May 1, 2007 - Whether you're young or old, new age or old school, it is safe to say that you've heard of everyone's favorite neighborhood web swinger. Since the early 1970s, Spider-Man has touched the hearts of millions of comic fans, gamers, and movie viewers. Naturally, with the spawning of so many video games, Spider-Man has taken a place in the game obsessed hearts of us here at Cheat Code Central also. So in the words of Stan Lee himself, "Read on true believers" as we go through the history of games that bared the likeness of the amazing Spider-Man.
Though Spider-Man's likeness in gaming spanned many gaming consoles, arcade games, hand held systems, and quest appearances, I'll do my best to point out the most mainstream of his appearances.
It was 1982 when Parker Brothers published a game simply titled Spider-Man for the Atari 2600, and the game consisted of a simple red and blue block like man scaling a simple yellow rectangle, which I only assumed was a building…or a block of government cheese. Your objective was to scale the building while saving hostages and diffusing bombs set by the infamous Green Goblin. The controls were sluggish and a sign of bad times for gaming but it was Spider-Man so I loved it anyway. As you scale the big yellow rectangle, or building I should say, you had to diffuse bombs. Once you arrived at the top of the cheese, sorry I mean building, a hovering green creature awaited you. Since this was a time before artificial game intelligence the Green Goblin looked as if he were copied and pasted onto to the screen, with the ability to only float from the left to the right side of the screen. Your goal at this point was to quickly crawl past the badly animated Green Goblin. Making contact with the highly pixilated gliding freak would send you crashing down to the streets below. Shooting webs frantically to grab hold of something as you fell never worked, so it was pointless to try. I was only two at the time of this game's release, but as far as I was concerned, that red and blue block like figure was the most realistic Spider-Man reiteration ever.
It was in the early 90s when Spider-Man was released for the Sega Genesis console. Even now, this game still stands strong in my memory as one of the better iterations of Spider-Man's game life. The game objective was to defeat six super villains in order to collect their keys to diffuse a bomb set by a corrupt business tycoon known as The Kingpin. The graphics looked like they were straight from the vintage comics, which made the game very colorful and vibrant. Your abilities consisted of punching, kicking, web bolts, and swinging, of course. Like the comic, being weary of your web usage was mandatory as comic fans know Peter Parker pays cash for the necessities to make his webs. A truly unique gimmick that I have yet to see again in a Spider-Man game was how you could take photos while playing the game. At the end of the level, you could trade in the photos you captured to Jamison for cash that refilled your web cartridges. Special points to anyone who punched the old lady being mugged and took a photo; Jamison loves those shots! How unique the photos were dictated how much money/web fluid you received. So you see kids, even Spider-Man knows how to make a good hustle! Of course, if you died during combat you would find yourself in jail with the option of knocking out an oblivious security guard in order to escape and continue your hunt for the Kingpin. I feel really sorry for that guard because I found myself there a number of times.
In the mid 1990s, Marvel Comics had a major story line adapted into a video game. The game released was Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage, and the game consisted of Spider-Man and Venom swallowing their pride in order to work together against Carnage and a host of other villains. The game was a typical x-y axis beat-em up, allowing for agile punch and kick combos that only our friendly Spider-Man or not so friendly Venom could pull off. It seemed strange to me that Spider-Man would walk through the streets randomly fighting dozens of cloned homeless people and businessmen who fought with umbrellas, very efficiently mind you! In times of great distress or when you just felt like it, you could call in backup from a variety of other Marvel heroes, though using the word backup is an understatement. In most cases, once you called for backup a trademarked hero would leap in, perform a cheesy one hit attack, and leap back out as if the party wasn't what he had hoped for. Despite the lame guest attacks, it was fun seeing so many Marvel heroes and villains congregated into one game.
With arcades eating away at everyone's quarters and games like Street Fighter being a major profit, it was inevitable that gamers found themselves playing as the web slinger in Marvel Vs. Capcom, and it's sequel of the same name. All of Spider-Man's trademarked attacks were at your disposal like the web-bolt, web-toss, web-kick, and an assortment of other attacks with the prefix 'web' before it. Some fans argued that Spider-Man was made significantly weaker than a majority of the other opponents. I didn't agree until I found myself being constantly defeated by a Serve-bot of Tronne Bonne's. Regardless, seeing Spider-Man in such a live and highly animated fashion was a sight to behold.