In 2000, fans were blessed with a new Spider-Man thrown in to the three dimensional world of gaming. Titled Spider-Man for the PlayStation console, you played as the web head as he attempted to capture a crooked copy cat of himself, avoid the New York authorities, and defeat the insanely jealous Venom. This was the first Spider-Man game to let you traverse the rooftops in a three dimensional world and had many impressive Marvel cameos. You went from swinging across rooftops to sneaking through building interiors. I particularly recall the levels that involved Venom, which usually involved chasing him across skyscrapers until the unavoidable battles with the symbiotic maniac. Like always, Spider-Man had a bad rep with the New York City police force and many levels were dedicated to just trying to escape the authorities. The levels were diverse, creative, and innovative, truly being one of the most prominent Spider-Man games of its time. Since the Spider-Man game franchise for the PlayStation used the same engine as the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series, you could unlock the agile skateboarding web head as an Easter egg in the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 game. After all, nothing says vigilante like a hero who drop kicks you while performing a grind technique. AWESOME!
Due to the release of the movie in 2002, a game titled Spider-Man: The Movie followed closely. Based on the movie with a few add-ons for longevity, Spider-Man: The Movie game used the foundation of its predecessor, but enhanced it immensely for the PS2 and other new generation systems at that time. I passionately recall that for the first time I was actually looking at a highly resolved, graphically enhanced Spider-Man game. I was blown away by the visuals and high quality audio of this new installment. Remember, we're reminiscing all the way back from Atari graphics here! Web slinging, at that point, had never looked so beautiful regardless of the fact that you couldn't go near the city streets. Many of us also had to ignore the outdoor levels where Spidey's webs connected to nothingness. What the heck were those spider-webs clinging to - the clouds?
In conjunction with the overwhelming success of the Spider-Man movie and game, sequels to both quickly followed. Spider-Man 2: The Game was then released. Now, this is the game we've all been waiting for since the very beginning of gaming! The graphics were a bit bland but this was a very small price given the fact that you were completely free to roam the Big Apple as you saw fit. With a press of a button, a web would quickly speed from your wrist and literally connect to the most logical grappling point. This made a childhood fantasy of performing the famous web-sling shot across the city come true. No longer did webs just shoot into the dead sky clinging to who knows what. If there were no buildings, then there simply was no way to swing. Let's not forget the little features like being able to tie defeated enemies upside from a light post, which true fans can appreciate. Honestly, hanging enemies from the light post pretty much made the game for me. Aside from web swinging freely through New York, the combat was truly amazing with the use of Spidey's spider senses. When in the heat of combat, Spidey's senses would tingle to indicate an incoming attack and by pressing a button he would dodge the attack in a way that only Spider-Man could. This was the first game to implement the spider sense into actual combat, and it was amazing! Though the character models for everyone else looked like lost fights with ugly sticks, Spider-Man's detail and animation was a great joy to watch. Also, if anyone knows what was up with those kids who constantly lost their balloons that you had to relentlessly fetch, please let me know!
Now, at the pinnacle of success our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is far from done. With the release of Spider-Man 3 the movie, which is supposedly the end of the trilogy, information about the new Spider-Man 3 movie tie-in game is well on its way and looking unfathomably good. Spider-Man 3 is being released for current and next-gen consoles and every movie watcher, comic fan, and gamer alike are all anxious for its arrival. For the full preview, read D'Marcus Beatty's well informed article.
CCC Freelance Writer