Many of Spider-Man’s greatest (and not so great) villains have broken out of Ravencroft and it’s up to Spider-Man to round them up!
This review is based on the Super NES version of the game, but it is more or less identical to Genesis version.
A sidescroller based on the 90’s animated TV series, this game finds Spider-Man tackling the largest group of villain he has ever faced in a single game on his own. Of course, he isn’t entirely alone with the Fantastic Four making a cameo, but you’ll still find yourself beating down most of the enemies by your lonesome.
Combat is fairly straightforward with Spider-Man using basic punches and kicks as well as webbing to take on most of his foes. With so many villains to battle (roughly 20 in all), not every one acts as an end of level boss. Many villains such as Owl or Shocker will show up in the middle of a level as special enemies or mid-bosses making each level have a certain bit of excitement found in facing villains you recognize as opposed to fighting the usual fodder of filler characters like robotic ducks or robots.
Sometimes the combat can be a bit dry at times with no real use for one of the attacks. It rarely makes more sense to punch an enemy when a kick is just as quick with a greater range and strength. Webbing makes for a good long range attack, but certain villains aren’t really affected by it. Most battles come down to timing a single attack rather than chaining them together. Assuming the delicate jumping mechanics and precision attacking can be mastered, there’s some fun to be had with the combat system. Spider-Man might take a few hits from what seem like cheap shots, but most encounters can be controlled without too much trouble and fights rarely delve into the realm of unfair.
The game has a nice look, but many of the levels have an inconsistent visual style. It’s very easy to miss a key webswinging point due to poorly designed graphical cues and it’s also difficult to determine which parts of the background can be jumped into. Navigating from the foreground and background can also make getting through levels a bit annoying when you find yourself trying to jump from one to the other only to learn you were a few inches away from the right position. Whereas some games feature the ability to jump into a second plane of a level as a novelty for those seeking bonus items, this game makes it essential for progressing through certain levels.
Overall the game is rather fun in certain moments. Little bits of fan service like a Galactus shaped gargoyle or a Dr. Octopus boss fight taken right from the cartoon can put a smile on your face. However, the mechanics have a steep learning curve, and it feels like the game is artificially lengthened by forcing you to learn them through trial and error.
Graphics - 3 Webs: A good lucking game hurt by muddled environments.
Sound - 2 Webs: One or two catchy tunes don’t make up for a largely forgettable tracklist.
Gameplay - 2.5 Webs: It plays well once you get the hang of it, though it takes a while to get there.
Story - 1 Web: Villains break out of prison. An old staple, but this game does nothing with it.
Fun Factor - 3 Webs: This is incredibly dependent on how much time you’re willing to put in to learn how to play the game.
Replay Factor - 2 Webs: If you’re having fun, you’ll probably need a few goes to finally finish it. You might come back every now and then, but once you’ve played it once, you aren’t that likely to go back to it.
Aging Factor - 2 Webs: If you were a fan of the cartoon, you might be more willing to sit through the flaws.
Tech Troubles - 0 Webs: N/A
While not a terrible game, an uneven learning curve kills most of the fun that could be found with it. It is charming in its own clumsy way.