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Spiderman | 2 | review | game | Lollipop

Spiderman 2

(Activision for the PS2, PC, X-Box, and Gamecube)
by Eric Johnson

Unlike ground-bound or flying superheroes, Spiderman utilizes some of the most unique locomotion in the comic book medium. From his conception in the 1960s through the present day, he's been an artist's delight to render running, hopping, zipping, and swinging across the streets of New York with undeniable kenetic energy. At its mid-'70s apex, the comic was a hyperkenetic meatgrinder mixing traditional costumed vigilante potboilers with the crushing mundane pressures of ordinary life. Many of those great Spiderman issues involved the hero bitching about his life, his ulcer, his problems with women, his friends on drugs, and, of course, the abominable cavalcade of villains determined to set his secret and his ordinary life on a collision course. Both this summer's film and game explore these classic themes with admirable loyalty. The game focuses on the day-to-day grind that marks the life of a costumed vigilante: Confronting street crime, saving lives, rescuing lost construction workers. Considerably more ambitious than the standard franchise title, this impressive effort sets the webslinger loose in a massive clockwork Manhattan, and in the best Grand Theft Auto tradition, sets you free to explore and noodle around between core plot missions.

It really sucks to be the kid with potential constantly told that you're not living up to it, but that's exactly what Spiderman 2 is. Great first impression and occasional flashes of brilliance are scattered throughout a game that grows boring in spite of extreme inventiveness and likability. Manhattan is rendered from Battery Park to Columbia's campus, and encompases one of the largest virtual playgrounds ever rendered for a video game. Moving through this metropolis is a joy, thanks to an incredible control system that captures the energy of the comic. Random events and core missions are scattered throughout the game, but the endless series of car jackings, purse snatchings, and armored car robberies eventually grow stale as you do battle with an astonishing number of low-level goons. The game goes wrong with excessive loyalty to the film, rather than the comic. Since the crimes are based on a finite number of scenarios and encounters with super-powered beings, while well-done, the elaborate set pieces are all too rarely encountered. With five hundred issues to swipe stories from, I'd really like to see this game done with all the stops pulled out, filled to the brim with scenarios and crimes, and events from the Marvel cannon. That would make it a game for the ages.
(www.activision.com)
 


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