tiistai 9. heinäkuuta 2013

REVIEW - Spider-Man | SNES | 1994

GENRE(S): Action
DEVELOPER(S): Western Technologies
PUBLISHER(S): Acclaim Entertainment (GEN), LJN (SNES)

Spider-Man - The Animated Series originally premiered in November 1994 on the heels of the great success of DC's Batman - The Animated Series, and like its "spiritual predecessor", it went on to become one of the most successful and longest-running animated series' of its time, praised for its diverse storylines that often crossed over to other, less known Marvel franchises. A game based on the fabulous show was quickly developed for 16-bit consoles; it was released somewhere in between Maximum Carnage and Separation Anxiety. I didn't quite know what to expect from the game, but I had my suspicions. Let's see how well I hit the mark - hopefully not too well. (Hope is futile.)

Sometimes good memories are all I have

The Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus, and "the Ultimate Spider-Slayer" Alistair Smythe have escaped from the Ravencroft Institute, and you'd never guess who takes it upon himself to return these foes to justice. Spider-Man, Spider-Man...

If my mom was still here, she would most definitely vouch for me when I say that the animated series this game is based on, used to rule my world. God forbid if I missed one episode - if my alarm clock suddenly stopped running on a Saturday morning and she was preoccupied with something else, and forgot to wake me up. God forbid, seriously - if this had happened, she would've had a lot of work ahead of her to make it up to me. Bless that woman's soul - she never forgot, and I never missed one episode of Spider-Man. Which leads me to wonder why I never heard one single peep about this game 'til a couple of years ago. Sure, it was never that popular - especially not as popular in the underground as Maximum Carnage - and it was never officially released in Europe, but I still would've known about it. I was fascinated by games that never made it to Europe, especially since I owned a U.S. model of the SNES, and I would most definitely remember if there ever was any slight talk about a game based on the Spider-Man show. Now I must say that I was better off with the theoretical knowledge of the game's existence. This game SUCKS.

What perhaps surprises me the most after an audiovisually pleasing game like Maximum Carnage (over a year after that game!) is that the game is so generic in both look and sound. Character animation and design is ripped straight off from just about any action-oriented platformer of the time (Parker's using steroids), and the level design is repetitive and confusing. When I said that Maximum Carnage was like Batman Returns at its best and Battletoads at its worst - which was not a bad start for the game at all - this game is like Batman Forever at its worst and the SNES version of James Bond Jr at its BEST. Now that's NOT a good start, and it reflects on every single aspect of the game.

Do not slip. Please.
In a word - or actually two - Spider-Man is one of "those games". Those games that are absolutely horrible in every possible way, and are not fun to play for a passing second. It's cryptic - not to mention the glitches that go with it and drive the fact even deeper; in the very beginning of the game, you need to dropkick through a vent cover to be able to crawl through the vent. Well, as it happens, it won't always work, and you're left wondering what the hell's going on and where you should go, right up 'til you check it up on the net (today's luxury) and find out that's exactly what you gotta do. On the tenth or 11th try, you might succeed. The same goes for jumping between layers; for some reason, the game quits recognizing different layers in the background and traps you in empty space, forcing you to either keep trying 'til the cows come home, or just flip the game in the dumpster where it belongs.

You'd hope the fuckery stops here, but it won't. It's absolutely necessary to take damage in this game to proceed, and since the camera is so unbelievably bad, you're forced to make so many jumps to the utter unknown that you'll lose count of them within the first ten minutes of gameplay, and most of those jumps indeed lead straight into a bottomless pit. Or a puddle of mystery liquid you can't escape from after one slip, and are forced to watch your character die a slow and painful death. Some shades of the NES version of James Bond Jr there, for a change. The controls are incredibly stiff, and if you're lucky enough to make it through one level in this game, the final test for your patience comes in the form of a boss who doesn't seem to mind any of your attacks, has incredible range, and will probably have to be dealt with using your webbing to your advantage... that's _HAVE TO_ and I capped that on purpose. That purpose is, as you probably guessed already, limited supply of webbing. No chance to restore it when you truly need it. Bang bang!

I thought I'd seen the worst this marathon has had to offer in Invasion of the Spider-SlayersArcade's Revenge and The Incredible Hulk on the Game Boy Advance, and if I had included the Questprobe games from the 80's (some of the first Marvel games ever made), I would've found it. For now, this particular game entitled Spider-Man takes the cake, and does it by one damn long shot. Not only is it a horrible game, but its a horribly designed game. I seriously cannot point out one good thing about this game, not one thing done right. It isn't even that much of an experience to the Marvel buff, which is ironic since few games have had Marvel collaborating with the developers this closely.

+ The show was great

- Suffers from every single problem in every single bad game ever made

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