Spider-Man: Amazing Retro Games Worth Webbing Up

Retro Spider-Man Games Header

More than almost any other superhero, Spider-Man has an impressive video game history. Starting with his first game on the Atari 2600, Spider-Man has starred in games on an almost-annual basis, ranging from hidden greats like the 1991 arcade game to less impressive entries like 1995's Spider-Man console game.

However, with some notable exceptions, Spider-Man never got his video game due until the 2000s, when technology finally let gamers immerse themselves in Spider-Man's world. Since then, there have been several great Spider-Man games, with Marvel's Spider-Man being the pinnacle. For anyone who enjoyed that game and its numerous DLC packs, here are some other Spider-Man games that are worth pulling out an old console for.

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Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Spider-Man 2 game feature

Spider-Man 2 changed what a Spider-Man game could be. After two decades of games ranging from good to terrible, Spider-Man 2 is the game that fully realized what it means to be Spider-Man, even if its ostensibly just a movie adaptation. Taking inspiration from recent blockbuster game Grand Theft Auto III, developer Treyarch allowed Spider-Man to freely move about Manhattan in an open world.

Furthermore, Spider-Man was given the tools to fully explore the city thanks to a new momentum based swing mechanic, which requires you to actually attach a web to a building and determines your speed and trajectory based on when you let go. Timing your swings to gain speed or height is exhilarating, and letting yourself free fall so you can attach a web to a nearby building never gets old. In fact, it's a necessary tactic in order to get around quickly in some situations.

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This PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Xbox release is based on Spider-Man 2,  directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire. As such, it follows the plot of the game and features Maguire voicing Spider-Man. However, the game expands beyond the movie and includes some other villains from Spider-Man's rogues gallery. Also, as you have an entire city to explore, there are plenty of side missions to do. These include taking down local thugs and gangs, helping citizens of the city, and delivering pizza. It's a large game and those who enjoyed the recent Spider-Man game should have a fun time with this. The basis of that game, as well as the other games on this list, were all formed and realized here.

Ultimate Spider-Man (2005)

Ultimate Spider-Man game

The game after Spider-Man 2 has even more freedom than that game because this game isn't based on the movies at all. Instead, it takes its inspiration from the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book series. While there's not a whole lot different from the previous game in terms of gameplay, there are a few changes. The melee combat is a lot more entertaining than in the previous game.

he game notably lets players play as Venom. As the story progresses, you will switch between Spider-Man's perspective and Venom's perspective. Venom has a different move set and is much more of a brute force, being able to bulldoze his way across the city. He does have a tentacle that allows him to get around quicker. More importantly, he needs to absorb people to sustain himself so he can continue on.

The rest of the gameplay is much like the previous game but offers more fan service. You can collect covers from various Spider-Man comics, and some of the side missions involve other heroes from the Marvel Universe, such as Wolverine and the Human Torch. The rest of the game has had a lot of changes. Most notably, the graphic style has gone from a more realistic look to a cel-shaded design that mimics the ink line art in a comic book. The comic book aesthetic doesn't stop there as the entire story, written by Ultimate Spider-Man writer Brian Michael Bendis, is told through moving comic book panels. Ultimate Spider-Man was released on PC, PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Xbox.

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (2008)

Mike Vaughn as Spider-Man in Spider-Man Web of Shadows

After Activision's Spider-Man 3 was something of a disappointment with unnecessary quick time events, boring side quests, and bad graphics, the publisher did something drastic to make Spider-Man games relevant again. Accordingly, Treyarch returned along with developer Shaba Games, and the studios made one of the stranger, darker Spider-Man games ever released, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows features a bizarre story about symbiotes taking over Manhattan and Spider-Man struggling with what he should do about the symbiote within him. The game features a choice system where you can choose to be good or bad. If you ever wanted a Spider-Man who cheats on Mary Jane with Black Cat, you can do that here. This also affects the gameplay as Spider-Man can switch between his standard costume and the symbiote outfit at will.

The symbiote costume also added the ability to pull yourself to enemies or pull enemies to you, which is still some of the best combat that's ever been in a Spider-Man game. The abilities you can earn as you fight are mostly well worth it and fighting enemies is super satisfying. Finally, you can call Marvel characters to come to your assistance, including Luke Cage and Moon Knight. Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is definitely a strange game but it's worth tracking down for the PC, PlayStation 3, Wii or Xbox 360.

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