Friday, 12 April 2013

Spider-Man (GBA)

Spider-Man: The Movie title screen
At last, the game that no doubt everyone's been waiting for: the GBA version of Spider-Man (The Movie)! Though this title screen music definitely ain't the Spider-Man: The Movie theme. Sounds like it'd be more at home in Spider-Man: The Old Amiga Game.

This is another case of a handheld game released alongside a console game with the same title, same cover art, same everything... except for the actual game inside the box. I get why they do it, they want to sell two games with a single marketing campaign (plus in this case it's a movie tie-in as well), I just wish they'd give each version a subtitle or something so it's clear that they're different products.

The game starts with a short series of amazingly blocky video clips of Spider-Man swinging around New York taken from the first Tobey Maguire film. Nothing to actually set up the story though. But hey, it's live action FMV on a Game Boy Advance and that's kind of rare I've noticed.

"Spider-Man encounters a group of thugs causing trouble. Rescue the hostages before time runs out." I think when hostages and time limits are involved we're a little past 'causing trouble'. Maybe this is more of a job for a S.W.A.T. team?

Also I guess we're not exactly sticking to the plot of the movie here.

What, is he patrolling in plain clothes today? He should at least stick a paper bag on his head to protect his secret identity.

I love Pete's action pose here before he jumps away to get changed. Plus that's some nice animation; so much better than the crap pre-rendered sprites I've come across in a lot of GBA games.

The city in the background looks a bit ropey though. It's so obviously a resized picture instead of pixelled artwork. Well, obvious when it's blown up three times the size and viewed on a decent monitor anyway.

This actually plays a lot like those two Game Boy Color games I looked at a few months back: Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2: The Sinister Six. Pete gets around the level and attaches to walls in a similar way, and he has the same double tap web swing move that I liked.

It seems that the developers have made an effort to make the fights more interesting than in the GBC games. But they didn't actually change the combat, they just made the writing bigger. I can barely even see what I'm doing with this crap all over the screen.

It still takes three or four hits to take an enemy down, and there's not much I need to do to win beyond standing next to them and hitting the button until they fall over.

Well I've found some hostages, but how do I get up there? And how did they get up there for that matter? Was it 'bring your family to the roof' day at work or something?

It seems Spidey's misplaced his 'where's the next objective'-sense between games, so I'm left to hunt around the level myself. Oh, plus there's a time limit now. Yay.

press select to take picture
Whoa, I've actually found a Spider-Man game that's remembered that Peter Parker's job at the time was basically to photograph himself doing street justice in cosplay.

So wait, I have to take screenshots at certain times for a bonus? I've finally found something I should be good at!


Okay, can you guys stop goofing around and try to take this seriously for a minute please. You're about to go up against a man who can dodge bullets and benchpress trains, and you're not even holding your AK the right way up.

It loops like this in the actual game by the way, I didn't just edit it this way for a joke.

One of the thugs mentioned that all that hostage taking earlier was a merely a diversion to slow me down, as they wanted to blow up this building without my interference. And it seems to have worked, as the whole place started to collapse just as I arrived.

So my main objective here has now become to be somewhere else.

Damn, that kick looks like it would have hurt Pete more than it hurt him.

Yeah I know knocking someone out inside a collapsing building is a tiny little bit like murder, but to be fair he'd have never made it out in time anyway. I on the other hand have the proportional ability to race through rooms as a spider.

Plus I also have the ability to safely jump out of windows now that I think about it, but Spidey seems dead set on leaving via the front door this time around.

When time is a factor, sometimes the best way to deal with a henchmen is just to sneak up really close to them and then scream THOOM! in their ear.

All I'm doing here by the way is running across one way, hitting some people, hitting some walls, dropping down before the ceiling collapses on me, then running the other way.

This screenshot is actually of a photo I took in the game. Apparently falling into dangerous exposed wiring in a collapsing building is a perfect photo op for our superhero. Though before he could sell it, Peter would have to first explain why he was doing a photoshoot inside a collapsing building.

To be honest this level didn't seem that hard at all. I wandered into every obstacle on the way down and I still had enough health and time to make it through. That's not a complaint by the way.

And then suddenly I'm thrown into a boss fight against Vulture, for some reason. Unfortunately I'm struggling to get any of my attacks to connect, as he tends to fly around.

But he's not the only one who can take to the skies! Now I just need to spin around this flashing orb a few times to build up speed, then I can release my web line and... fuck, I messed up. Now I need to get back up here and try again.

Actually screw it, I was doing better on the floor. In fact, I have an idea.

Yep, it turns out that it's possible to win this boss fight just by tapping the punch button.

If I stand still for a bit, Vulture will eventually get bored and swoop down for a frontal assault. Swoop right into my punch that is. Over and over again. Well that's good, I was afraid I'd need to develop some actual skill there for a second.


Whoa, sudden perspective shift! Apparently I'm supposed to be catching goblin gas balloons by pressing A at the right moment to swing through the city.

What? I'm pressing A! What more do you want from me?

Oh wait, hang on I can turn the camera to steer. Duh.

Hey this is actually a proper 3d city I'm swinging around in. I carefully adjust the camera angle to point in the same direction as the red arrow, accidentally wait a second too long to tap the A button, and then watch helpless as Spider-Man plummets to the streets below.

And so hundreds of people probably died from goblin gas. Fortunately it was just a bonus stage and therefore their lives are unimportant. I can just carry on to the next level!

Huh, why does the Daily Bugle office look exactly like that building that just collapsed, even down to the mysterious 'Yes 21' and 'No!' posters?

Nevermind, there's no time for idle pondering now, there's been an attack at Bio-Tech's waterfront facility!


The mission briefing in my head tells me that I need to find and destroy four green gas containers before they can be used on innocent people. I'm not 100% convinced cracking open barrels of toxic gas is a great idea, but then I'm not a supergenius superhero scientist, so what do I know?

Well this isn't looking good...

At least now I know that Spider-Man has the proportional swimming ability of a spider.

Oh shit... that skullplosion looks awesome! That's one of the best explosions I've ever seen in a video game, seriously. Totally worth getting hit in the face with it.

Hey look, there's one of those green barrels. It's definitely the type I'm looking for, because it's got a huge 'biohazard - do not destroy with your fists' symbol on the side. Well, I guess I'd better go over and punch it then.

A single hit gets the job done and it's even considerate enough to wait a few seconds for me to get out of the blast radius before exploding.

Spider-Man's pretty agile in open areas, but inside a room he's a bitch to control because he latches onto any wall he comes near. Which is a problem when the walls are covered in burning hot exhaust vents.

I need to find the right angle to leap over into that top right alcove to grab the key without getting caught on anything.

Damn, now I need a green key too? What is this, 1994? Well at least I know where it is, even though I'm still unclear how to get there.


And my reward for punching the green barrels and collecting all those keys is... a boss fight.

The guy likes to disappear into the shadows, so I need to keep racing to a switch to flick the lights back on and... well that's pretty much all I've figured out so far. The guy is kicking Spidey's ass and making it look effortless, and I'm lucky if I can even get a punch in.

And no, standing in one place and tapping the punch button isn't working this time.

I'm not sure that swinging's helping much either. The guy's fast, he can reach me on the ceiling, he can throw knives across the room, and trying to attack him head on usually just gets me stabbed in the face.

The game autosaves after every level, so I can probably try this as many times as I like, but I'm getting a sick of this guy using poor Spidey as a knife rack, so I think I'll quit now.

I'm torn on Spider-Man (The Movie) GBA Edition. On one hand running up to each enemy and punching them one, two, three, four times gets old, and searching a level for the last bloody hostage with time running out is in no danger of ever being entertaining. In any game. But on the other hand, Spider-Man's a joy to play as and the game's got a few interesting ideas and good animation. Actually I've just thought back to when I played those SNES Spider-Man platformers and this is so much better than them that it'd be ridiculous not to give it a gold star.

So that's what I think about Spider-Man anyway. If you have any thoughts about the game, my writing, the site, or whatever, you're welcome to leave a comment.


  1. Hey a new post! I had Spider man 2 for gba and it was also pretty cool. That knife guy was Kraven the Hunter btw, he is basically a big game hunter who fights spiderman for sport.

  2. You should try "Return of the Sinister Six" on the Master System. It too has got the picture-taking, and it's almost nothing other than boss fights, you'll love it!

    1. I think I'm pushing my luck when it comes to Spider-Man games already. People are probably getting sick of seeing them appear on the site.

  3. What does the side of the boat actually read? While it's kind of hilarious that the screenshot shows it as METH, which is certainly one way to not be a terribly good smuggler, I think I see a U hiding behind that metal thing.

    Is it Methuselah?

    1. Whoa, the ship actually IS called the Methuselah, good guess. Though it'll always be the Meth to me.


Semi-Random Game Box