Friday, July 7, 2017

Review #418: Spider-man - Battle for New York(GBA)

 They did it. They actually messed it up.
 Ultimate Spider-man on the Gameboy Advance had single-handedly redeemed the handheld Spider-man games, and ushered into a brave new world of decent handheld Spider-man games. And, y'know, when you hit it out of the park, you get lazy, so you recycle the last game's engine an build upon it. They did, and they messed it up.

 Battle for New York is a very loose, VERY loose retelling of Ultimate Spider-man's first issues, but swapping Electro with Silver Sable, since they had a Silver Sable sprite they could re-use... and, somehow, she has the power of flight now. It's a decent story, and told via beautiful, original, hand-drawn stills that look as if they were ripped straight out of the comic. Like before, two characters are the focus of the game: You'll be doin' some rescuing as Ultimate Spider-man and doing some smashing as Hulk's look-alike, Ultimate Green Goblin.
 The web-head plays almost exactly like he did in Ultimate Spider-man, he can punch, kick, throw webbing, stick to walls and ceilings as well as web-swing. He lost the unlockable Uppercut and High kick, both being replaced by a web-hammer, done by tapping up and punch, it deals a ton of damage but consumes a bit of web fluid. It's an OK change, I love having a high-hitting move and having a penalty(web fluid) to it, I certainly used it more than I ever uppercutted in Spider-man.

 Ultimate Green Goblin takes Ultimate Venom's role of villain powerhouse, and unlike Ultimate Venom, Ultimate Green Goblin isn't constantly losing health. He has three different types of Fireballs, but why would you use any other besides the giant, bouncy fireball is beyond me, as well as a pathetic little punch with little to no range. He can't crawl on walls, but will cling to surfaces. Ultimate Green Goblin's are horrid, enemies come out of nowhere and have huge range on their attacks, eventually I figured out that the best tactic was blindly spamming the fireball whenever I had to run through a hallway. The punch is pretty pathetic, but the collision detection can sometimes be off, so lest you want your fireball to go through the enemy, you might have to do a bit of punching if enemies get too close to Gobbie.
 Finding upgrades is a thing of the past, this time around every few couple of levels you'll be allowed to put 2 upgrade points on four different stats: Health, Melee strength, Fluid amount/Fireball recharg rate and web binding time/Fireball strength. I kinda liked how the upgrades worked in the first game, but this system is not too bad, although to be honest I didn't really feel like my attacks were getting stronger, but the extra health was nice.

 Level design can be hit or miss. As before, most of the time you're given a compass to aid you in your tasks, and when you're not the mazes are usually simple enough. That said, as previously mentioned, Goblin's levels are pretty bad thanks to how enemies and obstacles remain hidden from view until it's too late. As for Spider-man, a few of his last levels are kinda tedious, forcing you to defeat X amount of easily defeated, but time consuming damage sponge baddies.
 I've stopped talking about graphics and sound in my blog since those are very subjective, so besides a passing mention I won't dwell on those, but my god, the music in this game deserves a special mention: Most Spider-man stages feature a horrid music that sounds like an alarm. And a few of Gobbie's levels feature the exact same tune. It's grating to the ears, and I can't fathom anyone agreeing to it being on the game. There's a white enemy that has the wrong standing animation, so he'll magically turn from blue to white when he moves. Hilarious.

 I had fun with Battle for New York, I mean, it IS a good engine. But it's not quite as good as Ultimate Spider-man on the GBA was. Green Goblin's sections are more annoying than anything, and the music really got on my nerves. But, even though I can say that I had fun with it, I can also say that I didn't like it all that much. Bummer.
 5.5 out of 10

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