Spider-Man: The Video Game (Arcade) Review
I know I talked about beat em ups on my Arcade Hidden Gems release and wanted to mention the Spiderman video game since seeing the trailer for the Spider-Man: No Way Home movie that’s set to release in 2021. Spiderman was my favorite cartoon growing up in the 90’s so why not give the arcade game a shot.
Spiderman the video game was released in April of 1991 by developer and publisher Sega and uses the Sega System 32 hardware. If this is your first time seeing gameplay footage of Spiderman that’s because it was released one month after the arcades were flooded with teenage mutant ninja turtles, turtles in time arcade machines. To put it simply, this is one of the best and most overlooked Spider Man games ever made.
The gameplay features a hybrid of a beat em up where you’ll beat up thugs and these weird masked guys. The game then zooms out into a side scrolling platformer where you have to find your way to the end of each the sections.
This is very reminiscent of the Shinobi arcade games which makes sense considering it’s a Sega released game.
You get to choose between one of four players, Spider-Man, Black Cat, HawkEye and the sub par Sub Mariner. You can also play with up to four players. Looking back, I couldn’t imagine standing next to four of my friends as an adult on this somewhat tiny CRT screen so kudos to you for growing up in the 90s and being able to do this in person. Since the game hasn’t been released anywhere but in the arcades, you’ll have to look to MAME in order to play this. It is a great experience to be able to pull up a joystick and get net play going with 3 of your friends.
You have a health meter that you can fill up by picking up heart containers that can be found laying around each areas of the stages. If you run out of health you’ll have to use a continue. The health does deplete slowly like in crime fighters. Not badly enough that you’ll just die while walking around, but enough to call out to be careful about.
The controls are simple. Each of the characters can move in different directions. You have a punch attack, can jump in the air. You can also do a jumping attack or a special attack that takes up some of your life by pressing both punch and jump together. I did notice that if you’re down to 1health, you can use the special attack over and over again without losing any more health. In the platforming sections the controls are similar but now you have projectile attacks like Spider Man’s web or Hawkeye’s arrow
As you make your way throughout the short but sweet 4 stages in the game, the level design is rather bland for the most part. Just take a look at the first level in the game it’s like 90 percent of all 2D beat em ups, It starts off on a city street with absolutely no pedestrians and to make things more interesting, it’s full of street thugs and ninja warriors.
Each stage will end in facing off against familiar foes like the Scorpion or Venom. There’s other familiar faces like The Lizard, Electro, The Green Goblin, Sandman, Hobgoblin and The Kingpin
The last stage you’ll face off in a pseudo boss rush to then be met with your good pal Dr. Doom who’s head explodes in the first form. Then is somehow reincarnated and now has a hovercraft and shoots lightning at you. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a third form where you’re fighting him on the ground again. But wait there’s more, order in the next 30 minutes and you’ll get another form of Dr. Doom where now you’re in his laboratory with a lightning barrier. Thought it was over? Nope there's still a case of venom to now go up against. This time there’s two clones and only one of them will actually take damage. Okay this time it’s finally over, it’ll break out into a cutscene where dooms lair crumbles as they watch, wondering if it’s actually over.
The music was sub par at best. Nothing memorable was brought to the table with Spider Man and it is rather unfortunate. I would have loved to hear at least one track in the soundtrack be extremely catchy. The sound effects were very reminiscent of their cartoon counterparts. I thought it was cool to hear peter parker as Spiderman in between stages.
So clearly there is a ton to enjoy about Spiderman the Video Game. Yeah okay maybe the visuals aren’t the greatest and the sound is a little generic but there is a lot to offer here. Four player Co-Op, Great Gameplay that has a great blend of beat em up and side scrolling. It’s also a fantastic use of the Spiderman license. I just wish there were more opportunities to play this game other than on MAME. There should be an option for Sega to include it on a steam package where you can build in online coop with friends, I would have a blast with some of my buddies with that one!