Over the years, Stan Lee’s web-slinger has been putting together a long-lasting legacy, with a number of films from director Sam Raimi, and a new one from Marc Webb opening next week, telling more of an “origin” story than the one before.
We can’t overlook the legacy he’s left with video games since we’ve seen a number of adventures featuring him in action, either as the main character or a secondary choice among others.
With that in mind, we’ve decided to count down our ten favorites. We argued more than we thought we would in nailing this down – and painfully eliminated a couple in the process – but we think you’ll agree that these are definitely some memorable appearances.
Without further ado, here’s the web-head’s best!
Spider-Man vs. the Kingpin (Sega Genesis/Sega CD)
One of Spidey’s old games is still the best, as he combats pretty much every villain in the lexicon while trying to bring down the big bad Kingpin. With great swinging action, challenging side-scrolling action and photographic opportunities galore, this one’s a classic. For bonus points, the Sega CD version features some songs by Eric Martin, the lead singer for Mr. Big. Track it down!
Spider-Man the Arcade Game (Arcade)
One Spidey adventure for Sega just wasn’t enough, so the company produced a four-player arcade beat-em-up, one that fans would come to enjoy alongside Data East’s equally popular Captain America and the Avengers. Featuring a number of classic villains, along with side characters like Hawkeye, Black Cat and Sub-Mariner, Spider-Man the Arcade Game is a swingin’ good time.
Spider-Man (PlayStation, Dreamcast, Nintendo 64))
Neversoft, a studio that had perfected the art of the skateboarder with their Tony Hawk franchise, branched out in a brave new direction with the first Spider-Man game for PlayStation. Featuring 3D brawling action, a number of Spidey’s memorable abilities (who doesn’t love wall-crawling?) and the humorous inclusion of Venom (“Surf the web, surf the web!”), it remains a favorite today.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (Dreamcast, PlayStation, Nintendo 64)
Since Neversoft had the rights to both the Tony Hawk series and Spider-Man, why not do a little cross-over to please the fans? That’s exactly what happened with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, which features the web-slinger as an unlockable character once you finish enough career goals in the game. For good measure, the team also included a humorous live-action video, which you can see here!
Spider-Man 2 (Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube)
Before the release of Spider-Man 2, Treyarch produced a pretty good 3D Spider-Man game based on the original 2002 film. But with the sequel, the company perfected its craft, with a virtually rebuilt New York City to explore, filled with dozens of missions and challenges. The web-swinging gameplay was quite welcome, and the replayability was through the roof. You could even rescue kids’ drifting balloons…but really, you’ve got criminals to beat up…
Ultimate Spider-Man (Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube)
After producing a number of movie-licensed games, Activision attempted something a little closer to Spidey’s old-school comic nature with Ultimate Spider-Man, an action romp loaded with an abundance of cel-shaded goodness. And along with completing missions with a younger Peter Parker, you could also romp around with Venom, sucking energy out of people and creating total mayhem. And really, who doesn’t like that?
Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, Dreamcast)
Though the more advanced sequel Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is available in stores now, we still can’t help but consider New Age of Heroes our favorite in Capcom’s cross-over fighting games. It’s perfectly balanced, features over 50 playable characters, and honors Spider-Man with plenty of sticky web attacks and a couple of awesome supers. And plus, he actually stands a chance against Hulk here. Who would’ve thought that would be possible?!
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii)
Though the original Marvel: Ultimate Alliance really set the standard for throwing everyone into the Marvel universe in a terrific overhead action/adventure game, the sequel went miles beyond, with an engaging storyline that had players choosing sides in the Marvel world, while also combining characters together (including Spider-Man) for some truly extraordinary attacks. If you’ve got a few friends around and want to spend hours saving the world (no matter which side you choose), this is the game for you.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii)
For its first attempt with the Spider-Man franchise, Beenox really stepped up its game with Shattered Dimensions. Rather than focusing on a specific Spider-Man character, the game actually features four – Ultimate, Amazing, 2099 and Noir, all with their own story to tell – though they tie into a bigger plotline involving a strange sorceress. Packed with plenty of fun moments (including a zinger of an ending), excellent gameplay, memorable boss encounters (Daredevil won us over big time in his air fortress) and superb graphics, the game just spelled “WIN” across the board. Plus, Neil Patrick Harris played Amazing Spider-Man. If that’s not a victory, we don’t know what is.
The Amazing Spider-Man (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Even though it just came out today, we’ve been playing The Amazing Spider-Man for the past few days, and we can honestly say, it’s set the bar high for movie-licensed games. Featuring a huge, sprawling New York recreated in vivid detail by Beenox, Amazing also packs in great combat and web-swinging gameplay, as well as collectibles galore, including readable comic books and additional Spidey suits. Plus the voice acting is phenomenal, featuring the likes of Nolan North as the main baddie, as well as Bruce Campbell as a snarky reporter. With hours worth of gameplay and plenty of “this feels like Spidey” situations, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better experience with the wall crawler in games. Unless, of course, you consider the other entries on this list. They’re winners across the board.