Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Amazing Spiderman (C64, 1990)

Back in the day there were two major C64 magazines, Commodore Format and Zzap64. It would just so happen that every once in a while they would give conflicting reviews about a game. Take The Amazing Spiderman for example. Commodore Format gave it a positive 79%, while Zzap gave it the thumbs-down with a 42%. Who got it right? I'd say Commodore Format this time since Spiderman is neat little game.

Unsurprisingly and without delving
too much in the plot, you take the role of Spiderman as he's trying to rescue Mary Jane, who has been kidnapped by Mysterio, in some sort of film studios. And one has to note that upon starting the game initial impressions aren't so favourable. Spidey moves at a fairly slow pace, while the control method can be a bit laborious - if not downright frustrating. Persevere though and a playable arcade-adventure reveals itself.

The Amazing Spiderman is a flick-screen affair and the emphasis is set on switches. Each screen features quite a lot of them, and these in turn activate secret passages, reveal hidden objects, alter the movement of the enemies etc. Screens range from the simplistic to the elaborate and requiring a lot of thought. Enemies can be temporarily stunned using your webshots, while Spidey can cling to the walls or even sling around with his web. And boy is his movement smooth, just look at that animation. Surely one of the best on the C64 along with Myth and Impossible Mission - but of course slow.

You really have to admire at the game's size, it's humongous. It's divided in various sections, which in turn are divided by the so called "take screens" (where you can restore your energy). The atmosphere is also rather special, occasionally giving the impression of a desolate and deranged funpark. Sound-wise the game isn't so hot, but you can always play some nice music in your Sidplay to make up for it.

As with many retro games, the real problem is the lack of a save option. Play this on an emulator and you won't face any such problems, but purists that would like to try this on a real 64 will be disappointed. Starting from scratch generally sucks, especially when you've played through half of the game. But hey, that's how it was back then. So try and you never know, it might just take your fancy.



Merman said...

I always found Spidey very difficult to control in this game, but I did get quite a long way into it once. The animation is great for the hero, the way he clambers over obstacles and swings into action.

(Having written for both mags, I found the conflicting reviews rather confusing at times... but that's a story for another comment!)

Jim Slip said...

Yeah, it's quite hard to control. But it does get better after a while.

For the reviews, to be fair Zzap was usually more accurate, but not always. It gave Skull & Crossbones 81% for example, which was mystifying.