With the imminent release of Spider-Man on PS4, we’re going to look at everyone’s favourite wall-crawler’s other notable gaming appearances. He has actually featured in quite a few games, as a central character or part of a larger group, but we’ll be looking at his standalone adventures to see which game the PS4 contender will need to dethrone.
Since Maximum Carnage back on Sega’s Mega-Drive, this entry (developed by Tony Hawk Pro Skater studio Neversoft) on the original Playstation marked the first time a game featuring Spider-Man actually received a positive reaction from fans and gamers alike. While previous Spidey entries boxed themselves in the brawler or platformer genre, this one had a decent mix of both and some extras that really made it a standout game for the time, including some great voice-acting, with a reel of one-liners that Spidey would throw out while webbing to-and-fro and smashing villains in the face. The game was a huge leap for superhero games in general, and while it would be unfortunately forgotten quickly as the open-world genre boomed soon after, this is basically where it all started for the neighbourhood hero’s noteworthy gaming escapades.
Ultimate Spider-Man (2005)
Platform: Playstation 2, Xbox, PC, GameCube
This entry into Spidey’s video gaming library is love-letter to comic book purists – solely because of its adherence to Brian Bendis and Mark Bagley’s art style. The game’s graphic style imitates the imagery found in the duo’s highly popular comic book of the same name. Its gameplay is the same open-world setup that Spidey fans have been fortunate to traverse, and the story follows a tense back and forth rivalry between Peter Parker and Eddie Brock – with their alter egos Spider-Man and Venom tangling in ever-escalating encounters. It has an engaging story populated with a host of other Marvel characters, and with a lot of side-quests in addition to the main story missions, it’s got a decent amount of longevity.
Spider-Man 2: The Game (2004)
Platform: Playstation 2, Xbox
Not only was Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man 2 one of the best comic book movies to date (seriously, don’t believe the memes – it’s great), but the PS2 adaptation is also a great game. Generally, licensed games based on movies are almost unplayably bad, but this one is an exception. The biggest draw to the game is that it marks the first time that players can freely swing and careen through a sprawling New York cityscape. The storyline follows the rough beats of the movie, with some small additions to flesh it out; and while the gameplay can become a little repetitive, the platforming is where this game excels. For many fans, it was the first time getting a good glimpse of a realistic, open-world Spider-Man game, and it’s also a landmark, because it’s the foundation that 2005’s Ultimate Spider-Man game is based on.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (2010)
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
This game is a little divided in terms of reception, but for those who are a little bored by the potentially tedious and repetitive nature of other open-world Spidey games, Shattered Dimensions has a very novel premise that makes it exciting albeit a little fractured. The plot follows four separate timelines with four different Spider-Men, all with their own play style and even art style for the world. From the dark and gritty Noir version to the vibrant and energetic 2099 variant, you follow a variety of missions and jump between the four interwoven universes. The concept was fresh and the voice acting and variety was praised, but a few technical issues with the game and its brief length are unfortunate drawbacks. That being said, its combat was immensely enjoyable, and some of the gameplay set pieces were exceptionally well executed. Anyone looking for a departure from the usual fair of titles would enjoy this, but sadly its sequel Edge of Time didn’t manage to replicate its success.
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (2008)
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
While some of the previously named games all have good elements – a good story, deep combat systems, enjoyable platforming, and a good sandbox environment, only Web of Shadows really manages to incorporate all of these elements and actually execute them all brilliantly. The plot follows a mysterious incident with Venom that fills the city with dangerous symbiotes, and Spidey has to team up with a bunch of Marvel all-star characters to get to the bottom of the outbreak. The city is once again great to explore, there’s an in-depth combat system incorporating both Spidey’s normal and symbiote abilities, and the storyline has enough substance, twists and turns to keep you engaged without becoming monotonous.
So far, Web of Shadows is probably the most well-rounded game we’ve had the fortune of playing – but if the initial impressions of Insomniac’s Spider-Man are accurate, we’re going to have a new occupant to that title. Which past Spider-Man game is your favourite? Let us know!
In the meantime, check out the 6 best superhero games ever made!