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Spider-Man 2

Reviewed June 2005 by Marc Morgan

Publisher: Activision
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Release Date: March, 2005
ESRB Rating: "T" for Teen
Genre: Action
Price: $49.99

If you ask most anybody, they will have heard of the familiar web-slinging character Spider-Man. Whether from a comic book, TV show, movie, action figures, or video games, almost everyone has heard of him. Now, Spider-Man is ready to swing through a 3D New York City, right in the palm of your hand, in your PSP. Spider-Man 2 was already released for platforms such as Playstation 2, XBOX, Gamecube, Gameboy Advance, and the Nintendo DS, and was released for the PSP on that unit's launch date. The console versions of the games feature a fully explorable New York City, while the PC and handheld versions do not. Also, Spider-Man 2 for the PSP does not follow the storyline of the movie exactly. It has some additions, including familiar enemies such as Mysterio, Shocker, Rhino, and Vulture. There are also additions to the storyline, such as new locations, and different enemies. There are actually parts in the PSP version that did not exist in the PS2 and other versions of the game.

Gameplay

Spider-Man 2 has different modes of play. They are training, and normal game play. Training mode features everything you need to start playing Spider-Man. It teaches you basic skills, including all the moves you will need to get through all of the 19 levels designed exclusively for the PSP. Not only does it teach you all the skills, but also offers challenges, such as a web zip race. All of this is great preparation for the game. You can also select the difficulty for the normal game, so after you beat the game on easy, there will still be a challenge left in the game. The game play is very linear. You are told to do tasks at the beginning of the level, and once they are done, you have generally completed the level. It's not as easy as it sounds though. Some of the tasks (especially later in the game) are complicated, and require a good amount of skill to break puzzles, and a good amount of luck. However, like almost everything in life, practice makes perfect. If you continuously try to beat a level, or crack a puzzle, you will certainly achieve it sooner or later, although it may be frustrating. Some of the tasks are also timed, which adds a lot of extra pressure. After a certain amount of levels, there will be a boss, such as Mysterio near the beginning of the game, who will make things more difficult for you. You must defeat them to move on, and they generally provide a great challenge.

If you're going to beat your enemies down, you will also need to know the moves to do it. There are simple moves, such as punching and kicking, but there are also more complex moves that require a combination of buttons to be pressed. These combo moves make it a lot easier to take down the enemies, but are harder to do. In general, the harder it is to perform the move, the more powerful it is. While you're fighting the enemies, they are bound to hit you some time. This is where the health meter comes in. When you get hit, it will decrease, and the amount it decreases depends on the power of the attack that hit you. There is also a web bar, indicating how much webbing you have left. This will decrease when you use a web-based attack, or swing from your web. Later in the game, the attacks get larger, and you need more moves, and there is a simple solution to upgrade Spider-Man. This is the store. Whenever you complete a level, you will get a certain amount of points for how well you played. You can use these points to purchase new moves, more health, and more! Even the training levels give out points, so that would be another reason other than getting used to the controls to do the training levels. In the end, the game is easier if you purchase the upgrades. I recommend going to the store menu after every level to see what you can buy, and what you should save for.

Graphics

The graphics in the PSP version of Spider-Man 2 are amazing for such a small screen. If you've played the console version, you will remember exploring the 3D worlds, and the stunning graphics. Imagine that on a smaller screen. While the graphics aren't as good as the console versions, you have to consider that the PSP is less powerful than the consoles. All of the levels are completely 3D, from inside the buildings, to swinging outside over buildings, roads, etc. Everything is easy to see as well, from the subtitles, to the enemies, to the health/web bar, etc. All of the moves you can do in the game look awesome in 3D, especially the combination moves. There are also cut-scenes with computer generated movie-quality graphics. These really add to the game experience, and make you feel like you are really playing in part of the movie. Overall, you can't expect the graphics you get from the console version of the game, but it is close. In comparison to the other hand held versions of Spider-Man 2, (where the GBA version is a side-scroller, and the DS version is a hybrid between 3D and a side-scroller) the graphics are absolutely stunning. Spider-Man 2 definitely uses the awesome graphic capabilities of the PSP very well.

Sound

If you played the console versions of the game, you will remember that they had music, sound effects, and familiar voices from the movies, all from the actors that played the roles in the movies. This is also true in the PSP version of the game. There are some cool tracks to listen to while you're swinging through the levels, fighting bosses, and just about everything else. There are great sound effects to go with everything in the game, from swinging, to being hit, to hitting, and almost every other event. Along with the sound effects, there are also voices, during cut-scenes and during different parts in the game. Often, Spider-Man will make comments during the game that can either mean nothing, but add to the game, or will give you great hints. Just having the voices adds to the game, but the fact that they can also be very useful makes them important to hear. I recommend having the volume up on your PSP while playing. If you have the volume of the game up, it can help make it an even better game, but if you don't have the volume up, the game will still be playable, just not as enjoyable.

Conclusion

Spider-Man 2 is like many of the other Spider-Man games, and is like many of the other action games. It is similar to the console versions of the games, but lacks the full exploration mode of the console versions of the games. It is most like playing the PC version of the game, which also lacks the explore mode, but has all new levels as well. It is also somewhat similar in game play to the console versions of the Spider-Man game based on the original movie. The new levels that have been added to the game are great, and the game is really easy to start playing, even if you haven't tried the action genre of game yet. The training mode makes it even easier to pick up, as it will guide you through the basics of the game that you will need to learn to succeed. The levels start out fairly easy, and like almost any other game, they will progressively get harder. The graphics in Spider-Man 2 for the PSP are also very detailed, and use the power contained within the PSP well. The sound in the game is really good, and the voices from the actors in the movie really add to the experience. They also help to make you feel like you are playing a part in the movie. The music and sound effects help to make the experience better as well. If you haven't tried a Spider-Man game yet, it will be easy to get into, as the training makes it all easy, and it is much like any action game if you have tried one.

Playing Hints and Tips

-It is a very good idea to play the training mode first, and set difficulty mode to easy when you play for the first time. Not only does it help you get accustomed to the game, but you earn points to spend in the store.

-Practice all of the skills that are necessary to play the game, and try to master the combination moves.

-Be patient if you get to a hard part of the game, and remember that practice makes perfect.

 

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Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics

The graphics in Spider-Man 2 for the PSP are really amazing, but are nothing revolutionary compared to other games available for the PSP now. The movie quality cut-scenes also add to the game, and really make you feel like you are part of the plot.

Sound

The sound effects in the game make the experience even better, but what really makes the sound in the game great is the voices. The voices are all from the stars that played roles in the movie, and really add to the game. If it were not for the voices, Spider-Man 2 would have sound equal to average games.

Fun Meter

Spider-Man 2 is your traditional action game, and it also has a great storyline to accompany it. It not only contains the story of the movie, but also some additions only made for the PSP version. The training mode also makes it easy to get used to, and it starts out easy as well. The levels gradually get harder, so the game remains fun for all of the 19 levels. The levels are very linear, however.

Addictivity

Again, the training missions make the game really easy to get into, but the increasingly difficult levels and puzzles will keep you hooked. The variety of different enemies, levels, etc. will also keep the game from becoming dull. Overall, Spider-Man 2 is a game that can get you hooked on the action genre, even if you don't usually play action games!

Total score: 4.125 Dragons, 82.5%



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