The name Treyarch is pretty synonymous with the game industry these days, as that team is responsible for some of the best games in the Call of Duty franchise, including the Black Ops franchise, as well as World At War, one of the best games from the Xbox 360/PS3 era. But before the team even thought about tinkering with first-person shooters, it was working on other projects within Activision.
And one of its first was Spider-Man, which came out in 2002. Based on the movie of the same name, the game did pretty well for a movie-licensed title, and showed the prowess of the developer when it came to open-world game development.
So it's no surprise, then, that the team would step up even further for its incredible follow-up, Spider-Man 2, which released in 2004 alongside the blockbuster film of the same name. It became an instant favorite amongst the fans, selling reasonably well and solidifying the developer as one of Activision's go-to teams.
But before we see them go into action with Black Ops 4 next month, let's look back at this open-world wonder.
Based On the Movie, But With More
It's remarkable how closely the game follows the events from the film, as Peter Parker has several brushes with Doctor Octopus following his fusion to his metallic arms. But it's nice to see that Treyarch extended the open-world adventure even further by introducing various enemies into the fold, including Rhino, the Shocker, Mysterio, and even Calypso, though you had to do a little hunting to track that last one down. Even Black Cat joins the party!
Not only was the writing on point, but Spider-Man 2 also featured the voice cast from the film, including Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spidey; Alfred Molina as Doc Ock; and Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane. It also threw some talent on top, including John DiMaggio (yep, Bender himself) as Rhino, and even Bruce Campbell, who does a killer job yet again as the narrator that walks you through the tutorial. You can hear ol' Brucey (along with Tobey) in the video below.
But the game was deeper than its story and talent, as Treyarch really went all out to give players something to do. Not to mention expanding your skill set to improve your performance.prevnext
Missions To Conquer, But MInd the Balloons
What makes Spider-Man 2 stand out so well from other games is that you don't always have to follow the general storyline to get things moving. In fact, the game introduces secondary missions on the fly, whether it's saving an innocent pedestrian in peril (or someone waiting to spring a trap on you with thugs) or making your way to a point on the map with a highlighted marker. There are tons of these available...though those balloons drive us nuts.
We're talking about kids that end up losing their balloons and cry when they do, forcing Spidey to act quickly in order to try and retrieve them. But, honestly, these missions were a pain in the butt. And what's worse, when you didn't retrieve the balloon, the kid cried. Watch the video below if you don't believe us.
These annoying side missions aside, Spider-Man 2 packs a great deal of replay value within its world. And the fact that the gameplay is so well-rounded -- from the web-swinging to the combat -- makes it even more enjoyable.prevnext
Not All Versions Are Created Equal
Fans, for the most part, preferred the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube versions of Spider-Man, and it wasn't hard to see why. Even with development differences, the games are pretty much identical, and all a lot of fun to play.
However, Activision made the strange decision to "dumb down" the PC version of Spider-Man 2, keeping it simpler for younger players. As a result, it faced a great deal of scrutiny, as players were looking for that version to be identical. It got dragged into the mud by critics and it didn't sell nearly as well on that format. Not to mention people demanded refunds when the publisher didn't make it clear that version was different.
And while the game sold well on consoles, it did nicely on Game Boy Advance as well, selling 600,000 copies and making $17 million in its own right. It also came out for the black-and-white N-Gage handheld, but...let's not talk about that version.
So if you really want to see what this game is about, you're best off sticking with the console versions. But since you can't get the PC version anymore anyway (unless you find a physical copy, maybe?), you shouldn't sweat it. Enjoy the video from the stellar console versions below.prevnext
Swinging Into a Spider-Man Legacy of Its Own
Even though Treyarch would go on to bigger and better games (namely Call of Duty, as well as the wildly entertaining Ultimate Spider-Man), Spider-Man 2 found its place as not only one of the best superhero games ever made, but also a movie-licensed game that lived up to -- and in some cases, exceeded -- its original material. While the graphics look primitive compared to, say, Insomniac Games' Spider-Man for PlayStation 4, they were a marvel back in 2004, presenting an open world that was well worth exploring. And the gameplay is still fun, whether you're engaging in fisticuffs or expanding upon your skill within the preset tree.2comments
And if you want to take a look at just how far Spidey's open-world adventures have come, check out this comparison. While Spider-Man 2018 is setting standards all its own, the beauty of the 2004 Spider-Man can't be ignored. It's well worth checking out again while you wait for the new game to roll around.
We'll see you tomorrow with another amazing Spider-Man game!prev