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Platform

DS

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Treyarch

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q4 2004

 

- Gets Spider-Man right

- Nice graphics and sound

- A good first move

 

 

- Long, boring, confusing, frustrating levels throughout

- Touchscreen sees minimal use

 

 

Review: Spider-Man 2 (XB)

Review: Spider-Man - The Movie (XB)

Review: Super Mario 64 DS (DS)

 

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Spider-Man 2

Score: 6.6 / 10

 

The developers at Treyarch have paid mere lip service to the DSís touch screen (which isn't all bad in this case).  Instead they have concentrated on making a solid (if frustrating) sidescrolling affair starring the infamous wall-crawler himself, Spider-Man.

 

spiderman 2 ds          spiderman 2 ds

 

Loosely following the events featured in the Spiderman 2 movie -- and when I write loosely, I mean loose! -- the game tracks Peter Parkerís trials and tribulations as he faces off against a full roster of classic villains including Doc Ock, Mysterio, and the Vulture.  He swings from rooftops, fights through a nightmarescape of Mysterio, and battles his way through a museum.  In fact most of the environments are huge, so huge that I often found myself lost or going in circles, missing par times not but seconds but by twenty minutes or more.  Even worse some levels have strict time limits in place.  Defeat twenty muggers and save twenty innocents and make it to the end of the level in four minutes?  Tossing down a controller is one thing, flinging a brand new piece of hardware a the nearest hard surface just isnít possible.

 

Weíre talking frustration here folks!  Nailing the par times is usually a secondary objective (which helps unlock extras, etc.) but when a level is artificially tougher by simply setting an arbitrary time limit the developers arenít looking to make friends.  Place on top of that an enemy AI thatís often hard to hit without taking damage, and you have all the makings of a frustration sandwich topped with salt.

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While I berate the developers for their design choices they sure did do a great job on Spider-Man himself and the accompanying animations.  He can pretty much do everything he should be able to do:  Swing on a web, climb up walls and on ceilings, enter a heightened Spider-Sense when confronting danger, etc.  It all looks great.

 

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I read in an interview somewhere that the designers had Viewtiful Joe firmly in mind when making Spider-Man 2.  This is exemplified with the  animation and the way the 2D backgrounds scroll by giving an illusion of depth and heightening the comic book origins.

 

The touchscreen gets minimal usage and it's hardly critical to gameplay except during boss stages when they throw stuff at you.  Mostly youíll use it during regular action to select one of a host of special moves (activated with the right shoulder button).  The power of the DS is largely used to drive the graphics.

 

If you wanted a one-line summation of Spider-Man 2 it would be ďAn overly frustrating 2D action game featuring a fantastic wall-crawler.Ē  But I would also add that it does little to expand the genre and launch titles rarely, if ever, take full advantage of new hardware.  Hopefully Treyarch learns itís lesson with Spider-Man 2 and blows us away with something new next time.

 

- Omni

(January 8, 2005)

 

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