For the longest time, Spider-Man 2 was the gold standard for comic book movies. I think it's aged a little and can be a bit cheesy at times, but it has held up pretty darn well. To coincide with the 2004 release, Activision rushed out a cheap and cheerful Activity Centre to occupy the younger fans. Let's see if it can hold up as well.
Compared to other Activity Centres, it looks quite nice with pre-rendered graphics that compliment the movie's gold-tinted visuals. But then, this is 2004 so it's nothing compared to the bigger budgeted big boy games it sat alongside. The presentation is slick and simple with a fair amount of stuff to do. There are seven games in total along with a basic print studio, and the more majority of them actually have a little meat on their bones.
Collecting Spidey coins is the only way to earn points (left)
Sneaking past a watchman (right)
Warehouse Infiltration has you guide Spider-Man through the trap-filled mazes of Doctor Octopus' warehouses. Collect spidey symbols to earn points and reach for that high score. You can control our hero using the mouse - in fact, that's the control method suggested to you - but it's far more satisfying using the arrow keys. That's how you're supposed to control action games like this, the mouse just feels weird. There are no other moves beyond walking - no attack, no duck, no wall climbing - and your walking speed never gets faster than a slight canter, but the basic stealth required to navigate around guards is quite fun while it lasts. While the basic mechanics aren't enough for a full game, I wouldn't say no to a couple of extra levels with increased difficulty and complexity. It is one of the best activities on the disc.
A face I'll never forget... (left) until I have to remember it (right)
Next up is Mug Shot, where you're given a brief video of a perpetrator which you'll have to match using a PhotoFIT setup. The identikit has you selecting eyes, hair, nose and mouth and no matter what you choose, they all look like crooks. Being aimed at 6-10-year-olds, there's a button that allows you to re-watch that video removing any skill, but it's presented well enough. It's one of the worst mini-games in the package.
Some window cleaners going about their business (left)
despite a supervillain wreaking havoc (right)
Faring a little better is Wall Crawler, a style of game that has featured in every other title starring the web-slinger. Instead of a brief change in mechanics to break up an expansive action game, here it's three levels of the same thing. You crawl up a building, avoiding falling objects, birds and open windows. Doc-Ock resides at the top of each skyscraper tossing bricks and planks to hinder you, but it's the darn birds that will be your true nemesis. They fly much faster than you can crawl, making any attempt to collect that spidey symbol for extra points fruitless. Like Warehouse Infiltration, you have three hits before you lose a life and two lives in total. Hits will replenish between levels, but lives will not. Either way, anyone over the target age group will likely never need them.
Saving patrons of Deb's Delectables (left)
A perp posing for the camera (right)
There are two attempts at a gallery style shooter. Cafe Attack has you slinging webs at falling debris thrown by Otto before they hit the innocents below. The aiming is a little off, but you'll likely catch everything anyway with some frantic clicks of the mouse button. You can't use these tactics in Catch the Crook though. Your weapon is your camera and your mission is to snap some villains in the act of misbehaving. Your view is obscured a little with the shutter, so you'll have to sweep the screen until the crook shows up. While still very basic, I found this to be very enjoyable. You get 5 pictures per stage and some of the shenanigans going on-screen managed to get a titter out of me.
Remember the route of the getaway car, or the colours or sounds (left)
Putting your memory to the test while swinging (right)
By far the most visually impressive game is Web-Slinger. You'll watch a getaway car screech through a top-down view of the city and you'll have to remember their route as you swing through the buildings to catch it. It's essentially a memory game. Each corner the car takes will be accompanied by a tone and a colour, either blue or red. When Spider-Man approaches the turning by way of a pre-rendered CGI cutscene, you'll have to click on the correctly coloured building to continue. The look of this section will surely delight any younguns controlling the mouse, but it's far too simple and easy to excite anyone else.
Chemistry class was never as easy as this.
Lastly, there's some science to be done in Lab Work 101. Peter Parker has neglected his studies, what with all the crime-fighting and city saving and such, so you'll have to practice some chemistry. This teaches you how to follow instructions by giving a list of actions to do in order. You'll be adding water as well as different coloured liquids and powders to a beaker before stirring it and heating it to a specific temperature. While competently programmed and executed, it's simply too basic a task for most people who have an ounce of concentration.
So that's all of the games, and overall I'm very impressed, all things considered. I've played through a lot of kid-friendly activity centres for this site and there's more content here than most. Even the Print Centre at the Daily Bugle will work on modern systems. If it tickles your fancy, Spider-Man 2: Activity Centre is very much worth it.
To download the PC game, follow the link below. This is a custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses dgVoodoo in conjunction with DxWind to run on modern systems. nGlide 3D Wrapper (included) must be installed. Manual included. Tested on Windows 10.
File Size: 418 Mb. Install Size: 566 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Spider-Man 2: Activity Centre is © Activision Inc
Spider-Man 2 (the movie) is © Columbia Pictures Industries Inc
Spider-Man (the character) is © Marvel Characters Inc
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me