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Spider-Man 2
game: Spider-Man 2
three star
posted by: Jason Frank
publisher: Activision
developer: Treyarch
date posted: 12:00 AM Sat May 21st, 2005
last revision: 12:00 AM Sat May 21st, 2005

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I like Spider-Man games.  I've always liked Spider-Man games, but what once felt new and exciting, is getting a little old.  Don't get me wrong, it's still the best comic book video game adaptation out there; I'm just looking for something new, and I didn't find it.  Sure it's neat to play a full fledged 3-D Spider-Man game on the PSP, but almost everything about it felt pretty repetitive.  Even though everything was designed specifically for this game, it felt like a port.  

The game puts you smack in the middle of the events of Spider-Man 2.  It's your job to stop Doc Ock from destroying the entire city of New York while struggling with your love life.  The game isn't a direct translation of the movie's plot and introduces a few of the staples from Spidey's rogue gallery like Rhino and Vulture.  It follows the standard action platformer formula of progressing through levels until and ultimate boss fight. Spider-Man 2 was one of my favorite movies last year, and perhaps due the fact that I had such high regard for the movie, my expectations for the game were a little unreasonable.

Where this game shines is in its presentation.  The graphics do a fantastic job of showing off exactly what the PSP is capable of doing.  If you're trying to convince some of your friends to jump on board the PSP bandwagon, Spider-Man 2 makes a pretty effective argument.  I really felt like I was playing the PS2 version only smaller.  The refresh rate is a little problematic when things get hectic, but I don't think most people will actually notice.  The controls were also pretty smooth.  The analog button worked well and it was pretty easy to execute various combos.  The camera movement was also nicely done.  I can't remember having any problems with camera placement, and that's a first for a Spider-Man game.

I would have liked to see a few mini-games.  The thing about portable systems is the ability to play for a couple of minutes on a break or while waiting to be picked up.  With everything that Spidey can do, it seems like there is endless potential for mini-games (Where was the pizza delivery mini-game?  I would have loved that!).  Although there's a market for lengthy and involved handheld games, the market thrives on short and immediately gratifying gameplay.  So even though the levels are pretty short by console standards, they actually feel quite long on a handheld.  This coupled with the lengthy load times made me feel like I had to set time aside to play the game rather than squeezing gameplay into my free moment here or there.

Activision has made a pretty big deal about the fact that the cast recorded all new dialogue just for this game, and it is top notch, but it doesn't have any real impact on the actual gameplay.  The cut-scenes are also pretty entertaining, but my PSP came with the movie on UMD, so I don't need to see that story told again in complete computer animation.

This is a great game to show off what the PSP is capable of.  I'm just hopeful that we'll see a little more in the way of innovation with future games.  When I hold the PSP in my hands, I feel like I have a revolutionary device.  Revolutions need a vision or a visionary.  I will bide my time happily with games like Spider-Man 2, until the PSP's Che Guevera arrives on the scene to shift paradigms and bring us together communal gaming bliss