capsule review

Spider-Man 2: The Game

It was inevitable that game makers would try to capitalize on the success of Spider-Man 2 with their own web-slinging adventures. Unfortunately, Aspyr has brought the worst of the lot to the Mac. Its new Spider-Man 2: The Game strips game play to its bare essentials. What’s left is mediocre, bland, and unappealing.

Aspyr bills Spider-Man 2 as “a unique family-friendly adventure for ages six and up.” That alone should be enough to send most self-respecting gamers running for the hills. But even as a family-oriented game, Spider-Man 2 fails. All but the youngest and least-experienced gamers are sure to be disappointed by the game’s simplistic action. For example, every time Spidey comes up against a significant villain, the game presents you with a diagram showing exactly what you must do to win.

The game even manages to take the joy out of Spider-Man’s greatest asset—his ability to swing from a web. Instead of offering a web-slinging system that lets you explore the expansive New York cityscapes, Spider-Man 2 forces you to aim your web at specific target icons on the sides of buildings. So you swing from block to block along a fairly linear pattern and end up feeling as though you were on rails.

The game’s graphics are better than those of the first Spider-Man game, which Aspyr converted from a PlayStation title several years ago, but they’re far from impressive. Graphics are blocky and lack the sharp details and lighting effects you’d expect from a game like this. Sound effects are also disappointing, with some laughably bad voice-overs that call to mind Stan Lee’s worst comic-book dialogue instead of the taut, emotionally compelling movie.

The game requires a 700MHz G3 or better and OS X 10.2 or later.

The Bottom Line If you’ve got a young kid who loves Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2: The Game might be worth your while. But if you’re looking for a serious web-slinging action game, skip this one and try to get your hands on the console version. It’s much better.

With uninspiring play and cheesy voice-overs, Spider-Man 2: The Game fails to deliver the excitement of the movie.
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