N-Gage Review: Spider-Man 2

Offering little in the way of originality, Spider-Man 2 doesn't make its appearance on the N-Gage meaningful. This standard, flawed, and sometimes even boring romp is a typical action/adventure title slapped together to take advantage of the film it's based on. As a small consolation, at least it's better than the Nintendo DS version.

The whopping game description on the back of the box offers incredibly deep insight into the game's plotline: "The entire city of New York is relying on you to save it." That shows how much it matters during gameplay, which is quite obviously not at all. In order to expand on the storyline from the film, you'll take on extra classic Spider-Man foes in generic boss fights after traversing simply designed levels filled with the same cheap thugs.

Platform combat is done in 2-D, both horizontally and vertically. Most of the levels rely on blind searching to complete them, and there's nothing to indicate where the objects are. In some levels, you'll spend the entire time limit searching for the one item you missed, all while dying at the hands of super-human enemies that can hit you even in the midst of a combo.

As is the norm for game's featuring the hero, Spider-Man's webs come into play often. They can tie up enemies, swing him quickly around the stage, or fling him past an otherwise deadly hazard. Since nearly all web action is mapped to the 7 key, you'll find yourself performing unintended moves constantly.

These segments look sharp on the N-Gage, with a wonderfully animated sprite for Spider-Man and occasionally rendered/occasionally digitized backdrops. The same cannot be said for the 3-D levels, which have Spider-Man rapidly flying through the city to reach whatever destination is too far to walk to. These segments are slow, unbearably ugly, and sluggish to respond to the one-button controls. Thankfully, they're short and only consist of five same looking levels (out of 20 total).

Moving the story along are, as the box incorrectly states, "3-D cut-scenes." These are rendered still pictures, filled with compression and a lack of color. All they do is bring back rough memories of 16-bit titles.

While not a complete waste, there's little reason for this licensed title on the N-Gage. Any of the Game Boy Advance Spider-Man titles will serve you fine, and the lack of any real gameplay innovations renders this release pointless. The city of New York doesn't need saving this badly.

(** out of *****)

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