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Spider-Man 2 (DS) artwork

Spider-Man 2 (DS) review


"If you have been keeping up with the flow of DS reviews that have been trickling out of my head recently, Spider-Man is a name that should be firmly embossed inside yours. There are 4 Spidey games currently available on the DS platform, and Spider-Man 2 was the first one released, back when the DS made its sketchy debut. I now bring the quadrilogy of reviews to a close by spilling my guts on this launch title. Bear in mind that it’s quite disgusting – my guts that is. "



If you have been keeping up with the flow of DS reviews that have been trickling out of my head recently, Spider-Man is a name that should be firmly embossed inside yours. There are 4 Spidey games currently available on the DS platform, and Spider-Man 2 was the first one released, back when the DS made its sketchy debut. I now bring the quadrilogy of reviews to a close by spilling my guts on this launch title. Bear in mind that it’s quite disgusting – my guts that is.

During the initial experimental stage of DS programming, one could be forgiven for gimmicky additions that didn’t work as well as planned. Spider-Man 2 actually kept the tinkering to a bare minimum, instead offering a traditional run & jump experience consolidated with some 3D visuals that were supposedly impossible on the inferior GBA hardware. The flagship port that was Super Mario 64 DS showed what 3D capabilities were possible even at the early stage of DS programming. Spider-Man 2 sports some solid, but somewhat dark 2.5D graphics that do look good, but they pale in comparison to what Nintendo’s own product managed to generate.

Spider-Man 2 is associated with the movie of the same name, in that key events occur as they did on the big screen. Fighting only Doc Ock the whole way through wouldn’t be very motivating (although seeing as the game’s length is very short, it probably wouldn’t have mattered), and so the producers decided to spice it up with 2 extra villains: Vulture and Mysterio. Their addition doesn’t fit in with the story in any way, and they are simply relegated to 2 boss battles in order to put more meat into what is otherwise a very skeletal frame.

You should know the drill with side-scrolling Spider-Man games by now: swoop over the streets of Manhattan using a combination of both pin-point webbing and brute force to put enemies into submission. Spider-Man 2 is no different in theory, but with the strong emphasis on ‘collecting’, each level moves along very slowly. For example, a typical mission will require you to make it to the end goal whilst beating up x number of terrorists or defusing x number of bombs. If you don’t manage to locate the objects of interest and save/defeat/defuse them (it’s all the same thing really) before you reach the end, you won’t be able to move onto the next level. Let’s say you managed to disarm 15 out of 16 robots, you’ve only got 1 more right? Now you have to backtrack to find that overlooked piece of scrap metal and without any clue as to where it might be. Each mission takes place over a large area, and without any map to speak of (Hello? We’ve got a 2nd screen here for a reason y’know!) it takes forever to rectify a slight oversight.

There are 14 levels altogether and 5(!) of them are boss fights. Doc Ock, Vulture and Mysterio will all go down easily with a bit of button mashing on your part. There are times you’ll be whisked away into a first-person view and have to tap out projectiles flung your way, but that’s about it as it goes for ‘innovation’. Clearly Vicarious Visions were too afraid to go further with more touch-screen elements, and it is disappointing to see that the only other thing the bottom screen is used for is selecting what super power Spidey will have armed at a given time.

Unlike the more recent Spidey DS titles, there are collectibles present here. You can obtain new super powers by completing secondary tasks, but these are boring and extremely difficult to fulfil without any aids (maps etc.) The payoff isn’t worth your time at all, and so the actual replay value of this game isn’t as high as you’d expect. Given that most of the missions are too long for their own good and that the difficulty borders on insane cheapness in the last few, it’s probably not something you’d want to fly through again, ever. Oh I must mention chapter 14. This level will drive you mad. With the ‘hard restart’ (look in my other Spidey reviews if you don’t understand my term), and the ease with which it is to slip up and fall to a watery grave, you’ll either stop playing once you reach this point, or finish it completely bald having ripped out all of your hair. Just what were they thinking?!

Despite looking and sounding reasonably good, Spider-Man 2 unfortunately epitomises the half-assed movie-to-videogame adaptation. In taking the formula established by its GBA predecessors and forcing repetitive objective completion in order to pad out length, Vicarious Visions have tarnished Spider-Man’s good name. (Fast-forward a bit and you’ll see that there was still more staining to come.) Spider-Man is all about high-speed and thrills, but it looks like he threw caution to the wind as he approached these dual-screens, only to go splat right in the center.

Rating: 2/10

arkrex's avatar
Community review by arkrex (May 31, 2007)

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