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Ultimate Spider-Man

Score: 83%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1
Genre: Platformer (2D)/ Fighting

Graphics & Sound:

Ever since his theatrical debut, Spider-Man has also emerged as a powerhouse force in the gaming community. While most of these games are roughly based off the Spider-Man movies, Ultimate Spider-Man for the Game Boy Advance derives its source material from the basically new comic book series by the same name.

The first thing that will likely jump out at you is the game's unique visuals. Like its console counterparts, Ultimate Spider-Man sports a cel-shaded style. Now, the Game Boy Advance obviously can’t do strictly true cel-shading, but the effect captured by the game’s sprites and animations roughly approximate this look about as well as can be expected.

In contrast to the visuals, the game's audio is fairly typical for a portable superhero game. The music mainly consists of fast paced “I’m here to save you” style tracks when playing as Spider-Man, or dark atmospherics if it’s a Venom level. As any Spider-Man features lots of high acrobatics and down and dirty fisticuffs, the effects usually come down to either a goopy web sound, a swooshing jump or swing, or the pleasing melodies of your fist across a thug's face.


Ultimate Spider-Man is a retelling of the story between Spider-Man and Venom. Throughout the game, you will alternate between playing as Spider-Man or Venom, in three level increments.

Because its difficult to recreate the console versions' vast cityscapes and sense of exploration on the GBA, Ultimate Spider-Man boils down to your typical side-scrolling beat’ em up/platformer. The specific style of play is different depending on who you’re currently playing as. While both play roughly the same - you run around, crawling up walls and across ceilings beating up the bad guys, Spider-Man has the added ability to swing across pits and trap his opponents in webbing. Venom, in contrast, has a life bar that is always slowly decreasing, but you can regain health by “eating” baddies near death.


In general, it’s pretty accurate to say that the Venom levels are considerably easier than Spider-Man's, primarily because of Venom's ability to gain considerable health from every foe he encounters. Spider-Man has to find health and web powerups throughout a stage. While Venom stages focus more on the destruction of people and property, Spider-Man's tend to have a wider range and require you to perform more perilous feats, such as navigating tight quarters with most of the surfaces covered in fire. Suffice it to say, the further you get, the harder it becomes, and while the later levels can demand some tricky moves, most players, young and old alike, should be able to get by with a bit of practice.

In addition to just completing a level, most stages also contain a hidden power-up that will give you various benefits such as more web cartridges, new attacks, or faster eating time. Obtaining these powerups is not required to complete the game, but they certainly make the going easier.

Game Mechanics:

Overall, the game's interfaces are pretty simple and intuitive, as they should be for a portable title. The game saves automatically, and you can go back to play any previous stages should you want to pick up a power-up you missed. For some of the larger stages with multiple objectives, the game supplies you with an onscreen compass to help direct you to your objective. If the objective is timed, a timer will also appear as part of the compass.

Ultimate Spider-Man is pretty much a poster boy for your typical portable title that does what it should. It provides quick entertainment that you can enjoy in short spurts. Young players and Spider-Man fans will enjoy the title the most, but its good enough to provide some moderate entertainment to just about any gamer.

-Alucard, GameVortex Communications
AKA Stephen Triche

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