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Spider-Man

The Xbox box art for Spider-Man, based on the 2002 movie.

Spider-Man is a video game that was released in 2002 to coincide with the release of the first Spider-Man movie. Its plot (detailed in this ?) involves the movie's representation of Spider-Man's coming into being as a superhero as well as his ongoing battle with the Green Goblin (whom he knows as Peter Parker, but I won't tell you who he is) as well as his dealing with other less diabolical criminals like the Shocker and Scorpion.

I got this game a while back for my Xbox, and I was quite pleased with it. I actually tend to think that the graphics are better in it than in its sequel (which I have for the PS2), namely Spider-Man 2, where many of the characters looked somewhat grainy. This game, however, has great character design and overworlds (although the open world in the sequel is better), plus level design, but that was implied.

One thing that this game did better, I think, than the sequel is the combat. The reason for this is that there were more complex moves that you could unlock (by finding golden spiders in some levels) that could really show the bad guys who's boss and deal a nice amount of damage to more than one of them, on occasion. I really like the web yank, web balls, and web gloves, because those are also featured in the Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 for the PS1 that I played growing up, so that brought back delightful memories that the sequel to this game didn't have. While Spider-Man 2 did have some awesome combat functions, they just weren't as varied and realistic as those in this game. I just wish that this title didn't have you running out of web fluid, because that's a real limitation on combat that later games didn't burden you with.

So, what about the gameplay, and the enemies? I think they're reasonably well done. I like the fact that some classic villains like Vulture and Kraven were brought back into the mix, despite the fact that they had little to the plot, and they weren't even in the movie. The AI on these enemies is pretty impressive too, as some of them will block you, when you have no way of blocking or dodging yourself. However, this difficulty may be attributed more to the control of Spider-Man himself than the intelligence of the enemies, so that makes this a bit of a hollow victory on the game's part.

The levels themselves were pretty good, but there were some of them, like the Oscorp levels, where you had to be stealthy and get codes that would confuse you, and if you got caught, a bunch of robots would swarm you and never go away even after the alarm becomes inactive. This made some of the levels tedious and unfun to play, but others were very enjoyable.

A big victory for this game is some of the unlockable content. Not only can you get new combat moves, but you can also use cheats, tricks, or just plain hard gaming to unlock cool new costumes and even a new character (who I won't disclose, suffice it to say that you get him by beating the game on the hardest difficulty). There were also a bunch of interesting training sequences and mini-games, like the cage match game where you has to bring down waves of opponents, finally followed by the Crusher, from the comics (but with a different look). I just wish that this game had an Instant Action mode, like the original Spider-Man 2, where you could just go in and pummel a bunch of reproducing enemies.

All-in-all, this is an OK game. I think it's very good looking, there's plenty of replayability and extras, and while some levels feel terrible to play, many of them are very fun. So, if you have any of the compatible consoles for the game, and you're a Spider-Man fan, I'd say this is worth buying if you try it and like it. Otherwise, I'd say it's more of a rent.

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