Reviewed: June 11, 2007
Released: May 4, 2007
Spider-Man 3 from Activision and Beenox is another common video game port from the console version as well as the common movie based game. The control issues and problems that plague the game for the PC version not only reduce the playability but the overall enjoyment of Spider-Man 3.
Spider-Man 3 could have been good with a little work but not enough was done to make a complete overall game that works. The gameís disjointed story line does not keep an interest but the games general style and franchise fans will definitely have a good time.
While Spider-Man 3 for the PC will sell plenty of copies just because it is Spider-Man, the PC game will not keep many interested enough if there are not solutions to the many problems. The game crashes often just by pressing a key or starting a cut scene and often whole audio pieces are missing from cut scenes.
You start Spider-Man 3 on a quick tutorial to get the hang of the controls and basic moves of Spider-Man. The tutorial gives you more of the console tutorial than the PC as they give you buttons and controls for the Xbox controllers and not a keyboard and mouse. After youíre done with the tutorial you move to the city of New York and your work as the web slinger. The map has different symbols with various missions that you can select and shows icons to lead you there.
Each mission will have a large icon sitting somewhere in New York City for you to start that mission. Once a mission is started you have to either fail it and move on or win it to save your progress. Each mission has a different difficulty and there is no particular order you take in accomplishing them according to the game.
There are a lot of things to do but how can you do them all when you get so dizzy getting there. When swinging on your webs from mission to mission you use your super powers to shoot webs onto nearby buildings and swing from one web to the next. But your camera is under mouse control so your movement keys select where your webs go. Yes, you direct the webs only left and right of you and they go that a way when you press the middle mouse button.
Once in the swing you can look around with the mouse but you also have to hold the middle mouse button while youíre swinging. When youíre done with that swing let go of the middle mouse button and hold it down again to start the next. But donít move the mouse around or youíll see yourself looking the wrong way from where youíre going.
During the mission your mouse look is as bad on the ground as when youíre swinging around. You have to move around with the AWSD keys and that means that if youíre turned the wrong way with an enemy behind youíre using the keys instead of the mouse to turn. This is so confusing when everyone is so used to controlling direction with the mouse and movement with the keys.
Add to this the little problem of very little health power ups and very poorly designed enemy powers and you have a very badly designed game. Another thing they added to give more of a treat for your reflexes, you have little cut scenes where you have to press a certain key for a particular move while spider-man swings through the scene.
On the screen a large red button shows up with the key youíre supposed to press before it disappears from the screen. If you miss the button then you start the scene over again until you get it right.
The missions have the usual bosses and minions to fight but some of the bosses are way tougher than others. Some of the missions you will want to try at a later time when you have more power ups and better abilities which makes the non linear mission setup kind of unique. You have a reason to return and try missions later when youíre better able to win them.
Basically Spider-Man 3 is your usual button masher where you go around New York City beating up thugs, lizards and your arch nemesis, for this episode Sandman. You have some good moments and bad moments in the gameplay with a real problem using the camera and controls.
Starting at the opening tutorial you have some very good effects and general scenes and then when you get out into New York and on your own they forget to keep up the good work with the porting from the console version. They took the time to make the console versions and then ported it directly to the PC without any work on this version.
One mission typifies the overall look and feel of the game, youíre supposed to go to Times Square and photograph some tourists. No problem, there must be hundreds there at any time of the day. Not a chance, there are two or three. There are so many people, cars, and other things missing that it feels like youíre in an abandoned city and not the biggest city in the U.S.
The graphics take a real downhill slide once you get out of the first few minutes. Textures and scenes are repeated heavily and often while characters are one of several varieties. All the lizard men you fight will be one of two models and all the thugs from each gang will be copies of each other.
The effects and hits are pretty bland but they have added some decent looking sprite effects when you are fighting. There are also some neat looking scenes with electricity and steam but these are your basic sprites and effects that have been perfected long before this game was in the works.
Spider-Man himself is another story altogether, he looks great. Well muscled and slim with that great spandex suit he has all the graphics of a great super hero and they took plenty of time rendering him in all his glory. They just should have spent more time with the rest of the game and they would have had a hit.
The cut scenes are another disappointment with things like large gaps around faces and eyes that make the characters look like they have light leaking out of them. The cut scenes have some other problems but they were not the graphics but the sound.
I had to reinstall the game and could not figure out how to get some of the sound errors to go away until I read some more about this game in some forums. Many of the PC version problems are not going to go away until an update is made. Sound is totally missing from some cut scenes that give you part of the story so you miss some of the storyline or what you are supposed to be doing in the next mission.
The sound for the rest of Spider-Man 3 is pretty decent with the very good voice acting of the movie stars including Tobey Maguire and J.K. Simmons. The sound for the most part is another hit and miss issue. The bustling New York streets are anything but in the game and are missing the noise and sounds of a busy city. You donít catch on quickly but there is more missing here than is present and the actual city life is missing almost totally.
Spider-Man 3 has several missions for you to complete that are available from the start and then more will be unlocked as you complete them. But the ones that are there can be done in any particular order and some you may have to return due to the difficulty. There is also a good amount of side missions but they do amount to plenty here as they will also unlock more things for Spider-Man to do.
Each section of New York City is controlled by different gangs, and once you eradicate each gang you will unlock some useful moves when you accidentally perform them. Each time you make a move that you have not performed you will unlock that special move and gain experience and more hitting power using it. So when doing side missions you can unlock more as well as gain experience for a better and more powerful Spider-Man.
The game does level Spider-Man up while playing so you gain more health and power from playing more so the side missions will help your gameplay. The missions for the most part are nice but you do get the general idea of what is going on quickly and dispatching each boss becomes an exercise in which combinations will do them in.
The main missions in the game change scenery and which type of bad guys you fight but they are pretty boring as there is not much difference to them. You find the next group of bad guys and flail around beating them until they all fall down. Then on to the next area with an occasional cut scene including those annoying pop up hit this button deals until you reach the final boss to beat.
Once you get the Black Suit you can also defeat your enemies quicker but you have to watch it or the anger or whatever of the suit will take you over. You can even collect these tokens to be able to use the Black Suit without the problems of the suits power overcoming you but it will take some time to collect them all.
Spider-Man 3 for the PC is a direct port from the console version without any fixing. The game has plenty of problems and if you have a gamepad controller that is the preferred control device, as the keyboard and mouse just donít cut it.
There is plenty to do in Spider-Man 3 but with all the problems and an overall lack of regular city life New York just doesnít seem like it really needs saving. If you just have to own Spider-Man 3 I would recommend one of the console versions if possible. The PC is not that good.