Spider-Man has been around for almost as long as video games have been around. So it isn’t any surprise that Peter Parker has swung his way across cities New York in over 15 different Spider-Man games on consoles. In lieu of his latest appearance in an exclusive game coming to the PlayStation by the way of Insomniac games, I had tasked myself in the previous weeks of playing every single one of the web slinger’s numerous appearances on PlayStation platform. From the experimental days of open-world gaming to the numerous titles put out by Activision, we’ve ranked them from worst to greatest.
Spider-Man 3 – PS3, PS2, PSP
It’s easy to say that the weakest entry in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films would be Spider-Man 3. With common complaints rooting from the film spreading itself too thin, a poor implementation of the Venom Symbiote, and also having emo Toby Maguire. Ultimately, the game also suffers from these story problems, yet is able to handle them a little better with the longer form of storytelling a video game offers.
What sets it apart as the worst of the Spider-Man games is the evident rushed product that it ultimately ends up being. This is one of those cases where a game was being developed on many different platforms, and as such, you can see how the game was spread thinly through many different incarnations. Surprisingly, the best version of the game is on the PSP, as it features an open-world that puts many of the other games that strive to do the same on the platform to shame.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – PS4
As the latest Spider-Man video game released, it is disappointing that it’s also one of the worst. Adapting the 2014 film of the same name, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 follows Parker as he faces overtly simple combat systems, poorly designed side-missions, and imprecise controls.
This was ultimately disappointing with games releasing on the same console such as Infamous: Second Son. The repetition and rough visuals leave not much that is redeemable for the player.
The Amazing Spider-Man – PS3 and Vita
Perhaps the best part of The Amazing Spider-Man is the open world, as the side-missions are much more interesting than what the main story has to offer. Overall, however, the game lacks a fulfilling combat system and has too linear of level design all-around. Surprisingly, the Vita version of the game is much more impressive than its PS3 counterpart, continuing the trend of bad Portable Spider-Man games being easier to swallow on a portable console.
Spider-Man: Friend or Foe – PSP, PS2
This Spider-Man game has a few things going for it, but not much else in terms of substance. Playing off of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy, the hook of the game is that within combat you can switch between multiple sidekicks. Unsurprisingly, for 2007 the game doesn’t hold up on the PS2 or PSP. Yet it’s an ultimately linear brawler that is best served as a timewaster.
Spider-Man: The Movie – PS2
There is perhaps an entire generation who has an incredibly deep amount of nostalgia for this first foray into adapting the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films. You can tell that the developers had a ton of fun making the game and experimenting with how to make a cinematic Spider-Man game. Bruce Campbell voices the tutorial in a very meta sort of way that was ahead of its time (which became a long-running trend), there’s a lot of different cameos from characters in the Spider-Man comics, even a minigame where you can play bowling with stringed-up henchman.
However despite all of this fun, when revisiting the game there’s a lot that holds it back via the passage of time. The open world and web-slinging leave much to desire, and while the stealth works in an interesting way with the ability to scale on ceilings the combat doesn’t particularly drag itself away from the eventual repetitive bore it becomes.
Spider-Man: Edge of Time – PS3
Capping off the yearly releases that Activision was pushing to consoles before the rebooted films, Spider-Man Edge of Time was the second Spider-Man game created by Beenox Studios. In comparison to their first game, Web of Shadows the dip in quality is noticeably significant.
While the writing is better than most of the Spider-Man games, the level of polish leaves more to be desired. Levels throw countless generic enemies at you and somehow makes this rather short game (as it took me around 5 hours to finish) feel like an eternity.
Spider-Man – PS1
Spider-Man is one of the first Marvel games to understand the scope of the universe it’s set in. Presenting villains and characters from throughout the Marvel Universe such as characters from Daredevil, The Punisher, and the Fantastic Four.
However, even among incredibly devastating villains such as Venom and Doc Ock, the biggest enemy of Spider-Man on the PlayStation 1 is the camera controls. Since there’s little to no way keep control over it, playing the game nowadays ends up being disastrous. It’s best to skip this one nowadays unless you have rooted childhood nostalgia for it, even then it might be best to keep those memories as positive as they were.
Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro – PS1
Enter Electro inherits the same issues that the original Spider-Man game on PS1 in regards to camera control, but propels the strengths of by comparison. Introducing characters from X-Men and balancing the game to be an overall easier experience, with no bosses being brick walls that hinder progress.
If you haven’t yet played the incarnations of Spider-Man on PS1, this one is worth at least a couple hours of playtime to see how licensed superhero games have progressed over time.
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows – PSP, PS2, PS3
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is by no means a perfect game, but with the ability to make choices with your superpowers that affect the story and overall gameplay experience was one that surprisingly fit Spider-Man. Again, introducing characters from a broad expanse of the Marvel universe including Luke Cage, the game had a dynamic story that makes it fun to play at least once.
However, the only thing that pulls the title back is when playing the game on the PSP. The game is drastically different from its home console counterparts in which it is a 2D brawler that leaves a great deal to be desired. A disappointing anomaly with the portable Spider-Man games.
Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions – PS3
The biggest draw of Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions is the variety of gameplay and aesthetics. There’s the friendly neighborhood Peter Parker Spider-Man, Ultimate Spider-Man, Spider-Man Noir, and Spider-Man 2099. The weaving of the four stories is at a scope that feels perfect for the game it’s trying to be, as it doesn’t end up overreaching or any of the character’s overstaying their welcome.
It’s a great Superhero game, and if the technical difficulties and overall polish of the game were smoothed out a little bit more it could’ve been one of the best.
Spider-Man 2 – PS2, PSP
Spider-Man 2 is based on the second Spider-Man Sam Raimi film and ends up being one of the most notorious examples of an excellent superhero game to the point it’s considered one of the best film-adaptations in gaming. Perhaps one of the strongest assets to the experience of Spider-Man 2 is the dynamic web-slinging. It’s momentum based, has a high ceiling for skill, and even leaves strings of the web on buildings.
It’s the details in the open-world that has made this game have a lasting impression on generations of gamers at this point. Alongside this, the game carried a lot of the fun that the first Spider-Man: The Movie game had that make it a package that still holds up today. Unless you’re playing on PSP, which is again a disappointing brawler.
Ultimate Spider-Man – PS2
When looking at Insomniac’s upcoming Spider-Man game, the main thing to realize is that they’re taking a heavy inspiration from the storytelling from the comics rather than the films. Attributing this storytelling to a visual aesthetic that matches the page, Ultimate Spider-Man is a comic book lovers dream.
Having bounds of fanservice, the game is one of the most polished Spider-Man games in lieu of its open world and variety of features. Playing as Venom feels fun rather than an excuse to have sluggish combat that feels like the Werehog from Sonic Unleashed. You can tell that almost every hand that touched Ultimate Spider-Man realized the fun the character had in its many incarnations and channeled the same enjoyment into the best Spider-Man game I’ve ever played.
That is until September 7th swings around the corner.
Hey guys! I’m Dan Thompson and I’ve been writing in the games industry for quite a few years. While I don’t discriminate other consoles, PlayStation will always have a special place in my heart for providing experiences such as Shadow of the Colossus, Uncharted, and the Yakuza series.