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Platform

PlayStation Portable (PSP)

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Vicarious Visions

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

March 2005

 

 

- The graphics are great, especially the stunning Spidey model.

- The Boss battles are fun and feature a rogue's gallery of the best Spidey villain

 

 

- There is nothing new under this virtual sun.

- The length of game play and replay value don't warrant a purchase

 

 

Review: Spider-man 2 (Nintendo DS)

Review: Spider-man 2 (Xbox)

 

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Spider-man 2

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

spider-man-2-1.jpg (32886 bytes)         spider-man-2-2.jpg (36357 bytes)

 

Warning: The following review might be the product of a jaded gamer.  When Spider-man was released on the Playstation nearly five years ago, I absolutely loved it.  Neversoft had taken its innovative Tony Hawk Pro Skater engine and created the first superhero video game that really captured the feel of the genre.  The game looked and played like a comic book come to life, and I, along with nearly every other reviewer out there, was quick to ladle on the praise.  Now, Activision has delivered Spider-Man 2 for the PSP (not to be confused with Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro, Vicarious Visions' follow-up to Spider-man: The Movie on the PSX or the recent, completely different, Spider-Man 2 for the PC) and it looks much better than the original game and plays nearly as well.  The reason for the warning at the beginning of the review is that, despite it's polished graphics, great controls, and faithful adaptation of the recent movie, Spider-Man 2 fell a little flat with me.  I'll try to explain why without completely trashing a game that fans of the movie and 3D action/platformers will probably enjoy to a certain extent.

 

Spider-Man 2 uses the movie's plot as a starting off point then supplements the movie's action by adding a handful of other villains from the comic's early days (one of those, The Vulture, has been the subject of Internet rumors suggesting he will be a villain in the next movie, though I'm not sure if his presence here hints for that or against it).  Nearly all of the key scenes in the movie are in some way represented here, and the levels and cut-scenes do a good job of capturing the feel of the movies and the comics.

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The controls are uber complex, as they have been for all the games in the series, and the new layout of the PSP takes some getting use to.  Fortunately, the game features the same, great, tutorial mode from the earlier games (sadly, without the sardonic voice of Bruce Campbell) and playing through the tutorial once is enough to become comfortable with the controls.

 

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The levels, unfortunately, are pretty mundane.  They look great, with tons of unnecessary detail, and  I enjoyed the boss fights, which have a kind of “old school” charm as they involve recognizing patterns and attacking the boss at moments of weakness, but the levels leading up to the boss fights were just too familiar and too short. Most levels offer nothing that we haven't seen in the previous games and take just minutes to play through. Altogether, Spider-Man 2 can be played through in less than four hours, and there just isn't much excitement to be had.

 

spider-man-2-3.jpg (35778 bytes)        spider-man-2-4.jpg (35174 bytes)

 

The graphics of Spider-man 2 are another showcase for the PSP.  It really is amazing how great these launch titles look considering the brief development time these companies had to deal with to make launch.  The Spider-Man character model is simply awesome, more detailed than he has been in any game to date.  The bosses are just as detailed and really feel ripped from the pages of the comic book.  The henchmen and common thugs look like placeholders by comparison, but they come and go so quickly that the developers likely didn't want to waste processing power on polishing them up.  As it is, the game looks good and runs smoothly.  The city isn't nearly as large nor the game as free-roaming as its console predecessors, but what is here looks great.

 

Still, it is hard to get excited about the game.  It certainly isn't an embarrassment, and huge Spidey fans will likely find lots to love here, but everything has a “been there, done that” aura about it caused, I suppose, by the fact that we have seen a number of these games now...maybe one too many.

 

- Danny Webb

(May 5, 2005)

 

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