Spider-Man 2

Review

posted 7/26/2004 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: Xbox
Anybody who has seen the movie will know exactly what to expect from this game, as most of the key scenes and plot points are recreated through cinemas here. If you’ve somehow missed the film, it tells the story of Peter Parker, a young man who has finally come to grips with his super powers only to find he can’t quite seem to balance out his personal life; be it love, family, or employment. Will Peter ever get his big break at the newspaper? Will he be able to make enough money to support aging aunt? And will he ever be able to express his feelings to Mary Jane? These are the questions posed in the Spider-Man 2 movie.

Of course, the game completely ignores all that stuff and gets right down to the Spider-Man vs. Doc Ock rivalry. Through a number of cut scenes, we see how Dr. Otto Octavius can go from a well-regarded scientist to a raving madman with menacing steel arms. As Spider-Man, it’s your job to make sure he doesn’t cause too much damage to the greater Manhattan area.

Perhaps anticipating the light story, Activision has wisely added more characters for Spider-Man to interact with. Not only will Spidey have to worry about Doc Ock, but also reoccurring bosses like Rhino and Shocker. The obnoxious Mysterio also manages to steal away several chapters, as does Black Cat, a female thief who consistently finds Spider-Man in vulnerable positions.

These side-stories add a lot of color to the otherwise black and white plot; had they been included in the movie they would have taken it in a completely different direction. For the most part these side-adventures are fun, but they have a tendency of feeling tacked on, and at least one of the stories is left without a proper conclusion. Still, without these diversions the game would be embarrassingly short, so I can’t complain about them too much.

In order to complete any of these missions, no matter how easy they are, Spider-Man will need to perform a lot of different special moves and combos. Thankfully Treyarch didn’t cut any corners when it came to what Spidey is capable of doing. This time around you will be able to learn new combos as well as a host of combat upgrades (which are conveniently kept in the pause menu for quick reference), much of which will be used frequently in the midst of battle.

Most of the kick and punch combos are pretty basic, but learning how to use the web to your advantage in the middle of a fight can be the difference between success and defeat. As you get better at wielding the web you’ll find it can do a lot more than just tying people up; you can use it to twirl crooks up in the air, or just hang them upside down from a light. Treyarch should be commended for employing so many techniques into the game, but the critic in me simply wants more.
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