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Spider-Man 2 Package Art
†GENRE
††Action
†DEVELOPER
††Treyarch
†PUBLISHER
††Activision
†NUMBER OF PLAYERS
††1
†CONNECTIVITY
††no
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Spider-Man 2

After grossing well over 180 million clams in the box office, Spider-Man 2 has seen its own fair share of success in a matter of days. The game, which was released a day before the film, has also been met with critical acclaim. One could say that itís the best licensed title on the GameCube. As the third summer movie based video game, Spider-Man 2 flexes its license not only as a spin-off from the film, but also as a game based on the comic book, which is in turn based on the film. Itís a little confusing, but this is what makes this game such a huge success. The potential for a game like this is extraordinary but Treyarch and Activision held it like a gentle babe and caressed it to greatness.

visuals

In Spider-Man 2, itís all about the level design. This is what makes the game what it is. The level design IS Manhattan. This IS New York City. Youíre not going to get any closer to it in this generation. NYC is displayed in all of its glory in full, streaming 3D. Climb to the top of the Empire State Building, go ahead. Check out that draw distance, and youíll be able to see straight across the entire island and even bits and pieces of the mainland. Itís incredible to see such a detailed recreation of the amazing city. Youíll even see the WTC memorial lights at night. This kind of representation in a video game is both emotionally charged and inspiring. Theyíve done a terrific job.

As far as overall good looks are concerned, this game holds up pretty well, considering the free-roaming environments. The character models, textured environments and frame rate are all easily compared to other games of this type of freedom. The thing is, this game has surpassed them all. The amount of detail in this game is leaps and bounds ahead of Grand Theft Auto and simply blows True Crime out of the water. Now, both of these titles arenít known for their complex visual beauty and neither is Spider-Man 2. Itís still a little rough around the edges. However, when it comes to swinging around as Spider-Man, you can see that the animations have been worked on lovingly by fans of the comic. Youíll see traditional poses and combat moves that mustíve been torn straight out of the classics. Itíll make fans a little giddy, that much can be said for sure.

audio

When it comes to music, the game is a little on the limp side. Sometimes youíre treated to the haunting score of Danny Elfman, which is of course legendary, but other times youíre treated to silence. It can be a little unnerving most of the time and you really do notice the lack of any music. Thankfully, the ambient noises are produced well enough to distract your attention. Sound effects are great and pack that biff-pow comic book punch thatís always necessary for this type of game. When it comes to Doc Ock, though, everything is torn to bits. The sound of his arms digging into the pavement and walls is just chilling.

The same could be said about the voice acting. Bruce Campbell returns as the trusty Narrator in order to pull some punches on the player during the intro and at little hint markers that can be found all throughout NYC. When it comes to Bruce, he can save any game from being terrible. Pitfall 3D, Evil Dead: Hail to the King, Evil Dead: Fistful of Boomstick, Broken HelixÖ okay, letís draw the line at Broken Helix. The man is a God and is not to be trifled with. The rest of the cast is great, but Toby Maguire can be a little dry sometimes. You can tell heís having a blast though. We must point out Holly Fields, who plays the voice of Black Cat. We didnít know it was possible to capture a comic book character in video game form, but sheís the female Hugh Jackman of the video game world. She IS Black Cat. Sheís mischievous, sheís hot, sheís cunning, sheís witty and sheís perfect. She steals every scene, vocally and visually. Thank you, Holly Fields, thank you.

gameplay

Many critics and gamers are comparing Spider-Man 2 to the much beloved Grand Theft Auto series. This comparison is, by all means, relevant since they both share the entire free-roaming system. However, it may be a little fairer to compare this game to Activisionís own overlooked action title, True Crime: Streets of LA. In both this and True Crime, you play as the good guy and the environment is a representation of an actual, real life city. To set things straight, though, Spider-Man 2 is itís own beast. It canít be compared to anything other than its predecessor, really, and thatís stretching it. The amount of things you can do within New York City as the web crawler is practically limitless. Youíll spend hours just slinging around, which is in and of itself extremely fun. After hours of playtime, web slinging has never gotten old and has never been this much fun. However, thereís plenty of other things to do such as fighting random crime just like Spidey would himself. Swoop down and speaking to someone triggers a random objective. Spider-Man will have to save someone from falling, stop a thief (he hates carjackers the most), put an end to an alien invasion, along with several others. There are also live events that will trigger anytime, anywhere. Save a kidís balloon, stop a purse snatcher, break up a gathering of thugs, or bust up a hideout. Itís all real-time. Whatís more is that itís astonishingly fun.

Controlling web-head is beautifully executed with a nice combination between the standard and shoulder buttons. Slinging around the city is simple and you can even pull a few tricks from your sleeve like boosting your speed and wall-running. Once you get the hang of it, youíll be swinging from one side of NYC to the other within a matter of minutes. Combat is by far one of the more common things youíll be doing in Spider-Man 2 and it can be challenging from time to time, but not enough to become frustrating. Sometimes Spidey will be ganged up on by more than half a dozen goons, but stepping back and taking on a couple at a time is cake. As you defeat enemies and complete objectives, youíll receive hero points which you can use to expand your library of combos and special moves. When you get the ability to string baddies up to lamp posts, itís all over. Boss fights are the generic find-the-pattern battles found in other action games, but itís always entertaining to hear quips from Spider-Man while heís fighting Shocker or Mysterio. Thereís one boss battle that really stands out and youíll never forget it. Fighting Doctor Octopus is like it should be, just like we dreamed about as teenagers playing Spider-Man on the SNES. While it isnít as exuberating as it is in the film, it still works perfectly in the game.

multiplayer

N/A

overall

After VU Gamesí Escape from Butcher Bay, there were some rumblings about if licensed games were still perpetually doomed to be lame. Activision has answered that question with Spider-Man 2. After this year, whenever a film-based game is in development, one has to look back and ask themselves if itíll be as good as either of these two games rather than coming to the immediate ďlameĒ conclusion. Not only is this the best film-based video game on the GameCube today, but itís one of the best comic-based video games ever. Even after you complete the main quest, youíll still spend hours finding every little thing or just swinging around and listening to the amazing voice that is Bruce. Itís been an incredible year for me personally as a gamer and this game could have been too much to handle. Activision still has X-Men Legends and THUG 2 coming up this year. I donít know how much more I can take. Thank you, Activision and Treyarch, thank you. Say hi to Holly Fields for me!

final score 9.2/10





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Staff Avatar Austin Starr
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"If life's not beautiful without the pain / well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again"


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