There’s a reason why Spider-Man is one of the most popular comic book superheroes out there: We’ve all just grown up with the kid. Maybe it was through a series of TV shows and cartoons which dominated your school holiday mornings. Or it could be the unforgettable movie franchise born out of Sam Raimi’s vision that’s now in the hands of Marvel Studios themselves with the recent Spider-Man: Homecoming.
But for a select few (including myself), we grew up with Spider-Man through a series of video games that allowed him to swing his way to our game collections and fondest video game memories.
Starting from his early roots as a two-dimensional sprite, the guest appearance in Capcom’s biggest collaboration to the upcoming flagship title to be released next year, here’s a selection of Spider-Man video games that’s just as amazing and diverse as his web-slinging abilities.
1) Spider-Man (1995)
Platform: SEGA & Super Nintendo
Currently available on old-school Super Nintendo systems and emulators online, Spider-Man (1995) is a classic game that gave players their first chance to interact with the superhero as you fight your way across some of Spidey’s classic villains.
The game is nostalgic in every sense, from the side-scrolling mechanics reminiscent to Castlevania to the villains that lay upon each stage. The game pays tribute to both Spider-Man and his iconic villains, giving each character the same design as their original comic book counterpart. Interestingly, the game limits your offensive combat to hand-to-hand punch and kicks, omitting any use of his web slingers.
Best Spidey Moment: That background music every time you’re fighting against one of Spider-Man’s comic book villains. So much 8-bit goodness.
2) Marvel VS. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes (1998)
Platform: PlayStation 1
Most notable for being one of the most popular cross-over video games ever made, the Marvel VS Capcom franchise rose to popularity once Clash of Super Heroes reached the first PlayStation platform after a successful stint on the arcade shops. Through this release, we finally experienced what it was like to be fight like Spider-Man, combined with a tag-team system which allowed for creative combinations to play.
Spider-Man was given the same roster of moves any Street Fighter hero would receive as the title kept the distinct 2D fighting mechanics from the Capcom universe. You’ve got a classic set of uppercut and projectile moves to allow any Street Fighter veteran to feel comfortable with, but it’s the additional qualities such as the web swing and wall jumps that gives Spider-Man fans a unique way to experience their favourite hero in action. Partner him with a damage-heavy fighter and you’ve got a great team to get through the entire game.
Best Spidey Moment: Tag-teaming with unlikely partner Venom as you plough through arcade mode. They’re a good mix of high-damage and quick attacks to disrupt and punish the opponent.
3) Spider-Man (2000)
Platform: PlayStation 1 & Nintendo 64
Two words for you: Bank heist. The game opens with an iconic Stan Lee voice-over setting the stage for Spider-Man as he prepares for this next adventure. Blackcat drops by to give you a tutorial on the basics of the game every now and then, marked by colourful question mark as you move through the skyscrapers.
Game developer Activision gave players the first AAA-grade interactive Spider-Man experience with this title. The three-dimensional environments gave the tall buildings perspective and depth, making each web swing a satisfying experience for the player. Hardcore fans could appreciate the comic books each levels were based on, and there were more opportunities to play around with your web attacks than ever before.
Best Spidey Moment: The unlockable costumes with special abilities. Everything from comic-book skins to costumes for unlimited web slings. Yes, unlimited web slings.