And while Spider-Man
is by no means a terrible game, it has issues that keep it from being anything other than light adventure fare. Itís one of the best treatments of comic book character design ever, but it still falls weak.
Youíre Spider-Man, of course, out to save the city. Well, actually, youíre out to keep your good name from being tarnished, as someoneís impersonating you and doing bad things. Of course, the police believe itís you, so youíre in for a world of trouble from the start. The gameís plot follows true comic-book style, with pretty much every major Spidey villain (with one obvious omission) showing up in one form or another. Itís cool to see all of the various super-villains portrayed in the game, and the voices for the characters are exactly as youíd expect.
Spider-Man is basically an action game with some stealth elements. There are levels where you swing from building to building, trying to get to a certain location. And there are levels where you are inside locations, trying to get to a certain place or accomplish a certain goal. These inside levels are where the game really shows its strength, as Spidey sneaks around the rooms, climbing on the walls and ceilings and trying to avoid detection. Itís good fun, but itís not without its problems.
The core gameplay isnít bad, mind you, but the mechanics have some issues that keep Spider-Man from being great. Spidey gets hung up on way too many things, and youíll be trying to dodge a boss when he instead decides to try to climb a plant. Iím not kidding, folks. And the aforementioned disappearing shadow problem makes sneaking up more difficult than it should be. Itís difficult to execute the various web-fluid moves consistently, even when youíre using the D-Pad on the N64 controller.
There are a few added modes, like a Time Attack mode and such, but theyíre more one-offs than anything else. There are also a ton of hidden secrets, like different suits for Spidey to wear and cheats for him to use, which must be gained inside the game, Rare-style. Itís a nice touch, certainly, and adds some replayability to the game.
Itís sad to see control and mechanics issues getting down what could have been a fantastic game. The core storyline is good, and the general idea of the game is superb. When you get to the point where youíre running away from the policeís rocket-launching helicopters, youíll know youíre in a comic book. But it never quite congeals.