Spider-Man 2 ReviewCain Dornan
After being revived with the recent due of blockbuster Hollywood movies, Spider-Man has once again became a popular, highly-recognized character cartoon character throughout the world. As with all successful entertainment franchises, the web-slinging hero has made a strong appearance in the video game scene, with his most recent outing being on Sonys Playstation Portable. Spider-Man 2 for the PSP takes a number of gameplay elements from both titles that appeared on the consoles to construct a game that provides an enjoyable experience for fans of Spidey, with the only true disappointment being the troublesome camera controls and the overall short lifespan of the game.
As one would gather, Spider-Man 2 on the Playstation Portable follows the same lose storyline as the movie of the same name. Essentially, you will pit through some 15 levels of varying tasks in an attempt to prevent a number of villainous creatures from completing their dastardly work. Such famous villains of the Spider-Man comics make an appearance, including Mysterio, Vulture, Rhino, Shocker and, of course, Doc Ock. Doc Ock. Keeping with the movies storyline roots, Doc Ock will play a major role throughout the course of the game, with the other villainous creatures making short appearances throughout the course of the game, creating criminal problems for Spider-Man to solve, before finally coming face-to-face in boss battles.
Surprisingly, Spider-Man 2 offers a satisfying variety of missions. In one mission, for example, you will be slinging through a gloomy temple museum to save a number of helpless hostages, while another mission will involve venturing through a warehouse defeating groups of thugs along the way. A small number of race-against-the-clock missions help to convey the sense of emergency, which are often followed-up with an enjoyable boss battle that adds further variety into the gameplay. While the missions do not involve anything unique or spectacular, the sense of variety in each of the missions helps to prevent the repetitive feeling that so many other movie-to-game conversions have conjured up in the past. Unfortunately, the overall length of the game is somewhat disappointing, with many of the levels lasting for no more than 5 minutes each, with the only relatively weak challenge offered by the boss battles. Thankfully, though, the choice of three different difficulty levels allows those who are up for a challenge to squeeze further lifetime out of the game.
Unfortunately, the problem of controlling Spideys web-slinging outings can often transform into pure frustration. While the PSPs small thumbtastic manages to allow gamers to effectively guide Spider-Man during basic movements whilst-on foot, developer Vicarious Visions has somehow failed to carry the pleasing control scheme over to the web-slinging sections of the game. Controlling Spider-Man whilst he is slinging through the air is often difficult, with a confusing control scheme that fails to accurately guide Spidey in the desired direction. Getting Spidey to move higher or lower while swinging is as simple as tilting the control stick up or down, however, getting Spidey to effectively swing to the right is left is a completely different frustrating story.
As in previous Spider-Man outings, Spider-Man 2 on the PSP offers simplistic fighting mechanics that largely involve tapping two different buttons. The square buttons perform punch-based attacks, which can be upgrade to include a punch combo. The square button, on the other hand, performs kick-based attacks, which can also be upgraded to a kick combo that can be purchased using credits that are awarded after the completion of each level. Spidey also has a small array of web-based attacks up his sleeve, which range from shooting a small, powerful ball of web, shooting sticky webs or encasing your foes in a large cocoon. While simple punch and kick combos will suffice for the numerous thugs that you will encounter, a wider variety of moves are essential during the numerous boss battles.
Spider-Man 2 is visually impressive. In-game graphics, while not the best seen on the system so far, offers a solid level of detail that combines to provide an eye-pleasing variety of environments and objects. Character animation whilst in-game is also of a good standard, with characters also offering a pleasing level of detail. The pre-rendard cinematics further amp-up the overall impressive display, offering visuals and animation that easily surpasses many Playstation 2 titles to date. The only disappointing aspect of the pre-rendered cinematics is that some of the characters featured, particularly Spider-Mans love, MJ, doesnt look like her Hollywood counterpart, which will likely disappoint die-hard fans of Spidey.
Spider-Man 2 features the voices of the actors for the movie of the same name, providing a thoroughly more authentic experience than what would have been found with voice actors that were found in the alleyway next-door. The music is very similar to that found in the console versions of the game, with the simplistic sound effects being quickly forgotten.
While the game does not introduce anything new or notable, what it does offers combines to form a solid experience that will satisfy virtually any Spider-Man fan. The only real disappointment with Spider-Man 2 is a number of small camera controls, which can cause gameplay to become frustrating, and the overall length of the game, which can be completely within a matter of short hours. Nevertheless, Spider-Man fans who are equipped with a Playstation Portable will likely enjoy Activisions Spider-Man offering on the PSP.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.