Hello everyone, welcome back to the retro corner. This week, I will be covering one of the more unappreciated Spider-Man games to arrive in the early 2000s, and that’s the game based off the first Spider-Man film with Tobey Maguire. This game released back in 2002 across several consoles, such as the Xbox Original, Playstation 2, Microsoft Windows, Gamecube and even the Gameboy Advance.
This beat ’em up was developed by Treyarch, the studio now responsible for the Call of Duty Zombies and the entire Black Ops line of COD titles. Being a movie tie-in video game, it does follow the plot of the movie quite closely, with the Green Goblin still being the main villain and many of the movie’s iconic moments being recreated in video game form. Of course, there are extra villains added in with their own plot lines to help pad the story out, otherwise the game would’ve been ridiculously short or consist of very little plot elements, as one movie doesn’t really work for an entire game.
As for the game itself, as mentioned previously, it was a beat ’em up style game, much in the vein of its predecessors. It was linear, with the swinging mechanics at the time being very basic, really only serving as a method to cross from one building to another or for purely aerial combat. The mechanics of your webbing actually requiring a point of contact wouldn’t be a staple of the genre until the next game in the series. Though the game itself was still plenty of fun, with multiple combos available for ground and aerial combat.
As well, the boss fights were all well thought out, each showcasing the respective villains fairly well. Especially the last boss fight, which takes place on the Manhattan bridge, as you must fight the Green Goblin in aerial combat, with him throwing pumpkin bombs and shooting razer blades at you. It makes for a pretty intense fight that to some extent was pulled straight from the film.
Speaking of the Green Goblin, my favourite part of this game was that after beating the game with Spider-Man, if you knew the right cheat code, you could play a fully voiced story of the game as Harry Osborn wearing his father’s armour. The game does follow the same plot and such, but Harry gives his own interpretation on the events, making it so he’s an actual character, not just something thrown in at the last minute. My favourite part about the Goblin playthrough was that where Spider-Man excelled at ground combat, the Goblin excelled in aerial, as he had more options available to him in the air. These options consisted of three different pumpkin bombs and a machine gun option, making all aerial missions a breeze. Even the last fight of Goblin vs. Goblin was iconic in its own way.
All in all, this game still holds a special place in my heart, even though the sequel improved on the formula so thoroughly that it’s difficult to re-visit the older Spider-man games. I hope that anyone who enjoys a good beat ’em up or is a fan of Spider-Man in any form will give this game a chance.