When we think about Marvel superheroes in gaming, one rises above the rest in terms of prevalence: Spider-Man.
Spider-Man has had a far greater presence in gaming than any other character from the comic book giant, unless you count up all of the various X-Men appearances over the years.
One look at GamesRadar’s countdown of the best Spider-Man games gives you an idea of just how many there have actually been. On pretty much every major gaming console dating back to the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, Spider-Man has made an appearance either in a standalone role or as part of a greater Marvel title. Compare this to the likes of the modern Avengers, each of whom has appeared in only a handful of games, and it’s pretty clear who Marvel’s best video game option has always been.
And that’s only with regard to standard console video games. In recent years, Spider-Man has also been used in a number of more modern gaming mediums, both online and in the mobile market. But among all these different Spider-Man gaming options, there may not be one on any platform more satisfying than the 2000 Spider-Man title developed by Neversoft and published by Activision. Made for PS1, the game was also released on Nintendo 64, and ultimately had versions for GameBoy Color, Dreamcast and Windows.
Spider-Man (2000) is a level-based 3D action game in which you control Spider-Man as he’s hunted by the city and villains alike. One of the real treats in this game is that it naturally brings in a huge number of popular villains and comic characters, from Rhino and Venom to Daredevil and Captain America. Some are opposition and some are allies as you go through the various levels trying to stop the bad guys from infecting New York City’s citizens with symbioses.
15 years later, it’s hard to find a single Spider-Man game that’s made better use of the hero’s powers or which has invoked various comic themes to a more satisfying extent. In this game, you climb over rooftops, dive into sewers, swing across gaps and even use your webs to build traps for your enemies. Naturally it all looks somewhat-vintage at this point, but for 2000 it was actually pretty advanced from a graphics standpoint (using the same engine as the popular Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series). And regardless of the visuals, the game is pure fun, with a high replay value due to various game modes, alternate costumes and fights you’ll want to go through a second and third time.
IGN gave the game 9/10 and marked it as an Editor’s Choice, and it’s hard to disagree. If you can still get your hands on a copy, you should. It’s the best Spider-Man game to date.