Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro (Playstation Game)

Background

Electro has stolen a powerful amplifier and it's up to Spidey to stop him in this sequel to Spider-Man.

This review focuses on the version which featured the altered final boss sequence after the events on September 11th.

Story Details

  Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro (Playstation Game)
SM Title
Summary: Sequel to the 2000 Spider-Man Activision game
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Neversoft

There's a myth out there that says huge fans of a character are willing to sit or play through the worst crap, just so long as it stars said character. This singular perspective is probably what makes people think that a Spider-Man fan would enjoy Enter Electro regardless of its many, many flaws. However, I believe myself, and any other gamer who knows a stinker when he or she sees it, can realize that this game is a stinker. That horrible stench is made all the more obvious after playing its predecessor, the first 3D Spider-Man game which was both well designed and entertaining. Frankly, there's no excuse for a title this flawed, and this poorly put together, and there's little excuse for giving it any benefit for sticking our favourite wall crawler on the box. No pun intended.

Enter Electro has a simple enough story; Electro has a device that greatly amplifies his powers, but it needs a valuable jewel to power it. It's up to Spider-Man to stop that from happening. A simple enough premise, and since this is a video game, there are several other villains who want to lend Electro a hand. Of course, after the first Spider-Man game, the cupboard is slightly bare when it comes to major Spidey villains. Still, there's: Shocker, Sandman, Hammerhead, Lizard, Beetle, and of course, Electro. A far cry from the line up in the previous game, but not totally awful. The story itself is told in some terrible cinematics with characters who have been modeled with flattened faces and voice acting that's roughly on par with an elementary school play on bullying.

It's a shame the boss fights are more frustrating than fun, but it suffers from the same crippling gameplay issues that plague the rest of this title. The camera is incredibly frustrating, sticking way too close to Spider-Man and swinging around wildly when exploring any kind of environment. It's virtually useless in a close range fight and the lack of any reasonable positioning controls for it makes any attempts to manipulate it unsuccessful. The combat controls aren't quite as rough, but the uselessness of most of Spider-Man's web techniques (it's tough to setup a web dome when a poor camera doesn't let you know if you're surrounded) make it a chore to utilize anything more than a three hit kicking combo for combat, and web balls for any enemy or switch at a distance.

The graphics in this game are completely unimpressive. The cities look more like giant blocks with building themed textures, and the indoor environments are repetitively designed. While not completely offensive, there's just nothing interesting visually about this game. It either looks just as good, or worse, than its predecessor. I will give it some credit for the various costumes Spider-Man wears which all look pretty good, even if at this point I doubt anyone will remember his Slingers outfits. The presence of web-pits on his classic costume was also a nice touch. Of course, these costumes are largely cosmetic as most of them offer repetitive power sets. You can design your own customized power set with a chosen costume, but a fun bonus like that hardly seems worthwhile when it's to play a game that's tough to stand on the default setting.

The technical bugs in this title were also a major issue. There were several instances where I experienced game halting bugs like mission specific power ups not appearing, or not being able to activate certain switches. All these bugs required restarts, and this isn't even counting the various restarts caused by poor hit detection or camera placement. While certainly not completely broken, it's still unacceptable to see these types of problems in a final release.

The bugs may be a result of designing far too many set pieces for a game that has trouble with its basic mechanics. Stopping a runaway plane, fighting the Lizard by using special formula in your web fluid, and catching an escaping train are all ways the game attempts to break up the general flow of gameplay to keep things feeling fresh. The only problem is that those, and the rest of the other diversions, just aren't any fun. They don't feel polished and you might find yourself dieing repeatedly as you struggle to get a grasp on the new gameplay elements that have been thrown at you. When poor design choices have already made the standard game of fighting bad guys and web swinging an obnoxious chore, adding wrinkles to the formula is just a way for the game to make sure you aren't numbed to its poor design choices.

General Comments

Graphics - 2 Webs: The costume selection is nice, everything is else is either sub-par, or barely adequate.

Sound - 1 Web: Generic rock music that seems to be the theme of far too many Spider-Man games. Not even worth a proper mention in the main review. Ditto for the sound effects.

Gameplay - 0.5 Web: More frustrating than anything else. I really enjoyed the previous Spider-Man game, but it seems switching the developer only led to a game that can't even utilize its own core mechanics properly.

Story - 1.5 Webs: Forgettable, while not offensive. I have to bring this rating down due to how its told though.

Fun Factor - 1 Web: It's conceivable someone would have fun with this game, but then again, I have a vivid imagination.

Replay Factor - 2 Webs: There are multiple difficulties, and various costumes you can dress Spidey in. It may be slightly more fun to hit your hands with a hammer though.

Aging Factor - 0 Webs: Dated to be sure, but that didn't stop its predecessor from still being entertaining. In spite of some poor recent performances, it may very well still be the worst 3D Spider-Man game.

Tech Troubles - 2 Webs: While there aren't any game breaking bugs, there are still way too many for this to be considered a finished product.

Overall Rating

Dreadful stuff. I don't even want to write about this anymore.

Footnote

There are two versions of this game; one that featured a final showdown on the top of the World Trade Center buildings, and one that had the environment altered to be two towers joined together.