Spider-Man 2: Electro Boogaloo!
Evil doers beware! The Amazing Spider-man has made his triumphant return to
the Playstation. For fans of the original Activision title, this release should
be a real treat. Bigger areas to roam, more baddies to fight, and more camera
glitches to scream at! This time, Spidey has to face foes such as the Sandman,
Beetle, Hammerhead, and headliner Electro. Expect to be up to your underoos
in danger with Spider-man 2: Enter Electro.
The game’s story begins where the last game left off, and after a quick recap,
you’re off to start the new adventure. There’s much more city to cover while
trolling for bad guys, and web swinging skills will be brutally tested by this
installment’s multi-task missions. As the story progresses, Spidey must accomplish
several goals per level, then it’s on to the end level boss. As with the original,
the bosses are some of the most daunting challenges in the game. Each boss requires
mastery of a different strategy and Spider skill in order to defeat him. Tossing
crates might work on the Shocker, but the same approach on the runaway plane
probably won’t get you through the level.
There seems to be about twice as many enemies onscreen as before, making for
some frantic web-swinging while under fire. The attacks are the same (punch,
kick, and webs), with the exception of different types of webbing that can be
found scattered about the levels. For instance, mixing freon into your web shooters
allows you to spray ice. I never found a good reason to use this, but it was
funny cracking the skulls of suspected felons with ice the size of bowling balls.
Also located around the levels are different spidey outfits with different
attributes, like the Spidey-armor, which makes the wall-crawler nearly bulletproof
for a limited time. While some of them seem a bit out of place, they do add
some nice gameplay variety.
As with other Activision/Marvel Comic titles, heroes from the Marvel universe
make cameo appearencess. Spidey and the Black Cat must have had a falling out,
because the X-Men’s Beast replaces her in this game as Spider-man’s head cheerleader.
After giving basic gameplay tips, Beast even offers you the use of the X-Men’s
“Danger Room” to practice your skills in a controlled environment. So as you
practice target shooting, web-slinging, and general spiderness, Professor X
and Rogue are there to offer assistance, advice and snacks. Practicing in the
Danger Room offers some of the more enjoyable moments in the game.
throughout the stages are reproductions of classic (and not so classic) comic
book covers detailing some of the character’s history. Finding these and other
goodies make for interesting side missions, though the main objectives are so
engrossing, it’s easy to forget to look for the extras. But once the game is
completed it does have some replay value, as throughout the game you discover
special costumes and other goodies which will let you create a custom Spider-man
with different weapons and abilities.
The voice acting is passable, if a bit melodramatic and over the top. This
is a super-hero game after all, and it’s supposed to be larger than life. The
assorted thugs only have one or two catchphrases, but they make up for lack
of variation by repeating these phrases with annoying enthusiasm. Spider-man’s
dialog isn’t nearly as witty as he seems to think, but to stay true to the comic
it should be.
Spider-Man 2 looks exactly like the first one, which isn’t a horrible
thing so much as a bummer. One expects to see improvements in a sequel. The
same sluggish camera from the first game follows our hero in this adventure,
once again making crime-fighting damn near impossible. In the middle of a brawl
against multiple opponents, the camera tends to focus away from the action,
making the game a lot tougher than it should be.
Between stages, there are cut-scenes that move the story along. You can skip
them, but they load every time you restart the level or continue, so you end
up waiting anyway.
Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro may not be a true sequel, playing more like
an expansion of the first, but it is nonetheless a good game. Even with the
goofy camera, unnecessary cut scenes and mediocre voices, this is probably the
best superhero game for the PSX. It should pacify the fanboy in us all until
Spidey makes his big screen debut next year.