Doctor Octopus

        I’ve played a lot of games in my life, so it only makes sense that occasionally I’ll forget one. Luckily, my family tends to pick up the slack in places. For instance, I played Spiderman 2 back a few years ago when it was new, and moved on. But my younger sister Kuroshi played it much more recently, and then I had to look at it again and see why she was calling it ‘the greatest game ever’.
        I can’t entirely agree with her, I have my own favorites, but it would certainly be in my top ten. It’s a great example of a sandbox game done right, making full use of Spiderman’s mobility to swing around Manhattan freely and adding lots of features that make it come to life, like random crimes happening and people willing to tell Spiderman of nearby crime events. Combat is also much more nimble, emphasizing Spiderman’s speed and Spider Sense, allowing him to easily dodge a lot of attacks. In short, it made you feel like a superhero, obligations and powers included.
        But what’s a game about a superhero without supervillains? Luckily, it does provide plenty, with of course the main villain being Doctor Octopus, following the movie. While his presence is never as central as the Green Goblin’s is in the first game, when he is there his presence is assuredly felt.
        When you first see him, it is actually as a friend of Peter’s a scientist who he looks up to and idolizes, who’s so dedicated to his work that he barely stops to eat. However, the next meeting isn’t quite so pleasant. The good doctor’s project seems to be completed- a large device using Tritium to create a miniature sun to produce nuclear fusion, and thus infinite energy for mankind. In order to interact with it, he creates a device that attaches to his spine and nervous system, allowing him to mentally control four extra arms. A chip insures the AI of the arms doesn’t act up. Naturally though, the sun becomes unstable and starts causing havoc, pulling in metal around the room and sending out surges of deadly plasma.
        Thus it falls to Spiderman and the player to fix this. It’s a simple task- find terminals around the room and switch them off. Doing so will turn the machine off. However, as mentioned, the miniature sun will make for a complication. It sends out arcs of lightning periodically, along with an expanding and contracting energy field. Due to the structure of the room, the machine is in the middle, and the switches are in square segments on the sides. You have to go through the middle to reach any of them, so when the field is expanded, going from one to the other is impossible.
        So you have to time it properly. The best way to get around is a fully charged sprinting jump, for maximum distance and minimum height. It’ll get you across the quickest, hopefully without harm. Once this is done, everyone will be safe from the device, and so begins the doctor’s start of darkness.
        He wakes up later, his device ruined by the disastrous experiment, his wife killed by glass shards from a broken window, and the chip restraining the AI destroyed, leaving them free to coax him into doing darker things. They convince him to try and recreate the experiment, because that is what his wife would have wanted, and that there would be no price too high to see it done, whether it means he must steal, lie, or even kill.
        This is a drastic change in his character, yes, but a believable one, given he has gone through some rather traumatic experiences, and since the chip that stops the arms from accessing his mind are gone, they may be manipulating or controlling his actions to a degree. I also presume the arms are multiple intelligences because occasionally the doctor turns as though one of the arms in particular said something, and it does make sense that each AI would control one arm, rather than a singular AI controlling all four- that would presumably make for a more efficient device.
        Anyway, what the game doesn’t show that I feel is rather important is a scene where he is unconscious at the hospital and the doctors there are planning to saw off the tentacles. They quickly and messily kill everyone in the room, presumably wake up the doctor from his coma, then lead him back to where his experiment failed. Presumably they did all that out of self-preservation, though that doesn’t explain why they wanted to recreate the experiment.
        I can only guess, but it is likely because they were made to aid in that particular experiment, and thus they want to create again so they can accomplish their intended duty. What exactly has to be done, and the moral implications- that’s not their concern. They only care about fulfilling the goal they were made to accomplish.
        Anyway, back to the game, Doc Ock eventually attacks a bank, as luck would have it, right when Peter Parker and his Aunt are visiting it. In the game at least he has the help of several henchmen. This game also features every super villain having their own minions, and these guys are certainly more dangerous than the usual thugs, carrying grenade launchers. Said grenade launchers also have sharp prongs on them, allowing them to stab Spiderman and fire both him and the explosive off the device. All of the bombs going off and the doctor make for a treacherous battleground, so the first priority would be taking down his goons.
        Once that’s done, there’s the fight with the doctor himself. His tentacles are obviously his main weapon, and he generally uses two of them to lift himself up in the air, forcing Spiderman to use aerial attacks, though not always. He generally swipes at you horizontally with one or both arms, or he might stab at you directly as a grabbing attack, holding Spiderman in place to whip him with his other arm, or simply fling him aside.
Stabbing with both is a slightly slower attack, in which he grabs Spiderman’s arms and pulls him close to pummel and throw him. Spiderman notably jumps back to dodge it, which, while not a big deal in the bank, will be notable in other bouts.
        As for how to fight him, running in and punching works with most enemies, but not here, since his arms give him superior range. The best thing to did is dodge and get closer, and, if possible, web his arms one by one as they attack. Once all four are tied up, he’ll be defenseless, letting you pummel him until they free themselves. It also might be a good idea to get away from him once they are free, because they can hit you much more easily once you’re closer.
        In any case, you face the doctor three times, the last two in succession. He kidnaps Mary Jane, and Spiderman follows him to rescue her to a train, which the fight on. That jumping back dodge now may be an issue, because you could fall off the train. Landing on the tracks isn’t a big issue, but it is a hassle to have to catch up again.
        After Spiderman stops the train, saving everyone on board, the effort of doing so knocks him out, and Dok Ock takes him to Harry Osborn, who plans to kill Spiderman himself in exchange for his Tritium. However, he cannot do the deed when he sees who Spiderman is, and Peter heads to the doctor’s warehouse to rescue Mark Jane. He arrives and Doctor Octopus sees him, hitting him and ripping off his mask in the process.
        The battle begins, and it actually seems to mix the event where you stop the device before with a Doc Ock fight. That is, the doctor is trying to kill you and you need to hit the switches while fighting him off. Compounding this is that the doctor seems to be using the device to produce a force field to protect himself, meaning you have to focus on the switches rather than him, dodging his attacks while also avoiding the machine’s sporadic lightning bolts and energy fields.
        Even worse, this warehouse is much bigger than the room the last device was in, and there’s a total of ten switches this time, meaning you could be running around quite a bit before the fight can begin properly. Once they are all hit, however, the device doesn’t turn off like it did before, but rather goes haywire, threatening to destroy the city.
        On the bright side, the doctor is vulnerable again, so the fight can begin like before. The doctor doesn’t have any new tricks, really, but the footing can be treacherous in places- the area directly below the device is just water, and if you get knocked in or accidentally dodge into that, it’s game over. Still, it shouldn’t be much more difficult than the other fights, it just lasts much longer.
        In the end, Spiderman punches the doctor into some kind of electrical wiring, shocking him for a moment, then he falls over, having an epiphany about all he has done, and decides to right this by destroying his creation, sacrificing himself to do so. Why the sudden change though? Likely the electricity damaged or destroyed the AI of the arms, so they stopped controlling him. And given the immediate change, it really must have been direct control. So everything he said or did before that point? All the work of the AI manipulating him and using his intelligence to their own end.

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