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by Activision

screenshot_011-01.jpg (4633 bytes)Get ready true believers; Spider-man has finally made his way to the PC arena! Finally, after making appearances on Nintendo 64, PlayStation and Dreamcast, Spidey has hit the PC home turf. With the hardware acceleration and high-resolution graphics that modern PCs are capable of, it's no wonder that Spider-Man by Activision looks great.

screenshot_010-01.jpg (5094 bytes)Since we've seen this before, I'll just give you a brief recap of the storyline. It seems that Dr. Octopus is up to his old ways again. He's developed a brand new technology that will help humanity in ways that we cannot even imagine (I think he's calling "it" Ginger for short). He seems to have the general public fooled, but not Peter Parker. Peter, AKA Spider-Man, is checking out the scene when all of a sudden, a Spiderman look-alike strolls onto the scene and swipes Octopus's new invention! So now you're playing Spiderman on the run. In the course of the first few levels, you're also framed for a bank robbery. So now the police are after you in addition to all of your old supervillain buddies that would love to get their revenge on you by turning you over to the cops. As Spidey would say, "Story of my life..."

screen_02-01.jpg (5155 bytes)The game graphics are very nice. With the resolution pumped up a little higher, you can really get good detail in the rendering. The camera uses some decent panning effects and Spiderman's webbing looks awesome. The cinematics between the levels, however, are slightly disappointing. They pretty much look like the game graphics with a blur filter turned on. I would have preferred that they use the game engine to render them.

smPC_screen14-01.jpg (5786 bytes)You can't really beat a 3D free roaming world, unless it's a 3D free roaming world that you can swing around on a web; that's my motto. Needless to say, I thought that the game play was great. There's a ton of things that you can do with your web. I found myself crawling around on the ceiling, dropping down to beat up a villain, and then web-zipping right back up to the ceiling. What fun! In addition to his web slinging, Spidey also has a standard array of punches, jumps and kicks to beat up on any common bank robber or street thug. And you can't forget his wall crawling and super strength. I became accustomed to the controls very quickly; they are customizable in the options menu for the non-default gamers out there. I recommend a game pad or joystick though; it's not the easiest game to play with the keyboard.

screenshot_012-01.jpg (6586 bytes)Ah, the sounds . . . the wonderful and often overlooked aspect of any game. Alright, let’s face it; I got kind of sick of the "Spider Man, Spider Man" music. Sure, it's cute at first, but hearing it every time you turn on the game is going a little overboard. The special FX were good, the thwang! of Spidey's web, and the various background noises are all appropriate and realistic. The voices for the game also sound convincing, but unfortunately the mediocre cinematics take a little away from the dramatics of the voice actors.

smPC_screen13-01.jpg (7088 bytes)There are some special extras that help to spice the game up a bit. There’s a cheat code area that you can access from the main menu. There are also additional costumes that you can unlock as the game progresses. This is something that I’ve always been fond of, but has never really changed a game much. Spiderman, on the other hand, adds another level to the costume aspect; each costume has a set of abilities associated with it. One costume might give Spidey additional strength while another will boost his jumping ability.

screen_01-01.jpg (7166 bytes)The levels in the game are varied enough to hold your interest. They range from one-on-one fighting against one of a plethora of Spidey’s arch-enemies to a building to building helicopter chase. Other levels allow you to wall-crawl into a building and take out guards to save hostages. Most of the levels are headed off with a conversation with one of Spiderman’s allies, which is helpful to give you an initial idea of your goal on the level.

screen_03-01.jpg (7419 bytes)Spiderman is an enjoyable game that will keep the average gamer happy for awhile, but a hardcore gamer would probably be able to cruise through the game in a day or two. The game graphics were very well done, but the cinematics could have been redone for the PC; they resemble the PSX version quite a bit. Game sounds, controls and options are very good. Overall, like its console counterparts, Spiderman is a fun game and a good PC port. There aren’t any big surprises, but the few PCish additions (scalable resolution and HW acceleration options) are very nice additions and can create a great looking game on a mid to high-end system.

Tim Johnson   (11/08/2001)


Ups: Great ability to really be Spider-man; excellent environments you can explore completely; great for old Spidey fans; great sound FX; possibly the best comic book game so far.

Downs: Too short and simple.

Platform: PC