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Spider-Man

Developer: Neversoft | Publisher: Activision
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 08/30/00 | Genre: Action

"Hutchi-son, Hutchi-son, does whatever a spider can..."

Okay maybe not, but thanks to those wonderful folks at Activision, I really can spin a web any size, catching thieves just like flies, providing, of course, I'm playing their stunning latest release, Spider-Man, on the Playstation.

A 3D action/adventure game (think Tomb Raider with super powers), Spider-Man sees you take control of everyone's favourite wall crawler, and set off to save New York City and the world from the forces of tyranny and darkness.

And it's great! It's not even great in a way you can really analyze - it's just great, full stop! The way Spidey swings from building to building, the way he sneaks along the ceiling, before dropping down on a blissfully unaware foe below, the way he cocoons enemies in masses of sticky web, before thrashing them to within an inch of their life - greatness just oozes from every lycra-clad pore!

The action starts on a NYC roof top, where your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man is informed there's a bank robbery in progress. Leaping off the roof, you must make it to the bank, fight your way past the armed crooks on the roof, sneak inside, save the hostages, defeat the baddies, and stop an enormous bomb from taking out the entire upper section of the building. All in a day's work for our arachnid hero.

Only it's not. Because his day's only just begun. The levels that follow vary from swinging as fast as (super)humanly possible, avoiding missiles fired from a pursuing helicopter, to slugging it out with a 50 feet tall Mysterio, one of the many supervillains Spidey encounters on his travels. Venom, Rhino, Scorpion, Doc Ock, Carnage and the Lizard all try to bloody their knuckles on Spider-Man's face at some point during the game too, so he's never stuck for the opportunity to dish out some acrobatic violence, should he so wish.

Perhaps the best thing about Spider-Man, though, is the opportunity to simply BE Spider-Man. A lot of work has gone into making the control system as natural as possible, and while it's sometimes tricky to negotiate your way along the ceilings and walls of narrow corridors, it only takes a few minutes before you're leaping and swinging round the New York skyline like you've been doing it all your life.

While the game itself is fairly short, and a little bit on the easy side, its replayability is still high, as there are several secret costumes hidden throughout the game, some of which give you extra powers (the symbiote costume has unlimited webbing, for example), while others just look pretty. There's even one which features our hero wearing a mask made out of a paper bag with holes cut out for eyes. Doesn't give you any extra powers that one, unless you consider having something to carry shopping home in a special power. In which case you need help.

Add on top of all the greatness mentioned above the fact that the main title music of the game is a remix of the theme music from the seventies cartoon (perhaps the best television theme ever), and you've got a game that should crawl, leap, and web-spin right to the top of everyone's must buy list immediately. Definitely destined to become a classic!

All together now! "Is he strong? Listen, bud, he's got radioactive blood..."

By Barry Hutchison - 08/01/00
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Screenshots for Spider-Man

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