Everybody loves Spider-Man. He is one of the most popular and most recognisable superheroes of the past 50 years and his popularity is still going pretty strong to this day. When you have a character as widely recognised and is easily relatable to when compared to most superheroes it’s inevitable that a whole host of Spider-Man games would be made. The fact that there’s already over 30 and with no sign of this slowing down it’s fair to expect not all will be winners. I had expected this to be a decent game though as the idea of a platformer where you take on Doctor Octopus’ Sinister Six one of my favourite console is and intruding and exciting prospect. From looking at the front box art it’s a pretty promising start with a visually appealing way of showing not only Spider-Man center stage but still showing all the games bosses at once, it actually makes it seem like effort has gone into the game. This optimism quickly subsided for me when I noticed the LJN logo. LJN are notorious for publishing bad games and I find myself now a bad comic book tie-in game.
Moments into starting the game it becomes obvious that my fears will be realised. The game absolutely misses the mark for me based mostly on the gameplay if you can even really call it gameplay. Most of the time all you do is avoid enemies by jumping over them or falling without consequence past all the hired goons. I’m sure it’s not just me but avoiding enemies in a superhero game doesn’t feel quite right. In stealth games there’s something satisfying about making it through a level without having to take anyone on, but here it’s plain boring. Fighting does have its advantages occasionally though as sometimes you have to defeat the odd foe in order to collect an item or regain a bit of health but other than that they only serve as an obstacle. You can take them all on if you like but the controls are so bad you won’t really want to. This makes fighting the bosses painstaking and it causes a lot of frustration.
As for the story element of the game, it’s all but non-existent. You basically know that Doc Oc has got the Sinister Six back together and he wants to take over the world but that’s about the extent of what you get to know. It’s pretty cliche and the potential for a much more exciting storyline has been missed. It feels like the whole point of having the Sinister Six as a part of the game is nothing more than an excuse to create the format for having multiple levels in the game. It does work and the levels are varied visually and generally they feel unique and suited to each villain so at least they have got this part right. As for the music, it doesn’t feel very much like it suits Spider-Man or generally a superhero game. Part of this is likely because of the limitations of the NES and the expectations of what a typical superhero soundtrack should be but when it’s paired with the already disappointing gameplay it’s hard not to dislike it for me.
This is not a game I would recommend in general to the majority of gamers. It’s not a particularly great game and it’s a shame as there’s a huge amount of potential for the game to be something special but it falls short across the board. I will say that e graphics are not awful but it’s still not enough to save the game. If you’re a massive Spider-Man fan give it a go but don’t expect anything too amazing or for it to serve purpose as anything other than a collectable.