reviews\ Sep 21, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Marvel Spider-Man Action Light - GBA - Review

Will Naki’s “Daylight Technology” excite fans of the famous web-head?


Since the day of the GBA’s release, peripheral companies have been eagerly trying to develop a worthwhile lighting solution.  This seems to have been a daunting task since no one light attachment has been able to produce enough illumination to make games look bright and sharp while only drawing a measly 3-volts from the GBA link-port.  Naki is hoping that something called “Daylight Technology” will solve the ever-annoying problem of not being able to see what is happening on your Game Boy Advance screen.  The Spider Action Light is obviously intended for web-head fans, the unit is a re-creation of the Spider-man character from the shoulders up and snaps onto the GBA’s link-cable port. 


It features two bright lights attached to Spidey’s foldable arms that produce a hefty amount of luminosity thanks to the fact that the device requires two additional AAA batteries in order to increase the amount of power the lights can use.  While Naki suggests that the additional battery requirement is beneficial since it doesn’t waste your GBA’s battery power, I’d bargain that more than a handful of Game Boy Advance owners with rechargeable battery packs would disagree.  However, in fairness, Naki does include the first pair of batteries free of charge with the unit. 


Aesthetically the Spider Action Light is a nice replication of the Spider-Man model but the first time I laid eyes on it the only thing I could think is how cheesy-looking it is.  Spidey’s head is rotatable and his big white eyes glow in the dark, it just makes you ask; “Why?”  I guess fans of the wall-crawler would consider these additions a positive bonus but in my opinion Naki should have devoted more time to refining the lighting process than adding extraneous aesthetics.  For example, it would have been nice if Naki included some sort of detachment mechanism to remove the unit.  I couldn’t figure out how to get the thing off my Game Boy Advance for ten minutes; turns out you need to bend the Action Light off of the system.  It seems like doing this would break the little plastic connectors on the unit but I’ve attached and detached it many times without problem so I can only assume that this is the right way to do it.


Lets talk about functionality.  The Action Light does illuminate the GBA screen fairly well thanks to the fact that the two bright lights are positioned so that they shine on either corner of the upper most portion of the display.  The bottom half of the screen is noticeably darker though and the bright lights tend to reflect badly against top of the plastic screen.  This is a major problem and the only way around it is to position the foldable arms of the unit in such a way that the unit itself obscures your vision of the screen.  I’ve seen lots of other lighting “solutions” that don’t do half the job of the Spider Light but all said you can get better performance from something like Interact’s GlowGaurd for half the price and without the necessity to plug in additional batteries. 


But if you just got the Action Light as a gift then you shouldn’t feel too bad because it does do an adequate job of illuminating the screen enough to play most GBA games without problem.  However, for titles that use a darkish color palette like Castlevania: CotM or Duke Nukem Advance you may find yourself squinting a little too often. 


Overall, this is a respectable light attachment and it is sure to raise a few eyebrows (for better or worse) with its rotatable Spidey-head and glow-in-the-dark eyes, but it is hard to recommend a purchase on the Spider Light unless you are a die-hard Spider-Man fan that just has to have every new piece of Spider-Man paraphernalia that is released.  But for the rest of us it would be a better idea to stay away from this unit unless it can’t be helped since at a MSRP of $19.99 it is twice the price of more competent light attachments that don’t require additional batteries to work. 



Provides adequate lighting for most GBA titles.  Detailed design.  Does not draw additional power from the systems batteries.  Provides a pass-through port for the link-cable.


Bottom half of screen is annoyingly-dark unless the light-source is folded down so low that it obstructs the view of the screen.  Requires additional batteries for operation.  No detachment mechanism for removing the unit.  Can’t compete with more competitively priced lighting solutions.


Verdict: 6.7
If Spider-Man is your thing than the Action Light might be worth purchasing simply for its novelty features like the movable Spider-Man head and glow-in-the-dark eyes.  But taken purely on a price to performance mindset the Spider Action Light really isn’t the best way to go if you are looking to simply brighten your GBA screen. 

Above Average

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