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Spider-Man 2 Review

When I heard that Spider-Man 2 was coming to Nintendo DS from Activision I was pretty excited. I had played the free-roaming Xbox version last year and loved swinging around the huge 3D city of New York fighting crime along the way. The Nintendo DS is able to do 3D easily and even the PSone version of Spider-Man was a 3D game. Man, was I disappointed when I stuck in Spider-Man 2 for Nintendo DS and found out that it is merely a 2D game with a 3D graphics engine. The game is more like the Game Boy Advance Spider-Man games than the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox games.Spider-Man 2 for Nintendo DS does follow last year’s movie plot to an extent but also adds more enemies, like Mysterio and Vulture, into the mix to add length to the game. It also has some cut scenes and high resolution images with text dialog you have to read to move the story along. The full-motion video cut scenes look nice on the Nintendo DS and are clear and smooth, which is promising for future titles.

The graphics are smooth and nicely detailed and really show off the power of the system compared to the Game Boy Advance and other handheld systems. Vicarious Visions did a nice job with the 3D graphics environment and Spider-Man and his enemies move smoothly in this 2D world that uses 3D graphics to display it. Some people refer to this graphics presentation as 2 1/2D since it is still a 2D side-scrolling game, but it has 3D graphics. They look really nice but if you have played the console version of Spider-Man 2 you will be wanting the 3D gameplay also, not just the graphics.

The gameplay you are left with is your standard side-scrolling beat ‘em up exploration game. Most of the levels require you to either beat-up all the enemies throughout the level, find all the hostages or do both. Some levels give you a time limit to accomplish this in to add even more pressure. The levels are usually maze-like and you should expect to go back and forth through them trying to find all the hidden hostages or enemies to beat-up to finish the level. This style of gameplay may get on your nerves and having to go around and around looking for that one person you missed is more boring than fun.

Spider-Man 2 is for Nintendo DS with all its dual-screen glory, so you are probably wondering how it takes advantage of the two screens and touch screen. Basically, the top screen is where most of the action takes place and you use the bottom touch screen to select which special move (i,e. web pull, slide kick, impact web, etc.) to map to the right trigger button. You also use the touch screen for some mini-games during boss battles or regular levels. These mini-games include defusing bombs by sliding a switch with the stylus to shooting objects with webbing by tapping the screen at the right time. They are nothing hugely innovated for a touch screen game and they are only moderately entertaining, but they do add some variety to the side-scrolling action.

The side-scrolling action is controlled like most other games of this genre with a punch, kick, and jump button. On top of these buttons you have a web button and special move button that gets mapped by touching one of the icons on the touch screen with your thumb. Lastly, the left trigger allows you to implement a bullet-time effect that slows everything down so you can punch and dodge easier. The controls are decent but you may notice yourself sticking to things a little too easily and getting stuck in the crouch position while fighting, causing you to get hit more than you would like. Also, the punch, kick, and jump buttons could have been in a better order. You may find it hard to perform punch and kick combos since the punch button is on the right and the kick is on the left with the web and jump buttons on the top and bottom. It would’ve been better if they would have placed the punch and kick buttons next to each other or given you the option to change the button layout.

Punch and kicking sound effects are done well and are what you would expect. You will also hear explosions, grunts as you get hit, and other fighting style sound effects. You will also here a whoosh when you swing along with the synthesizer rock/techno music playing in the background. The music is nothing special but something you would expect in a Spider-Man game of this kind.

Final Verdict

I wanted Spider-Man 2 for Nintendo DS to be something special, but it ended up being a disappointment in more ways than one. The gameplay and level design are kind of boring and having 3D graphics without 3D gameplay just left me wanting more after playing the console version. Plus, the Nintendo DS exclusive features that are supposed to make it more than just a standard Game Boy Advance Spider-Man game were more novelties than anything groundbreak.


6.0 out of 10

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Spider-Man 2 Review

Related Information

Posted by: cnc137
Date: February 2, 2005
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Release Date: 11/17/2004
Genre: Action
Number of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: Everyone
System Reviewed: Nintendo DS

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Categories: Nintendo DS Reviews, Nintendo DS, Reviews

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