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Spider-Man 3

Spider-man 3 is the tie-in game for the recent blockbuster release, obviously. You know the rule about how games based on movie licenses are inevitably awful though, don't you? Well, contrary to popular belief that rule hasn't always been true and there are a handful of tie-in games out there that actually manage to be quite good. The previous Spider-Man 2 was quite good for instance, provided you played it on a console and not the PC or, dare we utter it's name, the N-gage.

So, with a fairly good base to build on and a year in which to make the needed improvements, we decided it was about time we had a peek at Spider-Man 3 on the PC and Wii to see what this web-slinging superhero has to offer us this time in his third third-person action game.

Let's start with the PC version...

The eye of The Spider

We were a little surprised when we booted up Spider-Man 3 on the PC. There was about two minutes of logos and the like first, this was then followed by twenty seconds of intro before we were in the game. We use the word intro in the laxest sense though, as it amounted to nothing more than a man telling someone to blow a building up. Then the building blew up.

Bruce Campbell, cult hero and friend of the film's director, then walks us through the game's controls via some hilarious narrative. Bruce also provided the tutorials for the previous games in the series, so we felt right at home almost immediately.

Spider-Man 3 Spider-Man 3
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I have to admit I was a little confused though as the game, which looked good in pre-release screenshots, clearly wasn't making the most of our super-powerful systems. Some of the models on the characters were truly horrendous. Tobey McGuire's non-Spider-Man suit model for instance looked like something Morbius, the Living Vampire, had eaten and half-digested. Twice.

The controls for the game were difficult to get to grips with at first and matters weren't helped by the poor menu-system which didn't seem to allow all controls to be re-mapped. However, once we got into the game a little bit we were soon swinging our fists in true superhero style.

Which didn't help much, unfortunately. The combat in the game works in a fairly repetitive manner, with two attack buttons and a one-use power up available after a certain number of hits are landed. The animations are fluid and interesting in combat but not varied enough and, though more combos can be unlocked, the reality is that clicking quickly over and over again is as deep as the combat gets.

Spider-Man 3 Spider-Man 3
Click to enlarge
One major flaw with the combat is the camera control. As with most third-person action games the mouse is set by default to move the camera, the right and left mouse buttons make up the fast and strong attacks and the middle button is used for web-swinging. Obviously then combat involves furious clicking as players switch from one target to another. Unfortunately, every move of the mouse forces the camera to try and correct itself, even when you don't want it to.