Spider-Man Preview

Treyarch, the studio responsible for porting Tony Hawk to the Dreamcast, is hard at work bringing the webhead to Sega's console.

Neversoft's Spider-Man--one of the most mechanically inventive games to appear lately--is headed to the Dreamcast, courtesy of Treyarch, a studio known for its excellent ports. The Dreamcast version of Spider-Man is said to be a fairly direct port, only boasting Dreamcast-caliber visuals.

Those who haven't played the PlayStation version are in for a treat. Spider-Man is a 3D action-adventure set in Marvel's interpretation of New York City--a metropolis populated by all manner of superpowered criminals. To make it through the game's deadly 30-plus levels, you're given access to Spider-Man's entire repertoire of superpowers. From different versions of his webslinging to his tingling spider sense, the onscreen Spidey can do everything that his newsprint counterpart is known for. And if the PlayStation and N64 versions are anything to go by, controlling Spider-Man will be a treat indeed. Both the N64 and PlayStation versions feature variations of the same intuitive control scheme; one button controls Spidey's attacks, another makes him jump, and a host of buttons and maneuvers control his various web functions. Aside from swinging from rooftops, Spider-Man can use his "zip line," which instantly zips him to the ceiling or floor. He can also execute a handful of web-based attacks--he can shoot a web-ball at his foes, pad his fists with hardened web and punch enemies, or blast them with the remnants of a webshield. All moves are executed with simple button and D-pad combinations, and their effects are quite satisfying.

The shots we've seen from the Dreamcast port look great. Everything seems to exhibit a higher level of detail, and the resolution seems much, much sharper. We'll really have to see everything in motion before we can really get excited, but suffice it to say that the PlayStation version was quite impressive in its own right. The Dreamcast version should patch up any small visual holes the game might have exhibited, allowing it to fully realize its graphical potential.

As per the tradition established on the PlayStation and N64, Spider-Man DC's stages will be set in a variety of locales and feature a decent variety of gameplay types. Among the most interesting, for instance, is the stage in which you must flee from pursuing police helicopters, which are constantly bombarding you with missiles and shell fire. As the stage progresses, you eventually find yourself crawling up the side of a building while avoiding the shots of a police sharpshooter, whose crosshairs you must literally outmaneuver onscreen. Getting hit will send you tumbling down, which could prove fatal. At times, the game resembles a beat-'em-up, and at others, it resembles a stealth game. But the superhero action remains constant, and the gameplay is varied enough to keep the game interesting from start to finish.

Neversoft takes full advantage of the Marvel license, as the game features all sorts of superhero cameos. Daredevil, Black Cat, the Punisher, and the Human Torch have all been known to cavort with the webhead on numerous occasions, so you can expect to see them littering the in-game cinematics and FMV sequences. Some of the foes you'll encounter include the Scorpion, Doctor Octopus, Rhino, Venom, and others.

Whether or not Treyarch will add anything to this upcoming version of Spider-Man remains to be seen. Since the game is slated for a spring release, there certainly is time to fill the game with next-generation enhancements.

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