The Game Boy Color is drowning in comic book licenses. One of the latest, Activision's Spider-Man 2: The Sinister Six, is a follow-up to last year's introductory effort, Spider-Man. While the first game delved mostly into Peter Parker's longing to fit into society, Sinister Six instead focuses on the young hero's plight to protect May Parker, his aunt, from the repercussions of his crime-fighting life. Thus, when Aunt May is kidnapped, Peter must once again don his Spider-Man persona and rescue her from the Sinister Six: Mysterio, Sandman, Vulture, Electro, Kraven, and Doctor Octopus.
Although Activision has tapped Torus Games to produce Spider-Man 2: The Sinister Six, it's not that much different from what Vicarious Visions developed for last year's Spider-Man. In fact, despite minor improvements to gameplay, visuals, and level design, there really isn't much to differentiate the sequel from the original. If Spider-Man didn't blow you away, Spider-Man 2 won't either.
Last year's game was painfully linear, but the sequel offers a bit more in the way of alternate routes and duct exploration. There is no limit to how often you can webswing or climb, but depending on the difficulty you select, Parker's webshooters will need reloading after every six to 10 shots. However, with the number of web cartridges scattered around, running out of webbing isn't usually a problem. In addition to control, which is more responsive compared with last year's effort, Sinister Six gives Spider-Man a new running kick attack that nicely complements his already standard array of punches and kicks.
Visually too, this Spider-Man sequel shows only subtle improvement upon its predecessor. Character sprites remain on the uncomfortable side of tiny, but the amount of detail and motion to each is remarkable. Spider-Man has at least 10 frames for just his walking animation alone. Once again, background visuals are woefully cubic, but Spider-Man 2 at least exhibits a modicum of environmental detail, such as neon signs, park benches, and leafy shrubbery. In all, there are 12 levels and six unique locations to explore, each based upon a different New York City landmark.
Even though it's only a subtle remake, fans of the webbed wonder will no doubt enjoy everything that Spider-Man 2: The Sinister Six has to offer. It may not be the best-looking or most complex action game around, but it definitely captures the spirit inherent to the Spider-Man myth. In the end, that's what is important. Spider-Man 2 is nothing special, but it's not horrible either.