If you didn’t already know, Spider-Man is finally making his first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). On May 6, 2017, Spider-Man will finally join up with the rest of the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War. While the film is already getting RAVE reviews (94% on Rotten Tomatoes, 8.6 on IMDB), I’m most excited to see Spidey (and Peter Parker) find his way home. Spider-Man has been my favorite superhero since I was a little kid, though I suffered through the abysmal 1990s, I’ve grown to continue to appreciate the character throughout my life. I want to celebrate my favorite bug, and what better way than to name his best video game appearances!
10. The Revenge of Shinobi (Sega Genesis, 1989)
Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Sega had the video game rights to Spider-Man. One of Spidey’s most puzzling appearances was in The Revenge of Shinobi, the sequel to the ever popular arcade game, Shinobi. Revenge of Shinobi is a great and classic 2D action game that strangely features Spider-Man…in some versions. While you don’t get to play as Spider-Man fighting him in a boss fight is pretty hilarious. The Revenge of Shinobi Makes the list because it’s a great game with our without Spider-Man, it’s just great to see him there.
9. Spider-Man, Venom: Maximum Carnage (SNES, 1994)
The 1990s was an era of bloated comic books with alternate covers and insane storylines. One of the most 90s of the 90s characters was Carnage. When Spider-Man had no real goblins to fight, they decided to run with the symbiotes: aliens who took over people’s bodies to make them super strong and Spider-Man-y. Carnage was all the rage in the mid 1990s, like if Joker had the ability to make his hand into an axe. In the summer of 1993 Maximum Carnage was a 14 part crossover event that took over Spider-Man comics. Naturally, Marvel would want to have a video game based off the whole series. On the SNES Maximum Carnage was one of my favorite beat-em-ups released in the 1990s (especially because of the sick red cartridge!). It wasn’t as good as games like Final Fight or Turtles in Time (see my top 100), but It most certainly was a memorable blast of a game and the first that allowed you to play as Venom! I’d personally like to thank the band, Green Jelly, for the awesome metal soundtrack.
8. Ultimate Spider-Man (PS2, Xbox, 2005)
For fans of this comic book series, Brian Michael Bendis’ run on Ultimate Spider-Man is one of the most celebrated in modern history. While purists hated the Ultimate Universe, it was a great way for Marvel to retell the classic adventures of their characters in a modern environment. We can also thank the Ultimate Comics for giving us the gateway into what would become the Marvel Film Universe. In 2005 Activision continued to milk their Marvel licensing agreement by producing a cell-shaded, open world, Spider-Man game. Ultimate Spider-Man was a fun attempt at giving us a video game that wasn’t attached to a film or cartoon. It had bright visuals and you also got to play as Venom. Win/Win!
7. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (Ps3, Xbox 360, PC, 2010)
One of the more underrated superhero games out there, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions was one of the coolest concepts for a video game. You get to play as 4 Spider-Men each trying to save their individual universes…and reality itself (Spider reality that is!)! While the game was fairly linear it was a nice 3D action game that looked like you were playing a cartoon (a good cartoon like Young Justice or something). You could choose to play as one of four Spider-Men (Mans??): Amazing, Ultimate (Black Costume), Noir, and 2099. Each version of Spider-Man had a unique playstyle and felt different. Activision was also able to pull in some classic Spider-Man voice talent and each version of Spidey was voiced by an actor who previously played the web-head, including Neil Patrick Harris! Shattered Dimensions is unique and different but completely fun as well. I’ll go back to fight Kraven over, and over, and over again!
6. Spider-Man: The Video Game (Arcade, 1991)
I talk about this arcade game a lot. For some reason many gamers don’t really know much about this game and I’m led to believe that it’s fairly difficult to find a good rom for it. Spider-Man: The Video Game is what I would describe as a classic arcade beat-em-up, a genre ever popular in the 1990s. Spider-Man, produced by Sega, switched it up a bit by intersplicing the action with climbing stages that played a little more like Shinobi than Streets of Rage. As with any Japanese video game adaptation of an American comic, the game is strange as you traverse a collection of unrelated landscapes in order to defeat endless waves of Putties, Street Punks. Ape-Men, and Dudes in suits! The cast is strange too, as players can choose between Spidey, Black Cat (which makes sense), Hawkeye, and Sub Mariner (which makes NO sense). Each character has unique abilities that sometimes make no sense (Sub Mariner literally shoots electricity), but it almost makes the game MORE fun. I love Spider-Man: The Video Game, it’s great! I miss the days of 4 player arcade beat-em-ups. I think we need them to come back. In the meantime I’ll try to find a working rom.
5. Spider-Man (PSX, N64, 2000)
I beat this game on the day in which I purchased it. That may be a testament to its brevity, or that I was just that addicted to this game when it released. Spider-Man (2000) was most easily related to the popular mid 1990s cartoon from Fox Kids. I believe they even hired the same voice actor for Spider-Man. It was a fun and cartoony take on the source material, but was able to give a great variety in characters and stages. It also felt great to websling and bash enemies in the face with web-gloves. It’s straight-forward and simple, but ultimately a great introduction for Spider-Man into a more modern gaming environment. I also love their take on the theme song.
4. Marvel Ultimate Alliance (Ps3, Xbox 360, Wii, Ps2, 2006)
While this isn’t as Spider-Man game, Ultimate Alliance is one of my favorite modern video games. It’s Diablo with Marvel Super Heroes, You cannot beat that! Spider-Man was the central figure on the cover of this game so it counts! Marvel Ultimate Alliance is one of the most fun super hero games around. You run around with up to 3 friends and just smash everything’s face in. Spider-Man is just one of about 30 characters, so you can assemble a dream team to take on all of your favorite Marvel villains. Ultimate Alliance is just mindless fun that is a perfect game to play with friends, thank the heavens for local co-op! There was a sequel…it wasn’t as good.
3. Marvel vs. Capcom Series (Arcade, Dreamcast, PS3, Xbox 360, 1998-2012)
Who didn’t love a little Marvel vs. Capcom in the arcade? The frantic and furious combination of Marvel and Capcom characters may not look pretty on paper, but it’s beautiful on the screen. The first MvC was one of the most popular games during the final hurrah of the video arcade. Its eventual release on the Dreamcast brought it into the homes of gamers that played it constantly, until Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was released just a few years later. MvC 2 is still a favorite among fighting game fans and is regarded as one of the best fighting games around. Spider-Man has been a mainstay in the series since its inception and has always had one of the original playstyles. His utter annoyance is what always brought me back to the character and combined with his Maximum Spider hypercombo we have classic video game insanity. A perfect fighting representation of Spider-Man.
2. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (PS1, N64, Dreamcast, 2000)
If you read my top 100 games, you know that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is a game that I was viciously addicted to in the early 2000s. One of the leading causes of my addiction was the ability to unlock and play as Spider-Man. Back when Activision had the video game rights to Spidey and pals, they found a way to throw Marvel characters in a great many games. THPS2 is a modern classic, and captured my attention for a full year. Spider-Man was amazing as well, with special Spidey moves and alternate costumes. Nothing feels cooler than grinding over a half pipe while wearing the Alien Symbiote. Sadly, the Tony Hawk games have not aged gracefully as THPS5 was a massive failure. Let’s hope they come back some day…and maybe get Spider-Man back!
1. Spider-Man 2 (PS2, Xbox, 2004)
This is THE Spider-Man game. After the massive success of Grand Theft Auto III’s sandbox approach to city-building, Activision produced this game that tied wonderfully into the second Spider-Man movie. Spidey is given a massive New York City to run around in, save people, and stop crimes from happening. While the main story is a bit quick, there are enough side missions to keep you busy for a weekend. For a movie tie-in product, Spider-Man 2 is one of the best games of its kind. The greatest aspect of Spider-Man 2 is the ability to openly websling around Manhattan. It feels so fast, fluid, and organic. Few Spidey games before this one were able to capture how Spider-Man moved. The processing power of the PS2 and Xbox permitted much bigger areas to fly through and much more intense visuals. I haven’t played a Spider-Man game this good since then. Here’s to hoping the next Spidey game takes a few notes from Spider-Man 2.