Saturday 11 January 2020

Spider-Man (N64 review)

Developer: Edge of Reality
Publisher: Activision
Released: 2000

Spider-Man is an action-adventure game that was only released in North America.

Someone has stolen Dr. Otto Octavius' new technology and framed Spider-Man, and it's up to you to hunt down the culprits. You can web sling between buildings, and while combat generally includes punches and kicks, limited web cartridges allow you to trap enemies or shoot out a ball of webbing. The controls ruin a huge portion of the fun, as without a second analog stick you're stuck with an in-game camera that auto-swivels in the direction that Spidey is facing; this causes huge issues with combat, as it doesn't rotate fast enough meaning you basically have to jump around flailing your arms and legs like an idiot. Also, Spider-Man has a habit of climbing onto objects when you're trying to navigate the environment; this is infuriating during battle, as you clumsily have to stop moving and press the A button to reach the ground, leaving you wide open to projectile attacks. Finally, when you're actually trying to grab onto objects the controls will randomly reverse themselves, so again, you have to stop pressing everything and wait until they reset themselves. It's a shame, as the majority of the levels are enjoyable and offer a ton of variety. Highlights include navigating a bank to disarm a bomb, and web-slinging through the city while police helicopters chase you down. There are some clunkers though, especially in the last half of the game where neat outdoor web-slinging is replaced by endless cramped corridors and enemies that take forever to defeat. The bosses are a mixed bag, but I do like the battle against Rhino where you need to lure him into electric barrels, and the multi-part tussle against Mysterio.

Spider-Man is a good superhero adventure with some impressive set-pieces and excellent variety in its level design. It's unfortunate then that it's totally hampered by the N64 controller's lack of a second analog stick, as without it you're constantly fighting the camera and all elements of combat quickly turn into a rather clumsy affair.

Random trivia: The game was also released on the Game Boy Color, Microsoft Windows, Sega Dreamcast and Sony PlayStation.

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