Spiderman 3

        Today I have a special article for you all, dear readers. You might recall my sister said that Spiderman 2 is her favorite game, and when I said I’d do an article on Spiderman 3, she insisted that she do it herself. Well, she isn’t a bad writer herself, so I thought she deserved to have a shot at it. So, without further ado, here’s Kuroshi.
        Hey everyone! I’m Kuroshi, and I’m here to talk to you about the absolute worst game I have ever played. Sure, there are worse games in general, but this one? This is the worst to me personally because it gave me hope. Anyone who played Superman 64 or E.T could tell you how terrible they are after 5 seconds of gameplay. But this… this is a different, sneakier evil.
        And before anyone asks, I am talking about the Playstation 2 version of the game. Haven’t seen any others, but a friend tells me the Xbox 360 one is really good, so I can only assume all of the versions for the more recent consoles are alright. But the PS2 one… well, you’ll see.
It starts out promisingly enough. You go into a building to save people, apparently under attack by some kind of criminal gang called the H-Bombers. Bruce Campbell returns as the narrator, like he did in the other two games, telling you the controls, a positive sign. Plus, I thought his wall crawling joke was pretty funny. “What would Spiderman be without his powers? I’ll tell you. He’d be… Man. Is that what you came here to play, Man 3?”
        However, we run into a problem soon after that, when he tells you about dodging. Now, it works similarly. Press a button and Spidey will dodge. However, where before he’d just move slightly to dodge, not usually moving from his current position, now he’ll roll out of the way, every time. Not a big change, but it is a bit of an odd one.
        Still, could be worse, right? At least we can dodge, even if we can’t do so as quickly. Of course, as I find later, no one shoots us with a ton of fire like what happens in 2, so such dodging is unneeded. All that tells me though, is that we got a downgrade in dodging because we got downgraded threat. Not to mention, the combat and experience system seems worse. In 2, you gain experience, logically, for every enemy you beat and crime you stop. Here you only get it when beating a plot segment or finishing a chain of crime missions, which I’ll talk about later. In any case, it’s workable.
        After saving the CEO in the building, we’re treated to a cutscene where Spidey narrates about how things are fine, but he has a bad feeling that something is gonna happen soon, as we’re treated to visuals of the Symbiote appearing and Sandman being created. A fairly good intro, all in all. It got me excited for what’s to come.
        Only for those hopes to be crushed the second I see the city. Now, I have seen worse city graphics, but honestly, both of the previous Spiderman games had better ones. In fact, the way the games introduce themselves proves that. 2 has a long helicopter shot over the city, giving you a good long eyeful of it. 3 just pans over a few buildings and stops on Spiderman. And we should be getting better than what I saw. From far away, all the buildings look like nondescript boxes with windows, and up close it is not much better. It is a little better though, because features tend to magically appear on them, like water towers and so on.
        …I shouldn’t have to tell you that this is bad, bad graphical design. The PS2 may have been old by the time this game came around, but it has no excuse for this, it can and has done better, in the previous games! Why is the game design for this series devolving!? And it only get worse. Aside from what I already said, the buildings have no real creativity in their design, being, well, boxes, and the NPCs, which in 2 came in a lot of variety, now come in five or so different shapes. All of this makes the game seem less ‘real’. Having a lot of different people walking around and a lot of unique architecture helps the city look realistic, makes it look like a place you want to swing around and save and explore.
        Speaking of the NPCs, in 2 they might occasionally shout for Spiderman’s help, and some will ask him to do things for them, like stop a carjacking. More than that, occasionally you’ll see things just happening, even if you don’t stop to ask them, like a brat yelling for you to save his balloon, or a mugging.
        In 3, this is completely removed, and regular NPCs have no interaction with Spiderman except when they’re victims of a crime. Missions only occur when you talk to an informant or cop standing on a street corner or the like. Further, it’s not just one mission. How so? He might tell you something has been stolen. You go get it, take it to the owner. They’ll tell you that [insert gang here] is attacking people. A gang member gloats that you won’t stop them from kidnapping a guy. Rescue him, he’ll tell you the gang plan to bomb a building. Stop that, and then, finally, mercifully, it ends. Oh, and to really rub it in, you get a long loading screen every time you finish one of these.
        That’s your crime stopping in this game. No random crimes, nothing happening you personally witness, no civilians to tell you, just cops and informants send you on a thirty minute goose chase. And sadly, there isn’t much variety. Just twenty-four different missions occur, and while there are a couple of specific ones, such as the Apocalypse group being the only ones to deface monuments, it’s mostly the same generic stuff no matter where you are. Plus, with the generic NPCs as well, don’t be surprised if Spidey finds a stolen item and hands it to a guy, then is told to rescue a professor, who looks like the exact same faceless guy.
        You see what I mean, right? If everything looks the same every time, why do you want to keep playing? Spiderman 2 brought the city to life, gives what I would call maybe the ultimate Spiderman experience. Here everything is a hand-me-down from the last game, and the terrible blandness makes it very evident this is a video game, a poorly made one.
        Not to mention that sometimes you have to go through these segments to progress the plot. The premise is that chunks of the city are run by different groups, either the police or one of the four gangs. All this really seems to effect is who you fight in these missions. As for why the plot demands all this, it’s because some villains have ties to certain gangs. Not that the game explicitly tells you any of this, and no, beating those particular bosses will not effect the gang’s territory in the slightest. The only real nods to this is that their gang will serve as henchmen in the boss fight proper.
        While there are some unique features in this game, it’s not really enough to save it. Morbius is exclusive to this game, and the Lizard gets a bit more story, but it really isn’t worth the rest. Besides, other versions also have exclusive villains, and more of them, so why not play those instead?
        Oh yes, there is one thing I did kind of like about this game, the Black Suit feature. When you activate it, Spidey gets more health, and his attacks get stronger. However, if he uses it too long the suit will start trying to control him, emphasized by the screen getting black around the edges, and that darkness slowly closing in to cover everything. I find that to be a great visual effect. Kudos. However, even this is made worse by the combat implementation.
        Specifically, the Black Suit has two phases. Normally it’s just an increase in power. However, once the screen begins getting blacker, Spiderman’s attacks become stronger still, and his usual webbing instead fires out a black projectile that actually does damage and sends them flying. Sounds awesome, right?
        Well, for Spiderman this has a few issues. Namely, this removes his other web powers, and to give a specific example, there are shielded enemies. Normally you have to remove their shield with a Web Yank, but now you can’t. Luckily, you can just smash them to bits with your new strength.
        But that takes longer to do, so not an improvement. Further, knocking your enemies away is great to keep yourself from being overwhelmed, but that’s not a common situation; enemy groups rarely get bigger than three or so, and while the black web will hurt a shield enemy, you have no way to hurt a fallen enemy, so you just have to wait for them to get up. See the trend? Waiting.
        The Black Suit powers make you wait. And as I said, it imposes a time limit before you have to take it off, so you really shouldn’t be taking your time. The point is to brutally and quickly pummel your enemies into mush. Oh, and this is nitpicking, but even after Spidey should know how bad the suit is, if you still use it, he’ll have the exact same compliments and phrases for when he uses it. Laaaazy.
        If you want to remove the suit, it forces you to go through a quick-time event. I don’t mind these very much, but this game uses them a tad much, and in fact, one time too many. Namely, you know the New Goblin? Yeah, his entire ‘battle’ is a quick-time event! You never fight him properly! Some versions of the game use something like this, but there you actually can fight him afterwards, at least! They replaced an entire boss battle with a quick-time event because they were too lazy to add it in.
        In fact, laziness really covers everything here. They could have made a good game, on par with or even better than the previous 2, but instead they decided not to bother. Assuming it was the same group of people that made the other versions, I really do have to ask- why did you bother? If you’re not going to actually try and make a good game, why did you even make it?

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