Spider-Man: The Movie impressions

We get to check out the multiconsole versions of the upcoming Spider-Man game based on the motion picture.

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Activision stopped by today and gave us a look at the various incarnations of the Spider-Man: The Movie game. The PlayStation 2 version looks much more complete than when we last 2822794saw it . The frame rate has improved, and the game seems to be coming along well. Although the PlayStation 2 was the lead platform for the game, the Xbox and GameCube versions look quite sharp. Both games had their CG intros--although some sound was still missing--which moved the story along and mirrored some of the action seen in the film. We checked out a few levels in the Xbox version first, which were looking extremely impressive thanks to a great amount of detail and a high frame rate. The GameCube version was looking pretty solid as well, although not quite as sharp as the Xbox game at this point.

The Xbox version looks quite polished. The three levels we saw in the game featured a sampling of the gameplay you'll be encountering. The first level featured a boss fight with the Scorpion that took place in a train station, which initially was filled with people. Unlike most boss fights in a game, the area of combat wasn't boxed in, so Spider-Man could be maneuvered around the entire area. The camera-lock function had been implemented, which made it easy to keep track of the Scorpion as he moved around the level, although there were still some camera issues. The effects from the Scorpion's tail were well done and kicked up some nice particle effects. Animation on Spidey looked fluid and matched the way he moves in the current movie trailers.

The next area we checked out in the Xbox version showed Spider-Man chasing the Green Goblin through the city, which is visually impressive. The detail seen in the clean texture work and generous polygon budget of the city was incredible. The lack of fog in the distance let us see far and make out a sick amount of detail. Cars moved on the streets below, and the sky displayed a rich variety of color that brought the city alive. The main action had Spider-Man chasing the Green Goblin through the city while trying to repair the damage the Green Goblin was causing. You'll also have to rescue Mary Jane. Using a combination of the camera lock and onscreen compass made tracking the Green Goblin relatively easy, though the Green Goblin really isn't a stealthy enemy to begin with. Getting close to him while attempting to perform rescues or direct attacks was a different story due to the mass of pumpkin bombs filling the air.

We had the chance to see another boss battle against Vulture, which we'd previously seen in the PlayStation 2 version. The level looked incredibly polished, featuring a high frame rate and some special effects. Again, the environment was highly detailed, and we were able to see the rainwater spilling off certain rooftop objects like gargoyles. We could even make out rain splashing against Spidey himself as he swung through the skies. The storm even affected how his weblines looked when they were being shot--the heavy wind would cause them to arch slightly the further out they went from him.

The last stage we saw was one of two Xbox-exclusive levels featuring a battle with Kraven the Hunter. You'll start the level by trying to make it through a gauntlet of traps to reach him. Your spider sense will be seriously hampered due to being drugged by Kraven, which makes avoiding hazards a challenge. Once you make it past the jets of fire and swinging blades, you'll have to avoid being shot by Kraven's sniper rifle. The level will play out from the point of view of the sniper scope, forcing you to seek cover and hide from view.

In the GameCube version, we checked out the Green Goblin chase and the Vulture fight. While the GameCube version was slightly trailing the Xbox version in development time, it still looked solid. The frame rate was high, although the color and overall visual quality were a bit below the Xbox version. In spite of the visual discrepancies, the gameplay was intact. Spidey handled very well and moved smoothly. While neither the GameCube nor Xbox versions have been optimized yet, the GameCube version seemed to be the quickest of the two when it came to loading.

Every version of the game handled well thanks to the responsive control. Spidey has an expanded roster of moves including more than 30 combos for hand-to-hand combat, and he has finer control over his webslinging. A new "dash"-type move will let you swing on your webs much more quickly than normal but have slightly less control over your direction. You'll also be able to adjust your height as you swing, which is often a must when hunting down thugs or taking on enemies. So far all the versions of the game are looking sharp and are turning out quite well. Look for more on all the Spider-Man games in the coming weeks. Spider-Man is set to ship this May in conjunction with the movie's release.

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