perjantai 12. heinäkuuta 2013

REVIEW - Spider-Man 2 | GBA | 2004

GENRE(S): Action / Platform
RELEASED: June 28, 2004
DEVELOPER(S): Digital Eclipse Software
PUBLISHER(S): Activision

The sequel to Sam Raimi's Spider-Man premiered on June 30th, 2004, and if possible, it was received even better than the first movie, and clearly laid out a path for a third one, obviously ending as the middle part of a trilogy. Once again, Activision had five to six groups of developers working on versions of the game for just about every major and handheld platform that existed at that time. The sixth-generation version of the game for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube was released a couple of days before the movie premiered and garnered in the most praise, and is considered a classic - a very influential game in the field of sandbox action and licensed superhero games. The handheld versions for the Nintendo DS and the PSP, which were released months later - the game was actually a launch title for the DS - also garnered in some attention, while a version for the Game Boy Advance was pretty much chewed up by critics, and then forgotten. It couldn't have been all that bad, now could it?

Day of the tentacle

The plot follows the movie more closely this
time around, but it's still a "bit" more complex.
The brilliant scientist Otto Octavius loses both his wife and precious nuclear research in a tragic lab accident, and is merged with his own creation of four cybernetic tentacles. He blames Spider-Man for the whole ordeal, although he was not involved, and takes to calling himself Dr. Octopus. Meanwhile, Peter Parker is persistently and unsuccessfully attempting to bury his alter ego.

From the get-go, Spider-Man 2 gave off a much better first impression than the first movie did. I took it much more seriously. It turned out a good movie, but as a usual supporter of the "middle part", I found it somewhat disappointing, even dull at certain points. As a whole, the movie's like a giant tease for an incredible third movie. It works the best when you watch the whole trilogy in succession - I know, I know, you hated the third one. I didn't really love it either, but it definitely had its moments. More about that later; in a nutshell, Spider-Man 2 was a good movie which deserved most of the praise it got. I dare to say, though, the video game got even more praise than the movie, especially since it once again took the long route - liberties with the plot were just the beginning of the sandbox classic. Personally, I'm yet to experience the game - it's been on my wishlist for years - all I have is this Game Boy Advance iteration which was pretty much destroyed by critics back in the day. I kinda understand why, but it's an OK way to pass time for the undemanding audience.

Killin' the spider, killin' it with fire.
The music is quite good, actually. The fast-paced electronica fits a Spider-Man game better than any other superhero game - here's to the composers of several Batman titles of yesteryear. However, the sound effects suck. Each one of Spider-Man's functions, whether he's swinging, clinging to a wall or taking damage is accompanied by a grunt of discomfort, like he's taking damage all the time. The in-game graphics are artificially smoother than before, but several other technical issues emerge right off the bat. The FMV cutscenes - once again swiped from trailers for the movie - look rancid. Most of the in-game cutscenes are stills, not from the movie but the console version of the game. Those look quite all right, considering. The 3D bonus levels look and play out even worse than they did in the first game, and these ones you have to play through to proceed.

There's no way to tell how rancid this really
looks. And feels.
The gameplay's exactly the same, with a few changes. Here's the good news: you gain EXP from managing objectives, and you can use that EXP after each level to buy ability upgrades. Also... wait, that's it, so here's the bulk of bad news: first off, the level design is disastrous at its worst. In the first level, you have seven and a half minutes to deliver pizzas around Manhattan. There's no fighting involved, so you'll safely assume that the game can't get any worse than this at this point. The level is huge, filled with layers, the dark side of the controls rears head a few times (let go of the ceiling, Spidey - let go!!!), and I myself am bothered by the terrible logic of some people standing on the rooftops waiting for their pizzas to arrive. Or Spidey breaking people's windows to get in and deliver those damn pizzas. I'm even more bothered by the practical side of the level's ill logic: your spider sense tells you where your boss is, which is the exact same spot each time, but you won't get any hints of your customers' whereabouts. It's a back and forth run between your boss and the customers - running, swinging, climbing (whatever) back to your boss takes a lot more time than you can afford, and it's frustratingly hard to get back on track with that damn time limit on your ass.

So here I am! Now tell me, where does our
tax money go?!
The gauntlet levels are the exact same as before, except the web rappel has been removed from Spidey's repertoire altogether - which is a good thing, it always did more harm than good. However, if not taking the utter technical failures of the 3D levels into account, the already lacking framerate sucks ass in these levels in particular, especially if you get too close to whatever's destroying the level around you.

The best thing about Spider-Man 2 is that it's most basically pretty much the same as the first game - in this case, that's indeed kind of a good thing. There's even the same assortment of secrets to find, and thankfully a few bosses to support Doc Ock's cause, once again a group of apt individuals who I guess were never considered to appear in the Raimi movies. The level design's dull and I would've expected at least some improvement for several core elements of the game, but yeah, it's entertaining enough.

+ Catchy music
+ The same as the first one...

- ...The level design sucks, though
- Climbing shit is frustrating
- The framerate drives one nuts, especially in the "special" kind of levels
- The 3D graphics and the FMV cutscenes look abysmal
- Ill logic

< 7.1 >

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