"I could crush him like an ant. But it would be too easy. No, revenge is a dish best served cold. I'll bide my time until ... Oh, what the hell. I'll just crush him like an ant."
-- C. Montgomery Burns

Find him an octoped ingenue

So I won’t be skiing today…

I woke up this morning with more pain than I was expecting, so I’m sitting at the Queensway Carleton Hospital right now, checking to see if my ankle is actually broken. Apparently there’s something called “snowboarder’s ankle”, which is a fracture that presents like a severe sprain.

Spider-Man 2: The GameWhile I’m sitting here waiting (things are going reasonably quickly–I’ve been here 2 1/2 hours and I’ve already had the X-rays done), I thought I’d do some comments on Spider-Man 2: The Game, like I had promised.

(Sidebar: I love my handheld!)

If anyone’s played any of the previous Spider-Man games, you’ll know why I picked this one up–they’ve all been highly enjoyable and really capture the ‘fun’ of the character. Activision has decided to ratchet up the realism in this version, in every aspect.

Hope you're not scared of heights...The first new element of the game that you experience is the one that will probably stay with you right until the end. Unlike previous incarnations, this game puts Spidey into a complete 3D rendering of New York that you’re free to swing around as much as you’d like. This is a touch of GTA that I was glad to see added. You can explore the city from street level right to the top of the Empire State building.

Sure beats the bus!The other major change is the wall-crawler’s web swinging dynamics. While you can choose to use the older-style one-button web swinging, the newer, more complex variety is both more fun (once you’ve got the hang of it) and more powerful. You now have complete control over what Spidey swings from, what he does mid-swing, and when he releases the line. While this means that you can’t web swing without something to latch onto, it also means that you can swing from anything–a tree, streetlight, or bridge are all fair game. Plus, with practice, you can swing around corners, control your altitude, or cover whole city blocks in one swing.

The game is broken up into chapters, each with its own objectives. Typically, the objectives will include obtaining a certain number of “hero points” and then showing up at a specified location to trigger the chapter’s primary mission.

The hero point system allows you to upgrade your skills, speed, and acrobatic abilities in exchange for points awarded after completing various heroics. While on patrol (i.e. swinging around randomly), you’ll see crimes being committed that you can stop, as well as citizens calling for you to give you little mini-missions. All of these will get you hero points, but a failed mini-mission will result in losing some of your points.

To be honest, the patrol is really what makes this game great. The mini-missions are fun (although a few more types of missions wouldn’t hurt), and just swinging around and practising your acrobatics is strangely therapeutic. The bigger “boss” missions tend to be about executing combat or jump maneuvers with some precision, and repeating it until you get it right. If I wanted to play a repetitive jumping game, I would’ve bought a Nintendo instead of my PS2.

Story-wise, the game loosely follows the plot of the movie, but many of the details are changed for simplicity. The one big change is that the Black Cat makes a welcome (and busty) appearance. If you’ve gone through the extras on the Spiderman 2 DVD, you’ll know that Cat was being seriously considered for inclusion in the movie, but they dropped her for fear of not being able to do her justice while dealing with everything else in the story. So it’s nice to see that she made it into the game (at least for the comics fans).

Overall, this is a very fun game that could have been unbelievably great with a little more attention to the missions themselves. Still, I don’t think there’s any danger of there not being another sequel. :-)

Oh, and I’m done at the hospital–no broken bones, just the bad sprain. It’s a weird day when a bad sprain is good news…

One Response to “Find him an octoped ingenue”

  1. At least you didn’t do this just by walking… Oh, and mum’ll want to see those x-rays so she’ll make you get more done.

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