SPIDER-MAN, THE GAME
you probably guessed from the very presence of this article, the Spider-Man movie
made something of an impact on me. For years I
hadn't realised you were supposed to spell the
name with a hyphen, and I feel grateful to Sam
Raimi for enlightening me.
when I happened upon, quite accidentally, a game
about Spide-rMan, I felt I had a duty to play it.
Now, this wasn't one of those recent all-3D
cash-in things, the sort that always gets loosely
thrown under the category of 'action-adventure',
but an offering from far back in the mists of the
early 90s, a 2D platformer. 2D platformers enjoy
a deserved reputation as the most extinct genre
besides 2D adventures.
the first thing you notice about the game is how
Spi-derMan moves. There he is with his little
costume and freakishly oversized head, and when
he walks he bears a steely, determined gait. This
is the kind of walk that says "Yes, walking
along this way is the only possible thing I could
be doing right now". This is to be compared
with the way he moves when crouching, which is
the walk that says "Woof! I'm a dog!
let's get to the real content of the game. As far
as you can tell, once you've hitched a lift on a
helicopter half as big as you (by standing on the
blades, naturally) you go inside this big
complex-like place built, for no apparent reason,
with someone who can climb walls in mind. I mean,
there isn't even a proper front door. And there
are some very strange security measures in place.
being a SpiderM-an game, you'd probably expect to
see S-piderMan enemies. Well, forget that,
mistah. Doctor Octopus is nowhere to be seen.
Instead you fight the following, amongst others:
swear, Spid-erMan apparently has to be John
Connor, Darth Vader, Brendan Fraser and Neil
Armstrong all rolled into one to beat this game,
and I haven't even mentioned the bits where you
fight Godzilla and rats the size of cars. I swear
the moon is so desperate to see you dead it
actually comes down from the sky and pursues you
down a corridor, tides be damned. Why stop there,
game designers? There're hundreds of floor tiles
who would no doubt like a bit of Spidey-killing
action. Since they seemed to have a thing against
Link in the Zelda games.
know what you're thinking; stupid normal platform
game with nondescript enemies with S-pid-erMan
slapped on the main character to boost sales.
Well, you'd be wrong, my cynical friend; the
web-shooting and wall-climbing is built right
into this mess. Some walls won't let you climb,
of course. Digressing for a moment, why didn't
the villains ever try trapping Spi--der-Man in a
gigantic bath? I mean, have you ever seen a
spider in a bath? It's like watching someone
trying to walk up an escalator the wrong way. One
would think it would take more than ceramic to
foil a superbeing, but there ya go.
yes, webshooting. To the game's credit, I think
this is exactly what having webshooters is like.
You jump into the air, shoot a thread to the
ceiling, swing across the room, then scrape your
arse on the floor because you misjudged the
height. Or swing through the air, release, shoot
another thread into the air, miss, and fall on
your head against the corner of a table. It's
remarkable. I honestly think playing this game is
like witnessing Peter Parker's early
experimentation with his webshooters, if he was
retarded and missing a limb or two.
by far the best part of this game is the energy
bar. There's only one and you get only one life,
but you do get plenty of energy. The bar is in
the form of a big picture of Sp-i-derM--an
himself, and when you get hurt, the bar turns
gradually into a skeleton from the feet up. It's
absolutely hilarious. It's kind of like having
your very own S-p-i-d-e-r-M-a-n dress-up dolly.
you want to play this tangled (yet oddly
addictive) mess of a game, you can download it
right now off Home of the Underdogs. And if you manage to
get further than the slimey basement with all the
rats, please drop me a line, 'cos I'm completely
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