tissueshoe's Spider-Man 2 (GameCube) review

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Repetitive, but fun game that stands out amongst movie cash-ins

Positive:
+ swinging around the city is thrilling
+ voice acting for major characters is great
+ big story with many cool side paths along the way
+ lots of stuff to do
+ it's fun to watch Spidey beat up thugs

Negative: 
- people ALWAYS screaming for help gets a little bothersome
- the same 5 or so tasks are reused way too much
- battles are pretty repetitive too

Spider-man had three extremely successful movies, one of which wasn't even said to be very good. Today we land in the middle of that trilogy to look at the game based on the second film. Movie cash-in games are often a pain to play as there is often little effort going into the gameplay particularly, but can Spider-man 2 stand out from the majority and actually be good?

The game's story loosely follows the movie on which it is based, which involves Spider-man trying to stop Doc Ock, a scientist whose experiment gets the best of him. But the game doesn't entirely stick to the movie's plot: it takes many sidebars and throws in a bunch of other villains to add to the story and make it pretty big. The game progresses in chapters, each of which has a pretty straightforward to-do list, which is nice for getting through the game.

But moving on with the story won't occupy nearly all your time with the game. As you move about the city, people will constantly be screaming for help, and when you first start playing you find it hard to turn anyone down, but later you get tired of it and just move on when you don't need the hero points to progress in the story. This isn't helped by the fact that the same five or so tasks are reused way too much; you'll find yourself chasing down stolen cars and saving guys about to fall from rooftops way too often. The little variation in the tasks is disappointing, but thankfully you get most necessary hero points by doing cool special events so you're not stuck helping people for long increments of time.

Unfortunately, though, the repetition doesn't stop with the overused tasks. Once you arrive at your destination and find a bunch of bad guys, there's little to do with them except mash the B button until they're all gone or get them all caught in your webs, turning them into punching bags when you will simply keep mashing the B button again. There are combos to be bought but they're extremely difficult to execute because later on you don't have a couple seconds to just stand there pushing a three-button combination because the masses of thugs will beat you up before you get that far. The fighting is more fun to watch than to play, I mean who wouldn't enjoy watching Spidey beat up a bunch of bad guys with great sound effects?

With all this repetition one would assume this is quite a boring game, but thankfully it somehow manages to be quite fun despite that. The best thing about the game is probably swinging around the city. When you're in the air, press R to make Spider-man shoot a web at the nearest building and you're off. There are a few techniques to master with this too, such as perfecting the jumps and making use of the slingshot move. This part of the game is nothing short of thrilling and extremely fun, and this is one of the main reasons it's so worthwhile.

And even though the game's tasks are repetitive, the bright side is that you never run out of things to do. Helping civilians screaming at you isn't the only thing you can do anyways: there are several challenges around the city and about 200 help markers to find, plus a ton of extremely rare secrets to pick up. And since the city is so huge, this makes for a lot of good playtime.

The game's visual style isn't bad, but there are a few flaws in it. During gameplay the graphics look nice and simple, especially on the buildings that don't have much detail on them. This may be for the better, though, because when the animators tried to add a bit of detail to peoples' faces up close, they sometimes look pretty poor. Thankfully you don't look at those for long, and the rest of the visual package is pretty nicely done.

As a movie based game, Spider-man 2 wouldn't quite be complete without some authentic voice acting, which it does have. Peter Parker/Spider-man, M.J., and Doc Ock are all played by the same actors/actress as in the movie. Spider-man has several witty lines up his sleeve, but like the missions, it won't be long before you've heard them all and start wondering why he's saying the same things every once in a while. The rest of the sound is also great, with the cool punching effects and web slinging sounds and some pretty epic music too. 

Overall, Spider-man 2 is pretty much the ultimate last-gen fan service to people who love the superhero. Swinging around the city is nothing short of thrilling and while beating up thugs and criminals is pretty repetitive, it never loses its entertainment in simply watching. There are a lot of villains in the game too, such as Mysterio, which is pretty neat. So yes, Spider-man 2 does manage to stand out in the world of movie cash-ins, and clearly some actual effort went into this nicely done game.

Gameplay: 8.5
Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 8.5
Value: 8.5

FINAL SCORE: 8.2/10

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