Spider-Man in video games
There are numerous video games featuring the popular Marvel Comics superhero Spider-Man that have been released. To date, Spider-Man has made appearances on over 15 gaming platforms, which also includes mobile games on mobile phones.
By the late 1970s, Spider-Man had become a successful franchise. At this time the fictional character had already featured in the animated series Spider-Man, a segment on the children's television series The Electric Company (called Spidey Super Stories), and the live action prime time series The Amazing Spider-Man. As a result of the success, Marvel Comics licensed the character into a stream of electronic games.
In 1982, Parker Brothers published a game for the Atari 2600 (and its clone system, the Sears Video Arcade) titled Spider-Man. The action game involves climbing a skyscraper, capturing criminals and defusing bombs set by the Green Goblin. It supports two players.
In 1984, Scott Adams released the second in the Questprobe series of text adventure games. The second in the series was titled Questprobe: Spider-Man, and involved Spider-Man hunting for a series of gems at the behest of a mysterious character named the "Chief Examiner". The game was ported to the Commodore 64, Commodore 16, Atari 8-bit family, ZX Spectrum, PC, Amstrad CPC, and the Apple II. This was a first-person-perspective graphical adventure game, with commands entered textually.
In 1989, The Amazing Spider-Man and Captain America in Dr. Doom's Revenge! was released for PC DOS, Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64. The game was written by Paragon Software Corporation, and published by Medallist (a subsidiary of MicroProse). The story of the game is told in a series of comic panels, with the game play similar to that of Street Fighter: The player, as either Captain America or Spider-Man, battles villains one-on-one until facing Doctor Doom.
In December 1989, The Revenge of Shinobi was released on the Mega Drive/Genesis. The game's boss battles feature comic book characters including Spider-Man and Batman, as well as famous movie characters, including Terminator and Godzilla, and even Rambo as normal-stage enemy. Initially, Spider-Man was included without consent from Marvel, but another version was released, this time with the copyright message shown in the beginning of the game, giving credit to Marvel, and editing the looks of Batman, Rambo and Godzilla, so avoiding a possible lawsuit; a Sega CD version was released, being derived from the altered version.
In the 1990s, comics enjoyed a boom, and the early 1990s saw a myriad of video games based on high-profile comic story lines and the 1994 Spider-Man: The Animated Series. The Amazing Spider-Man was the first game of the decade released, a puzzle oriented action game developed by Oxford Digital Enterprises and released in 1990 for the Amiga and ported to MS-DOS, Commodore 64, and Atari ST. The title was published by Paragon Software Corporation and features over 250 screens.
The Amazing Spider-Man, developed by Rareware and released in 1990 was the first in a trilogy for the newly introduced Game Boy. The game was published by LJN (a subsidiary of Acclaim), the first of a series of games published based on licensed Marvel characters. The gameplay involves running across New York City chasing supervillains to locate Mary Jane Watson. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was developed by B.I.T.S and released in 1992. The game is a side-scrolling beat-'em up. Spider-Man attempts to clear his name after he is accused of a crime committed by the Hobgoblin. The Amazing Spider-Man 3: Invasion of the Spider-Slayers, the third in the series, was released in 1993 by B.I.T.S. The Punisher: The Ultimate Payback! by Australian company Beam Software was released in 1991 for the Game Boy. The game is much like Operation Wolf, with the Punisher shooting villains while protecting the innocent. Spider-Man appears between the action to offer advice on how to beat upcoming levels and swings in to rescue hostages once their captors have been shot. The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin, developed and published by Sega and released in 1990, was the first game featuring Spider-Man on Sega consoles. The game premiered on the Master System and Genesis in 1991, followed by the Game Gear in 1992, and to the Sega CD in 1993. Fundamentally, the game is the same on each platform with each iteration including new levels, enhanced graphics and a few incremental improvements to the gameplay. The story involves Spider-Man trying to collect six keys from six villains to defuse a bomb in New York planted by the Kingpin. Spider-Man has a finite supply of web fluid and the only way to replenish is to take photos, most profitably of the supervillains, to sell to the Daily Bugle.
Spider-Man: The Video Game was released in 1991 for coin-operated arcades. Developed by Sega on Sega System 32 hardware, the game is a four-player, platform beat-'em-up similar to Data East's Captain America and the Avengers released the same year. The player plays as Spider-Man, Black Cat, Namor the Sub-Mariner, or Hawkeye, with the game divided into four acts.
Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six developed by B.I.T.S. and released in 1992 for the Nintendo Entertainment System was the first game featuring Spider-Man on the NES. It was an action platform game that involved Spider-Man swinging across various levels to defeat each one of the Sinister Six; Electro, Sandman, Mysterio, Hobgoblin, Vulture and Doctor Octopus. Ports to the Master System and Game Gear followed in 1993.
Spider-Man and the X-Men in Arcade's Revenge, the first Spider-Man cross platform game, was released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis. It was first developed for the Super NES in 1992 by Software Creations (who went on to produce several games for Marvel) and published by LJN. The game was later ported to the Sega Genesis in 1993. The game involves rescuing four of the mutant superhero X-Men (Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Gambit) from an assassin named Arcade. The player must navigate Spider-Man in search of the captured heroes (who join Spider-Man when found), fighting a variety of super villains. Software Creations later adapted the game to the Game Boy in 1993 and to Game Gear in 1994.
Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage, released on Super NES and Genesis in 1994, was the first one of two major Marvel comic book storyline adaptations by Software Creations. Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety released in 1995 for Super NES, Genesis and PC was the sequel. Both games are side scrolling beat-'em up action games where the player controls either Spider-Man or Venom, fighting various villains from the comic book plotlines.
Spider-Man from 1995, was developed by Western Technologies and published by Acclaim on the Genesis, and by LJN on the Super NES. It marked the beginning of a range of software incorporating elements from the Spider-Man cartoon. The game is a side scrolling action platformer. The Super NES game features six levels, five bosses, and fourteen sub-bosses. The Genesis game features five levels, five bosses, and thirteen sub-bosses. The game also features the Fantastic Four.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Lethal Foes was released in 1995 for the Super Famicom in Japan, very loosely based on the mini-series The Lethal Foes of Spider-Man.
Spider-Man Cartoon Maker, released in 1995 by Knowledge Adventure, is a software package that allowed the user to create films by using an archive of backdrops, animations and props from the Spider-Man animated series. The game featured the voice of Christopher Daniel Barnes, who played Spider-Man in the series.
That same year Marvel attempted to release classic comic books onto CD-ROM. Only four were ever produced, based on Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man and the Fantastic Four. The Spider-Man one titled, Marvel CD-ROM Comics featuring Spider-Man included animation from the series, trivia games, and four complete issues of the comic narrated by Christopher Daniel Barnes.
Marvel Super Heroes for the CPS II arcade hardware was a result of the success of Capcom's fighting game X-Men: Children of the Atom. It was developed by Capcom, released in 1995, ported to Sega Saturn, PlayStation and MS-DOS and features Spider-Man as a playable character.
Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems, an unrelated action game, was released for the SNES in 1996. The game involves using each of the Marvel superheroes through each of their levels to collect one of the Gems needed to complete the game. The SNES features Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Wolverine, and Spider-Man.
After Children of the Atom and Marvel Super Heroes, a partnership between Marvel and Capcom began, combining the two universes into the Marvel vs. Capcom fighting game series. Spider-Man would appear as a playable character in several titles:
- Marvel Super Heroes (1995)
- Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter (1997)
- Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes (1998)
- Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (2000)
Venom also appears as a playable character in the latter two games. Spider-Man later returns in Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds.
This Spider-Man was seemingly killed by Morlun with a single punch during the events of Spider-Verse.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Web of Fire was developed by Harutyun Zatikian in 1996 and published by Sega for the Sega 32X, as one the final titles for the add-on. The game is a platform action game similar to the previous Sega title, Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin. This time Spider-Man teams up with Daredevil to prevent the invading forces of HYDRA from taking over New York City. The game is broken into six levels with bosses such as the Eel, Tangle, and the Super-Adaptoid.
Spider-Man: The Sinister Six, developed by Brooklyn Multimedia was an adventure game for the PC. The game was released in 1996 and published by Byron Preiss Multimedia. The game allowed the user to choose the path the narrative would take, interact with characters as Peter Parker, collect items, and confront various puzzles, boss battles, and mini games.
Marvel Creativity Center, released in 1997 for both PC and Apple Mac by Cloud 9 Interactive, teaches the user how to create comics, the 'Marvel Way' with Stan Lee and Spider-Man acting as guides. The "story" involves Marvel studios being infiltrated by a mystery villain who has broken contact with all the regular Marvel artists and writers, leaving it up to the user to plot, script, illustrate and letter a comic.
Throughout the late 1990s, Marvel Comics suffered an industry slump with Marvel filing for bankruptcy, which explains the lack of Spider-Man games towards the end of the late 1990s. However, by 2000, Marvel was profitable again and was gearing up to drop the Comics Code Authority and established its own rating system. They began seriously licensing its characters for major feature film adaptations (with the commercially successful X-Men film premiering on July 14, 2000). By the late 2000s, new Spider-Man games were in the works, being published by Activision, until January 2, 2014, when the license expired.
Two Spider-Man titles for PlayStation and Game Boy Color were announced. Neversoft's PlayStation iteration was highly successful. Enhanced versions were ported by other developers to the Nintendo 64 in 2000 and PC CD-ROM and the Dreamcast in 2001. A sequel, Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro was released in 2001 for the PlayStation and developed by Vicarious Visions. In those two games, Spider-Man was voiced by Rino Romano.
The PlayStation Spider-Man used the same engine as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (released September 2000) which was also developed by Neversoft. As an easter egg, developer Neversoft included the ability to play as Spider-Man if the player achieved a high level of success in 'career mode'.
As the live-action Spider-Man film was released in 2002, a game developed by Treyarch titled, Spider-Man was developed for PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube with a separate title developed by Digital Eclipse for Game Boy Advance. The game play was similar to that of Neversoft's previous Spider-Man game, except it featured for the first time aerial combat, and to an extent allowed the user to 'web sling' over New York openly, although not being able to land on the ground below. The game sported the voice of the actors from the film, including Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Bruce Campbell, and including Josh Keaton as Harry Osborn and in a bonus story-mode where he wears Norman's Green Goblin gear.
After the critical success of both the first Spider-Man film and the video game releases, Marvel ordered a wider selection of titles to coincide with the release of Spider-Man 2. The flagship titles being Treyarch's Spider-Man 2 for PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube, which extended the open environment concept started by their previous title. Unlike the previous generation of games based on the film, Treyarch's game was not released for the PC, and in its stead was an original game developed by Fizz Factor. The reasons for this remain unclear, and Fizz Factors game did not include the open environment gameplay as seen in Treyarch's game and appeared to be targeted towards a younger audience, despite the game being marketed the same as the console release. Later, in 2005, another version of Spider-Man 2, this time for Sony's handheld, the PlayStation Portable; which debuted in the first quarter of the year along with the system, was released. The PSP version of Spider-Man 2 was one of the first action games for the PSP, in which Spider-Man has to stay at a certain height, and Vulture is exclusive to the PSP version. The PlayStation, Xbox and GameCube received high critical acclaim and is often the basis for comparison for other Spider-Man video games.
In 2007 Spider-Man 3 was released for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC, PlayStation 2, PSP and Nintendo DS. It is similar to the precursor. The game was developed by Treyarch, the other console version was developed by Vicarious Visions, and the PC version by Beenox. Xbox and Nintendo GameCube versions of the game were planned, but later cancelled due to low sales for Xbox and limited resources for GameCube.
Sony Pictures Mobile released a Spider-Man game for wireless phone in 2003. The game was such a success that a number of titles were planned to be released alongside the Spider-Man 2 film. Some titles were delayed and are slowly being released. Titles include; Spider-Man vs. Doc Ock (May 2004) (a multi-level action-adventure game where Spider-Man battles Doc Ock), Spider-Man 2 Pinball (May 2004) (virtual pinball game, themed with Spider-Man & Doc Ock characters), Spider-Man 2 3D: NY Subway (April 2005) (the player acts as Spider-Man as he leaps, swings and soars through the city, defeating thugs and ultimately facing off with Doc Ock. The 3D games feature superior graphics and sound and showcase the advanced capabilities of new mobile handsets) and Spider-Man 2 Text Messaging Games (players must show their knowledge of Spider-Man trivia and navigate through a mission-based text game). Other hand handheld versions developed appeared on the Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance by Vicarious Visions and N-Gage by Backbone Entertainment.
Additionally, Micro Games of America towards the end of 2004 released a portable LCD game, titled Spider-Man 2. Sony Pictures has also released their own LCD game, titled Spider-Man 2 Hand Held Game and a virtual reality head set portable game titled, Spider-Man 2 VR 3D.
As 2005 began, Activision released Spider-Man & Friends for PC. It was developed by their internal company, Activision Value and targeted towards young children. It featured action game based gameplay with various puzzles used as a learning tool. In March, Activision Value released their second title based on the Spider-Man franchise, Spider-Man Print Studio. The software allows the user to print various calendars, posters, bookmarks, flyers, door hangers, and masks from a library of pre-existing Spider-Man themed art, with Spider-Man as a guide to show the user the software.
Spider-Man is featured in Ultimate Spider-Man, voiced by Sean Marquette. Based on the Marvel Comics' Ultimate Spider-Man, it was released on September 22, 2005 for Nintendo GameCube, Xbox, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, PC, Mobile Phones, and Game Boy Advance. In this game, players get to play both hero Spider-Man and fan-favorite villain Venom in their own storylines. The game also introduces the new Comic Inking Animation technology, cel shading that makes the entire game appear as if it were a living comic-book. The writing and art design for Ultimate Spider-Man were done by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, respectively, who both have worked on the comic book series of the same name since it was launched. The game's plot line also supposedly fits into the USM chronology, with issues 86 - 88 being advertised dealing with the aftermath of the events of the game.
Also in September 2005, Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects was released, which includes both Spider-Man (voiced by Alistair Abell) and Venom as playable characters. The game was released for Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS.
A spiritual sequel to Marvel Nemesis was scheduled for release. A preview of the game was released containing a battle between Spider-Man and Doctor Doom, but due to the end of the partnership between EA and Marvel the game was cancelled.
Spider-Man is a featured playable character in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, voiced by Quinton Flynn. The Scarlet Spider is an alternate costume for Spider-Man outside of his Classic, Symbiote, and Stark Armor costumes. Outside of playable character status, he is seen in the cutscenes with Captain America, Thor, and Wolverine. Spider-Man has special dialogue with various characters ranging from Dark Spider-Man and Dark Thor, Black Widow, Henry Pym, Lizard, Lockjaw, Mysterio, Rhino, Scorpion, and Shocker. A simulation disk has Spider-Man defending Dum Dum Dugan from Scorpion while on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Omega Base. Spider-Man shows mock envy to his allies during mission briefings, making comments on S.H.I.E.L.D's advanced Hellicarrier and Omega base, Tony Stark's wealth and the X-Men's relationship with the Shi'ar Empire.
The Spider-Man 3 game was released at the same time as the film. The game is on all formats, with the PlayStation 3 receiving a Collector's Edition featuring an exclusive playable character - Harry Osborn's "New Goblin" persona. The black suit was handled differently by the different development teams that worked on the game, with some opting to keep the player in the costume until a certain point in the game whilst other versions of the game used the suit in a more strategic fashion, allowing the player to don or remove the costume while suffering side effects appropriate to how much the suit is worn. In October 2007, the New Goblin was released onto the Xbox Live Marketplace, making the PC version of Spider-Man 3, besides the PS2 and Wii, the only version developed by Treyarch not to have the New Goblin as a playable character (Excluding fight against Sandman).
In 2007, two Spider-Man 3 games were released for mobile devices, developed by Javaground USA and produced by Sony Online Entertainment. Spider Man 3 Action was released early in the year, followed by Spider-Man 3 Puzzle a few months later.
Spider-Man: Friend or Foe was released on October 2, 2007 for Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 2, PC, PSP and Nintendo DS where James Arnold Taylor reprised his role of Spider-Man. The game is a different take on the three films, adding humor and story changes. Players can team up with a number of super villains from the comics, including Venom, Doc Ock, Green Goblin, Sandman, Black Cat, etc.
Stern Pinball has developed a Spider-Man pinball machine that encompasses all three Spider-Man theatrical releases, released in June 2007. This machine is designed by Steve Ritchie and programmed by Lyman Sheats.
Spider-Man appears as the lead in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, voiced by Mike Vaughn. Released on October 21, 2008, Web of Shadows has received positive reviews with critics praising the idea of an original story, but citing poor polish and execution. Four separate versions of the game were released: a 3D action game for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and Microsoft Windows, a 2.5D side-scrolling beat 'em up action game for the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 2 (called Amazing Allies Edition), and a 2.5D side-scrolling brawler/platformer for the Nintendo DS.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is a 2010 adventure game that was developed by Beenox and Activision. The main characters for this game are: the Amazing Spider-Man (voiced by Neil Patrick Harris), Spider-Man Noir (voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes), Ultimate Spider-Man (voiced by Josh Keaton), and Spider-Man 2099 (voiced by Dan Gilvezan).
The character is voiced by Josh Keaton in Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. He has four alternate color schemes: the classic red and blue costume, the black costume, the "Iron Spider", and the black and green suit from the recent "Big Time" storyline.
Spider-Man reprises his role as a playable character in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, which is an enhanced version of Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. He is voiced by Josh Keaton. His black and green outfit was replaced with the black and red outfit from "Big Time" as well as the black and yellow Spider Armor suit. He additionally gains his white and black Future Foundation outfit, and his DLC costume is Ben Reilly's Scarlet Spider outfit.
Spider-Man: Edge of Time is a 2011 adventure game that was developed by Beenox and Activision, the same companies that developed Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. The main characters for this game are: the Amazing Spider-Man, voiced by Josh Keaton, and Spider-Man 2099, voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes.
The Amazing Spider-Man is a game based on the movie of same name that was released in 2012. The game was developed by Beenox and Activision, the same developers of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and Spider-Man: Edge of Time. Sam Riegel voices Spider-Man and in the iOS version of the game, Yuri Lowenthal voices Spider-Man.
Spider-Man is a playable character in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game Marvel Heroes, voiced by Drake Bell reprising the role while Spider-Man wears his modern costume, Christopher Daniel Barnes reprises the role while Spider-Man wears his Symbiote costume.
Spider-Man appeared as a free downloadable character in Lego Marvel's Avengers in both classic, his civilian identity and his separate Marvel Cinematic Universe's first appearance costume from Captain America: Civil War, bundled with Iron Spider, the Ben Reilly version of Scarlet Spider, Ultimate Miles Morales and Ultimate Spider-Woman.
Spider-Man is a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, James Arnold Taylor reprises his role. He serves as one of the main story characters in the game alongside the Avengers (consisting of Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye), the X-Men (consisting of Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Gambit, Charles Xavier, and Emma Frost), and the Fantastic Four.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a game based on the movie of same name developed by Beenox and was released in April 2014, with Riegel reprising the role. Same for the iOS version where Yuri Lowenthal reprises the role. This was the last game published by Activision before the licensed expired.
Spider-Man is a playable character in Marvel: Contest of Champions. Spider-Man (Symbiote), Spider-Man (Stark Enhanced), and Miles Morales also appear as separate playable characters.
Spider-Man is one of the heroes in Marvel Puzzle Quest.
Spider-Man Unlimited is an endless runner mobile game developed by Gameloft, was released on September 2016 for PC, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. It features Spider-Man, along with his other alternative versions, as playable characters. Spider-Man is voiced by Yuri Lowenthal.
Spider-Man is a playable character in Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by Drake Bell reprising his role.
Marvel Mighty Heroes was shut down a year after launch.
Spider-Man is a playable character in the mobile game Marvel: Future Fight.
Spider-Man is a playable character in the mobile game Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2.
Spider-Man returns as a playable character in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite with Robbie Daymond reprising the role from Marvel's Spider-Man. He was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con 2017, along with Frank West, Mike Haggar and the Nemesis from Resident Evil.
Spider-Man returns as a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2, he teams with the other heroes to stop Kang the Conqueror, He seems to be good friends with Kamala Khan, White Tiger and Star-Lord, and is seen flirting with Crystal. He primarily wears a costume based on the one worn by Tom Holland's character in Marvel Cinematic Universe (introduced in Captain America: Civil War). The homemade suit (shown in Spider-Man: Homecoming) also appears as an unlockable variant.
During E3 2016, Sony announced Spider-Man, developed by Insomniac Games for the PlayStation 4. The game, released September 7, 2018, features an open world environment and depicts an older and more experienced Spider-Man (voiced by Yuri Lowenthal) with an original story and no ties to any of the existing Marvel projects. The game features RPG elements including an experience and levelling-up system as well as numerous suit unlockables.
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