Spider-Man (Nintendo 64) review
"It was a magic-spider, he was chosen by a spider-god, he gave birth to himself (long story)Ösome writers just donít seem to get it. Simplicity works wonders. Same with life, same with comics, same with games."
Peter Parkerís life sucked. I donít even mean your average, video-gaming-nerd-on-the-weekend. He played Dungeons and Dragons, wore a dorky tie to school, and actually learned Klingon. He was the school joke, and constantly got picked on by big, buff dudes like the football teamís star player, Flash Thompson. The only people who actually gave a crap about him were his caretakers, Aunt May and Uncle Ben.
His absolute best friends were two septuagenarians. That were related to him.
One day Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, and instead of getting cancer, he was blessed with the proportionate powers of an arachnid. He could stick to walls, got amazing agility, and had enough strength to bench press ten tons. He also got pretty ripped, so chicks started giving him a second glance. And you know what? Peterís life still sucked.
One day, Peter was being too much of a dick to help the cops stop a runaway crook, and, despite the odds being against it, that same crook killed his Uncle Ben. ďWith great power comes great responsibility, blah blah blah, IíM SPIDER-MAN!Ē
See, thatís how you do a superhero origin, right there. Itís simple, itís to the point, itís logical (well, his motivation is, anyway) it explains everything you need to know about the web-slinger. Now, if only Marvel would stop messing with it.
It was a magic-spider, he was chosen by a spider-god, he gave birth to himself (long story)Ösome writers just donít seem to get it. Simplicity works wonders. Same with life, same with comics, same with games.
Spider-Man starts off with a bank robbery, every day business for the web-slinger. Things donít stay that way, though, as the bad guys drop in not long after, stealing things, planning things, teaming up for a purpose that becomes clearer with each level. But, at the core, itís always good vs. evil; a basic plot that never twists too much, never tries to get all religious or psuedo-psychological.
Activision also has enough common sense to know that, in a game called Spider-Man, youíd want to play like you were Spider-Man. This isnít some side-scrolling brawler like the SNES/Genesis games; you donít go around beating up random thugs and walking on the ground. Youíre given all the powers. You can stick to walls. Jump dozens of feet into the air. Knock out normal humans with just a few spider-powered punches. Your spider-sense tingles and gives you the heads up on any attack, letting you avoid the unavoidable. In Spider-Man you get to play as Spider-Man.
Spider-Man has some of the best villains in all of comicdom, and most of them are in this game. Youíll dodge the horns of the brutish Rhino with the lovely Black Cat fighting by your side, dancing around blows that could cave the webslingerís chest in. Youíll trade blows with the crazed Venom, a half-man, half-alien, half-nutcase who can do everything Spider-Man can do better than Spider-Man can do it. Youíll even go up against Dr. Octopus, one of the most intelligent, most powerful villains this side of Victor Von Doom himself. Every enemy uses his powers to the fullest, and you have to use your powers to fullest to beat them. You need reflexes, you need cunning, you need intelligenceÖjust like a real comic book battle.
It may not seem like much now, especially since the formulaís been pumped up so well by Spider-Manís sequels. And it may not have seemed like much back then, when Spider-Manís closest competition was Superman 64. But when you step back and look at it and realize what it accomplishes, it becomes clear: Spider-Man is simply the best.
Staff review by Zack Little (January 20, 2006)
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