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April 2002



- Really puts the players in the shoes (eh, footies) of Spider-man

- Varied level design

- Lots of cool combat moves



- Impossible to play with keyboard

- Shoddy camera  



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Spider-man: The Movie

Score: 7.9 / 10


The current issue of Workplace magazine lists the most dangerous jobs in America as follows:


1. High-Rise Construction Worker

2. Deep Sea Fisherman

3. Lumberjack

4. Firefighter

5. Game Reviewer Playing Spider-man: The Movie Without a Gamepad


Copy_of_spiderman-movie-1.jpg (18984 bytes)          Copy_of_spiderman-movie-2.jpg (16348 bytes)


Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but, under no circumstances should anyone attempt to play this game using the keyboard.  It seems at times that in order to perform a particular feat of daring-do the game requires you to hit every key on your keyboard at the same time while simultaneously using your mouse to adjust the crappy camera.  After completing the training mission using only the keyboard, my hands felt like they had just completed a corn-shucking marathon.  (The urban dwellers among you may feel free to replace the preceding analogy with something more appropriate to your experience like, “after completing the training mission using only the keyboard, my hands felt like they had been run over by an escaping mugger”).  Fortunately, with a gamepad the game’s controls become slightly less complicated.  The camera, however, remains crappy.


Now that I have that out of the way, on to what Spiderman does correctly, and that includes nearly everything else.  Most importantly, Spider-man gives the player complete control over the powers of its eponymous superhero.  Players can swing high above the city with ease, climb walls, creep on ceilings, wrap thugs in a net of 




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webbing, and pretty much anything else Spidey himself does in the comic books.  It is really great fun just to ignore the missions for a moment and go swinging around the gorgeous, fully realized city.


The missions themselves are fun also.  A warning here: if you have not seen the movie, the game contains serious spoilers, though if you are a fan of the comic book, most of those will 


not be much of a surprise anyway.  These missions are more action-packed than those in the previous Spider-man games.  Especially good are the new air combat missions, which feature Spidey swinging above the city dishing out punishment to a variety of bad guys.  These missions alone are good enough to warrant purchasing the game.


The game is loaded with extras, which are unlocked by playing stylishly in the game’s missions.  The coolest of these is the ability to play through the game again as Harry Osbourne on a mission to clear his father’s name and with the complete Green Goblin arsenal at his command.  Extras such as this one seriously extend the game’s replay value well beyond the original Spider-man game on the PSX, Dreamcast, PC, and Nintendo 64.  


Copy_of_spiderman-movie-3.jpg (20180 bytes)         Copy_of_spiderman-movie-4.jpg (24474 bytes)


Players who are familiar with the original game will certainly feel at home with this new incarnation.  Aerial combat aside, the basic game engine remains the same.  The combat move list is significantly larger than that of the original game though, and is so large it can be intimidating.  Still, maneuvering Spidey and engaging in thug head bashing is smooth as silk once you switch to gamepad controls and away from the aforementioned keyboard chaos.


Still, as good as all these elements are, the camera really undermines the experience.  Giving the player so much control over Spidey has apparently seriously taxed the engine’s camera and, though I know it needs to be improved, it may have been impossible to get it any better.  As it is, I was constantly taking control of the camera myself to get the best view of the action and spent way too much time shooting webbing at off-screen enemies and dropping blindly into the fray.


And that is where it stands:  great fighting engine, good graphics, great “hey, I’m Spider-man!” feel, great level design, well-detailed city, and a really bad camera.  If you are willing to put up with the camera, Spider-man: The Movie is certainly worth the price of admission.


- Tolen Dante


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