The Amazing Spider-Man is 50 years old this year. Let’s see if the game for Nintendo DS lives up to the legend that is the comic-book and movie hero.
|THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
(Activision for DS)
Rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older
Replay Value: 7.0
Overall Score:7.5Pros: Good control system; web-swinging through Manhattan; fun dialogue.
Cons: Spidey is too tiny; uninspired artwork; limited tutorial/help.
There’s no opening movie. I expected to see a big animated trailer inspired by the new movie. But I kind of like it this way. After a few comic-book-like panels with text you read for dialogue, you’re thrown right into gameplay.
The game seems to follow the general plot of the movie. The evil OsCorp, Spidey tells us, “is continuing Connors’ research with cross-species, and the specimens are breaking loose!” Early on, you need to find Gwen and Connors to discover more about the mystery.
Immediately, you see that this version of Spidey is inspired by old-school games. Like many other games before it, this Spidey gives a nod to Nintendo’s Metroid series. Like those games, this is a side-scroller in which you sneak through many levels, including sewers and skyscrapers. You search for things like keycards to unlock doors. And you knock off big baddies blocking your way.
At first, though, I didn’t know exactly what to do. I was in the OsCorp factory and I needed to jump over what looked liked generators. But I was stuck because the green parts of what looked like big air conditioners wouldn’t let me climb on them.
The game suggested that I press the A button and move up on the Circle Pad to get Spidey to shoot out a web and swing. It took me too long to figure out that I needed to hit a beam with my web that was out of sight and far above the air conditioners.
The game really needs a better help system, and the beginning moments should be far easier to play.
THE BEST PARTS
Still, while I was figuring all this out, I got to be pretty good at web-slinging. My passage through the next few levels was on the easy side. Though I fought many monsters that spewed acid at me, I never died. My strategy for some of them was to lie low enough so that the spitting would go over me, and then I’d whack them in the legs.
As the game progresses, the monsters become harder and harder to beat. But the powers you find will deal more damage, too, so you’ll have the upper hand.
You’re rewarded with bonus points if you speed through the missions. But I like to take my time and savor the wonders of swinging past the skyscrapers of Manhattan.
As you play, you’ll also discover character biographies and “Daily Bugle” headlines along the way. You might want to return to the game’s levels once you’re done to finish finding all of them.
Overall, the game takes about 10 hours to complete. And if you get lost, there’s a map in the top screen to help you out.
SOME DRAWBACKS, BUT SOLID OVERALL
I don’t like it that Spidey is about the size of an ant in the game. You can barely see how cool his costume looks. And the graphics of New York City are good but not great. New York buildings have character, and you can often tell one from the other. That’s not the case here, where all the buildings pretty much look the same.
The sound is generally awesome, though. You hear the traffic of the city while you’re above ground, like the sounds of passing cars and their horns honking. And the music comes in these awesome orchestral strains that add drama to the mix. I only wish Spidey had more dialogue. He grunts a lot and says some witty things, but I feel there needs to be more.
Overall, The Amazing Spider-Man is solid and is sometimes a ton of fun to play, especially the web-zipping from place to place. I only wish the game makers had spent more time getting the graphics to shine and giving Spidey more than a few words. Since he’s been around for 50 years, I’ll bet he has a lot to say.
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