keskiviikko 10. huhtikuuta 2013

REVIEW - The Amazing Spider-Man | GB | 1990

GENRE(S): Action
RELEASED: July 1990

Now that I think of it, the NES had a minimal share of games based on Marvel Comics; a total of six by my count. Even Marvel's most popular stalwart Spider-Man made his Nintendo debut on the Game Boy instead of the NES, on which his first and only lead appearance was still a couple of years away. The first Game Boy game was called The Amazing Spider-Man; it had nothing to do with the home computer game released the same year, it spawned a couple of sequels, and it was brought to us by LJN. I was going to say it sucked, but hey - same difference.

My spider sense tingles - it seems I have to take a dump

One of Spider-Man's large host of arch enemies has figured out his true identity and allied him-/herself with five others to expose and destroy him, by the always sure-fire way of kidnapping Mary Jane Watson.

Oh, so you do work, that's
great. How about working
when I need you to?
Before you start blasting me about how great last year's The Amazing Spider-Man film was, I have to say: I know, all right? But, 'til that film came out, and 'til I saw it - you can't imagine how prejudiced I was, hell, I pretty much went for it 'cause of Denis Leary and a well-placed six-pack of beer - the title always reminded me of the old 70's TV show The Amazing Spider-Man, which was fucking horrible. Not all the way the laughable-kind-of-horrible either, just abysmal. I never liked the title, it sounds so immature - couldn't they just call it "Spider-Man"? Same goes for The Incredible Hulk - just "Hulk" would've sufficed. This went well below, beyond and besides the point, so let's just get to it: The Amazing Spider-Man for the Nintendo Game Boy. Honestly, I have to say it could be worse.

The graphics are quite OK, and just enough to fool kids into believing they'll have a real marvellous time (no pun intended) in the boots of the almighty webslinger here. The boss sprites are well crafted and the presentation in general is very close to the boldest expectations you could have about a Spider-Man game at the time. What most LJN-produced games lacked - among everything else - meaning their countless movie "adaptations", was authenticity and atmosphere. When it came to their other games such as this comic book title, they had a good grip on how to deliver a commercially viable product - it's no wonder, really, since they were a toy company to begin with; not to say their toys were any better than their games, but through the production of boys' toys, they apparently had some sense of what those kids would like to see in a Spider-Man game. This is exactly why I kinda liked the SNES games - but those are still a little far off, and I think time's left a scar or two on 'em. I'm once again missing my target, so let's get on with it...

It's the heebee-jeebie!
I almost choked on my morning joe when I realized David Wise made the music. Of course he did; I mean, how many other composers did Rare have at the time? Correct answer: none. Well, these TWO tunes - the main theme and the boss theme - are credited to Dave, but I'll go out on a limb and claim that he was taking a five-minute break, when some other guy broke into his desk drawer and stole some sheets to give the game a final touch before sending it out. It ain't bad, it especially ain't bad for a Game Boy title, but it's incredibly repetitive even on this scale, and definitely not what you'd come to expect from a guy who went on to become one of the most distinguished and influential video game composers of the early 90's with games like Battletoads and Donkey Kong Country... and whose compositions heavily influenced the Game Boy-exclusive Donkey Kong Land games, at that.

Game Boy games are tough to review, 'cause by far the only thing that matters about original, black and white Game Boy games is their playability - and playability sure seems to be a foreign concept in this case. Not totally odd, though - the authenticity of the game alone makes it interesting on some level, and seeing who's pulling the strings in the next level raises the bar of wanting to try just a little. If you're a Spidey fan, you might even enjoy the game once you get used to its less responsive controls, and learn to accept the fact that your each step is one of trial and error. Spider-Man moves as stiff as RoboCop, there are huge gaps to cross and the game itself often decides whether or not it's a proper spot to let Spidey sling the vertical web to get across (which he slings to nothingness, by the way; strange) or execute the high/wide jump, which is supposed to be a running jump, but doesn't register nearly all of the time, or just simply fall down to his death. Why I didn't call that high/wide jump a running jump is because Spidey sure as shit cannot run.

There's a human rhino running
amok in Central Park. Nothing
out of the ordinary.
Well, Spidey's slow movement has its privileges, such as sometimes being able to spot enemies more than from a virtual inch away - they seriously can fall straight on top of you, from the very same nothingness you sling your web to - and perhaps to avoid damage. The latter part's the true bitch. Your health bar looks reasonable at first sight, but be warned that every single slight bump drains nearly a quarter of it. It's continual damage, as if you were on fire in any other game, and it makes one dastardly sound effect, too. After discovering out of the purest blue that you have a limited amount of continues, you might think of the game as utterly unbeatable, but it's not. It's very short - you'll be done in less than half an hour if you're quick and lucky about it - you always respawn at the same spot, whether it's just a loss of life or a solid continue, and everything's tied to a pattern, discovered through trial and error. Of course, combination of these two words is always a red cloth in itself.

One more thing I despise about the game is the limitation to the use of webbing, since you absolutely need that shit to simply get forward, and certain types of enemies are nearly impossible to defeat with close-range attacks. Usually, when these types of enemies appear, you are given a chance to pick up some web power-ups, but very often that chance is once again one of trial and error, mostly of the latter half of that Satanic equation. The Amazing Spider-Man might not be that hard, but it can be very frustrating.

After blowing off some light steam in the beginning of this review, I decided to focus on the game's less negative qualities and give it a little credit for at least being - capacity noted - "cooler" and more playable than 90% of LJN-produced games I've ever played. That's not much, and it still sucks pretty bad, but at least Spider-Man fans have a decent presentation to gawk at. By the way, Venom's the final boss - that's always a plus.

+ Venom
+ A somewhat authentic atmosphere that reflects on vintage, family friendly Spider-Man, complete with bone-dry verbal humour and a good rogues gallery (Mysterio, Hobgoblin, Scorpion, Rhino, Doctor Octopus, and once again, Venom)
+ The graphics are quite good

- Slow, shitty, only semi-responsive controls
- The enemies' attack patterns are easily tracked, the patterns in their appearances are not
- Damage control, or lack thereof
- Limited webbing
- All of the above result in a whole game full of trial and error by some degree

< 5.2 >

Ei kommentteja:

Lähetä kommentti