What would make the perfect Spider-Man game?

With the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 also comes the release of the subsequent game. I haven’t personally played it because I guessed what everyone is now finding out; it sucks (so I’m told). It’s made me think though: what would make the perfect Spider-Man game? Huge strides have been made towards this dream of mine, but with every step forward there seems to be two steps back. Well I’ve had enough! Here’s what I, as a Spider-Man fanatic, think would make up the perfect Spider-Man game. Keep in mind that I am fully aware that these concepts may indeed exist in some Spider-Man games. My point is that they all need to be in ONE game.

Not just the right villains, but the right number of villains …

The problem with most Spider-Man games is that they always cram way too many villains into too short a game. There wouldn’t be anything wrong with that if it were done with some finesse; some good storytelling perhaps. Give these villains some depth; make us hate or pity these characters. So far the track record is that we’re given a simple backstory to make sure we know they’re a villain, and then proceed to beat them down (as only a spider can). If we’re talking more B-list villains like Boomerang, then yeah, who cares? When we’re trying to take down A-list villains like Venom or Doc Ock, we need more filling to make it feel like we’re dealing with more than just a random thug. We really need to differentiate between our big bad guys, and the lousy ones. So in a nutshell: less villains to make more room for more in-depth stories. My final thought on this topic is that the villains need to fit the story as well. I hate it when several random villains are thrown into the game because they would be cool onscreen. Every villain should be grounded in the world in some way other than a bank robbery. It also wouldn’t hurt to spend a few bucks getting some great writers in the mix. That would do wonders for the mediocre stories that we’ve been dealing with.

Free-roam …

Seriously … a Spider-Man game doesn’t feel right if you can’t swing around New York. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved Shattered Dimensions, but I couldn’t help feeling claustrophobic in the linear setup of the game. Batman is about sticking to the shadows of Gotham, Superman soars across the skies as he patrols Metropolis, and Spider-Man swings through New York with the greatest of ease; it’s symbolic for the hero, and very necessary for the experience. It’s also important to show off his unique acrobatic style while he makes his way through the city. Whoever makes the next Spider-Man game needs to bring back the acrobatic moves that you could execute back in the Spider-Man 2: The Movie, the Game; that was incredibly fun. It kept traveling from getting old while you tried to desperately pull off moves to fill up your power meter (and look awesome at the same time). Also, there’s no better feeling than jumping off your web-line, landing in a group of thugs and showing them who’s boss.

Combat …

When in a fight, Spidey depends on three things: his agility, his intellect, and his spider sense. The third part is the one that every developer has a problem with. The Web-Head’s spider sense is one of his coolest powers, and it’s only been executed properly in one instance: Spider-Man 2: The Movie, the Game. In what’s probably the greatest Spider-Man game of all time, all it took was one button press to dodge whatever danger was heading your way. It was beautifully simple, and you could even branch attacks off of it. I really don’t understand why developers don’t use this system for every Spider-Man game. Now you just jump or zip to a corner in the room whenever the flash shows itself. Also, most of our games have Spider-Man simply beating the crap out of bad guys rather than using the environment to his advantage. Spider-man is typically out of his league when he throws down with a member of his rogue gallery, and we’ve strayed too far away from that fact. More brains, less brawn please.

Spider-Man would make an awesome Ninja …

The Noir segments of Shattered Dimensions portrayed this concept very well. Spider-man is perfect for sneaking through an area. He’s quiet, he can crawl on any surface, and he can easily immobilize unwary thugs. The Amazing Spider-Man The Game took a crack at this mechanic, but it made the tragic mistake of making it ridiculously easy, which took the fun out of it. I think we should take a page from Batman’s book, and refine the stealth mechanic to the point of perfection. It would be awesome to stealthily clear out an entire building of thugs without feeling like the game basically did it for you.

Get Beenox out of here …

I’ve never played a game that Beenox has made that wasn’t a Spider-Man game. I’m sure they’re a very talented studio, but they’ve run their course with the character. The second that I heard Beenox was to make the next few Spider-Man games due to the success of Shattered Dimensions, I knew it was trouble. I’m not sure if it’s due to time constraints or what, but the last three games that they put out were either awful or incredibly mediocre. We need a new developer in there with fresh ideas. Sorry Beenox, but all good things must come to an end.

Well, my spider-rant is over. I’m desperate for an amazing Spider-man game (pun intended), and my heart breaks every time another failure gets released. What do you think would make the perfect Spider-man game? Do you think I’m a moron for a point I made? I encourage you to comment.

  • Randall Johnson

    As much as I loved (and still love) The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it can still be much better. I agree: let someone other than Beenox have a crack at it. Keep the freeroam in as it is, because it’s honestly fine. As far as villains go, why not go with the Sinister Six? That’s six major boss fights in the game, each with their own unique style and feel. You’d have an aerial battle with the Vulture, a shocking fight with Electro, a game of cat-and-mouse with Kraven, a battle of illusions and trickery with Mysterio, a giant fight with Sandman, and a final showdown with Doctor Octopus. Or would it? Throw in the Green Goblin at the end (because he is, arguably, Spider-Man’s ultimate nemesis) and you have yourself a game. And about your comment about getting a good writer: I think Dan Slott could pen a fantastic tale for a Spidey game, especially with his work on the Amazing and Superior series. As far as combat and stealth goes, the Arkham series of games would still fit perfectly with a Spider-Man title.

    One thing you didn’t address, though, were the costumes. Why stop at 15 or so? There are so many different costumes and personas that would fit into a Spider-Man title. But I also think they should take it a step further and give each costume its own personality. You have Spider-Man: he talks, acts, and fights like Spider-Man would. But then you have Kaine’s Scarlet Spider: he doesn’t do any of that. He talks, acts, and fights more viciously than Peter Parker does. Same would go if you were using the Black Suit for Spider-Man; he’d get more aggressive, right? Actually give a reason for using a different costume other than it being cosmetic. That’s what I would change most of all.

    Anyways, just my two cents.

    • Alecs Pillik

      I completely agree with all of the above, especially the costume changes! I think a costume changing the character’s personality is a fantastic idea, particularly if you have to earn it by collecting it, or completing a certain side-mission. It would be really cool if your Spider-Man had stats, and that these stats could change depending on which costume he’s wearing (so one costume would improve his agility, whereas a different costume would improve his strength). That way you could go for the best costume suited to the bad guy. In the same vein, it would be nice if the games were a little more challenging, so that you had to actually plan your attack against a boss rather than just button mashing. Perhaps like Jonathan mentioned with an ability to use the environment to your advantage, if you wanted (like how Spidey defeats Electro in the most recent film).

  • Randall Johnson

    As much as I loved (and still love) The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it can still be much better. I agree: let someone other than Beenox have a crack at it. Keep the freeroam in as it is, because it’s honestly fine. As far as villains go, why not go with the Sinister Six? That’s six major boss fights in the game, each with their own unique style and feel. You’d have an aerial battle with the Vulture, a shocking fight with Electro, a game of cat-and-mouse with Kraven, a battle of illusions and trickery with Mysterio, a giant fight with Sandman, and a final showdown with Doctor Octopus. Or would it? Throw in the Green Goblin at the end (because he is, arguably, Spider-Man’s ultimate nemesis) and you have yourself a game. And about your comment about getting a good writer: I think Dan Slott could pen a fantastic tale for a Spidey game, especially with his work on the Amazing and Superior series. As far as combat and stealth goes, the Arkham series of games would still fit perfectly with a Spider-Man title.

    One thing you didn’t address, though, were the costumes. Why stop at 15 or so? There are so many different costumes and personas that would fit into a Spider-Man title. But I also think they should take it a step further and give each costume its own personality. You have Spider-Man: he talks, acts, and fights like Spider-Man would. But then you have Kaine’s Scarlet Spider: he doesn’t do any of that. He talks, acts, and fights more viciously than Peter Parker does. Same would go if you were using the Black Suit for Spider-Man; he’d get more aggressive, right? Actually give a reason for using a different costume other than it being cosmetic. That’s what I would change most of all.

    Anyways, just my two cents.

    • Alecs Pillik

      I completely agree with all of the above, especially the costume changes! I think a costume changing the character’s personality is a fantastic idea, particularly if you have to earn it by collecting it, or completing a certain side-mission. It would be really cool if your Spider-Man had stats, and that these stats could change depending on which costume he’s wearing (so one costume would improve his agility, whereas a different costume would improve his strength). That way you could go for the best costume suited to the bad guy. In the same vein, it would be nice if the games were a little more challenging, so that you had to actually plan your attack against a boss rather than just button mashing. Perhaps like Jonathan mentioned with an ability to use the environment to your advantage, if you wanted (like how Spidey defeats Electro in the most recent film).