Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9

Sound: 7

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9

Strike up a conversation about 4-player beat-em-ups and you inevitably end up with Konami's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle" series. Highly regarded as some of the best the genre has to offer, just about anyone who grew up during that era popped a quarter into one of those cabinets at some point. There's one question that comes out of all of this: Why doesn't "Spiderman" get the same respect?

Choosing from Spiderman, Hawkeye, Black Cat, and Namor, players can team up together to take on to what amounts to an orgy of Spiderman related enemies. It does all come down to Dr. Doom, but Green Goblin, Electro, Kingpin, along with plenty of others make an appearance. Energy comes from cash, meaning the more quarters you have, the longer you live. This is one of those countdown beat-em-ups, one of those where your life slowly trickles down even if you don't take damage. That's a small annoyance in an otherwise fantastic package.

The mechanics of the fighting sections have a similar feel to Acclaim's Spiderman related console games, "Separation Anxiety" and "Maximum Carnage." Hit detection is very forgiving, allowing for punches to connect well outside what should be a normal range. Even if that final uppercut shouldn't land, it will. Special moves are of course performed by pressing both the punch and jump buttons together.

To mix up the action at certain points in the game, the game zooms out for some generic platforming. This is a risky move that ends up being confusing with 4-players hopping around to the next available space. With only one or two players at the controls, these work no better nor any worse than a generic platformer on a home console.

Ignoring the slowly dwindling health meter, "Spiderman" is surprisingly fair. Enemies rarely have a chance to swarm and deliver a beating. Most of the boss fights end quickly, though a second battle with the Green Goblin near the finale is a bit much. If you're an arcade owner, that's not a good thing. If you're the player, you'll end up feeling satisfied that Dr. Doom has had his evil plan thwarted.

There are very few special effects in use here other than the scaling used to zoom out to the platforming segments. What is done well is the style. This game really looks like a comic in motion. From Spiderman's web shot accompanied by "thwipp" to backgrounds that looks like they have been drawn in ink, it's a fantastic package. Animation is somewhat limiting, but the art style makes up for all of it.

With the added space, Sega has filled this one with plenty of voice samples. Each boss fight usually features a small conversation as the two combatants exchange banter between themselves. Unfortunately, the soundtrack really doesn't do much for the title, just sitting the background, lost to the action occurring on screen.

It probably is understandable why "Spiderman" doesn't get the credit is deserves. In such a crowd with so many classics, one game is going to get under the radar. This is it. If you have a chance, find the cabinet and just let yourself go in what should be considered a classic beat-em-up. Taking on the challenge with friends is of course the more enjoyable way to play, but if no one is around, don't let that be a deterrent.


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Last updated: Friday, February 25, 2005 06:46 AM