ€™t want to start conflict, but to avoid it. The stealth element, sadly, is poorly done. Being a stealthy spider takes much work, as the game lacks any hiding maneuvers like that are present in other sneaking games (MGS2, Tenchu), such as the ability to lean against walls. There is a small icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, and when the icon is completely shadowed, you are hidden. You can hide yourself by finding a shadow. Oddly enough, some shadows that are placed in locations that would seem great hiding spots simply arenâ€™t large enough to hide inâ€”very ironic when sneaking is supposedly â€œemphasizedâ€. Sometimes the icon doesnâ€™t work and it says you are completely hidden when you are standing in the middle of an open hallway. The stealth sequences are, in one word, irksome.
The other elements of the game, however, are actually very entertaining. The outdoor levels (the better ones) are shorter and less numerous than the indoor ones (unfortunately), but the ones that do exist are very enjoyable. Usually they are either chase scenes, in which you are timed, or reach a goal scenes, in which you have all the time in the world to swing from building to building.
The indoor levels arenâ€™t quite as exciting. Usually they entail much backtracking and some basic hand-to-hand combat before you reach a level boss. I would have liked Spiderman: the Movie better sans these anemic indoor experiences.
Thatâ€™s not to say the combat is boring. You do get to use all of Spidermanâ€™s web abilities to tackle opponents, many who have weapons (Guns! Guns! Guns!) and Spidermanâ€™s karate expertise. Itâ€™s very entertaining to approach the many different ways in which to interpret combat.
You can also collect new moves in Spiderman by finding yellow icons which yield new move sets. While you arenâ€™t expected to find all of them, its much easier to finish the game knowing many of the moves that arenâ€™t standard than not. As you use your combinations on baddies later on, however, the game gets very easy, but never too easy that itâ€™s extremely boring. The AI of the enemies is all around average. The bosses are very difficult, and most require a special, unique way of defeating them that isnâ€™t always obvious the first time around.
Sound: Activision and Treyarch managed to get the voice actors from the movie to do the voice acting in the game. Toby Maguire and Willem Dafoe voice Spiderman and Norman Osborn, similar to how they voice the characters in the movie. Spidermanâ€™s voice acting sounds a tad flat, in actuality, but it is counteracted by Dafoeâ€™s performance which is actually very good.
Music is rather quiet, even for an action game. Most of the tracks sound fuzzy (at least for me), and most of them are boring. Some of them do sound like the tracks in the movie, but many are just â€œsubduedâ€ are quiet.
Overall: Spiderman: the Movie is a must for Spiderman fans. I enjoyed the game very thoroughly, or at least the outdoor portion of it, which gave me a major adrenaline boost. I canâ€™t say the game is amazing, but it certainly is a worthy buy for those of you out there looking for a cool, smooth action game. --By Kevin Ciok