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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Treyarch

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

April 2002

 

 

- Looks and sounds great
- Just about every move a
spider can
- Some in-jokes and extras
- Huge, wide-open levels
- Lots of play-time and challenge
- Huge number of moves
- Bruce Campbell is hilarious

 

 

- Control and camera combination is like the intestinal results of high-octane chili
- Sometimes you’ll start climbing a wall you didn’t want to

 

 

Review: Spider-Man The Movie (Playstation 2)

Review: X-Men: Next Dimension (XBox)

Review: Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (360)

 

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Spider-Man: The Movie

Score: 8.6 / 10

 

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We always knew a Spiderman movie would kick box office butt. ($114 million in its opening weekend? Eat that Titanic!) And the game kicks butt too except for one big problem: the camera.

Imagine you’ve just eaten five bowls of high-octane chili and washed the meal down with prune juice laced with a liquid laxative. The intestinal results are much like Spiderman’s camera – fast and loose. Which is not to say they aren’t exact, it’s just that the camera is all over the place in order to keep a bead on Spidey. Getting used to how things work and the changing perspectives (which can often result in moving to places you don't want to go) does take a while – by Mission 7 I still often got confused as to where I was going. The camera is a problem for the most part because Spiderman can do all the cool things he can in the comics (and movie) like climbing walls, swinging through the city, dangling from a web, and beating the hell out of evil doers (sometimes all at the same time), and keeping up with him is a task. (Less so when the camera is set to "passive" -- then it's your responsibility to keep the camera at an angle where you can see what's coming. This is no fix but it

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does help in some areas.) That being said, I have no idea how the camera could be made to work better.

Most of the buttons on the controller are used but learning the various actions they’re associated with is easy. Some of this is owed to the basic tutorial conducted by none other than Bruce Campbell. Instead of making the tutorial dry and academic, Mr. Campbell brings a

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relaxed, easy-going attitude to the proceedings making it fun – even hilarious at times – to learn the basics.

Not only can Spidey lay down the law with a variety of web attacks (including web gloves and impact webbing) he has an enormous number of punch and kick combo attacks available. Most levels contain Golden Spiders, which give Spidey more moves to use in his arsenal (after he finds them). The moves usually consist of hitting a three-button combination of punch, kick, and jump. Getting through the game without collecting all the Golden Spiders (and therefore not having all the available moves) is entirely possible. The combos simply make things a little easier to take out enemy targets. They do add to your Style Points awarded at the conclusion of each level, depending on the variety of moves you used.

Bonus points are awarded at the end of each level and they go towards unlocking extras, like Pinhead Bowling. The unlockable extras are neat little distractions but they aren’t really the reason to make progress.

The story follows the movie for the most part (on second though, it doesn't really), but if you haven’t seen it you won’t be lost. You play through the origin story of Spiderman – picking up right after Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben has been murdered. The plot is standard comic book stuff but it manages to keep you playing. As Spidey, you chase Shocker through the sewers, the Vulture through the skies, and match wits and muscle against Kraven the Hunter (in a couple of levels exclusive to the Xbox version), to reach the ultimate showdown with the Green Goblin.

 

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All the characters in Spiderman look great and move with much elegance – like a ballet, I daresay – and no one more than Spiderman himself. Everything Spiderman does is rendered with much care and attention, from web-zipping across rooms to throwing tires (or cars) at bad guys. The graphics are excellent and the wide-open cityscapes are incredible to swing through, but you can probably guess that from the screenshots. (And there are occasional incidents of clipping, mostly when you pick up an object but nothing game-stopping.) What’s not so evident in the screens is the sound design which is well done, but Tobey McGuire (as Spiderman) sounds flat, especially when compared to the vocal chords of Bruce Campbell, and the trademark Spidey one-liners just aren’t as funny as they could be (and lose their effect quickly after hearing them a half-dozen times). The villains all sound better than Spidey. But it’s not just the major sound effects that are good, there are some Easter Egg moments when Spidey swings low to the ground on the City levels.

There’s a lot of gaming to do in Spiderman, and the level of difficulty is such that you shouldn’t be pulling your hair out. Puzzles mostly revolve around pulling levers or beating up enemies to get keys to open doors, but there is the occasional “keep the citizens alive” task. (At one point you even have to protect Scorpion.) There’s actually quite a bit of strategy involved in the boss battles. A head-on attack won’t work most times since the enemy AI is smart enough to either attack you first or leap out of the way. Regular enemies have different attack patterns but mostly they gang up on you. (For a real challenge try the Big Brawl mode in which Spidey faces off against a variety of enemy types all at the same time.)

Above all, Spiderman is good fun. Once you learn to live with the camera, you will have hours of enjoyment through the slick presentation, wide variety of moves, and huge areas to explore and battle through. If you don’t buy it, you should at the very least rent it a few times.

- Omni
(May 18, 2002)

 

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