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Mark Marrow
22 Feb, 2005

Spider-man 2 Review

DS Review | PALGN delivers the verdict on this portable Spider Man incarnation.
At first glace Spider Man 2 looks like a splendid launch title that has taken full advantage of the DS’s hardware. The graphics have been rendered spectacularly, nice touch-screen usage and Vicarious Visions has used the Spider-Man trademark to pull off a solid platform title for the Nintendo DS. While the game has potential, it fails to get rid of the salvage movie-to-bad-game reputation. The game is plagued with a frustrating gameplay design (kick, punch, move, finish) and a repetitive level design, which drags this game further in the dirt to showcase the game’s rushed development.

The game itself allows players to assume their role as Spidey in a linear series of chapters that feeds loosely off the events from the movie. Spiderman will find himself beating up the typically bad guys such as Doc Ock, but in addition, he’ll find himself taking part in events that weren’t presented in the movie – such as battles with super villains Vulture and Mysterio. These random events do little to the plot, but it does however make the game less predictable at every other turn.

Nice view

Nice view
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Spider Man 2 hits the nail on the bat in getting down the franchiser’s fundamentals. Spider-Man can use various web-related moves, such as crawling up walls, web slinging around levels and webbing enemies. He can jump, kick and punch his way through levels. He can use his spidey-senses to his advantage. Overall, Spider Man 2 has all the ingredients for a great old-school Spider Man game, however, it sadly falls apart when the mix is put together.

Spider Man 2 is mostly a standard side-scrolling action game, although the game’s levels are built up in a 3D built level twisting and turning environment, that almost makes the game feel 3D, however all your doing is moving left, right, up or down. The problem with the levels’ designs, however, is that the game scrolls very quickly and makes judgement of your placement difficult, resulting in players missing areas in the level because of the quick movement. The structure of buildings has also been designed rather poorly. Buildings will often have no railing for Spider Man to quickly web-zip to; instead players are forced to slowly crawl upwards, which often leads to a boring sequence of moving up a wall for twenty seconds or more. Sadly, unlike it’s console brother, Spider Man 2 fails to present any real freedom in the game’s levels, despite the addition of making the levels look and feel 3D.

The reuse of levels doesn’t help the game either. There are chapters in the game that will find players going through an identical level that was seen only minutes earlier, with the exception of having a few added areas. This often leads to the ‘been there done that’ sequence and will often leave gamers knowing where the typically hiding spots of baddies and secrets are, making the game less rewarding. Even despite not being the same level, further levels in the game seem so alike in structure that every obstacle will become too predictable.

Seeing as the game is chapter based there’s always a place in the level for players to reach the end. In most side-scrolling games, that tends to be when you can’t move any further through the level, however, Spider Man 2 requires certain criteria to be met beforehand. In each level players must either kill a certain amount of bad guys, save a certain amount of civilians or shutdown a certain amount of computers before being allowed to progress to the next level. The downside to all this is that the quick-moving side-scrolling levels makes it frustrating to find all these components and will often leave gamers searching around the entire level for one more badguy to progress to the next level, only to die and have to repeat the whole daunting process. Even worse is the occasional use of time limits, which only adds to the frustration factor. Not only do you have to find and defeat twelve bad guys, but also now you've got to do it in three minutes. Levels are just a mad mix of swinging around and hoping for the best type of formula.

So Longa’ Bowser… Oh wait, wrong game.

So Longa’ Bowser… Oh wait, wrong game.
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On the other hand, the music and the audio is rudimentary at best, being reminiscent of some of the cheesy Game Boy Advance titles of old, and the sound effect for hitting a villain actually sounding akin to some of the NES platformer titles. There’s no sign of effective use of the stereo or simulated surround sound capabilities of the DS, which is probably an attributable to the game being released before it was ready.

Combat is another poor and confusing outing, since Spider Man often has this bad habit of sticking to walls. It’s often frustrating to find yourself jumping over an enemy, in an attempt to dodge his attack, and then find Spider Man sticking to the ceiling thus leaving Spider Man open for attacks and also throwing off your timing. There are a number of special moves that can be used during fights thanks to the second touch screen enabled screen, such as wrapping up enemies and swinging them about with your web, however most of these special moves have to be unlocked, and finding them is no easy task. Spider Man has his trusty ‘Spidey Sense’ as well, but it’s a move that can be often flawed. When activating the Spidey Sense gamers have the ability to slow down time, giving Spider Man the upper hand in the battle, so as players can dodge an attack or dish out some quick attacks of their own. However, this feature is often terribly flawed and can cause frustration for players. If at any given time a player accidentally presses the L-button (activating the spidey sense) at the wrong time it will put your timing off completely for attacking and dodging, and when the game is brought back to normal mode gamers will find themselves becoming victim to a hit because of a accidentally pressed L button, which is often cause by the game telling you the wrong time when an attack is coming. Another problem is that the movement in the slow mode can often disrupt a player’s movement. If you want to make a low attack, and press down on mistake, you will be forced to watch Spider Man slowly move to the ground and stick to it, rather than making a low kick (which is done by pressing kick and then down rather than pressing down first – a common mistake).

The only positive of this game is the use of the DS’s graphics engine. Spider Man 2 has used the hardware to produce some outstanding animation, environment graphics, character models and some nice rendering during the few cut-scenes throughout the game. The game is able to constantly hold up a nice frame rate, despite the lovely background environment and graphic animations running supreme.

“Oh Boy! Another shocker of a Spider Man game”

“Oh Boy! Another shocker of a Spider Man game”
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Despite all the flaws found in Spider Man 2, it’s actually a decent platform title. It has the ingredients of a good platform game: good graphics, controls and some decent missions, but unfortunately, poor level and gameplay execution, and weak usage of audio, rips away the possibility of this game being a worthy old-school styled Spider Man purchase. Spider Man 2 is sadly a perfect example of a game that has been rushed through development. There’s almost no replayability, there’s no multiplayer and the flaws in this game are way too obvious that it is probably best that gamers stay clear of this title, especially at the price it’ll be launching at.
The Score
Spider Man 2 is obviously a game that was rushed out of development way too earlier, so as for the U.S DS launch to have some decent titles ready. Sadly, we all know what happens when a game that holds potential is rushed. Yes, it turns out to be bad. Spider Man 2 has enough potential to keep most Spider Man fans happy, however, it’s a DS title that most gamers should stay clear of. 6
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Spider-Man 2 Content

Spider-Man 2 Review
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Spider-Man 2 Preview
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Spider-Man 2 Review
29 Jun, 2004 So how good is Spider-man 2? PALGN brings you the world's first verdict.
4 Comments
9 years ago
Nice review although I think ill pass on this one.

I had Spiderman 2 on N-gage and it was horrible, jumping from 2D to pointless 3D levels *shivers*
9 years ago
played the first spiderman. crap.
gba world rated gba version 1/2 star out of 5, only due to "music isn't terrible"
don't think i want to try the next. never been a big marvel fan anyway.
9 years ago
I rate GBA World 1/2 a star...only because I didn't have to pay for their magazine.

Meh, wasn't expecting too much, just the usual meh platform action.
9 years ago
How's it compare to Mysterio's Menace (the first GBA Spidey game, not based off of movie liscences, it had some cool comic book panel storytelling and a great old school feel; altogether an excellent game, disappointed the movie game didn't hold up to the standard set)?
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Nintendo
Developer:
  Vicarious Visions

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