Monday, August 10, 2015

Spider-Man 2...no, not that one.

Blaugust Day 10

Picking up where I left off yesterday, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for the Game Boyor simply Spider-Man 2 as it was advertisedis the sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man. I'm not sure why they dropped off "The Amazing" but they use the same font style in the logo and the full title is displayed in the game. Maybe they were trying to create a connection to Spider-Man: The Animated Series that would debut a few years later, but that's just a guess. To recap, Rare's game featured a large, gangly, ski-mask wearing Spider-Man. The story was fitting for a Game Boy game but lacked originality. It had way too many moves and a terrible control scheme that made them unusable. To top it off the boss fights were way too easy. Did Bits's sequel fix these issues?

Not-so-friendly neighborhood stabber or a winded skier?
Well, to start with there is also a comic book cutscene in Spider-Man 2. The story is that Mysterio, Hobgoblin, and some new villains team up to frame Spidey for robbery. He must stop them all to get his cred back. Our hero looks a lot more like he should this time around.

Friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
The controls have greatly improved since the last game. Tap B to jump, double tap B to do a double jump, and hold B to jump kick. If you double jump onto a wall you will wall climb. Tap A to punchit's shorter range than kick but more powerfuland hold A to web swing. By default it goes up in a 45 degree angle but you can shoot directly up. While swinging or web-hanging you can adjust your height and speed, making it a really fancy mechanic for a Game Boy game and just really fun to do. You can also crouch and tap A to shoot web. These are all moves I figured out without consulting a manual. Spider-Man 2 gives you more moves and they are easier to learn and pull off. Spider-Man is now a more reasonable one-fourth of the screen height and can zip around really quickly. I found it hard to pull off consecutive web swings if I wasn't standing still, but with the double jumping and wall climbing it's easy to get around. In the last game I was not able to dodge enemies, and when I was I would get hit by other enemies. Definite improvement, and now I feel like the hero I'm controlling.


On the surface the gameplay might look the same. It's a side-scrolling beat 'em up with thugs blocking your path to the boss. But one thing I quickly learned is that you can't initially damage Hobgoblin. At the same time I was finding all sorts of items and adding them to my inventory. I watched the LJN Defender review and he explained that you have to bring Hobgoblin down to the ground by web-hanging on his glider. After learning this I decided to take another stab at it without any hints. What I found was that Spider-Man 2 is a lot deeper than it looks on the surface. In addition to the beat 'em up aspect there is also an adventure game element where you have to get the right items and use them in the right way. Also,the game doesn't really have levels as much as one big world. If I'm not mistaken, that makes this the first open world Spider-Man game! It also means it has some of the most unique gameplay found in a Spider-Man game.

After having my hopes crushed by Rare's Spider-Man game I was expecting Spider-Man 2 by Bits Studio to disappoint me as well. Instead I discovered a game that beat Neversoft's Spider-Man at being the first to feel like an open world you can swing around in.
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