RELEASED: July 1990
AVAILABLE ON: GB
PUBLISHER(S): LJN, Nintendo
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?
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!|
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.
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.
+ 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 >