The story of Spider runs that a scientist develops a cybernetic spider which he can control with his mind. Unfortunately, a group of thugs break into his laboratory and execute the scientist. They steal the spider without realizing that the scientists consciousness has been permanently embedded in the body of the cybernetic spider. The spider, controlled by the scientist, tails the criminals through the laboratory, trying to get its livelihood back.
Spider is a third-person adventure and exploration game in which the player character controls a spider. The goal of the game is to make it through thirty-two levels of a laboratory, avoiding a myriad of obstacles along the way. Obstacles include stereotypical dangers which can be encountered within a laboratory: beakers and test tubes contain dangerous acids. Some parts of the lab are trapped with fire and water and other elemental dangers. More bizarre obstacles also face the player: bats can attack the spider directly or by dropping bombs; there are also hornets, amongst other enemies.
The player begins with a punching action, but throughout the game upgrades can be collected in the form of "arms" which are added to the spider's body. Different arms bear different functions, like a flamethrower, or homing missile launcher. Three bosses were interspersed throughout the game's levels. As many early PlayStation games, Spider was renowned for its tough difficultly level, particularly in terms of the bosses.
Although the camera and the environment was, for all intents and purposes, in three dimensions, control was limited to two, but the spider could scuttle up walls and cross the ceilings of the laboratory. Naturally, web could be used to hang down from ceilings or to traverse gaps. The environment holds several different things which the player can collect, including "DNA", points which, once 100 have been collected, give the player an extra life (similar to Mario's coins); computer chips, which must be collected to complete a level; and fragments of compact discs, which unlock bonuses.
Development on Spider started in 1996. It was the first game developed by Boss Game Studios. It was first shown at E3 1997, where it received a positive reception for its innovation on the PlayStation platform. This reception carried over to subsequent reviews of the game upon release, which were generally favorable.