GOTY RUNNER-UP: BEST ACTION GAME OF 2004
Treyarch brings us Spider-man 2 right along with the motion picture release. Spiderman 2 has a sort of Tony Hawk mentality with an emphasis on fun and freedom.
Spider-man 2 was developed by Treyarch who worked on the first Spider-man game, and are famous from their popular Tony Hawk series. Treyarch kept the action elements from the first Spider-Man adventure and expanded the game world you interact with. Like the Grand Theft Auto you have the whole city of Manhattan to explore and interact with. Since Spider-man is the local Superhero he will have to take some time and help the citizens while he deals with his personal life as well, mainly his main squeeze Mary Jane.
The gameplay is split up into a different bunch of sections. One is the main story which has elements from the movie incorporated with new adventure segments. The main plot is split into chapters which gives you freedom to start each part whenever you please. If you just want to spin around the city and not enjoy the main story, it's your choice. Of course this is what most gamers will be doing, swinging around the city in red tights. You could say its like GTA where it was as much fun just driving around causing trouble as it is swinging around doing good deeds for the public. One thing, Spiderman is a super HERO so you can't kill people, or web up little children. What a travesty, some are thinking. I know.
The other gameplay elements are available to do anytime, and run in two categories. One is random crimes set by activating them or crimes that happen on the fly. When you're down lower to street level you might her someone crying out for help and then a purple star on your map to where the crime is happening. Most of the events are simple and fast to complete, but do become annoying after a while. I'm really sick of climbing buildings for balloons! The other type of missions is to help pedestrians that are stationary and are asking for help. They will be marked on the map and ask you to do more difficult tasks then just balloons rescuing. These small missions will include things like stopping armored car robberies and rescuing falling workers or even rushing injured people to the hospital. They are all random of course, but for some reason I was always getting the armored car deal. I don't mind these just because it's a blast to play Spiderman and punch out some thugs. Helping out the trouble citizens will also earn you 'hero points'. In each new chapter you'll be required to earn a certain amount before you can continue on.
Spider-man 2 is allotting of fun and besides the missions, major or minor there is still more to do! Scattered across the city are challenges to test your skills on things like racing and climbing. There are also hidden coins around the city that you can choose to find. These include Skyscraper coins 200+, Secret coins which are hidden, Hide-Out coins and more. The game keeps track of all your stats just like GTA so you can check all the details about your game including the amount of web fluid used. The coolest thing about this is the free fall meter, where you can try and beat your own free falls scores. Climb on top of the massive Empire States building and plunge off, the closer to the ground you get without splattering will be your score. The ground comes fast, trust me. As you can see even without the missions you'll be busy just jumping around.
Graphics & Sound
Spider-man 2 was a big project and graphically has its ups and downs. Giving the size of the project it's understandable about some of the low textures on repeated elements such as the buildings and landscaping. The city looks great with its polished glass towers in the day, and at night with the gleam of the lights. Spiderman himself looks good, and fits in with the scale of the city. The character models in the city and cut-scenes leave a little to be desired, and they have no mouths. Amazing how they can speak without one.
Mentioning speaking, the voice over action besides the movie cast (Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina) and Bruce Campbell are pretty horrible and don't always match the character speaking. You'll often get an old man speaking like a youngster or vice versa. All this can be overlooked of course because of the gameplay, but a little more polish would have been nice for the npc's and the noise levels.
Spider-man innovates several ways most noticeable is how the limits of travel have been eliminated, as Spider-man you can go practically wherever you want, climb as high or swing as far as you please. This is what makes Spiderman tick, who doesn't love freedom.
The web physics are fantastic with the new swinging system Treyarch added. The web-slinging now doesn't just connect to a mysterious place in the sky; it actually always connects to a solid object. When swinging through the city you'll have to beware of your surroundings for controlling your direction and speed, its easy to loose control but the more you play the better you will get. In the beginning you'll be challenged following the Black Cat across the cities rooftops, it does get easier and there is an easy control scheme for those who find it a little too challenging.
The third innovation is how the tackled Spider-man's "Spider Sense". When Spiderman is in immediate trouble, just like in the moves his Spider sense will start to tingle. Treyarch made it so an icon will surround your head and you have a chance to react fast by pressing the 'B' button. When bamboozled by the enemy this will help a lot to formulate a counter attack and also avoid damage. For example if an enemy shoots at you, just before the bullet comes in contact with you, you'll have a split second chance of dogging it by smacking the 'B' button on time.
Bruce Campbell!! Ok, besides Bruce, Spider-man 2 is a pretty awesome game, and has lots of mojo in every part of the game. This is finally a comic book game worthy of the character. Spider-man is fully in his averment and doing what does best, fight crime and save the city. The cast of villains is cool too, everyone isn't in there but I'm glad they added more than just Doctor Octopus. Playing Spider-man is a blast; I hope they expand on this game when the next movie comes out. Spidey is in a web of mojo.
Spider-man 2 is an adventurous and accurate version of the comic book/movie hero. Although the game has a short story it has hours upon hours of extras complete. Spider-man 2 is one of the best comic book / video game adaptations ever made. Pick this sucka up!
Gameplay: 9, Graphics/Sound: 7, Innovation: 8.5, Mojo: 9. Final: 9
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy |
July 16th 2004