July 17, 2018
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Publisher: Aspyr Media    Genre: Action
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: G3 @ 266 MHz    RAM: 64 MB

March 8, 2002 | Chris Barylick

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With Great PowerÖ
For as long as I can remember, Iíve always wanted super powers of some sort, mutant abilities to write home about. Unfortunately, my attempts to gain the aforementioned powers have failed repeatedly. There seems to be a lack of leaky nuclear plants in the Washington, D.C. area and being bitten by a radioactive ferret has only led to a shortened attention span as well as a heightened interest in shiny, rapidly moving objects.

Yet, the answer to this conundrum is closer than I thought it would be. Spider-Man, created by Activision with the help of Marvel Comics, ported to the Mac by Westlake Interactive and released by Aspyr Media is now available for the Mac for about $40.

The Old Familiar
The nameís the same as the comic books you grew up on and so is the game. You are Peter Parker, aspiring photojournalist for the Daily Bugle by day, web-slinging, wall-crawling, spider-sensing acrobatic superhero the rest of the time. And like the comic book, the story, environment and plot movement are the same. What starts as a standard press conference for the reformed Dr. Octavius becomes bank heists, kidnappings, theft of new technology, clashes with symbiote clones, treachery and deceit as the day wears on.

Everything you loved about the comic books is there, Marvel having weighed heavily into the equation as to the gameís elements. As the intro music to the 70ís Spider-Man television show greets the player, Stan Leeís voice lays out the universe that is Peter Parkerís New York City, its characters and the playerís goals with the familiar, soothing hokum voice the fans find so reassuring.

Perhaps quickly summed up as ďan ugly version of OniĒ, Spider-Manís graphics may not be the cleanest in the world but still stand for themselves. All the characters look like their comic book counterparts with a few stray edges, the game having been designed with lower-end machines in mind, requiring only an ATI Rage Lite card to run. New York City is what catches the playerís eye as the buildings tower in both the foreground and the horizon. Itís one thing to render a city, itís another thing to tell the player to swing from building to building and manipulate their environment in any way they see fit, which is where it becomes interesting.

Swing from one building to the next and you have an amazing sense of the height and distance your character is moving across. If you ever imagined yourself cleanly swinging across the city by a strand of thin-yet-inhumanly-strong webbing, toss this notion aside. The goal is to swing, frantically try to catch a hold of the next building without falling to your death. The graphics have captured both the characters and the breadth and scope of Peter Parkerís urban homestead, complete with the feeling of your stomach dropping to your feet as you fall 15 stories before catching the next building.

Itís a comic book game all the way and the characters are indicative of this. Thugs and henchmen sport the upper body muscle tone of a moose on steroids, female characters are shapely beyond belief and Spider-Manís villains and cohorts are larger than life. Spidey, in contrast, remains the somewhat gangly self that the comicís fan base has known for years, the game remaining loyal to the standard the comic established long ago.


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