Despite some minor issues and running a bit on the short side, Activision again delivers a thoroughly enjoyable rendition of Spider-Man that is arguably the best portable version around.
You all know the story: boy gets bitten by radioactive spider and procures super-human powers. But he appeals to everyone because he has real life problems that everyone can relate too. Spiderman 2 plays out a lot like the original Spider-man game that came out along with the first film.
When you start the game you have the option of diving right into the story or playing through a preliminary training level that teaches you about the spider-sense, web-slinging, and wall-crawling. Something to be aware of though, this is one of the first titles for the PSP that forces you to use the analog stick to move around, which may take some getting used to. Generally though, Spider-man moves along very well on screen and you should find yourself getting adjusted in no time. Controls are mostly tight and responsive, thought it may take some time to get a good feel for the web slinging. When all?s said and done, if you?ve played previous versions of Spider-Man, you should find yourself adjusting to this one fairly quickly. Unfortunately, Spider-Man 2 lacks the free roaming environment used in its console big brother, but definitely retains the feeling of stepping into the tights of your friendly neighborhood Spider-man. Even though you can still use your webbing to swing around your environments, it is kind of a let down to see Spider-man swinging infinitely in mid-air when there?s clearly nothing for Spidey?s web to attach to. Aside from this minor gripe, Spider-man 2 is the same loveable beat-em-up of a game that the others have been thus far. You?ll progress through a series of missions as you do everything from saving a bunch of citizens from a collapsing bridge to webbing up enemy helicopters as criminals try to escape. Again Spider-man will constantly be taking on multiple enemies at once, dispatching them with webbing and over-the-top acrobatics that fans of the series are used to seeing from webhead. You?ll have a decent variety of punches, kicks and web attacks at your disposal, making this an awful lot of fun for quick pick-up and play sessions. Spider-man 2 closely follows the plot of the movie, throwing in a couple of other villains like Mysterio as make your way toward the final battle with Dr. Octopus.
Graphically, Spider-man 2 fares very well on the PSP. Some of the enemy models are blocky and decidedly less detailed, but Spiderman himself is very well done and animates smoothly as you crawl, web, and fight through each stage. Many of the levels feature nice textures and are well laid out for Spiderman to take advantage of his surroundings as you crawl on the walls and ceilings. Moving the plot along are some gorgeous cut-scenes featuring the likenesses of the actors from the films. This is actually pretty rewarding as you move through the game, especially since the actors actually lent their voice talents as well. The camera can be horrendous at times while trying to move Spidey in tight spaces, but usually a quick adjustment via the d-pad can remedy this problem and get you right back into the action.
As was mentioned earlier, one of the nicest features present in Spider-man 2 is the audio thanks to some nice voice work done by the actors from the films. Most of the lines are delivered well enough and believable, though it sure would?ve been nice to see Bruce Campbell make a return in this title. In typical Spidey form you?ll be treated to a plethora of witty one-liners as you dispatch your foes and battle through the various bosses. Some of the sound effects are a little dull, but for the most part your standard variety of punches and kicks sound painful enough on impact. Much of Danny Elfman?s epic score from the film is used in the cutscenes and opening of the game, but the rest of the music is of the typical high-octane techno rock variety which does a pretty good job at keeping you pumped about webbing up villains and throwing Doc Oc a firm beating.
For all the good that can be said about the game?s graphics, sound, and generally fun ride, the biggest pitfall is that this ride ends far too shortly, clocking in with a playtime of no more than 6 to 8 hours. While this might be enough to keep you occupied in a few short bursts or on a long flight, it hardly makes this title worth a full-price purchase of $49.99. Paying full price for this title is just a waste seeing as how many will finish this in a single day. $39.99 would have been more tolerable, but $49.99? There are a few unlockables such as concept art or movies, but these are hardly anything groundbreaking that would make up for such a short-winded experience.
In the end, while Spider-Man 2 definitely captures the spirit of the movies and offers a suitably entertaining action game, the whole experience is over far too quickly and is ultimately not worth its $49.99 price tag unless you?re an absolute die-hard Spider-man fan who can?t live without it. If you can, give this one a rental or wait for a hapless friend to pick this one up and try before you buy.