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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: Activision
Developed by: Treyarch
Genre: Third-Person Action
Players: 1
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: June 28, 2004
Written by: Matthew Prunty

March 8, 2005 - Let me start by saying that I have always been a fan of Spider-Man and this game further enhances my fanatic being. You will see that there are plenty of things to do in this game. Now. Let's get into the actual review.

The sequel to the blockbuster movie Spider-man has produced another blockbuster game Spider-man 2: The Movie, with new powerful nemesis Dr. Octopus bringing destruction to New York City; in this new installment of the Spider-Man franchise. With a more experienced wallcrawler with a better grasp of his awesome abilities Activision gives you a more powerful and agile Spider-Man. With never before seen moves in a fully 3D world that allows Spider-Man to explore well beyond the previous game while taking on missions and challenges that take place all across the city. His spider-sense ability allows you to slow down the action and take it to his foes, Doc Ock don't know what he is in for. So prepare yourself for non-stop webslinging action.

I felt that they portrayed the story in this game much like they did in the movie; you are not always Spider-Man. Like the movie, you go between Spider-Man and Peter Parker. Plenty of nicely did cut scenes to give you an overview/insight of what's happening. You have plenty of run-ins with the villains and also with your friends and others, likewise.

This is like the Grand Theft Auto of super hero games. There are times when you'll be locked into a series of missions, but you can generally take things one at a time and at your leisure. There are a ton of other things to do, including an unlimited amount of random events. Random events come in many flavors, but often share similarities. There are two types of rescue missions. Saving someone from a drop and, the much more difficult, saving everyone on a sinking ship. You can also do a number of combat based missions, which include things like stopping car jackers (this includes using the somewhat anticlimactic car combat system), stopping armored truck robberies, quelling gang wars, or defeating super-villain henchmen, among other things. Completing any of these tasks will get you Hero Points, which you can spend on upgrades and new moves. Often the game will require you to obtain a certain number of hero points before continuing to the next chapter, though you can generally collect as many more as you want. When you feel like advancing the story, it's simply a matter of following a target to wherever you need to go. You also have a mini-map in the corner of your screen that can help pinpoint enemies and key buildings when you're close to them, and you can easily view more of the map by pressing Start + Z (or whatever your console calls for). The cut scenes are relatively the same (character models are exactly the same).

The main focus of the game is spit into two kinds of missions, story-based missions and the others. Some of these missions include delivering pizza, Mary Jane's apartment, following Black Cat and with J.J.J. at the Daily Bugle (spoiler). But when it comes to indoor battles, the camera becomes a problem of sorts. A nifty feature that was added was the use of Spider Sense. When activated, a white Halo appears around Spider-Man's head letting him know that an enemy attack is coming. After upgrading your attack moves, you have the ability to counter-attack.

The city details remain vivid for the most part and players can swing as fast as they can through it without a single hiccup in the technology -- i.e. no glitches, no stuttering, no massive pop-ups (there is a little here and there). The GameCube version fares the best (with the PS2 trailing) here, but both deliver a seamless technical experience. You can leap from the tallest building and fall to your death 100 stories down, or at the last second with a single press of a button a strand of Spidey's web will propel you into the air again.

The controls in this game are amazing. You can literally do almost anything you want once you get a working mastery of the controls. The only problem is that can be a somewhat difficult task. At times, you can be juggling four or five buttons and the control stick at the same time in order to pull off the combo you want. When you do get them down though, the moves are pretty dazzling. Not to mention web slinging. Web slinging is the single most awesome thing in a game I have seen in a while. The controls for web slinging are pretty easy to get down, compared to memorizing the fighting combos. On the other hand, it can take a little practice to master wall sprinting. All in all, the controls are intensely responsive, but take some degree of practice to master. The learning curve isn't too terribly steep, and you do get a good deal of practice just going to and from objectives. The game offers an optional simplified control scheme for easier swinging, but it's worth getting used to the more complex standard swing mode, because it's really the best part about the entire game.

There are distinct elements to Spider-Man 2 that ascend above the others. The animations to certain characters -- Spider-Man, Black Cat, and Doctor Octopus -- are excellent. Spider-Man moves with a breezy, nimble, elastic motion that's easy on the eyes, and his movement could hardly be better. Doctor Octopus' snaking metallic arms are incredible to watch in motion. Black Cat also does her best at looking slinky and acrobatic. But when referring to the civilian characters, there is less detail (their mouths don't move when they are speaking to Spider-Man). The effects of the day to night are very well done and it seems like you're really in Manhattan!

As for as the sound goes, there is a change in Spider-Man 2 over the original Spider-Man. Bruce Campbell (who did the voice acting for the tutorial) now is with you throughout the game give you tips and information, while hitting you with his witty comments and remarks that sometimes make you feel stupid. From here, the voice acting goes on a steady decline. Tobey Maguire is ok, but at times sounds like he is boarded when delivering the lines. MJ (Mary-Jane Watson) and JJJ (J. Jonah Jameson) don't even sound like their movie counterparts what so ever. As for the civilians, if you listen carefully, you can here the microphone (indoor) sounds as the characters talk. When you aren't engaged in a mission, you'll swing around the city in near silence. This isn't all bad, because it gives you a good opportunity to hear the wind whooshing by as you swing, and you'll also be able to hear citizens crying out for help. However, it still makes these sequences feel somewhat anticlimactic. The music is somewhat like the score of the movie, and if you've heard the Danny Elfman themes before, so yeah, it's pretty good albeit a little familiar. It's there, that dramatic, over-the-top inspiration hero-stuff, with its Hollywood high drama force. Likeable, but not loveable.

The replay value for this game is as high as you want it to be. There are many things you can do even after you've beaten the game. Like most of these Marvel based games, it is actually encouraged. After you finish your last fight with Doc Ock, your next two missions are just to get a boatload of hero points (more than you likely would have collected from the storyline portion of the game), which will net you a reward that I won't ruin. There are also a (large) number of exploration tokens you can find. There are 150 Skyscraper tokens you can find near the tops of some of the biggest buildings in the city. There are 37 (I believe) hideout tokens you can find inside basements, dance clubs, wherever evil lurks. There are also sets of 75 secret tokens that are really quite hard to find. There are also 100 challenges you can do. These involve using your acrobatic Spider skills to reach a goal as quickly as possible. Once you finish that, the game challenges you to do it even faster. There are also over 200 hint markers you can activate. These will give you little pointers.

While some are useless in terms of helpfulness, they are all voiced by Bruce Campbell (of Evil Dead fame), and are generally comical. You can also do missions for the Daily Bugle, delivering pizzas, even meeting Mary Jane around town. Also, every single one of these things will give you more hero points. You can also unlock a movie replay feature and an arena type challenge that will provide you with further challenges, more hero points, and a new boss to battle. You can also win in-game awards for doing things, such as defeating a certain amount of enemies, doing a lot of missions, etc. These will give you some goals to achieve and, again, more hero points. The game will also keep track of a number of stats that may be of interest, such as how many gallons of web fluid you've used. All in all, there is a ton of stuff to do in this game and I think it'll be one I can pick up over and over again in future years.

This game is very much the movie going between Spidey and Peter. Plenty of places to go and things to do. From stopping robberies to stopping Doctor Octopus, Spider-Man 2 is filled with lots of things to do to keep you busy until Spider-Man 3 comes out. And if you are a fan of genre, then I believe that this is definitely one title you shouldn't pass on.


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