There have been numerous Spider-Man video game appearances throughout the years, but they have seen their greatest proliferation on store shelves in the last year ever since Treyarch and Activision secured the rights to develop and publish Spidey titles. The most prominent game was released in 2001 on the PlayStation, N64, and the best version, the Dreamcast. With the major Spider-Man movie that has been in development for so many years only a few months away from its long-awaited theatrical release, Treyarch, the developers behind the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games, is harnessing the power of the new generation of video game hardware to create what promises to be if nothing else the best-looking Spider-Man video game ever seen.
Slated to be available in conjunction with the release of this summer's big blockbuster movie, Spider-Man: The Movie Game will be playing on all three major systems: the Xbox, PS2, and GameCube. Loosely following the plot of the movie, Spider-Man, one of New York City's ultimate superheroes, will do battle all across NYC against the Green Goblin and his evil buddies. The game also will incorporate some levels and stages that go beyond the movie and work Peter Parker's backstory into the gameplay. A lot of the action will be above the streets of the Big Apple, and Treyarch is promising a new aerial combat and control system. Web slinging is hard enough, but having to do battle against flying enemies makes that superhero job even tougher. You will be able to do all kinds of web shooting and acrobatics, which should make for a good high-flying time, although expect to have a longer learning
curve to master the art of high-altitude spiderwebbing.
(WARNING: If you read the next paragraph, you will have the below-mentioned song running through your head for the next 24 hours.) I have been a web-slinger fan since the early 70's cartoon and its trippy opening song. Those old enough to remember, sing along!:"Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can. . ."(Don't say I didn't warn you.) I can't wait to see how a Spider-Man title in the hands of a capable development house is spawned onto the newest generation of gaming hardware. If the early screenshots are any indication, Treyarch is taking full advantage of the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube's rendering power. The screenshots so far look very, very good. Spidey and the bad guys look impressive, as does the intricately designed virtual New York City. Based on their THPS work, Treyarch likely
should be able to provide a good, solid framerate to go along with all the pretty pictures.
Hopefully the game will have the taut control that was a little lacking in the PlayStation, Dreamcast, and N64 releases of 2001. I briefly played the Dreamcast version released last year and despite some minor control issues, was impressed with the overall game which received generally positive reviews, particularly the visuals. If Treyarch can develop a tighter control scheme, which was one area most reviews had a somewhat negative issue with, to go along with the already-incredible graphics we may have a top-flight "game of the year" quality title to look forward to. Maybe if Spider-Man: The Movie Game is a hit after Spidey swings into stores nationwide, Treyarch will look towards another popular Marvel Universe character and bust out a Wolverine game on the Xbox, PS2, and GameCube (hint, hint). Long-time Logan fans can only dream.