Spider-Man - 2002 Review - The Mediocre -matt

Spider-Man - 2002

Welcome back to the mediocre Spider-Man series. This is the show that strives to excite and inspire all of you bullies. Last time we touched upon various cancelled spider ventures, including one based on Sam Raimi's unmade fourth movie, which in turn reminded me of the wall crawler's more humble article game days, namely 2002's Spider-Man for all major 6th generation systems.

Be Spider-Man, play the game. It was a weird time for superheroes as it was an absolute crap shoot whether you were going to get something like, I don't know, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 or Incredible Hulk: The Pantheon Saga. And while the old web head had certainly had his fair share of stinkers by the dawn of the new millennium, the old Parker's luck was starting to turn around.

Activision had already published two very successful 3D spider games which originally debuted on the Sony PlayStation, pretty much back to back, so the desire was already there to continue that same success, and that's exactly when the license for the upcoming movie fell right into Activision's lap.

Fetid's greasy lap, but who would take on such an endeavor? The original developers of the first 3D games were going to be way too busy making Tony Hawk for the next 15 years while vicarious visions were already slaving away on a mountain of other licensed titles. So it fell to a studio by the name of Treyarch.

Spider-Man - matt mcmuscles

You may have heard of them, who are best known for developing My Precious, My Beloved. I die by the sword. I miss you, baby. While Treyarch didn't have a ton of overall game development experience under their belts, what experience they did have was invaluable. They were given roughly 18 months to get a working version of the movie script and not a very big budget, at least relative to what the Spider-Man games eventually received, to get it done to make that deadline.

Treyarch reused a lot of the same tricks that Neversoft had come up with: swinging on clouds from rooftop to rooftop; a ton of levels that take place indoors, upside down; crawling segments through vents all the way down to the control scheme; and special web moves. However, that is just how it goes in the license game world.

Spider-Man - movie

If you can take advantage of something, then do it. In nailing down the visual style, however, things were made even trickier by the team never got to see any finished visuals from the movie until its premiere, which meant they had to interpret certain scenes and set pieces on their own as well as cram in a sinister six-worth of extra villains on top.

Apparently, scorpion was originally going to be more of a secondary villain in this right behind the goblin and would have had more storyline and levels planned around him. As it turns out, these were almost all eventually cut for time, although Treyarch would go back and reuse that remaining material for Spider-Man 3, funnily enough.

In a final fun fact before we move on up until the 11th hour, both Josh Keaton of Young Ocelot and eventual Spider-Man fame played Peter Parker, while Norman Osborne's role went to the man himself. John de Lancie. The team just assumed they weren't going to get access to the film's actors, which was fair considering that level of participation was a very new and very rare thing, but then suddenly both Tom and Willem decided to sign on.

Spider-Man - review

Cherokee felt terrible about this in a way because Josh Kin had apparently done a spectacular, if not amazing, job, and thus they still wanted him in the game. In a neat bit of role reversal, he was then cast as Harry, as James Franco hadn't signed on, which is a big upgrade if you ask me. How many people will die because you let me live?

So while that's the cliff notes version of the game's history, how does it hold up today? Does it arrive like a streak of light just in time, or does Treyarch's first full go with the character need to be taken back to formula? Well, true believers, you better slip on your masks and take out your web shooters.

Or not in this case, let's find out here on my mediocre, spider show. Let's start with the story. Try to be shocked, but it mostly sticks with what was seen on the silver screen. Peter Parker gets nibbled on by a genetically modified spider, gets swole, does a weird wall run thing, gets a job out, and watches Aunt Ben get gunned down, and then has to avenge said murder.

Spider-Man - the game

This is exactly where level 1 starts out in your wrestling jammies and tasks you with trying to track down the apparent gang member. The shooter is a member of the imaginatively titled "skull gang." In between this main storyline, additional villains pop up as you'd expect, but it's funny how many other later Spider-Man movie adaptations adhered to this formula, so it's a trip to see where the trend started now.

Aside from an unlockable and two specific sections later on in the game, which we'll get into, there are no real big surprises here, and that, of course, includes Toby's always scintillating, churchillian delivery. That was just plain rude. We aren't done here, scorpion. Let's next swing into all the general positives I took from re-experiencing this one.

Truthfully, I'm kind of taken aback by how good it looks even in 2022. As you know, back then you needed to trade in graphical fidelity for the benefit of having an open world, so there were always pluses and minuses, but if you prefer your superhero games level-based, this is one of the better looking ones of its era.

Spider-Man - article game

Tangentially, related to the additional time afforded to Treyarch to craft individual levels is the variety of counters you get with each villain, such as chasing shockers. You are then subjected to a trap-filled climb through Vultures Tower, culminating in a pretty thrilling aerial battle high above the city.

There's just more meat to these multi-part encounters than what was seen in the boss battles of much later Spider-Man games, where they just kind of lock you into a circular arena where you and the villain just pound away on each other. Hey, phrase, now while I've got you here, allow me a moment to talk about the state of the games industry today.

Does anyone remember cheat codes? Yes, they were once a thing, and during the sixth generation of consoles they might have been at their absolute zenith, with Spider-Man being a great example. You could also enable first person mode with big heads, tiny spideys, and unlimited webbing like it should have been by default in slo-mo matrix mode.

There was just a ton of goofy stuff, and it wasn't hard to remember the nuclear launch codes that you had to input on the title screen." "No The game has an official cheat screen where you just have to type in various phrases to unlock said cheat. I miss shit like this dearly, and as more and more spidey titles were released alongside, the rise of achievements and trophies.

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