When I was a kid, I had always envisioned what my life as an adult would intel and knew obstinately where I was heading, with me becoming your friendly, if slightly delusional, neighbourhood Spider-man, I was totally adamant that someday I would be bitten by the same infamous spider and gain Peter Parker’s extraordinary attributes. Alas, this particular arachnid has still alluded me (so far at least), despite constant encouragement on my behalf to any and all spiders unfortunate enough to scuttle into my vicinity, so to avert my attention away from my still unrealised non-affliction, I seek solace in other various forms, prominently gaming.
Despite many and seemingly inexhaustible iterations of the Spider-man brand, there really hasn’t been a game worthy of his prosperous title. Sure Spider-man on the original Playstation was fun and humourous. It included many of the wall crawlers most famous adversaries, but it lacked the free roaming experience we all craved, coupled with the disappointing fact that you were limited to the regularity of consistent swings from your webbing. Spider-man 2: The Movie bestowed the user with an illimitable and free roaming city that you could swing and wall crawl to your heart’s content, but it really failed to capture the sense of excitement you should feel with every spin of your web. On the PS2, The Ultimate Spider-man merged the best aspects of the previous games mentioned, but somehow failed to integrate and capitalise on both aspects ideals. So what should be done, should we just cast aside this troublesome arachnid and pick he’s legs off so he’s nothing more than a useless, vibrating torso? Not a chance, if Batman can make a successful game, then so can Spidey, so I have devised a short list of ideas and notions that I believe could improve and enhance the player’s experience, and allow each of us to become Spider-man! (in a virtual capacity anyway).
1: Free Roaming, Open World
Spider-man’s previous installment, Shattered Dimension’s, entirely missed the point of what makes Spidey an engaging and humourous character. Forget for one moment both the Noir and Ultimate interpretations (I know I have), that turned Spidey from a quick-witted one liner, to a frankly dull bore, and become equally disillusioned that Spidey has succumbed to some kind of invisible prison that has seen him trapped in a frustratingly linear world. To be successful, Spider-man essentially must be allowed to swing, climb and acrobatically traverse an open world without fear of invisible walls.
2: Play As Peter Parker
The comic books have always been as much about Peter Parker’s troubled life as they have been about Spidey’s epic encounters, so why not introduce some of Parkers everyday exploits? For one, Spider-man would once again become a relatable character, I mean who can honestly say that you relate to Spider-man? Experiencing the world through Parkers eyes, even briefly, we allow each of us to endure the tribulations that accompany living a double life as a struggling, undervalued photographer and an often despised vigilante. Tiny increments of play is key of course, as continually portraying Peter could become tiresome and repetitive. Just enough to alleviate the pressures of being Spidey should be sufficient.
3: Spiderman 2099
The one intriguing aspect of Shattered Dimension’s that was never fully realised or fleshed out, was Spider-man 2099. Imagine swinging through a futuristic New York City, scaling neon inspired skyscrapers and battling future interpretations of Spidey’s greatest villains. Sure, Spider-man: Edge Of Time will focus attention on the 2099 and present day Spidey, but with limited room for exploration and a predestined path already laid out for you, it’s going to feel too restrictive to really make NYC 2099 come alive.
Let’s face it, where would Peter Parker and he’s alter ego be without his ever-present camera, constantly prepared for any eventuality, its his bread and butter. So why not incorporate Parkers famous photographic skills into a game. Battling enemies for instance could become more than just simply pummeling thugs and super villains into unconsciousness, and could see you focus on capturing some fantastical pics to sale to the Daily Bugle. The money that you acquire from your action shots could be utilised to buy upgrades and extra costumes.
My suggestions and notions may not be to everyone’s liking, and are perhaps a little ambitious, but I think we can all agree that up to this point, no developer has captured the spirit and sure joy that it would be to become Spider-man. So leave comments and other suggestions that could embellish everyone’s amusement of playing as arguably, the greatest super hero of all.