Review: Another victim of licensing mediocrity.
Videogames have long been cursed with licensed titles that overpromised and undercommitted to legions of salivating fans. We could argue the "why"s that make this adage true but in the long run we would wind up agreeing that most licensed titles aren't worth the packaging that they shipped in. Sure, some of the recent Lord of the Rings and Star Wars titles show us that this tide turning, but there is still a long way to go. So, where does the Game Boy Advance release of Spider-Man 2 fall into the mix? Somewhere right in the middle.
When you first fire up Spider-Man 2 on your GBA it is easy to get your hopes up. Before you even start up the game you are treated to a fantastic teaser-trailer taken straight from the film. (On a side note, this teaser speaks volumes towards the video capabilities of the GBA.) Fortunately, the two-dimensional action graphics are clear and live up to the production quality of the intro.
However, graphics alone do not a great game make and it is unfortunate that the gameplay doesn't take the baton and run. Primarily staged as a 2D action title, Spider-Man 2 falls prey to the foible of repetition. The action, while easily accessible due to a simple control scheme, never goes beyond the basic "find enemy" - "punch enemy" formula, even with the addition of a variety of unlockable attack combos. Perhaps one of the largest factors attributing to this repetition is the level of difficulty (or lack thereof) found throughout the game. The other most notable factor to this is fault is the severe difficulty that the boss levels incur. Perhaps difficult isn't he correct way to define the encounters with Rhino, Mysterio, and Doctor Octopus as it really comes down to a matter of trial and error.
Now, there is one thing that Spider-Man 2 pulls off that I wasn't expecting; a 3D adventure around New York. I won't argue with you, this isn't the same experience as you will have on the console versions of this title. However, it does provide a welcome break to the monotony of the 2D action levels. There is one complaint to accompany the 3D adventuring, though: Depth perception is a little bit tricky. Just don't rely on your ability to land on a rooftop, you will inevitably miss.