The web slinging hero makes his way onto Nintendo's newest system, but does it save the day from generic gaming?
Despite what Nintendo says, its DS launch lineup was pretty bad, and one of the biggest offenders was Activision. Now I'm not saying that Spider-Man 2 DS is awful. Far from it, but at a time when the Big N needed cool games that showed off the functionalities of its latest toy in a big way, this Vicarious Visions product is neither cool nor a demonstration of the system's potential. It's just a pretty average 3D beat-em-up with touch screen controls that feel like an afterthought.
One of the good things about Spider-Man 2 DS is that it's fundamentally different than other Spider-Man games on the market. Activision didn't wimp out and port one of its older games, nor did it pass on the opportunity to make this title visually shine. So what we have here is a brand new game that's powered by a pretty cool graphics engine capable of doing some truly amazing things on the hardware.
Billowing smoke, fluid animation, and decent fire effects are just a few of the game's highlights, with Doctor Octopus being one the few reasons the game's a real eye grabber. Featuring a pretty extensive skeletal structure, the Doc shows us that the Nintendo DS has something special in its gas tank.
At its core, though, Spider-Man 2 DS is your standard beat-em-up. The game's done in 3D but you can only move in a two dimensional space, and you basically run from left to right (as well as up and down and dare I say it, diagonally) punching and kicking bad guys and doing cool things like web slinging and chucking enemies off rooftops. This is all complemented by touch screen controls that allow you to perform special moves on the fly by simply taking your thumb off the digital buttons.
My biggest issue with Spider-Man 2 is it just gets boring. I could only run around and back-track for so long, and let's be serious about this fellas: the game isn't making good use of the DS system. Changing your fighting style on the fly or completing the tiny mini games that pop up along the way using the touch pad shows us that Activision and Vicarious Visions know what machine they were working on, but what they did was far from innovative.
At the end of the day, Spider-Man 2 is going to appeal to Spidey fans and those of you just looking for a beat-em-up on the Nintendo DS. That's not a bad thing because the game is made well and can provide you with some cheap thrills. Still, it just didn't make the grade with me. It comes across as being too ho-hum and, for a system based around a control innovation, ho-hum just doesn't cut the mustard.