"Spider-Man, Spider-Man. Does whatever a spider can. Spins a web, any size. Catches thieves, just like flies."
*ahem* OK, enough singing for the moment.
Spider-Man, everybody's favorite wall crawler, has finally made his way to the Game Boy Color. This is an all new
adventure featuring cameos from some of your favorite villains including Venom, The Lizard, Hobgoblin and the Kingpin.
Spidey is your typical platformer fare. There are platforms that you have
to jump to and bad guys to rid the world of. Enemy AI is nowhere to be seen, except maybe from the Bosses. The
typical bad guy has a set path and can always be found in the same spot, no matter how often you dispatch of him
and swing away. In the later levels the thugs get a lot tougher and a lot more numerous.
However, Spider-Man feels like how a Spider-Man game should be. Spidey himself can punch, kick, web up a bad guy
and thwip a web-line and get out of there if it's getting too dangerous.
One thing that will make this game stand out from other platformers (besides the red and blue tights) is the ability
to gain experience. This is the first time I've seen experience being used in a platformer. The way it works is
every time you defeat a bad guy, you get so many points. Build up enough points, and you'll go up a level. When
this happens your attack level goes up, allowing you to cause more damage and learn new moves.
Defense and Health can be built up by collecting icons throughout the game. The only problem with this is that
you can just hang around (no pun intended), beat up a bunch of thugs in the first level, and quickly get up to
maximum Attack Level before you face anything tough. Sure this makes the first level dead easy, but it makes the
rest of the game seem a lot tougher.
Another interesting thing in Spider-Man is the lack of "levels". The entire game takes place in one huge
area; New York City to be precise. This adds a sense of exploration to the fame as you travel from the Docks, through
the City Streets and crawl around down in the Sewers.
Speaking of sense, Spidey always has his Spider-Sense and this game is no different. When you come near a dangerous
situation, your Spider-Sense will start tingling. This is used to great extent in one of the later levels when
you have to locate bombs and all you've got to find them is your Spider-Sense.
Spider-Man uses passwords to save your progress. Unfortunately, every time your stats change, so does your password.
This means that you are liable to write down half a dozen passwords before you've even finished the first level!
The controls in Spider-Man can be annoyingly fiddly. For example, to jump
and shoot a web-bullet you have to "roll thumb from the B button to A button". But if you A then B, he'll
jump and do a drop-kick. The amount of times I stuffed up the web-bullet in the heat of battle became frustratingly
all too common. Maybe it was just me, but he had so many moves that the controls actually became very complex with
using only the A and B buttons.
The graphics are pretty good actually. The sprites are small which means
that you can't really get much detail in them and the developers successfully haven't tried to. What I mean by
that is that by keeping the characters simple looking, they've managed to make them clear and easy to distinguish
from the background, and more importantly each other. Especially seeming as though the different bad guys have
different attack styles. The story is progressed with art that looks like it's taken straight from the pages of
the comic book. It helps make it feel like you actually are playing the part of the comic book hero.
Sound & Music
The sound is quite good is Spider-Man. It sounds like he's actually thwipping
web, and the menacing laugh in the start sequence is a nice touch. The music though is another matter all-together.
It gets quickly repetitive and very annoying. In case you're interested, it's an upbeat type of music that I guess
is supposed to make the game seem more intense. Luckily, the music changes when you confront a boss or come across
certain situations. I was so hoping for a variation of the old cartoon theme. Luckily you can hear the classic
theme when you go to the stats screen.
I found Spider-Man quite enjoyable, but very frustrating at the same time.
The whole concept for the game is perfect. All the elements were there, but unfortunately they just never seem
to pull off what could have been a very memorable game. Oh well, at least Spidey relies on his fists rather than
"web-bullets", which I've never seen in the Comic and only in the old Spider-Man games. Spider-Man probably
only really deserves a three, but I'm going to bump it up a notch because I'm a fan of the ol' Web Head.