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Who doesn't love Spider-Man? Peter Parker's sticky alter ego has delighted fans everywhere with his adventures for decades now, and generations have grown up to think of him as the ultimate superhero. Not because of his powers or intelligence, but because it could be anyone underneath that mask.
Maybe that's why Spider-Man games have always felt that little extra special to so many of us. Donning the mask and swinging through New York to fight bad guys is pretty much a thrill whenever a developer has translated it to the world of video games, but the following five titles are the ones that absolutely nailed what it means to be the wall-crawler.
I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that 2004's Spider-Man 2 was, at the time, the game every fan of the webhead had dreamed of. That it was a movie tie-in and ended up as incredible as it did still blows my mind, to be honest... especially given how Spider-Man 3 turned out.
For the first time ever, we were given the chance to live out the full Spider-Man experience. Everything we'd ever wanted to do as the webhead was finally available to us. We could swing through the air of an open world New York City, swoop down to stop criminals before leaping away again, and... urm... deliver pizza.
Okay, the pizza minigame was never exactly part of my definitive Spider-Man dream... but I sure did love that music.
Oh to be seven years old and playing Spider-Man on the PlayStation again. Video games have obviously come a long way in the last two decades, but I'll never forget being able to explore ol' webhead's world in 3D for the first time.
This one really did have it all: a massive cast of villains, cameos from the likes of Daredevil, Punisher, and Captain America, and a brilliant sense of humour. It wasn't exactly the most serious game around, but I'll always love its light-hearted tone and massive amount of hidden secrets and easter eggs for Marvel fans.
This was a game made by Spidey fans, for Spidey fans with some terriffic moments. Fighting Venom, rescuing hostages from bank robbers, and running through an exploding underwater base while being pursued by a monstrous fusion of Carnage and Doctor Octopus... yeah, Spider-Man was a great game that definitely didn't give me nightmares that still wake me up at 4am in a cold sweat. Good times.
There's a lot of love out there for Spider-Man 2, and rightly so, but for the longest time Ultimate Spider-Man was my all-time favourite video game adventure starring the webhead.
We were once again given an open world New York to explore, but this time it was based on the critically-acclaimed Ultimate Spider-Man series from Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley (which also happens to be one of my comic book series ever).
What's so perfect about Ultimate Spider-Man is that it absolutely nails the source material. The gorgeous cel-shaded visuals capture the essence of Bagley's art, while Bendis scripted the story and imbued the characters with that same sharp dialogue that made the book such a hit. It's as close to a living, breathing comic book as video games have ever gotten.
Before Into The Spider-Verse put multidimensional Spider-Man action on the big screen, we were treated to a very similar adventure in 2010's excellent Shattered Dimensions.
This reality-bending adventure gave players four different Spider-Men to control: The Amazing Spider-Man we all know and love, the futuristic Spider-Man 2099, the gritty Noir Spidey, and the younger version of the character from the Ultimate universe.
Shattered Dimensions fully embraced the potential of these separate Spider-Men by giving us four entirely different gameplay experiences based on which version of the character we were playing as. For example, the Noir levels were tense stealth challenges, while any action set in 2099's world was more focused on high-speed combat.
As an added bonus for fans, each Spider-Man was voiced by an actor who'd played him in the past, including the excellent Josh Keaton and inimitable Neil Patrick Harris himself.
As far as I'm concerned, Marvel's Spider-Man is the single greatest adaptation of the character in any medium outside of the comic books.
It takes a little something from every great take on the character - the father/son relationship between Pete and Doc Ock from Spider-Man 2, the more likable and independent Aunt May from Ultimate Spider-Man, and the older and more experienced Spidey that we're used to from the modern books.
Insomniac Games mixes all of these elements together with a gorgeous open world and by far the best web swinging and traversal mechanics to date. There's a lot of dull open world busy work in this game, sure, but it feels like less of a chore when getting from A to B is so much fun.
The perfect Spider-Man game? I guess you could argue that's still to be made, but Marvel's Spider-Man is pretty damn close if you ask me.
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