Spider-Man 2 accompanies Asphalt Urban GT as another technically impressive title that offers little use of the DS's Touch Screen. The game, developed by Vicarious Visions, the company behind the upcoming Xbox Doom 3 port, boasts some truly impressive visuals, but little else to make it stand out as a must have launch title.
In what is a throwback to many games of the 32-Bit era, the game mixes standard 2D scrolling action platform gameplay with a rather breathtaking (for a handheld) 3D environment. Much like old classics such as Pandemonium, you only ever move across the screen, but the action on screen makes it appear as if you are running through a fully 3D environment.
Combat is pretty standard stuff, with punches, kicks and various special Spidey abilities (which thankfully can all be accessed via the Touch Screen). You fight through each level, taking on endless cookie-cutter bad guys and occasionally a boss, never really presenting you with any exciting or innovative gameplay. There is the definite feeling that the visuals have been tweaked to perfection, while the actual game got little more than a month of development near the end.
It doesn't help that the game is severely punishing, with a lack of mid level saves and a number of level objectives that are both unclear and exceedingly hard to carry out. There is a limit to the number of times you want to replay the same level, and you are almost certain to find out that limit while playing Spider-Man 2.
As I mentioned briefly earlier, the Touch Screen is used to select Spider-Man's special moves, and that is about it, apart from the occasional use to block projectiles during boss battles, but this is more annoying that it is entertaining. Anyone expecting all DS games to feature heavy use of the Touch Screen will certainly be disappointed (any may be by a lot of games if the launch titles are anything to go by).
Out of all the North American launch titles we got hold of here at Pro-G, Spider-Man 2 is undoubtedly the weakest of the bunch. The game has a level of visual polish that points to good things from future games, but the playing experience is continuously tedious, with the fact that you have few other DS games to choose from, being the only reason to play on. If you must have an action platformer for your DS, then you have little choice other than this, but for everyone else, save you pennies for something a little more exciting.