Hello all! Last week’s title was a classic that sadly never saw a sequel.
Today, let’s talk about that rare, Halley’s Comet of games — a licensed game that’s actually great. Plus, it’s based on one of the best superhero movies around.
Using GameCube box because...well, it’s the one I have.
Spider-Man 2 is the video game tie-in to the movie, um, Spider-Man 2. See, kids, back in the day, games based on movies weren’t limited to crappy mobile titles. No, in fact, they made crappy console titles instead. Most of them cover the full spectrum from trash to “okay.”
BUT! Once in a while, you get something awesome out of the deal. Like GoldenEye, for example. I like to joke that, as far as console/PC titles are concerned, just one in thirty licensed games are actually good. For every GoldenEye, there’s twenty-nine Fantastic Fours. For every *takes a deep breath* Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie, there’s Iron Man.
Spider-Man 2, for me, is one of those “one-in-thirty” titles. Loosely following the plot of the movie, you play as Spider-Man as he tackles villains, stops crimes, and rescues lost balloons and returns them to children. No, really. You spend the entire game doing whatever a spider can; the last game had a stealth mission that was BS, but there’s none of that here, if I remember right. There’s so much to do in the game, even though the same crimes repeat over and over.
The scale of the game is insane, especially considering it’s a movie tie-in from 11 years ago.
You can punch and kick and junk, but it’s the web-swinging that sets this game apart over...well, everything. In past Spider-Man games, and even in a few after this, Spidey’s webs would just attach to the sky, off camera, sort of like the 90’s cartoon. Or, even in the movies, if you think about it. That’s not the case here. Spidey’s webs attach to buildings every time; you can shoot a web, and then climb it to see where it hit. In short, you need buildings to swing on. Just like Spider-Man.
It’s amazing. It made me flip all those years ago, and it still amazes me now. The swinging mechanics are unparalleled, even today. It’s the focal point of the game, as far as I’m concerned. Here was a Spider-Man game that made me actually feel like Spider-Man. And it only got better from there. The map, a large (but not full) chunk of Manhattan is huge when you consider the age of the game. Bear in mind the sheer vertiacality as well; something we really hadn’t seen much of in the day. I mean, you can spinning piledrive dudes off the top of the Empire State Building. And the game’s stats menu tracks the amount of spins you do in one piledriver. That’s hysterical.
The game is about freedom, really. That’s what does it for me. I have about 40 hours in the game (the stats page tracks everything), and a great majority of that time was spent just swinging around. Really, I can’t talk it up enough. It gets pretty control-intensive; to really gain speed and do cool stuff in mid-air, you need to use practically every button on the controller. It’s tricky, but rewarding; master it and you’ll look awesome.
Plus, you can do this.
Combat gets surprisingly complex, too, at least with regards to all the neat stuff you can do, like the aforementioned spinning piledrivers, tying up guys and hanging them from streetlamps, etc. There’s a seemingly neverending amount of options when it comes to combat. None of it is too challenging, though, but that’s okay. The game looks fantastic, too; by today’s standards, the buildings are a bit simple, but Spider-Man himself looks good and animates great. Tobey Maguire, Alfred Molina, and Kirsten Dust from the movie are in the game, and they sound like what you’d expect. And the music is just kind of there, really; I don’t remember any stand-out bits.
There’s actually a metric ton of Spider-Man games out there of sometimes wildly varying quality. This one, Spider-Man 2, is the best, bar none. Not bad for a movie tie-in, right?
Thanks always for reading my stuff! As always, leave comments, suggest future games to be featured as Game of the Week, and find me on Twitter!
Next week brings us to an obscure GameCube-exclusive title where you play as a dude, a woman, a rat, a dog, a ladder, etc. Kind of.