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Posted by: jkdmedia

Review Rating 5.0 Average
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On June 29th, Activision launched the Spider-Man 2 video game alongside Sony's major motion picture.  The end result was the number-one selling movie and number-one selling game for the month of July.  And why wouldn't they be?  You've seen the commercials.  They're very epic.  Mary Jane, with her "Do you love me?" expressions, and Spider-Man, with his "Yes, I do!" eye contact.  It's just too good to resist.

The film was big on computer graphics, and the game featured one of the best-looking cities ever designed for a video game.  When it came time to bring Spider-Man 2 to the N-Gage, the developers knew they couldn't release another 2D adventure.  They'd include 2D levels just for fun, but if the whole game was a side-scroller, could it really compare to the big-budget PlayStation 2 version?

N-Gage has 3D power, leading the way for Spidey to sling webs in full-3D.  Did it happen?  Yes.  Did it happen the way that all good things should?  I could give you the answer now, but that would make the review a lot less interesting.

Let's start by getting the two-dimensional levels out of the way.  They're not very fast, not very complex, and not anything you'll brag to your friends about.  Spider-Man can swing from building to building.  He can also perform a cool technique where he slowly releases his web to lower himself from the ceiling (something the PlayStation 2 version didn't include).

Key 5 is the primary button for this game.  Hit it once to jump, hit it again to unleash Spider-Man's web, making him swing just as he would in any other video game.  The problem is that this isn't any other video game.  The enemies are weak, not just in how they attack but in the types of weapons that they use.  It's so easy to defeat them that it borders on being a cakewalk.

Key 7 is your punch attack.  Pressing it repeatedly will make Spider-Man perform a few different hits, almost as if he was executing a combo.  In all fairness I guess he is, but the animation is almost as weak as the enemies he's battling.  A combo should look forceful, powerful, and perform as such when being executed.

Web slinging is easy but not very fun.  You have different buttons for different web tactics, and all of them except key 5 seem to be the worst possible choices.  Why wasn't key 4 used for the punch button?  It's right next to key 5, the most commonly used key.  We're alll used to the A / B and Square / X control schemes that Nintendo and Sony's consoles have created.  Why would someone go and try to alter that with Spider-Man 2?

Adding to the frustration (and boredom) is Spider-Man's lack of maneuverability.  You can say a lot of bad things about the PlayStation 2 version, but it was king when it came to maneuverability.  You really felt like you were flying.  All they had to do with this game was create easy-to-use controls that made web-slinging fun.  Not only is the web-slinging bad, but when I move left and right or jump in the air I feel like I'm controlling a brick.  It's solid, clunky, and anything but agile.

Even if the controls were great, the N-Gage version of Spider-Man 2 would still be boring.  The mission objectives are lame.  I don't want to take photographs and I don't want to waste more time saving civilians.  I want something exciting.  Hopefully Spider-Man 3 will give us that.

Wait – there's one last hope.  Spider-Man 2 includes 3D levels!  These must be just what I'm looking for!

Unfortunately they're not at all what I was looking for.  The frame rate is unbelievably slow, killing off any feelings of excitement before they had the chance to develop.  The goals are lame, too.  Get from point A to point B, and swing through some rings while you're at it.

For a game that moves so slow you'd think the graphics would be prettier.  Spider-Man 2 is more akin to a pimped Game Boy Advance game than it is to an N-Gage title.

As if it needed to be said, the N-Gage version of Spider-Man 2 is anything but a must-have.  You'd maybe want to rent it, but I'm only saying that if you love Spider-Man and can't live without playing it, or if you've beaten all the other N-Gage titles on the market and you're desperate for something to play.  Desperation is not an excuse though.  A bad game is a bad game.  The need for more variety doesn't make it anymore fun to play.

Review Scoring Details for Spider-Man 2 for the N-Gage

Gameplay: 5
This pint-sized version of Spider-Man 2 tries to do many different things but has a really hard time pulling them off.  Aside from the 2D web-slinging aspect, which isn’t perfect, the controls feel cumbersome.  The 3D levels move at a pace much slower than you’d expect from an N-Gage game.  With a faster frame rate these levels would need better objectives, because the current ones available aren’t very entertaining.

Graphics: 5
Not at all the best-looking N-Gage title on the market, Spider-Man 2 lacks in both 2D and 3D visual prowess.

Sound: 5
The sound effects sound beat-down and the music can’t compare to the orchestral tracks featured in the film.

Difficulty: Easy/Medium
Should you choose to finish the game, you’ll discover an adventure that isn’t that demanding of your gaming skills.

Concept: 7
The combination of 2D and 3D gameplay elements could have been great.

Overall: 5
What likely started out as a good idea on paper has turned into a game that feels like it was made one generation too soon.  Was it?  Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater proved that many incredible things can be done on the N-Gage, both in technology and in gameplay.  Spider-Man 2 attempts to combine 2D and 3D levels in one adventure, but neither makes the game seem completed.  It almost seems like it’s 50% complete – all the levels are in place, now they need to tweak them in order to add the fun.  Spider-Man could never be as good in the second dimension as he is in 3D, but if they had made the levels a little more open, the web-slinging could have been more consistent, producing a much faster (and more rewarding) experience.

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