With fantastic graphics and enhanced web-swinging abilities, Spider-Man for the Game Boy Advance is a big step forward from last year’s Mysterio’s Menace, despite oversensitive controls and easy boss battles. The graphics are beautifully crisp, while the backgrounds are rife with surface details. There are some moments of slowdown and occasional collision detection problems, but the fluid animation, wicked-cool pseudo-3D web-swinging sequences, and fog-simulating transparency effects all combine to make Spider-Man one of the most visually engaging games on the GBA. Solid music and superb sound effects make this game worth playing with headphones.
Live Fast, Love Hard…
The levels in Spider-Man games are usually designed to allow you freedom of mobility, and this game is no exception. You can crawl, swing, or zip-line almost anywhere, and well-placed traps, enemies, and obstacles will keep your fingers taxed. The game’s bosses, however, use simple attack patterns, making them too easy to beat, and having to trade one special web ability for another is annoying. Instead, you should be able to collect multiple power-ups and toggle between them.
…And Die with Your Mask On
Spider-Man also features awesome in-air maneuverability—now you can quickly switch directions while swinging and zip away from enemies and traps by using multidirectional web-lines. However, Spidey will often move too much at the slightest touch on the directional pad, which is especially aggravating when trying to navigate tight spaces and corners. It’s too easy to crawl right into a hail of bullets or exposed electrical wires. Thankfully, health and extra lives are plentiful.
Despite these control issues, Spider-Man for the GBA is an excitingly action-packed, senses-shattering romp that stays closer to its comic book roots than any other handheld game before it.