Game Over Online ~ Spider-Man: The Movie

GameOver Game Reviews - Spider-Man: The Movie (c) Activision, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Spider-Man: The Movie (c) Activision
System Requirements Game Boy Advance
Overall Rating 80%
Date Published Thursday, May 30th, 2002 at 04:13 PM


Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

While the next generation consoles and the PC carried nearly identical renditions of Spider-Man: The Movie, GBA fans have been singled out for special treatment since Digital Eclipse has created a different platform game for the tiny handheld. Web-slinging in a 3D New York metropolis was considered by many publications as a 'platform' game. True, the style resembled a platform game but I thought the 3D Spider-Man was more like a third person action game. Digital Eclipse's version of Spider-Man is more of what I would consider a platform game, taking place in a 2D setting and using some tried and true mechanics.

One thing the GBA version eschews is the spotty camera system that was noted on just about every platform. That's not to say things look bad on the GBA version. Things look really good indeed, with attention paid towards making the whole game more comic-book like. When you web-sling around the levels, the game moves quickly, making Spider-man's agility all that more convincing. While its larger sibling featured cinematic style storytelling, the GBA edition turns back to its comic book roots. Here, the story, which still involves Spider-Man coming up against Green Goblin and a host of other ancillary characters, is written up with speech and thought bubbles. There's no voiceover work from Tobey Maguire but the text is faithful to the Spider-Man franchise and features the same penmanship that dotted the other games. It follows that with this restriction, the character growth that was found in the movie is notably missing.

With the simple platform look, the GBA version also comes with a simpler control interface. You use the left and right buttons to initiate some web attacks. Taking a page out of the other Spider-Man games, you can concoct a few unique attacks as well as parries to beat Spider-man's adversaries. Spider-man never was an outright slugger who could go toe to toe with many enemies. He certainly can't stop bullets; that's a comic character from another company we're talking about. So much of the time, you'll be slinging around and pouncing on your enemies, rather than beating them one by one.

The GBA Spider-Man also comes with a slightly different storyline. It doesn't start out like the movie with Spider-man emerging from his rite of passage match against Bonesaw. Spider-man gets right down to business in the beginning. This involves tasks like saving civilians and many of the levels in the GBA Spider-Man are timed, whether it is some catastrophe waiting to go off or a building collapsing. However, the timing is very lenient, in that you won't find yourself too pressed. While the game's progression is fairly linear, the approach to the levels is not necessarily so. You still move generally from the left side of the screen to the finishing area on the right. Your objectives, on the other hand, are scattered across the level itself and you can usually approach them in whatever way you want. For example, the very first level tasks you to save four civilians and you can do so in whichever order you find convenient. This has its pros and cons though. The defect of this design is the fact that you could very well miss an objective and have to double-back to find it. It also doesn't help that you can't bring up a mini-map of the level so finding things may actually turn out to be a trial and error process.

The aural effects here are pretty decent, although it's hard to expect the GBA version to be on par with its Dolby Surround peers. The absence of voiceovers, as I noted before, fails to flesh out the story experience, although in truth, this story is markedly different. In lieu of any flashy, lens-flare inducing combat, the handheld Spider-man emits the clichéd comic book pow and thwaks that we have all come to know from old Batman television episodes. I liked this approach a lot and at the very least, Digital Eclipse was consistent with the comic book style layout.

When I said earlier this was a 2D platform game exclusively, perhaps I should have corrected myself and mentioned there are some bonus stages included by the developers here. Maybe they took a look at Treyarch's work on the 3D version and thought to include this; this being a 3D-third person-behind the back web slinging level to defuse the Green Goblin's bombs. It's not unlike one of the levels you embark on in the 3D games, except the GBA's graphical quality is much lower but it's nice to see that such a thing is actually possible. Moreover, it suggests that perhaps later on, the GBA will be seeing the same types of games released on other platforms soon enough. By far, this bonus portion was one of the most entertaining parts of the game. I only wish I could have seen more of it.

Overall, Digital Eclipse's game is consistently comic book like. It manages to make a true 'platform' Spider-Man game that holds its own against its peers. I really enjoyed the game a lot, from the visuals to the audio. Sadly, the story development of the other games is missing from here but I had the added benefit that I wasn't fighting the camera or studying intensely to learn the controls. With a flexible saving system, it's a highly recommended platform action game. Hopefully, the next Spider-Man game on the GBA won't be as conservative.

 

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Rating
80%
 

 

 
 

 

 

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