www.GameInformer.com
Switch Lights

The lights are on

What's Happening

The Evolution of Spider-Man in Video Games [Co-Blogging]

Welcome one and all! Recently you may have noticed that the newest Spider-Man movie, which was also intended to be a reboot for the wall-crawler's story, released on July 3rd. The Amazing Spider-Man brought with it a game adaption to various consoles and portable gaming devices, and serves as the latest and (greatest?) entry in the web-spinner's series of video games. In honor of Spidey and of course those who made him possible (Stan Lee and co.), I am going to go back into his past and view games that featured this web-head prominently- not just as a side character. So let's hop to it and crawl onwards! This will also be a co-blogging experience for myself (JohnWrek) and my friend and newcomer to GI (JayWrighterJames). I'll include either a JW for myself or a JWJ for him under each segment that we compiled here. Let's go! -JW


 

Questprobe: Spider-Man- 1978

Spider-Man's first true adventure outside of the realm of comic books and super villains was actually a text-based adventure game, and the second in a series of different games entitled Questprobe. In this particular game, Spider-Man was tasked with hunting down a multitude of shiny gems and gathering them for an unknown entity only called the "Chief Examiner". This game was later ported to the Commodore 64, 16, Atari 8-bit Family, ZX Spectrum, PC, Amstrad CPC, and Apple II.The game featured as a first person perspective graphical adventure game, with textually entered commands. -JW

 

 

Spider-Man- 1982

In the year 1982, Parker Brothers published a Spider-Man game for the Atari 2600 and it's duplicate system, the Sears Video Arcade. The published game was not-so-uniquely entitled Spider-Man, and forced the player into a game specifically oriented on action-based gameplay. The player was continually tasked with ascending skyscrapers, rescuing hostages, diffusing bombs, and routinely battling the Green Goblin- Spider-Man's arch-nemesis throughout the game. Surprisingly enough, while it was a sound idea (but didn't truly work out well), the game supported two-player cooperative modes as well, so that two heroes could join in on the fun. -JWJ

 

 

Spider-Man and Captain America in Doctor Doom's Revenge- 1989

Although seven years after the last true Spider-Man themed game, this game hosted not only two heroes with an equal share of the baddie-fighting load and resulting glory, but also Doctor Doom as the evil mastermind for one of the first times in a video game. The game released on multiple systems, including the PC and Commodore 64, and was published by Paragon Software Corporation and Medallist- who was (at the time) under MicroProse. While the story was told through comic-like panels, the gameplay was comparatively akin to Street Fighter in the fact that both Cap and Spidey would face off mano a mano against villains until eventually reaching Victor Van Doom himself. -JW

 

 

The Amazing Spider-Man- 1990

The newest Spider-Man game was obviously not around back in 1990, so it is also obviously the first of it's own name. This version of The Amazing Spider-Man found itself on consoles such as the Amiga and Commodore 64, and featured an unheard of amount of screens in-game at that time, with over 250 total. This game was once more published by Paragon, in direct development with a little company called Oxford Digital Enterprises, and was surprisingly enough, a puzzles oriented game. -JWJ

 

 

The Amazing Spider-Man- 1991

While you would think that the newest game would be the second game to be titled The Amazing Spider-Man, you would be- in fact, wrong. There are actually several more named after the first and foremost, as these old developers weren't quite so good at coming up with original names back in this time period- when sequels and sequels to sequels were commonplace. This Spider-Man game was featured on the original Game Boy, and was developed by both Rareware and a subsidiary of Acclaim. The game's one gimmick was chasing villains (on foot!) across New York in order to beat them up and locate Mary Jane. Yes, not even Gwen Stacey folks. Not even... -JW

 

 

The Amazing Spider-Man 2- 1992

Well, I guess we're branching out now in terms of names a slight bit... After all, we've managed to create a direct sequel at the very least! This game also was featured prominently on the Game Boy but was, however, developed by B.I.T.S. this time around. This game re-imagined Spider-Man as a side-scrolling beat-'em up, and showcased Hobgoblin as the primary villain. The whole story? Hob committed a crime that poor Spidey was blamed for, and in his attempt to clear his name he must fight his way all the way to the top. -JWJ

 

 

Spider-Man 3: Invasion of the Spider-Slayers- 1993

The third in the The Amazing Spider-Man series, and the second game to be developed by B.I.T.S, this Spider-Man game morphed into something that was somewhat a mix of the first two, and also another pointless waste of beautiful Game Boy space. -JW

 

 

Throughout the early 90's, Spidey's career in video games looked almost as bleak as it is starting to look again today (although admirably worse than today). Also created in 90-95 were nine horrendously recognizable Spidey bellyflops and countless attempts at turning the wall-crawler into some educational tool in order to brainwash children. Yes, it was horrible.Spider-Man didn't return in full force (within his own games, not others such as Marvel vs. Capcom) until the 2000's. This was also of course, mainly due to the fact that Marvel had before filed for bankruptcy and was finally beginning to gain it's breath once more... -JWJ

 

Spider-Man- 2000

Although this version of Spider-Man was transferred later to many different consoles and gaming systems, it all began gloriously on both the PC and on the Play Station One. Neversoft's beautifully crafted high-flying Spidey act was the best to date, and centered the most on fun and enjoyable combat and exploration as well. Not to mention it had the best graphics in a Spider-Man game to date, and the largest amount of changes as well. A sequel titled Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro was created a year later and continued most of the magic. -JW

 

 

Spider-Man: The Movie- 2002

This movie adaptation of Spider-Man was also turned into a video game that surprisingly enough didn't actually completely suck as most do nowadays. In fact, it took many cues from Neversoft's earlier productions, and also added the bonus of a truly open world where players could swing around on their Play Stations and fight enemies and encounter characters voiced from most of the movie's cast. This was definitely also a ginormous change for Spider-Man, in terms of both film and gaming. -JWJ

 

 

Spider-Man 2- 2003-2005

After the critical success of both the movie and Treyarch's Spider-Man game, Marvel wished for a greater quantity of systems t be supported, and lo and behold they were. Spider-Man 2 nearly perfected the open world formula of it's predecessor, nailed a spot on many gamers' love lists, and also hit all major consoles at the time- as well as the PSP a few years later. All in all, it was the quintessential Spider-Man game, and what anyone could've hoped for pretty much up until now. The only games since to have rivaled it in quality were Shattered Dimensions and The Amazing Spider-Man. Hopefully we will finally get the perfect Spider-Man game someday, and finally be rewarded for years of patience and suffering. -JW

 

 

After the success of Spider-Man 2, anything seemed possible, and Marvel branched out in several directions with it's favorite heroes- not simply limiting themselves to Spider-Man or the X-Men anymore for the most part. Notable titles such as Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and other Avengers-based games. However, they did also deal some more with Spidey in a few less-than- stellar games such as Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Battle for New York. It's no wonder you haven't really heard of them. -JWJ


Spider-Man 3- 2007

While the movie and games did not sell as well as Marvel had hoped, and the game (especially) was touted as a disappointing entry in the franchise, things were far from terrible for Spidey and the gang. Regardless of losses in revenue and other items, the games sold many units, had fair enough graphics, and managed to create several options for consoles or mobile devices and players as well. The game had an interesting new design, continued the open world formula with a slight few changes, and gave players avatar and bonus rewards to boot. This was also developed by Treyarch, who at the time had a stranglehold on control of the franchise- in association with Marvel of course. -JW

 

In the intervening years before Beenox took control of the series and a few popular fighting franchises from Marvel and other companies featured the web-slinger in their games, there were two main console games that completely hit bottom in most respects. Both Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (which attempted a darker, more arcade-like Spidey game) and Friend or Foe (which was a early childhood based game) failed in both sales and reviews, and are undoubtedly some of the worst Spider-Man games ever created. Oh yes, sad times indeed... -JWJ



Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions- 2010

With a new developer and publisher in charge of the series for the first time in what seemed like ages, Beenox not only gave new light and thought to the franchise, but also hopes that it could return in all of its former glory. Of course, they automatically cashed in on this thought as well, with the only somewhat downside to their game being that it didn't employ the open world formula that gamers had come to expect in a Spider-Man game, and instead opted for a more classic, linear and arcade-esque series of acts and levels. These also favored Spider-Man well, but kept mucho exploration to a minimum and annoyed hardcore fans of the classic movie-based games as well.The most interesting thing about this game was that it did, however, sport not at most two- but in fact four different versions of Spider-Man fighting bad guys around the world and time, and had a very compelling story as well. -JW

 

 

Spider-Man: Edge of Time- 2011

Sadly, for all that they did in their Shattered Dimensions Spider-Man game, Beenox almost regressed a bit on Edge of Time, as they once more limited the players to only two spidermen, and dumbed the story down in favored of a bit more exploration. (Which was ultimately a failure, as doors in each dimension quickly proved to players.) Spider-Man 2099 and The Amazing Spider-Man were forced together by fate in the story, and tried to save each other- but with this once more mediocre game, it seems as if they failed for the time being. -JWJ

 

 

The Amazing Spider-Man- 2012

As I've already recently completed a review on both the game and movie adaptations of The Amazing Spider-Man, and there truthfully isn't much more to say, I must at least state one simple thing. At least Beenox got the exploration concepts right for once in this newest Spider-Man game, as they are now allowing players to spin around Manhattan in everybody's favorite suit once more. Other than that though, this game wasn't anything special either- although it was certainly a step up from Edge of Time. Hopefully, given a few more tries to get the basic formula right, Beenox will nail what it means to make a great Spider-Man game- and maybe even blend in elements of two of the best ones ever made, Spider-Man 2 and Shattered Dimensions. With the emphasis on story as in SD and the exploration elements of 2, they would truly make Spidey invulnerable as he thought he was in 3 (until Flint Marko mushed his face and Eddie Brock got pissed, that is. ;-). -JW

 

 

Here's to more lucky breaks for everybody's favorite and one and only neighborhood hero, Spdier-Man! Also, thanks for taking the time to read this co-blogging escapade by JW and JWJ. ;-) Cheers folks. Maybe we'll explore the past and present and hope for the future of some other superhero or other video game character later on... for now, this is simply a test of wills- and a battle as well... -JWJ


All pictures were provided via Google and related search engines at Jay Wrighter James' request. He also took the time to find some that we thought would make you nostalgic. That was our evil scheme all along of course. -JW

A great many thanks to John, without whom most of my writing would not have been possible. It's been awhile since I've written anything about games, much less any things of real merit or thought and content. Thanks buddy, you always manage to inspire me somehow. -JWJ


comments