As 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.

So 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.

Now, 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! Woof!".

But 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.

This 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:

I 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.

I 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.

And 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.

But 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. Observe:

If 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 stuck there.

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