Posted on November 29, 2012
My Top 100: #46 – Spider-Man 2
I know what you’re thinking; a game based on a movie (that was more-or-less a simple cash-in) ranked higher on your countdown than a ton of gaming classics???
COUNTDOWN INTEGRITY GONE DOWN THE TUBES, MAN!!!
Well, I don’t exactly want to get into it too much, but games are only what you make of them. That’s it. Nothing more.
I can sit here and write paragraph after paragraph about what makes a game great, or you can read an internet review or watch a YouTube video that does much the same… but until you sit down and play the game, or until you have your own opinions about how the game feels, it’s pretty much irrelevant. Isn’t it?
That is one reason I have no shame whatsoever in enjoying critically panned video games or movies, all while hating some that are enjoyed by everyone. Call it being a fanboy, call it blind devotion, call it whatever you want – the bottom line is that, no matter how simple or downright terrible a game may be, someone out there is bound to love it. As much as I hate to admit it, that’s the case with music, as well.
Hey – if we all agreed on every tiny little thing, I think life would get a bit boring.
Now, about the game…
I’ve never had an interest in reading comic books, but if the Spider-Man movies are any indication, Peter Parker has a lot of crap brewing in his personal life. The poor guy’s uncle was murdered by a man he could have stopped beforehand, his aunt struggles to pay the bills, his best friend’s father was a deranged psychopath, and the girl he’s been head-over-heels in love with since youth is not really that interested in him.
Just a regular kid with problems like all of us, right? Well, plus a few enhancements, of course.
Spider-Man 2, based on the 2004 movie of the same name, gives players the freedom to explore New York City in its entirety. There’s a story mode and random (but somewhat repetitive) tasks like rescuing skyscraper construction workers, or stopping bank heists, among other things… they’re fun for a while, and the combat system flows well enough that it rewards both button-mashers and combo-seekers alike.
The true beauty, however, lies in the joy of exploration.
If you’ve had a long day at work, or you just wanted to block out any crappy thing that might have happened recently, there’s nothing more chillaxing than effortlessly web-slinging through NYC. The “webs attaching to the clouds” mechanic from other Spider-Man games was done away with for this one – Spidey’s webs actually have to connect to a building, bridge or any other solid object. Once you get used to controlling the various techniques, you may not want to do anything else!
Like your typical GTA-inspired environment, there are a bunch of bonuses to collect, as well as a few Easter Eggs hidden here and there. There are also special “courses” that you can run through that make use of all of Spidey’s special acrobatic abilities, and they’re challenging enough to be a great deviation from simply swinging from building to building.
I haven’t played the Spider-Man 3 game yet, but I do own it (where have I heard that before). Since I didn’t hate that movie like everyone else seemingly did, I’m sure the critical bomb of a video game should be fairly enjoyable as well!
Oh, my random memory about the game. Right. Almost forgot! The day I purchased this game was quite memorable, indeed.
It was a Sunday, a day I normally spent sitting in front of the tube watching a NASCAR race. It was an off-weekend for them, however, and I was at home, bored out of my skull. I had a serious hankerin’ for some Wendy’s (because it’s friggin’ delicious), and on my trip into town to get some, I stopped at EB Games to see what was new and exciting.
Spider-Man 2? Sure, why not! It sounded like a fun concept to roam around New York so freely, and the movie was great… I bought the game, got my Wendy’s, then headed back home.
When I got back, my sister was watching the Speed Network, a channel for racing junkies like myself. NASCAR’s biggest star, Dale Earnhardt Jr., had been involved in a wreck at an event in another racing series. The images on the special report were incredible – a yellow and sports sports car was engulfed in flames, and there was its occupant, right in the middle of the inferno. His burns were pretty extensive, and they weren’t quite sure if he’d be racing the following weekend. He’d be lucky not to miss the Pocono race I was going to in a few weeks, as well.
It was a pretty big story to us NASCAR fans, and the news had me glued to the TV for most of the afternoon.
I had a softball game that night with a team I had joined the year before, the Bears. It was a team run by an old co-worker, one I didn’t particularly get along with, to boot. I didn’t have a great night on the diamond, and even though it was a “just for fun” league, said co-worker was being a pretty big d-bag about it.
I alleviated a bit of my rage on the drive home that night by listening to some particularly angry music. I popped Spider-Man 2 into my Xbox when I got home, and just enjoyed the ride. The game just let me chill out even more, and gave me time to think… as I soared through the streets of New York, I simply decided that I had played my last softball game with “da Bears”. Let that guy be who he wants to be – I’mma just be over here, not there, and not playing a care-free softball game with his grumpy ass.
I just didn’t show up to any more games. Bygones were bygones. Saul Goodman!