Tight controls! The web wizardry makes you wonder what could have been
Lack of variety. Played one mission? You've played them all
It seems funny reviewing a Nintendo DS game in 2012. Surely anyone still powering up that handheld does so for a small stable of beloved games rather than new ones. Unfortunately, The Amazing Spider-Man‘s outing on DS shouldn’t convince you to break out of your comfort zone. Tight controls aren’t matched with enough variety, whether in the side-scroller’s backgrounds, challenges, or enemies, and the end result is a rather flat experience.
The game serves as an epilogue to the movie, having you zip around three environments (which double up as hub-worlds) to deal with the aftermath of the whole Lizard debacle. These few backdrops only vary in their aesthetic and their ambient sounds; sludge-green sewers might feel different to New York City’s airy heights, but structurally they’re all in the same basket of “meh.”
Short cutscenes book-end one mission after another, wherein the ingredients to progression are always the same: find the door to the next area. If it’s locked, double back and kill some goons. Someone’s got to have the keycard (a pocketless mutant, steeled into battle by his very nakedness, perhaps?). The thing is, that door isn’t always locked, giving you detracting incentive to swing through the level as a pacifist to find out for yourself.
And problematically, the top half of your DS provides you with a map too macroscopic for utility, which soon adds to the feeling that you want to get out of this room and move on to the next. Since they all kind of blend together, the feeling becomes as familiar as it is unwelcome.
Scorpion serves as one of the very few bosses to punctuate the action.
Where The Amazing Spider-Man does offer something enjoyable is in the controls. The developers mapped them smartly, and there’s a lot to do with both Spider-Man’s webs and fists. Once airborne you can latch onto any nearby surface, even web-pulling into the ground faster than gravity would allow. Much of Spidey’s acrobatic vocabulary is featured here too, from swinging to stealthy upside-down descents. Given that, it’s a shame the platforming elements of this game don’t present a tougher challenge.
This game might have benefited from more treacherous environments; from being tougher to navigate even without the addition of lumbering enemies. As for these, the vast majority of their projectiles are short and lateral. Only one enemy and turret have even remotely homing shots, and these prove to be the (appreciated) exception to the rule. This might read as nit-picky, but I really do think that a busier screen with more to dodge would have made for a better game. In that respect, The Amazing Spider-Man seems to suffer from featuring a protagonist too able for his surroundings and enemies (of course, it’s these elements, rather, that fall short of his ability).
Compared to the slickness of the movie, Spider-Man’s DS outing just doesn’t make the cut. It’s not abysmal, but it also doesn’t rise above the mediocre.
Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.