By: Jared Black
Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, Vicarious Visions made an early
statement that they had mastered the GBA hardware. With Spider-Man:
Mysterio’s Menace, it’s obvious that they’ve further
refined that mastery. However, with the genre switch comes a few
expect from a platformer, the storyline isn’t a complicated one.
Mysterio is up to it again, using his powers to change NYC into his
own amusement park. He’s done this by recruiting a number of
Spidey’s major enemies. Naturally, it’s up to Spider-Man to save
the city. The storyline plays out throughout the game, with
excellent comic-style still screens between levels.
Menace plays out in a very non-linear fashion. Trouble goes down in
three different parts of the city at once, and as a result you can
choose to play each level in the order you wish. Once you complete
one of the three initial levels, they’ll lead to additional levels
on that path. Adding to this variety is the fact that some of the
levels have different objectives. While some of them you simply need
to reach the boss in, others require you to collect and find various
objects (such as five artifacts in a museum).
you’ve got all the moves at your disposal that you’d expect to
have. Spidey can swing, shoot nets, shoot web bullets, crawl on
walls, jump, or just go at it with basic hand-to-hand combat. All of
this works well enough, although the close combat can be clunky at
times. When fighting in close, occasionally a kick or punch will
miss in one instance will the same will hit in another instance. It’s
not terrible by any means, but it is inconsistent at times.
Additionally, the enemy AI can be suspect at times. Harkening back
to the 16-bit platform days, often enemies can be beat by simply
standing in one location and performing the same kick/punch over and
over again. It’s still fun, but it isn’t a flawless experience.
The graphics, on
the other hand, are simply unrivaled. Cityscapes are vast and
realistic, while indoor areas all look distinct and highly detailed.
The animation is simply awesome and smooth, with each character
having a ton of different motions and actions. Without a doubt, it’s
the best animation on the GBA yet (and that includes THPS2). It’s
hard to emphasize just how good this game looks, so just look at the
screenshots for yourself.
The sound is
also excellent. The music fits each level very well, and is
technically excellent. Unfortunately each tune is a bit too short,
and regardless of quality it will get annoying after extended
looping. The sound effects are excellent as well, with a number of
character and environmental (ex: a bubbling vat of goo) sounds.
graphics, including some stunning animation.
controls and tight gameplay, despite occasional problems with
- The music
loops far too often.
is yet another excellent GBA platformer, and easily the best 2D
Spider-Man game ever. While it’s not quite up to the level set by Tony
Hawk 2 (or Castlevania in its own genre), Vicarious
Visions is still well on its way to becoming one of the best
handheld developers ever. Whatever happened to license games