Saturday, 27 August 2011

Keerrrrroooueechsht, Keaaeeerrrrrrrrroooueeeechsht: Game 0013

Parker Brother's Spider-Man is not so much a game you beat as get bored of, very quickly. Its simple mechanics hail from a bygone era, some may call it classic, where its not so much your synapses that are being stretched but the rusting circuit boards of your ageing VCS. You play everybody's friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man and its your job to rid New York's skyscrapers of The Green Goblin's Super Bombs, threatening to destroy the entire city. Gameplay takes place on vertically scrolling skyscraper levels, where you must use your webslinging abilities to scale the building, catch criminals, avoid time bombs and that flying bastard Green Goblin and finally diffuse the Super Bomb at the summit. Wow. I actually made it sound quite good, but believe me, its not really. Don't get me wrong, I owned this game the first time around and to my 4 year old self, sat in front of the 'Big Telly', the only thing illuminating the otherwise dark living room (it was probably nearing bed time), I was Spider-Man. But I'm afraid that nostalgia alone isn't enough to mask the simple control scheme and (barely) functional graphics of Spidey's video game debut.

On the subject of the visuals, while basic to say the least in terms of their design, to their advantage they are wonderfully colourful, the primary palette doing its best to replicate a comic book colour scheme inkeeping with the cartoons and comics aimed at kids of the time. The sound on the other hand is reduced to a start of level midi jingle introducing you to your frequently impending 80 storey plummet to death, invariably on your back. Ouch. The game's other sound is the screaming techno grind of your web, shooting its way around the skyscraper backdrops. Its a most odd sound indeed and one I'm not sure I can do justice to with words (despite trying desperately to phonetically spell it out in the title of this post) , It is also one of the most grating noises to ever grace a video game, and a sound that bears no relation to the classic 'thwips' of spidey's trusty web shooters.

The aim of the game is clearly to shoot for high scores, your score increasing by busting criminals in the many windows that line the walls and reaching the top to diffuse the Super Bomb. Doing so will start Ol' Webhead at the foot of yet another increasingly difficult skyscraper and so the game repeats, until you lose your designated three lives. Unfortunately the repetitive gameplay is enough to make you shoot for the off switch rather than that coveted high score.

When all said and done Spider-Man isn't the worst game the Atari VCS has to offer, but for gamers that don't remember this from the first time around, there won't be much that won't have you reaching for the volume control within minutes and the off switch minutes after that.

Favourite Moment: Diffusing the bombs does have a certain level of satisfaction to it. Quickly marred by placing you at the foot of another largely boring building full of scumbags all hellbent on pushing your yawn receptors. That was my favourite moment.

No comments:

Post a Comment