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!