Let's talk about Spider-Man games!


#1

So I really like Spider-Man and have since I was a wee lad. I think other people here like Spider-Man as well so let’s rap about some of the games in which he’s been featured. I can’t cover all the Spider-Man games because there have simply been so many over the years so I’ll only talk about the ones with which I’m most familiar. Consider this sort of a jumping off point for talking about Spider-Man or other Marvel characters in video games.

My first Spider-Man game was 1993’s The Amazing Spider-Man 3: Invasion of the Spider-Slayers for the Nintendo Game Boy. I think I was 9 or 10 when my parents got me the Game Boy for my birthday and instead of Tetris I got this Spider-Man game:

I was pretty stoked and the game was fun but I wasn’t very good at it. As you can see from the video it’s a 2D platformer, like most Spidey games were of that era. Controls were tight and responsive and the game ran really smoothly on the original hardware.

The next Spider-Man game I played after that was either the PC version of Spider-Man and Venom: Separation Anxiety:

or Maximum Carnage on SNES:

As you can see these games were not platformers but rather beat 'em ups, which wasn’t really my genre as a kid. I liked Double Dragon on NES but my go to game was always Super Mario Bros. so naturally I never really got into these games as much as I probably could have though I absolutely loved how they looked basically just like the Spidey comics I was reading at the time.

You played as Spider-Man OR Venom and beat the crap out of goons while crawling on the walls in the background. It was all pretty A-OK.

Then a few years later on I was a bit older and 3D game consoles were the new thing. On my 14th or 15th birthday I got a copy of Spider-Man for the original Playstation:

Man this game was HOT. I still have my copy and break it out occasionally to play through the first few levels up through the rooftop chase level in the video above. It was quite impressive at the time for being a decent looking 3D Spidey game with a story and characters that kind of mirrored the popular Spider-Man cartoon from the 90s. It was developed by Neversoft, who had just blown up thanks to their Tony Hawk games. The sequel, Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro was done by Vicarious Visions:

and despite having all the right parts, all the best bits from the last game but with more (bigger levels, for one thing) and better graphics it just did not grab me the same way the first game did. I don’t think I ever completed it and I no longer own a copy. Kind of curious to go back to it someday but right now I’ll settle for watching it on Youtube.

After those games the next Spider-Man game I played was 2002’s Spider-Man for PlayStation 2:

This game was of course based on the 2002 movie and while it wasn’t open world because open world games weren’t a thing yet (GTA 3 had just come out the year before) the game did feature large city areas between more linear missions that you could swing around in. My favorite part was unlocking The Green Goblin because it was fun to fly around:

While the game was impressive at the time for having better graphics and animation than the previous 3D games it’s pretty rough looking today. Spider-Man 2 was much better overall and the first 3D Spidey game to be truly open world:

This game was and still is so good. The actual story missions are just hot garbage and unfortunately necessary if you want to get enough points to unlock all your moves and upgrade your swing speed to the highest level. Which you need to do in order to enjoy the really good part of the game, the checkpoint races.

After that came 2005’s Ultimate Spider-Man, which I played on Gamecube at the time:

This was developed by Treyarch and gameplay wise it was basically a retread of the prior year’s Spider-Man 2 but with an art style that resembled the new Ultimate line of Marvel comics. It was fun and the swinging, while a bit simplified, was still actual swinging like in Spider-Man 2. Also you got to play as Venom periodically which was a thing that hadn’t happened in a Spidey game since the beat 'em ups from the 90s.

Then came 2007’s Spider-Man 3, another movie game:

It wasn’t horrible but it was a step back from the previous games. At least it had Bruce Campbell again telling you how to play the game. After this the next one I played was I think Spider-Man: Web of Shadows on PS3:

I didn’t actually play this at the time it came out and by the time I did the moment had kind of passed. Spider-Man games were more AAA-ified at that point and Web of Shadows performance was seriously rough.

It wasn’t until 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man from Beenox that I picked up Spider-Man again in game form:

Beenox had done some non-open world Spidey games in the few years prior to this one but I never played them. I’ve thought about checking them out at some point maybe someone who’s played them wants to talk about them?

Anyway The Amazing Spider-Man is really polished and really basic. Swinging is pretty much just flying since your webs don’t attach to anything and the combat is just an Arkham-lite snoozefest. There’s stealth sections but they’re not very interesting. There was a sequel to this game from the same studio but I won’t bother finding a video of it since it is basically the same game as the last one. Like, you would literally have trouble telling the two apart.

The main interesting thing Beenox did was updating the traversal a bit. In these two games you can hold a button to slow down time and pick a point to automatically zip to. You can tap this button and zip through city streets really quickly and it’s kind of cool?

Which brings me to the upcoming Spider-Man PS4 game from Insomniac:

Well it certainly looks like a Spider-Man game. Probably open world again even though that genre is saturated as hell and I worry not even a talented bunch like Insomniac can do something interesting with it (though that might just be my open world fatigue talking).

It’s definitely a plus that Marvel is taking the property more seriously and not just foisting it onto the likes of Activision to churn out turd after turd (though each one with maybe one or two redeeming qualities). So the future looks bright for Spidey.

So those are my experiences with Spider-Man games talk about yours now or other comic book/superhero games you liked!


#2

I liked the one Neversoft made and I always wanted to play Dimensions? I think Activision’s lazy publishing hurt the franchise.


#3

Yeah I agree. Marvel letting Activision milk one of their hottest properties kind of shot them in the foot later on when they realized Spider-Man had become synonymous with “shitty licensed game”.


#4

Web of Shadows shouldn’t run as badly as that guy’s video, at least not in my memory! I’d consider it the best successor to Spider-Man 2; solid improvements on combat and scope of fights and some very fast traversal. I remember being disappointed at not being able to revert the city to its pre-goop state at the end for swingin’ around, though.

It was a big pickup after Spider-Man 3 which reeked of a rush job. It was plenty buggy and the combat had taken significant steps back. Several move chains were drastically overpowered while others always invited getting stunned by the frustrating enemies.


#5

So why didn’t Prototype and Prototype 2 fulfill all the promises made by Hulk: Ultimate Destruction? I played about a third of Prototype and I remember getting to some amazing points in bringing together ridiculous player movement with powerful moves and a strong typing system for enemies but I remember the missions being badly designed and the difficulty bouncing all over the place. And of course the aesthetic (grungy ick) isn’t anywhere near as fun as comix.


#6

It might just be the PS3 version that ran so poorly, which is the one I played and the one in that video. I found a comparison article though!

Apparently there was a lot of frame tearing on PS3 that you didn’t see on the 360 version of the game.


#7

Yeah, that was still the era of terrible PS3 ports.

I’ve been looking to find it cheap to pick up again and it seems to have acquired a reputation; these days 360 copies go for $25-$30.


#8

I think all the Prototype games needed to do in order to surpass Hulk: Ultimate Destruction was just let you knock down the damn buildings once you got powerful enough. Like, you could knock down some of them like the hives and the military bases but you couldn’t level the whole city like you could in Hulk.

I mean, I can see why the decided not to go that route just design-wise. Like, do they keep the city destroyed? Because then pretty quickly you end up just having a bunch of rubble as far as the eye can see. But they definitely had the tech to do a fully destructible city and I think they should have utilized it more in those two games.


#9

I don’t think Activision has done anything especially to harm the franchise. They just put mid-tier talent on it and gave them mid-tier deadlines (several of them tied to actual movies which reduces flexibility). The problem is that the game concepts are the same ones as ambitious AAA titles with large teams and when-it’s-done schedules and the Spidermans just look bad in comparison.


#10

YOU DIDN’T TALK ABOUT SPIDER-MAN DIMENSIONS WHAT THE FUCK


#11

I only talked about the ones I played!

Maybe YOU should talk about Dimensions!


#12

the neversoft ps1 game is probably the best spidey game.
web of shadows was a 2d metrovania on the ds!
spider-man/x-men: arcade’s revenge is total garbage that i saved up for as a kid


#13

I sometimes play RPGs with the dude who designed/programmed the swinging mechanics in Spiderman 2. He’s pretty cool.

He released this game last month

Yeah, this was the good Web of Shadows.


#14

Nice! I knew he was working on Energy Hook for a while now. I’m glad to see he finally got it out there.


#15

#16

I forgot to mention it in the OP but I also played Spider-Man 3 for DS at one point:

Watching videos of it and the DS Web of Shadows game they both look pretty similar, though Web of Shadows has I think a slightly better art style.


#17

OH MAN OH MAN. SPIDER-MAN GAMES. This is so my jam.

I don’t think I can just put everything down at once.

I have a theory that Spider-Man is among one of the top most used video game characters of all time, I think coming in just after Mario, Link, and Sonic.

I have a lot of love for the playstation era stuff as that really felt like swinging and punching and it all was a great fit.
My favorite is Web of Shadows, despite some glaring flaws, I think it’s the best and a lot of that is due to it not being tied to a movie. Though if you want to see why web of shadows is kinda terrible the Gaming Goose’s video this it hard.

The two newer games really suffered from waiting to be more like God of War for whatever reason. To the point that some of the bosses just didn’t work at all. They dont’ have health bars they have to be beaten down so that you might do a sequence of events upon them. These steps back really seem to have hurt the web crawlers games.

But this newer one looks just like the last two, but with a shittier costume. I mean seriously that is the ugliest Spider-theads I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen 'em all. That makes the Iron Spider look elegant!

Personally I’d rather see a Spider-Island game than the ‘cinematic’ universe take on this. Especially because all Marvel Movies are pretty bad.


#18

Not sure you’re right on that, although it’s quite a list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Spider-Man_video_games . But also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Pac-Man_video_games , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Mega_Man_video_games

I’m a bit surprised that some kind of public-domain historical character is not at the top of the list. There’s War of the Three Kingdoms heroes, Napoleon and Roman emperors, but those aren’t that popular. Hmm, what about: http://www.giantbomb.com/adolf-hitler/3005-38/games/ ? That list is probably far from exhaustive.


#19

My first Spider-Man game was this bizarre one. It was an open world puzzle platformer that was very British (it was made by a British company). Basically, it was one of those surreal platformers popular at the time like Jet Set Willy with Spider-Man finding himself in all sorts of odd situations and places (R2 D2 is on the very first screen??), but it was built around his ability to climb walls and web sling. The web slinging was reaalllyyy clunky. Well the whole game was clunky, but I played the hell out of it.

I most remember the health bar where Spidey slowly turns into a skeleton, and the fact that you can hitch a ride on a helicopter on the first screen which takes you to the final screen (but you can’t get in where you need to be)

Also played this Atari 2600 version which is actually not too bad (and the first Spidey game). It’s a crazy climber style thing but you can web sling a bit. Also this commercial is awesome.

In school I traded my GB copy of TMNT for the GB Spider-Man game. I played the hell out of it, though it’s pretty mediocre I guess. It’s a single plane beat 'em up with some cool cutscenes between levels where Spidey exchanges banter with the boss of the next level, plus a few bits where you climb up the side of a building. I don’t regret my trade.

I really wanted the GBA Spider-Man movie game because it had SWEET looking 3D bits! Those bits… weren’t that great but luckily the rest of the game was a pretty solid little romp.

COMMENTS ABOUT GAMES ALREADY POSTED

Spider-Man PSX is indeed awesome. I loved being sneaky in the indoor bits, picking off enemies. It fely like Spidey Metal Gear Solid! Plus the What If missions were great!

Spider-Man the first movie game is pretty horribly dated now and the webslinging is a joke, but I remember it looking amazing when it first came out. It turns out it’s just the first level that looks amazing, because the sunset reflecting off all the building windows makes it look beautiful and serene. The Green Goblin bit looks fun!

SPIDER-MAN 2 IS THE SHIT. I still crack it out every now and then just to swing around the city. The joy of movement indeed. I just wish there were more random events and stuff to do around the city because that’s where the real fun was. As said previously, the story missions weren’t too hot.

Ultimate Spider-Man was also not too bad! Playing as Venom was surprisingly fun. I played other ones that came after that but can’t really remember anything about them or even which ones they were. So I guess they were pretty forgettable.


#20

The local food store always had one or two arcade games near the registers that I’d go mess around with while my parents were buying food (after I quit flipping through the gaming magazines) and for the longest time one of them was Spider-man: The video game. I don’t think it was likely to be a great game but it did some neat things.

There was a ton of Venom in the game, and I was at the age and at the time where that was just the greatest thing. The first boss battle seems to be against the Scorpion, except halfway through the symbiote is freed and forms Venom. You defeat him, go to the next stage where everything is zoomed out and eventually face like a 15 foot tall version of Venom while climbing up some buildings. The the one time I said to hell with it and credit fed to the ending the secret final boss was three Venoms.

Plus you could play as Black Cat and I thought she was cute >_>