The Amazing Spider-Man (handheld video game)

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For the video game also released in 1990, see The Amazing Spider-Man (1990 video game).
For the video game also released on handhelds, see The Amazing Spider-Man (2012 video game).
The Amazing Spider-Man
The Amazing Spider-Man
Cover art
Developer(s) Rare Ltd.
Composer(s) David Wise[1]
Series Spider-Man
Platform(s) Game Boy
Release date(s)
  • NA July 1990
  • EU 1990
Genre(s) Beat 'em up-style action (side-scrolling)
Mode(s) Single-player

The Amazing Spider-Man is the title of a video game released for the original Nintendo Game Boy. It was published in 1990 by LJN (a subsidiary of Acclaim Entertainment), and developed by Rare Ltd. It is a platform side scrolling action game.

It was followed by two sequels, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and The Amazing Spider-Man 3: Invasion of the Spider-Slayers.


Spider-Man's most dangerous super villains have discovered his secret identity, Peter Parker, and kidnapped his wife, Mary Jane. The action game takes the player through various city locations, battling an assortment of minor thugs, animals, and a supervillain at the end of each level who, through intermission scenes, will taunt Spider-Man as to the whereabouts of his wife.[2]


Spider-Man - main character - Peter Parker, bitten by a radioactive spider, now fights crime as the Amazing Spider-Man. He begins the game through a phone call with Mysterio, who tells him that his wife, Mary Jane, has been kidnapped. Spider-Man travels through the city, fighting criminals and arch-villains in an attempt to get Mary Jane back.
Mary Jane Watson-Parker - Also known as M.J., Mary Jane is the wife of Peter Parker. She has been kidnapped by Spider-Man's worst enemies.


  • Mysterio - first boss - This former special effects wizard appears to know Spider-Man's true identity, and uses that knowledge to trap him. Mysterio is the first boss and is found at the end of an alleyway. He uses his smoke effects to try to confuse Spider-Man.
  • The Hobgoblin - second boss - He awaits Spider-Man at the top of a building. He drops pumpkin bombs on Spider-Man while flying through the air on his goblin glider.
In the instruction manual, the Green Goblin was originally pictured as the end boss for this level. However, he was replaced because, at the time of release, the villain was presumed dead in the comics.
  • Scorpion - third boss - He taunts Spider-Man into entering the subway, where he uses his prehensile tail to try to impale Spider-Man.
  • Rhino - fourth boss - Through Central Park and at the dead end in an alleyway, the Rhino uses his massive weight to try to run Spider-Man through. He is of sub-par intelligence.
In the game, this boss is actually listed as Neanderthal, not Rhino. Yet, to anyone who reads the comics, the witty taunts that take place during the game's intermission scenes replicate those normally given by the Rhino. In fact, the term "neanderthal" may be intended as an insult, rather than a name.
  • Doctor Octopus - fifth boss - A brilliant doctor before an accident fused mechanical arms to his body, Doctor Otto Octavius uses his new appendages to try to stop Spider-Man at the end of the rooftop of the second building.
  • Venom - sixth and final boss - The true abductor of Mary Jane, Eddie Brock has had it out for Peter Parker even before he bonded with an alien symbiote. He has powers similar to Spider-Man, using webbing to his advantage during their sewer battle.


Spider-Man has three extra lives and three continues. However, there are no passwords or secret codes. The intermission scenes between each level feature Spider-Man trading catchy barbs with a supervillain on a cell phone or a walkie-talkie to find out where he should go next.

A typical left-to-right panning interlude between levels. Spider-Man is on the left and Scorpion on the right.


  • Jump - Spider-Man can jump a normal and a double height. When he double-jumps, he can swing on a web.
  • Punch - Spider-Man's primary standing attack is a solid punch to the jaw.
  • Low kick - While crouching, Spider-Man can do a low, side kick.
  • Jumping kick - While jumping in the air, Spider-Man can do a side kick.
  • Web swinging - While double-jumping, Spider-Man will shoot out a diagonal web and swing along it. This can only be done for a short time until the web-meter runs out.
  • Web shoot - While standing still, Spider-Man can shoot a glob of webbing from his wrists. This slightly depletes his web-meter.
  • Wall crawling - In the two vertical levels, Spider-Man will automatically be able to climb up the side of a building.
  • Spider sense - In the two vertical levels, Spider-Man will "buzz" with his spider sense, indicating that the player should move Spider-Man out of the way of possible falling objects.


  • Web vials - These items are used to restore Spider-Man's web-meter, since his webbing is in limited supply. They are dropped by henchmen throughout the levels.
  • Hamburger - This tasty treat will restore some of Spider-Man's health meter.
  • Point bundles - When defeating a henchman, these bundles may drop and raise Spider-Man's point total.

Meters and counters[edit]

  • Points counter - Displayed at the bottom left of the screen, with the word "SCORE" just above it.
  • Life counter - Displayed at the bottom center of the screen. Indicated with a small picture of Spider-Man's face. Indicates the number time the hero can lose all health before game over.
  • Health meter - Displayed at the bottom center of the screen, just above the life counter and shows how much life Spider-Man has left.
  • Web meter - Displayed at the bottom of the screen and shows how much webbing Spider-Man has left at his disposal.
  • Web counter - Displayed at the bottom of the screen, above the Web meter, and shows how many times the web meter can be emptied before it will not be refilled.


One of the wallcrawling sections.
  • Alleyway - Upon receiving a call from Mysterio at his apartment, Spider-Man agrees to meet him in the alleyway. The level is linear, moving from left to right, and includes human henchman, as well as alligators popping up from manhole covers.
  • To the Rooftop & Rooftop - Hobgoblin dares Spider-Man to meet him on top of a skyscraper. The first part of the level plays out vertically, moving from bottom to top. Hobgoblin rains down explosives on Spider-Man, which can be averted by paying attention to his spider sense while dodging henchman who attack with baseball bats from windows. Once Spider-Man reaches the top, he can hop through a window and appear on the roof. On the roof, it becomes a normal left-to-right side-scrolling level, with the Hobgoblin waiting at the end.
  • Subway - Learning nothing from the Hobgoblin, Scorpion calls Spider-Man and tells him he will be waiting at the end of the subway line. As the level starts, Spider-Man is on top of a subway car. Periodically, while the car is at rest, henchman will pull themselves up and shoot at him. Once Spider-Man makes his way past the station, the train starts up. On the way to the next station, bats will try to harm Spider-Man. After two stops, Spider-Man faces off against the Scorpion.
  • Central Park - After no news from Scorpion, Rhino's call takes Spider-Man to Central Park. Besides the regular henchman and the lizards throughout the level, birds frequently fly about, and briars fall from trees when Spider-Man steps within their vicinity. Near the end of the level, there is a transition back to an alleyway, and Rhino is found at the end of one just like Mysterio from the first level.
  • Skyscraper & Rooftop #2- This is second vertical portion of the game. The first part takes the player up another skyscraper, now with flying birds and henchmen who shoot at Spider-Man. On the second rooftop, birds fly about while Spider-Man makes his way to Doctor Octopus.
  • Sewer - In the final level, Spider-Man must fight his way through a sewer to battle Venom, the true kidnapper of Mary Jane. Crocodiles roam the fetid waters as henchmen fire on Spider-Man while hanging from water pipes. Waste from sewer drains impede his movement. At the end of the level, Spider-Man faces off against Venom. Upon Venom's defeat, Mary Jane and Spider-Man are reunited.


The Amazing Spider-Man received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics. Many praised the graphics, sound effects, responsive controls, a pretty good storyline, and reasonable level of difficulty. However, some criticized the game for its restricted controls. It holds a 3.1/5 rating on MobyGames.


External links[edit]