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A Bit Of Spidey History
Very few comic book heroes enjoy the longevity and fan base that Spider-man has garnered over the years. Spider-man was created in 1962 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. He stayed in comic book form until gaming platforms came along, and then in 1978 Spidey appeared via a text-based game on the Commodore 64. It wasn't until 1989 however, that the Amazing Spider-man joined the computer gaming world. This first game - called Spider-man and Captain American In Doctor Doom's Revenge - was a side scroller, and it was the first time good ol' Spidey graced our computer screens. Though primitive by today's standards, it at least allowed Spider-man to conquer evil on the PC landscape finally.
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The First "Good" Spider-man Game - Spider-man: The Movie
Although gaming consoles saw plenty of the amazing webslinger, PC gamers didn't get anything really decent until the Spider-man movies came out. In 2002, Spider-man: The Movie swung onto the PC gaming scene and it was good. The storyline followed wasn't exactly the same as the movie, but what the game had was better in some ways. There were more villains for Spidey to fight and the core story was followed well enough. The gameplay allowed for all Spidey's acrobatic moves; the indoor levels allowed the player to make great use of crawling on every surface, and swinging from skyscraper to skyscraper outside worked really well. Spider-man even had a stealth mode where he could hide in the shadows. After the entire story mode was completed, the player could unlock the ability to play as Harry Osborn with the Green Goblin costume, which was a nice bonus. The biggest negative was how short the game was; it left fans clamoring for more, which isn't always a bad thing either. Though Spider-man had done cameos in other games before this one, Spider-man: The Movie was the first Spider-man game done right.
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Spider-man2: The Game
The PC version of Spider-man2: The Game - put out in June 2004 - was both odd and yet still satisfying. It was odd because for some reason the game was developed by an entirely different development house (Fizz Factor) than the console ports (Treyarch). It even featured a distinctly different storyline. Despite the differences however, it was still another great entry. Expanding on the sandbox concepts of its predecessor, the player could still swing their way around town looking for bad guys. In the previous game, the webslinger merely tossed webs skyward when moving from building to building. But in this rendition, the webslinging was improved and actually visually latched onto the buildings. The moves exhibited in the 2nd Spider-man movie were present, as well as some new options (like sprinting along a wall and Spidey "bullet time"). And although the gameplay could have been a bit more challenging in the PC port, it was enjoyable enough.
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This game continued the gameplay style of Spider-man2: The Game, but the art style and storyline was pulled from the Ultimate Universe of Marvel. What Spider-man2: The Game did right previously was repeated in this title. Swinging from buildings required targeting the buildings themselves, Manhatten and Queens were open sandboxes to be explored, and the introduction of a Venom storyline was a nice touch. The player got the opportunity to play as both characters as the storyline alternated between the two. One interesting touch was the fact that Venom constantly lost life as the Venom suit fed on the player's lifeforce. This made it necessary for the player to sacrifice other people to satisfy the suit's hunger.
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Marvel continued the tradition of blockbuster movies alongside blockbuster PC games with the addition of Spider-man 3. This title is the best yet, and even though other Spider-man titles have followed (i.e. Spider-man: Friend Or Foe), none have been done as well. The game still features the characteristic sandbox environment, but that's expected at this point. New features include some interactivity during cut-scenes and playing Spider-man using the black Spidey suit (a.k.a. Venom). In this case however, the black suit is following the movie rather than how it was done in Ultimate Spider-man. While some thought the gameplay was too similar to the preceding movie-games, the formula worked well and the final product was a satisfying gaming experience. Players could feel the excitement of really being everyone's favorite webslinger, and there was plenty of content to enjoy.