System: Sega Genesis
Release Date: 1991
First Played: 1997
Status: DEFEATED – September 20, 2014
Does whatever a spider can!
You can fight his nemesis,
On your Sega Genesis,
Here comes the Spider-Man!
Is he strong?
Listen to me,
He can punch by pressing “B”!
Want to shoot a web line?
Just press “A” and you’ll be fine!
There goes the Spider-Man!
Has it been 15 years
Since I gave this a try?
My tears will turn to cheers,
Only if I do not die! (in the game)
Friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man!
It’s a game,
I wrote this ’cause I was bored.
Ok, let’s turn on the power,
I can spare an hour,
To play some Spider-Man!!!!!!!!!
Who in this day and age doesn’t know who Spider-Man is? He’san icon as big as the New York skyscrapers he swings from. Created by comic book legends Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, he made his debut in the summer of 1962 in the pages of Amazing Fantasy # 15.
Bitten by a radioactive spider, mild mannered teenager Peter Parker gained fantastic abilities: Super strength, speed and agility; the ability to cling to almost any surface effortlessly and his ever helpful “Spider-Sense” which warns him of nearby danger. With his genius intellect, he created a web like fluid which he can shoot out of special “Web Shooters” on his wrists, allowing him to swing from building to building and which are strong enough to suspend a car in mid air. But these new powers lead to arrogance, and Spider-Man lets a common thieve escape from a security guard with some cash stating that it wasn’t his problem. Tragically and ironically, that very same thief would be the one to kill his loving Uncle Ben, after which Peter dedicates his life to protect the innocent and fight crime in all its forms, always remembering his Uncle Ben’s now iconic words of wisdom……
“Remember Peter: with great rice, comes great recipes!”
This is true…but actually it’s, “With great power, comes great responsibility”. With an amazing cast of character, enemies and story lines, it’s a no brainer that dozens of video games have been created starring everyone’s favourite web-head! I am the proud owner of many of these games, some amazing and some not so much…
When First We Met…
By the time I first played this game in 1997, I was a full blown Marvel Maniac. My renewed fascination with Marvel comics happened because of the cartoons, and in this case more specifically, Spider-Man the Animated Series circa 1994!
With Spider-Man paired alongside the X-Men cartoon, I was a happy camper! This happiness lead to the spending of money, where I soon collected all the Game Boy Spider-Man games, the Sega Genesis game based off of the animated series, an NES game called “Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six!” and many more that I rented. For those of you have been with this blog since the beginning, you’ll now know that I enjoyed (and still do) going to flea markets looking for retro games. And it was during one of these Spider-Man fuelled spending sprees that I came across this…
“Hello Hello what’s all this then!!??” I said aloud, startling a large man on a scooter nearby. A quick read of the description on the back tells me that The Kingpin, Wilson Fisk, has planted a bomb in New York City and that Spider-Man has 24 hours to defuse it! Ok, I’ll bite, so $10 later, another Spider-Man game is added to my ever growing collection of Marvel Memorabilia.
When you turn on the power, you’re greeted to a shot of the New York cityscape. Some very soft sounding “guitar” music plays as Spider-Man swings across the screen accompanied by the word “Spider-Man”. Once he swings off screen the words “V.S. The Kingpin” pop up…
Oh…so this game is called “Spider-Man v.s. The Kingpin”, not just “Spider-Man”…why didn’t they put that on the cover then? Aw well, after pressing start, you’re given the option to start the game or look at the options, which let you adjust the amount of web cartridges you can carry (from 3 to 8), your stamina (from very–weak to very-strong) and the difficulty (from Practise to…NIGHTMARE?!?!?) I settle on easy…but I’m confused by the options. Why would I only want 3 web cartridges? And why would the radioactive powered Spider-Man have weak stamina? Radiation poisoning from the spider bite…maybe…but he’s Spider-Man! He’d carry as many web cartridges as possible and he’s obviously got a very strong stamina! I understand that this is to make it more “challenging” but I feel this takes away from who Spider-Man is as a character! So, for authenticity purposes, I select the highest web and stamina levels. Then I start.
The Kingpin! And he’s smoking a fucking huge cigar! He says he is a concerned citizen, his name being of no concern, and that he learned that Spider-Man is going to seek revenge on New York by blowing it up with a bomb he has hidden in the city within the next 24 hours! How does he know? He doesn’t say…but he does put a $10,000 bounty on Spidey’s head. Is it just me, or is $10,000 a bit on the cheap side? He can lift a car over his head!! How about adding a couple more zero’s there pal? Naturally, the citizens of New York ask no questions and go into panic mode, jumping on the “Let’s get Spider-Man” band wagon.
After the broadcast ends, the first “Level” starts. I use quotes because it’s incredibly short. You’re standing on the sidewalk outside the Daily Bugle, Peter Parkers place of employment as a photographer. There’s an old woman walking towards me, but I ignore her and try out my moves. By jumping “C” and pressing “A” I can swing through the air, which is very cool looking. My attacking move set is surprisingly limited; “B” while standing is your regular punch, the only way you can kick is by crouching or doing a jump kick. For a character as agile has Spider-Man, I was expecting a bit more…but there’s no time to think because that old lady starts to attack me!! The hell???? Here comes a police officer! Thank God! Surely he’ll stop this insanity…THEN HE STARTS TO ATTACK ME!!! AAAHH!!!! I jump and cling to the building by holding “C, this is also done quite well. As I climb, random windows open and people start to shove me! CUT IT OUT!!! I fall to the ground, and find that same old lady getting mugged by some guy! Serves you right Granny! But…”With Great Power, Comes Gr…” yeah yeah yeah I’ll save her. I knock out the mugger with a couple of kicks AND the cop for good measure. This good deed opens a window at the top of the Daily Bugle for you to enter and start the actual game. That’s when I notice the timer at the bottom right of the screen…
It’s a 24 hour countdown till the bomb goes off!! Now, obviously, this isn’t actually a 24 hour clock, I think one “minute” was really about 10 or 20 seconds our time. So into the window I jump, which cuts to a scene of Spider-Man pacing back and forth with a text dialogue scrolling below you. Spidey says he heard rumours that Dr. Octopus is hiding out in a warehouse and that he might be involved with the Kingpin! So off you go to the Warehouse to pay a visit to the good doctor…
The warehouse is much more like a maze, and I run into a couple of dead ends. The bad guys, who are clones of the mugger, try to shoot or stab you and they are usually placed in positions you need to jump to, this makes you a very easy target. Along with them, you face evil German Shepherds, rats and even a guy in a fork lift! The muggers are the biggest problem, one part after my epic fork lift fight, has a mugger constantly firing into a tiny space that I need to jump over, and after many tries I die…which leads to my FAVOURITE PART OF THE GAME! When Spidey “dies” this really over the top dramatic music starts to play! Spider-Man very slowly falls to his knees and then to the floor and passes out. I don’t know if they wanted this to seem like it was coming out of a terrible death scene from a 50’s B movie, but it’s great! The scene then cuts to you in jail; if you want to continue, you have to knock out the guard and escape (this is done automatically when you click “Yes” to continue).
Bad news though, you start at the beginning of whatever level you’re on AND 2 HOURS HAVE GONE BY! After a couple more deaths, I finally manage to time my jumps and get past that blasted gunman! But I’ve jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire because around the corner is none other than Doc Ock himself!
Missed! Damn you and your squatting Spider-Man!!!
Doc is harder than he looks, and I take a beating and die! A couple more tries and a couple more hours lost, I eventually need a break and press pause…which is when I notice a menu that pops up…
On it, you see a picture of circle looking thing, which is Spider-Man’s web-cartridges. Next another oval thing, which to my delight I discover is a shield! Then a camera to take pictures! That’s pretty cool, then a picture of Peter’s face which I find out later on takes you back to Peter Parkers apartment so he can rest up and regain health. First I select the camera and take a picture of Doctor Octopus, then I select the shield, which allows me to take several hits without damage, and with this I’m able to beat Doc Ock with ease! After, you’re treated to a picture of Doctor Octopus tied up and Spider-Man questioning him; the dialogue scrolls from the bottom of the screen. Spider-Man discovers that the lizard is involved as well and that all the bad guys you face have a key to disarm the bomb, including doc here!
Now this is where I am really impressed by the game. After the cut scene, there is a tally of your score which shows you all the pictures you took in the level and gives each picture an amount of money beside it, I’m assuming this is what J.J. Jameson (owner of the Daily Bugle) pays for them. Bosses get the most money obviously, with a declining scale for other baddies in the level. This money is used to fill up your web fluid! One theme in the Spider-Man comics is that Peter, more often than not, is tight for cash, and web-fluid is pricey to make! This not only makes taking fun pictures necessary, but also adds a touch of authenticity that I have not found in any other Spider-Man game!
Anywho, off to the sewers to find the lizard! This level is pretty easy to get through, the wide open space of the sewer allows you to swing over rats, bats, alligators, toxic waste and mutants and get quickly to the boss battle.
I use a similar shield tactic with Lizard and he’s down too!
The Lizard has a key, which I take, and spills the beans on who I need to face next…ELECTRO!! Suddenly, there’s another transmission from the Kingpin! He must be getting nervous because he has upped the bounty to $50,000 (meh) and tells people to get cracking.
The Power Plant is another short level, though swinging around is a bit of a problem, what with all the lightning bugs and lightning bolts raining down on me! I barely make it to Electro, who dispatches of me easily. A couple of more goes and I finally find a ledge that allows me to be a safe distance from Electro and pelt him with webbing! I have Electro cornered….which is when I see the bottom of the screen flashing red…i forgot about the timer!!! I have 1 minute to defuse the bomb and I don’t have all the keys!!!! The timer reaches zero and the screen shorts out and then silence……GAME OVER….wow…everyone’s dead! Kingpin wins?
I’d try several more times, eventually beating Electro, who gives me a key and leads me to Central Park where after dodging more police officers, snakes and a gorilla (because why not!!) I finally face Sandman…
But no matter what I did, Sandman could not be hurt! I tried every move in my arsenal and nothing, just that dramatic/delightful death music!! I’d spend hours fighting him only to have New York destroyed again and again! Eventually I gave up; never saving New York, never stopping the Kingpin…Mr. Sandman haunting my dreams…
Meanwhile in the Present…
When I opened the case for this game, I opened the instruction manual and discovered that there was a mini comic inside! I had no clue that it was there for all this time! It basically retells in comic form what happens in the beginning of the game…
Daily Bugle Headline: Spider-Man…CHUBBY CHASER???!!!
I was excited to give this game another go…but not excited that I had to play it on NIGHTMARE MODE, since my stipulation for this quest was to play all games on the hardest difficulty (if available that is). I am able to make my way to Electro rather quickly, with few deaths and 20 plus hours remaining! There is one major difference with Nightmare mode, VENOM appears every level and tries to kill you!
He’s a tricky bugger! And he’s a dick! He doesn’t kill you, instead he will jump away when you only have one hit of health left, unless you are able to drive him off with some well timed web blasts. He causes me a lot of strife, but soon I see his pattern and work out a system to fight him off without taking a lot of damage! So, eventually I make it to Central Park and the dreaded Sandman…honestly, I’m disgusted with myself that I couldn’t beat a “C” level bad guy like Sandman! You think you’re so smart just because you were played by Lowell from Wings IN SPIDER-MAN 3!!???
But then I remember an insightful conversation I had with a fellow student in University…So I’m 5 Guinness’s in with a class mate at the local bar and we’re discussing this game and I bring up how impossible it was, especially Sandman! He looks at me like I have lobsters crawling out of my ears, ‘“What are you talking about? He’s the easiest boss in the whole game!!” “Lies!” I quip. He shakes his head, “All you do is get him wet with the fire hydrant…” “Huhwhaaa?”…this comes back to me as I’m being chased by Venom and Sandman through Central Park! Fire Hydrant???? Where the hell is it? It’ right at the start of the level, so basically you need to lure Sandman to the hydrant, wait for him to pop up behind you then hit the hydrant! He dissolves right in front of you! Wow, that was easy!
On playing this again, there is one thing that hits me as odd. Now, as I mentioned before, you make money from taking pictures to refill your web fluid. But, I’m noticing some strange pricing going on…take a look at this…
So, I get $50 for a picture of a man trying to kill me with a fork lift, but only $20 for a picture of a MUTANT SEWER DWELLER who is also trying to kill me??? That should be breaking news! A new species right below the streets of New York!!!
I think I should get more than $5 for a picture of a police officer passed out in a tree, I mean, you don’t see that everyday! And that’s a thin branch he’s on! And only $50 for an escaped Gorilla in Central Park??
J.J. Jameson will even pay you $50 for a picture of himself, which is $45 more that a photo of a futuristic laser gun, labeled as “Stock Photo”. What’s wrong with you Jameson????
Also, it hits me pretty early on that this whole “Blame Spider-Man for the bomb plan” that Kingpin comes up with is a TERRIBLE IDEA! Let’s break it down:
Good Idea: Tell everyone that Spider-Man is going to blow up New York City and put a bounty on his head; everyone tries to kill Spider-Man, thereby keeping him busy and allowing you to continue being a criminal bad guy.
Bad Idea: ACTUALLY BLOW UP NEW YORK CITY.
The Kingpin, first and foremost, is a business man, so blowing up the city would be a horrible decision, as it is where he conducts his business. And since business = money, he would be crippling himself financially. That’s like an apple farmer burning down all his apple trees to get rid of a spider problem…
Apple Farmer – AT LAST!! I finally destroyed that blasted Spider!
Assistant Farmer – Great! So…how are you going to sell apples?
Apple Farmer – Well I’ll just…….oh…….
And don’t give the Super Villains you hired KEYS TO THE BOMB!!!! COME ON!!
Back to the game, after getting Sandman’s key, we head to the city, which is similar to the first level, except it’s swarming with heavily armed cops, a “Brutal Biker”, Venom and Hobgoblin!!!
Hobgoblin’s attacks get me killed several times, but I eventually discover that doing a jump kick while being protected by your shield will take him down hard and fast! There is a cut scene again where I get a key and Hobgoblin tells me that he has back up…in the form of Venom!
Venom: Surprised Spider-Man!?!?
Now, this isn’t that big of a reveal, since I’ve seen him in every single level up to this point. And since I know his attack strategy, I beat him easily, but then the real twist happens! Venom escapes and kidnaps Mary Jane!!!
Who says video games don’t have strong female characters?
The the Kingpin comes on and says that he has MJ, so come and get her if you dare! Oh no you didn’t!! Then I’m in the secret base, full of gunmen, those $5 futuristic laser guns, some cool looking ED-209’s and, you guessed it, another Venom fight. I’m pretty low on energy at this point, so I take a breather in my apartment.
Time travels faster here, but you heal quickly too! Despite this rest, I die several times in this massive maze level! But with persistence, I get through the level and eventually stumble upon the room that houses the bomb…….and Electro, Hobgoblin, Lizard and Venom!!!!!
AAAAHHHH!!!!!! I learn the hard way that if you don’t single them out and take them down one by one, they WILL ATTACK YOU ALL AT ONCE, so I died a lot, but I still had plenty of time to try to defuse the bomb. Eventually I pick them all off and now it’s time for the bomb! The bomb has a randomly selected colour on top which is the colour of the key you need to use first…the keys are in the pause menu. After you put in the key, the bomb starts flashing different colours! I look at it and try to see the next colour in the sequence and put in the key…..which triggers the bomb!!!! GAME OVER.
GGRRAAAWWWHHAAATT!!!!!!!???? Back to start!! For the love of…long story short, I blast my way through the levels to the bomb again. I look at the flashing colours for a while longer, maybe I missed the right combination…when it stops on a colour! OH! I need to wait for the bomb to select the next colour! Well, I use patience and eventually defuse the bomb!!!
Sorry for the blurred picture, I dove at the screen while taking it…
But that’s not the end, Kingpin still has MJ, and I need to lay the smack down on this chubby funster! Easier said than done!
You enter the room where Kingpin is and he has Mary Jane suspended over a vat of acid and she quickly descends towards it as you fight Kingpin!!!! He’s fast for his size and dangerously strong, the only thing that hurts him is jump kicks to the face. Mary Jane’s descent can be temporarily stopped by shooting a web blast at the crank above her, but I’m too slow…and MJ IS DISSOLVED ALIVE BY THE ACID!!!
Spidey falls to his knees looking at the gooified remains of his wife as Kingpin escapes…GAME OVER.
SONOFABITCH!!! Back to start! I blast through the game again and again, losing to Kingpin or watching my wife die a horrible death countless times, until I feel the zone kick in. I talked about this before, that zone of pure concentration where only the game exists. It’s an intense battle, I barely am able to keep MJ from falling, her feet are inches from the acid…..but this time I am VICTORIOUS!
The police take kingpin away and I enjoy a well deserved hug from Mary Jane.
You are congratulated for playing the hardest level possible and then credits…Fin.
If anything, I think this game gets better with age! It includes so many things that current “better” Spider-Man games completely leave out. First of all, the writing is very fast paced and witty and not at all a bother to read. I’m not sure if they actually got the writers of the comic at the time to make up the story, but it feels like it came right out of the comics! The still shots of these conversations are also very well presented.
I think the most unique part of this game is the photo aspect of it. It adds a dynamic that is fun and also necessary in that it refills your web supply. You could totally put this into modern games, I know for a fact that a Spider-Man game using the Wii U remote would be perfect for capturing fight scenes! Hell, you could even post your images on the internet or on some “Daily Bugle” page and add fun captions to them! I’d pay top dollar for a Spider-Man game like that.
The music isn’t anything special, it’s actually kind of soft sounding, which takes away from what could be a suspenseful or intense moment. The move set of Spider-Man is disappointing, I understand this is for an older system, but there are to many moments where Spider-Man seems stiff and clunky instead of agile and athletic. The story is bad, with many plot holes and I still don’t get why Kingpin would want to blow up New York??? But, the dialogue saves it from being a total disaster.
So what do you think? Would you like to see a modern take on this game, or just a Spider-Man game that works in Peter Parker’s photography skills? Are you going to watch some classic 90‘s Spider-Man cartoons, or better yet the one from the 60‘s?? Sound off in the comment below!
Well, like I said, I own many Spider-Man games…including #14 on our list. I love this game to death but it’s so hard! The boss fights, everything is so extreme! There’s just so much…..CARNAGE…!!!!!!