Windows - 2002
Description of Spider-Man Windows
Summertime is a chance to catch a few rays, revel in the warm temperatures, and enjoy a blockbuster movie that has the brains of a watermelon and the visual excitement of a greased rollercoaster. A couple of weeks ago, Spider-Man (the movie) opened in the US to some pretty good reviews, general media hysteria and record-breaking box office numbers ($225 million after two weeks and rising...). The game, meanwhile, has debuted on all platforms simultaneously and we're still waiting on the numbers for that one.
Unfortunately, everything that's wrong with Spider-Man (the game) has to do with the fact that it was not designed for the computer. Nothing says "brainless port of a console" like combo buttons and a keyboard-driven interface. On PC, the controls are maddeningly difficult, so much so that it sucks the joy right out of an amazingly colorful and well-textured game. For true Spider-Man fans, there are some elements to the game that are an excellent extension of the movie and the comic book legend, and the whole package has such a high quality that it almost redeems itself - but not quite.
The backstory is right out of the comic books. Literally. In fact, the game pretty much dispenses with most of the narrative build-up that everyone probably already knows and drops you right into a tutorial as Peter Parker after he has just discovered his abilities. This is arguably the best part of the game, featuring the voice of Bruce Campbell as your sarcastic guide through some simple objectives. You learn quickly that Spidey can crawl on any surface, plus he shoots a web to catapult across the skyline, zip across a room, or to temporarily disable the bad guys. You also learn about the awkward controls and constantly rotating camera.
For the uninitiated, camera control on PS2, Gamecube and Xbox is much friendlier (though not without its faults) because one analog joystick can be used to control Spidey, and the other shows you where he's going. No such luck on the PC, which does provide the same functionality but not the handy analog sticks, unless you buy that sort of controller. Trying to fly Spider-Man around the screen, shoot webs, and control the camera at the same time is next to impossible - and that's just in the tutorial.
As soon as the action starts, it becomes much more infuriating. In one early scene, thugs would surround the superhero as if to challenge the almost unusable control scheme. Can you rotate the camera and beat up thugs at the same time? Probably not. And, of course, in true console game fashion, you will have to start the level over from scratch if you do get your fingers stuck. Strangely, though, the game is not terribly hard most of the time. Power-ups for Spidey health are stashed around just about every corner and crate. Maps are straightforward and easy to navigate, thanks to a compass that guides you to the next objective. There's yet another console convention in that you will fight minor thugs for most of the level, and then take on the boss at the end - usually either some unknown baddie or one of the comic book villains, such as Scorpion or the Green Goblin.
The action can be dizzying. Sometimes, you'll duke it out in the air, flinging webs and jumping around like Tony Hawk strapped to a jetpack. In warehouse and sewer locations, you can escape the enemies by crawling up on to the ceiling, but you'll get so disoriented you might just decide to stay on the ground. Fighting is cool, though. You gradually acquire special moves for combat. My favorite was the one where you jump and land on the bad guys head, pummeling him for a second before you jump off and sock him a few more times. Combos also include a kicking roundhouse maneuver that packs a nice punch. Of course, no comic book game would be complete unless it featured a quick starry flash and "oomph" sound for every attack. One glitch is that when you acquire a new combo move, the game tells you which keys to use, but they are always shown using the default key mapping.
Which brings up another point about the controls. On the PC version, the "web modifier" key must be pressed in combination with an action key, which then means you won't be able to move Spidey at the same time. In one sequence against Vulture, there are so many keys to press that it becomes a battle for keyboard dominance. However, this scene does reveal one outstanding aspect to the game - the enemy AI is quite impressive. Vulture used a circle-strafe move that was hard to defend. (Spidey actually comments: "If he can dance squares around me, I'd really be impressed.") In other instances, villains will jump and dodge from special attacks, blocking them if you use them too often, and generally acting more like human opponents than any mutated species really should.
One of the most amazing accomplishments in the game is just how much you feel like you ARE Spider-Man. Some levels reinforce this concept more than others. Stealth missions are reasonably well choreographed, and you feel as though you really are some masked superhero trying to accomplish your mission without being noticed. During the precious few instances where you have to save someone (or something), there's a sense of excitement and importance, as if the world (or at least New York City) rests on your shoulders. In the Spider-Man universe, the bad guys are really bad and the citizens are always dupes who need rescuing; the comic book ideal has been expertly translated to the game.
Outdoor levels are much more impressive than what you'll see inside. In fact, the indoor levels were a faint reminder of "me too" first-person shooters where the same texture is repeated over and over again, and maze-like level design is a shortcut to having much richer environments. Spider-Man often feels like it will keep heading down this bland path but then surprises you with some cool innovations. The "birdhouse" level that is crumbling around you is one of the best indoor settings. Outdoors, you'll fly past convincingly rendered skyscrapers that really do seem like they are scraping the sky. Interestingly, the earliest outdoor level was not as textured as some of the later airborne battles. Faster camera movement and a completely different control scheme would have made these outdoor levels much more fun.
The techno soundtrack from the movie is a highlight, and the voice acting is also top notch. Toby Maguire provides the voice for Spider-Man, with William Defoe doing the voice of the Green Goblin. None of the other movie actors did voice work for the game, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you grew tired of listening to Kristen Durst whine through most of her movie scenes. Spider-Man makes some funny comments as you progress through the game, such as the time he chastises you for running away from a crime scene. These self-deprecating comments are a little odd, considering you are supposed to BE Spider-Man, but they're still funny. Maguire sounded a little lethargic at times, but that might have been intentional.
Spider-Man could have really shined on the PC if it had a multiplayer component. It would have been really cool to allow players to be villains in the story with all the weapons and power-ups for that character. Unfortunately, there are no other modes in the game other than the single-player, unless you count a "secret" area where you can call up videos from the game and enter cheats.
If you don't hit your head on the computer monitor out of frustration, cursing the day developers started porting console games to PC rather than the other way around, then Spider-Man might be one of a handful of platform games that has enough variety in gameplay to hold your attention all the way to the grand finale. It's worth it, but only if you have the patience to deal with a control interface that could drive you batty.
Review By GamesDomain
Comments and reviews
John E 2020-08-10 1 point
I was able to complete the installation, but when I launch the game, it tells me to insert disc two, even though it is already inserted. I am using Virtual Clone Drive. I tried unmounting and re-mounting, switching to disc one, even mounting both discs at the same time. Not sure what I am doing wrong.
AlphaWolf 2020-05-10 1 point
Aunque soy un veterano, muy viejo. Me gustan estos juegos que para mi tienen un aire de frescura y no requieren que tengas una computadora potente. Si, me he encontrado con enlaces caídos, pero ey! no todos.
Disculpa, escribiría en ingles pero no me apetece hacerlo. Saludos desde Buenos Aires (Argentina.)
Lemonchild 2020-05-04 -1 point
Guys I really don't want to download it because I am afraid it is a virus please tel me if it is a virus.
somerandomkid 2020-03-30 -1 point
love this game waiting to download 5 stars thanks to this website
SPIDERBOIImega fan 20000000000 2020-03-20 0 point
How do i get this to work? when im in setup it tells me to insert disc 2. HELPP!!
DTBC Prodigy 2019-09-01 1 point
Alrighty I was actually able to solve the problem. I was using WinCDEmu to mount the ISO and I switched to Magic Disk just to see if it might make a difference and sure enough it installed with no issues.
DTBC Prodigy 2019-09-01 1 point
Is everyone else playing this one without any problems? I mounted the ISO just fine, it went through the entire installation process fine and then right when it gets to 100% it tells me "Corrupted Installation File" and I have to abort. Any help would be appreciated!
Russian Grapefruit 2019-06-07 -1 point
How do I install the game? I've tried extracting the file, but all I get when I do are a bunch files that send me to the Microsoft store, for some reason, when clicked on. Please help!!
WAVYGRAVY 2019-06-07 1 point
The games awesome, but there's this weird glitch where the screen flashes pink and blue whenever I snort crack while playing. FIVE STARS!!!!
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