based on Spider-Man 2 have come in all shapes and
sizes. The latest is a launch title for the Nintendo
DS and it is an entirely different game than any that
have appeared since they started trickling out last
on the movie, but utilizing the DS' touch screen capabilities,
Peter Parker's wallcrawling alter ego faces all new
challenges - some of which are due to the latest crop
of supervillains like Doc Ock and Mysterio and also
because of the insane difficulty level later in the
2 is an impressive looking game and it's certainly
high profile enough to catch the eye of early DS adoptees.
As with any of the DS titles, I couldn't help but
think "gimmick" when it came to the touch
screen. Call me a traditionalist but there was nothing
wrong with the good old D-pad - analog stick - button
interface of old. One prime area of functionality
versus gimmick comes into play when using new moves
in SM2. If there wasn't a touch screen, the developers
would have simply mapped the new moves to various
button combos. With the touch screen, you now select
moves from the touch screen below. It may not be a
big deal to some, but I actually find the touch screen
takes me out of the game more than it puts me into
it, and that's a big drawback for me. Certain other
puzzle/minigames come into play during boss battles
that utilize the touchscreen to solve them. I also
found this gimmicky, although I could see some gamers
getting off on this new method of interaction.
Visions put a lot of effort into the visual appeal
of Spider-Man 2 and they succeeded with flying colors.
Spider-Man 2 is by far the best looking launch title.
While the gameplay sticks to the 2nd dimension, the
levels have a fantastic 3D appearance that will have
most players gushing over the New York landscape.
Most handheld Spidey games have stuck with the tried
and true "swing from right to left, stick to
buildings" and this game is no different. However
due to the added muscle under the DS hood, Vicarious
Visions was able to make the levels extremely large.
They are so vast, that it turns out to be the games
to the hide and seek gameplay of locating items and
hostages (within a time limit yet!) and the inability
to change the camera focus so you see could see the
environment around you a little better, gameplay becomes
a frustratiing experience of trial and error. Unless
you have the strategy guide at your side (I didn't
of course) you'll be backtracking all over the city
looking for one last hostage or item. Not fun, especially
with that clock tick, tick, ticking away.
who has played the console version of Spider-Man 2
knows the emphasis was all on the swinging physics.
Not true of the Nintendo DS version. The featured
mechanic in this game is the webzip, which incidentally
was removed from the console versions because of its
virtual impossibility (Spidey would have to "reel"
in his webs back into his arm for this to work) -
as if webswinging and wallcrawling was possible anyway.
During the first part of the game webzipping is fun,
but a foreboding secret awaits....it's not fun later
in the game. In fact, it's pure hell. Death comes
fast and furious during the later levels and I was
wondering how Halo 2's Legendary difficulty managed
to get transported over to this DS game. You'll see
what I mean if you get that far.
gamers not burnt on Treyarch's promise of cool things
for reaching 100% on each level in the console versions,
will find themselves spending a lot of time with completing
this one. While it's not short on game, it does come
up short on gameplay, and that's the important thing.
It's fun to swing around the pseudo 3D cities, but
the level of difficulty unhinges things later on.
As mentioned, it's the best looking game of the launch
titles, but it will take every ounce of spider-strength
not to want to bust it in half.