Like so many disappointing Wii games, you'd assume Peter Parker's web swinging alias and the Wii-mote were a match made in heaven. But before you Sellotape remotes to your wrists and ready yourself for leaping off your bed, brace yourself for what you surely already expected; Spider-Man 3 on the Wii is quite a letdown.
The visually superior 360 and PS3 versions were fairly standard third-person action adventure romps, that managed to maintain some worth by providing players with the chance to swing and leap effortlessly between the tower blocks of Manhattan Island.
The Wii version attempts to do much the same, but rather than playing like a direct reflection of its superiors, it's more like the developer has taken the code to a circus hall of mirrors, and sadly, the wind has changed. This vision of Spider-Man is an ugly one indeed.
The controls work in a similar way to Zelda, at once using the Wii-mote and Nunchuck held closely together like a more traditional controller, and throwing in some motion sensitive actions. However, the movements with your hands are expected to be more jerky and exaggerated than those required for Link, and quickly you feel the constant jolts of your wrists only serve as more uncomfortable button presses.
Approached methodically, both the combat and movement controls are absolutely workable, but when you are juggling button presses and flicks of your arm whilst rotating your wrists and guiding the terrible camera, it is too easy to lose your sense of spider-like agility and resort to wild arm-thrashing and frustrated mashing of the buttons. A currency based on experience points that can be traded for new attacks works well, but does little to salvage the game from the doldrums.
The pretence of Spider-Man 3 being some superhero take on the free-roaming GTA clone is a dubious one at best, and though various missions do pepper the map, you generally feel the game's attempts at the non-linear are largely misguided.
Most of the missions are similarly terrible, seeing you swing from point to point, collecting items or defeating foes. Each is also rather broken and disjointed, taking you all about the city without letting you make your way there, causing you to lose all sense of position, direction and involvement in the adventure
Web-swinging your way across New York is still a thrilling pleasure at first, but the city model is so basic and lifeless, leaping over the skyscrapers eventually becomes dull and pedestrian. You will spend almost all of your time swooping through the air above city streets, meaning that any novelty value is short-lived, and as the accuracy and grace with which you move is so limited you quickly tire of your newly granted super powers.
Despite the awful graphics, monotonous set design, and shocking texture pop-in when you scale the game's taller buildings, there are some rare treasures hidden away in Spider-Man 3 that are certainly missing from most movie licence tie-ins. The voice acting by the film's cast is fantastic by gaming standards, and the characters are brilliantly close to the original Marvel comic characters. A real surprise is the hilarious tongue-in-cheek narration, which is good enough at times to keep you hooked.
However, if you want scripting and performance, go see the movie, and unless you are a Marvel devotee, you'd be wise to steer well clear of this friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man.
VideoGamer.com Score4 Score out of 10
- Some surprisingly brilliant humour
- Horrifically bad graphics
- A pathetic realisation of New York City
- Repetitive gameplay