A double dose of Spider-Man; marvel-ous stuff from Activision, and a bargain to boot. This package combines the first two episodes in the handheld version's tale. As with all Spider-man games, the plot follows that of the original Marvel comic book in that, having being bitten by a genetically-modified spider, high school student Peter Parker is suddenly empowered with super-human abilities, including Spider-Sense, web-slinging and a penchant for crawling up walls. In the game, players assume the role of the hero himself as he campaigns to thwart the plans of the evil criminal mastermind the Green Goblin and his myriad cohorts.
In all its 16-bit glory, chunky graphics and pixelated reproductions of the big-screen equivalent, Spider-man on GBA offers a memorable playing experience. Many will opt for a smoother, sleeker, 3D representation over old school visuals on first glance, but Spider-Man’s appeal as handheld game is enticing, and some will even prefer its retro playing style.
A side-on scrolling affair, players are presented with two distinct playing areas. The free-roaming environments allow Spider-Man to explore and uncover every section of a level at will and even retrace his footsteps in search of missing treasures or previously inaccessible goodies. We liked it a lot when it first appeared, and we still like it all these years later.
For the most part, Spider-Man 2 remains faithful to those ever popular 8 and 16-bit scrolling predecessors, pitting players in a fantasy New York that has Spider-Man battling numerous minions and a plethora of end-of-level bosses. From start to finish, Spidey can use his silky threads to dispose ensuing enemies, launch webs to swing from platform to platform and also climb on walls - he's an agile chap.
But there is one surprise in Spider-Man 2 that's only been made possible thanks to Nintendo's GBA hardware, and that's the inclusion of several 3D stages that see our spandex-clad hero taking to the skies for a couple of visually stunning missions. In so many ways, the player gets the best of both worlds. It introduces what is to come from future handheld Spider-man games, but also retains that ever-popular retro gameplay of the early 1990s.
With so much going on in Spider-Man's world, it's easy to see why he's one of Marvel's most popular characters, and Spider-Man 2 for GBA is a welcome addition to the comic book hero's success.