When talking about Spider-Man the game, Dale and I are pretty much in agreement when it comes to the minuet positives (i.e. abilities, fan extras) and negatives (camera angles, control). Where we disagree is in the overall conceptual direction and the success of that direction. In his opening paragraph, Dale said that this is the Spider-Man game that "got it right." While I don't doubt this is probably the best Spider-Man videogame ever made (though the old Atari 2600 one was pretty awesome for its time), I still think the developers missed the mark ever so slightly.

I really liked what Neversoft did with Tony Hawks Pro Skater because that was a game that focused more on what players are able to do action-wise rather then trying to weave a complex tale of harrowing love and war. Spider-Man may have a lot of cut-scenes and background story in comparison, but there's still plenty of effort and attention devoted to the abilities of Spidey and making sure gamers are in control of those abilities.

So I felt it was rather unfortunate that where the game falters is in level design and game structure. While there were all these cool web-slinging and wall-crawling moves at my disposal, I wasn't really given the proper environments that would allow me to have fun with Spidey's abilities or to really inhabit his character. I always felt like I was either too restricted by the linear platform-like stage layouts, too rushed by the frantic chase scenes or too bogged down by overly tough enemies and contrived puzzles.

I would have loved nothing more then a complete city for me to freely roam about and explore while swinging from building to building—wall-crawling my way in and out of places and perhaps stopping a crime taking place every so often. Given the nature of Spidey's super powers, the game should have been more free and open rather then linear and by-the-rails. With the game's current setup and pacing, I felt more like I was watching Spidey rather than actually becoming him.

With that said, Spider-Man is still a decent game with plenty to get excited about, but it's also one heck of a missed opportunity to do something truly worthy of Spidey's "amazing" moniker. Rating: 7 out of 10

Disclaimer: This review is based on the PlayStation version of the game.

Chi Kong Lui

Chi Kong Lui

In the 1980s, Chi grew up in small town on the outskirts of New York City called Jackson Heights. Latino actor, John Leguizamo referred to the town as the "melting pot of the world," and while living there, Chi was exposed to many diverse cultures, as well as a bevy of arcade classics such as Pac-Man, Space Ace, Space Harrier and Double Dragon. Chi's love of videogames only seemed to grow as his parents finally caved and bought him an 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (after being the only kid in the block without one). In the 1990s, Chi finagled his way into the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts.

Somewhere between all the gaming, Chi some how managed to finish high school and get into the New York Institute of Technology. At the same time, Chi also interned at Virtual Frontiers, an Internet software consultancy where he learned the ways of HTML. Soon after acquiring his BFA, Chi went on to become the lead Web designer of the Anti-Defamation League. During his tenure there, Chi was instrumental in redesigning and relaunching the non-profit organization's Web site.

Today, Chi is the webmaster of the American Red Cross in Greater New York and somehow managed to work through the tragic events of September 11th without losing his sanity. Chi considers GameCritics.com his life's work and continues to be amazed that the web site is still standing after the recent dotcom fallout. It is his dream that GameCritics.com will accomplish two things: 1) Redefine the grammar of videogames much the same way French film critic Andre Bazin did for the art of cinema and 2) bring game criticism to the forefront of mainstream culture much the same way Siskel & Ebert did for film criticism.
Chi Kong Lui

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