Friday, June 30, 2017

Review #411: Spider-man 2(GBA)

 Not Spider-man's finest.
 Spider-man got another movie, and thus a new onslaught of tie-in videogames was unleashed upon the gaming world. While the home console iteration was a franchise-defining entry that set the bar for future games to come, the second entry on the Gameboy Advance is... troubling.

 It's not worth discussing the game's premise because it does a very poor job of translating the story of the game based on the plot of the movie, which means it's all kinds of terrible. What you need to know is that you'll be facing many foes that didn't make it into the movie while Doc Ock is left as the big cheese. There're about 21 different levels, but the game is fairly short overall, clocking it little over two hours.
 As far as basic gameplay goes, the game plays pretty much like the previous one: Spidey can jump, swing on web, punch and kick. Instead of having to find power ups to use special web shots, you now earn experience points after each mission which you can then use to power up Spider-man, making him tougher or learning new moves. It's a fantastic addition, but some of the new moves can mess a bit with the player, for instance, tapping forwards twice, even if by accident, will have Spider-man perform a sliding kick which may throw you off. There're new mechanics, like picking up stuff by pressing down and HOLDING punch which doesn't work very well, and is needed for a boss fight, and you'll need to get used to swinging since you must also hold Jump if you don't want to perform one of the useless new acrobatics.

 Level design is still kinda lame, featuring maze-like levels and scavenger-hunt type levels, at least most levels don't run on a timer now and most levels feature a compass to guide you, but not every level, which is a bit baffling. Every now and then you'll enter a '3-D hub level' in which you can either partake in one or two side missions or advance to the next story level. It's a neat idea, but the 3-D hub runs very poorly, it's nigh unplayable, and they had the gall to have a story mission taking place in said buggy hub. What were they thinking?
 They redesigned a few of Spider-man's animations. A few, which means that Spider-man's proportions will switch between the old ones and the new ones depending on what action you perform, which is all kinds of silly. There're other design flaws, like moving platforms that instead of moving in smooth cycles kinda stutter their way through it, and it's very easy to just go through them when you try to land on them. All in all, some levels are worse than the worst Spider-man had to offer, but a few are better than its best, make of that what you will.

 Spider-man 2 makes a bunch of small tweaks that really work in the game's favor, but they also kept most of what was bad about the previous game and added worse things on top. The end result is yet another mixed bag of elements that don't really work well together. It's hard to say which game is better, because while this game was more fun than the previous game at times, it was also more annoying than the previous game ever was, and that's saying something. So, pick your poison, me? I'd stick with Mysterio's Menace.
 4.5 out of 10

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