Spider-Man: Mysterio's Menace

a game by Activision

Platform: GBA

Genre: Action

See also: Spider-Man Games

Overview

Why leap over tall buildings when you can walk right up them? Spider-Man is back and swinging into action. In Mysterio's Menace your job is to clean out the city of all evil. There are lots of 'Evil Minions'? and several 'Boss'? characters to defeat along the way. Each setting has different challenges in the environment to overcome along with the minions who roam there; there are natural hazards like water and fire to overcome and they can be harder to overcome than the Minions at times. Each time you finish an area you will unlock more areas to clean out.

The game starts with three choices, Downtown, Pier 54, and Empire Metals Foundry. I liked this a lot since some games have you unlock more areas as you play, which is just too hard to begin with when the controls are unfamiliar. I have played games where I just cannot seem to get past one area and I get stuck and cannot play the game. This game avoids these pitfalls by giving you three choices so if one is just too hard right now you can develop your skills elsewhere and then come back later when you are better at controlling Spider-Man.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

The controls can be a bit complicated if your intention is to use all 22 moves that Spider-Man can do. I have found a few select moves that seem to get me by and as I get farther into the game I suspect I will need to learn more. Each button on the Game Boy Advance has an action associated with it. Used in combination, you can get a lot more moves for Spidey. If you get stuck in an area, try a different combination of moves. Keep an eye on your health, your web juice, and the suit you are wearing. There are ways in the game to get power-ups for your health and refills for your web juice. You can also get additional capacity for your web juice if you find the right stuff. There are special Spider-Man suits with protection from fire, electricity, armor, and a special black suit, whose purpose I have not yet discovered, but I intend to find out. Also keep in mind that sneaking by the bad guys is often a good choice, especially if your life or other resources are low. You can always come back for a little exercise later and work over their ribs when you have the advantage.

Multiplayer

There is no multiplayer mode for this game. It would have been fun to be able to go head to head with a real person in an arena setting and battle wits as well as other Spider-Men. In the gameplay there could have been a cooperative play or maybe also a capture the flag game. Any way you look at it, there should have been some sort of multiplayer mode. Multiplayer mode seems to have been ignored by GBA developers in general; I have played only a few titles with any sort of multiplayer mode.

Graphics

This is my favorite part of the game. The graphics are great. You have the classic Spider-Man poses when in action or when you stick to a wall -- that casual crouching/sitting position on a wall is great. You do believe this guy can really cling to walls and ceilings. Although it is slower when attached to a wall, the movement for the crawling action is great. It looks like he really is crawling across that ceiling -- right over the heads of the bad guys. There is good contrast even in the dark areas. The animation of the attacks, poses, and movement is good. My favorite parts are when you get Spider-Man to do a special move like a leaping kick. There are so many moves and so little time. You will find out which moves you like to use and come naturally for you. I like the fact that I have a lot of choices.

Audio

Finally! Someone who knows how to do sound right in a game! In the sound options you can select the volume for the music separately from the sound effects volume. This allows you to still have the volume up and hear the sound effects but not the music track if you don't care for it. I often do not like the music in a game but have had to live with it just so I can hear what is going on in the game. With Spider-Man: Mysterio's Menace I can enjoy the gameplay without music and still hear what is going on. This is the type of sound option that all games should have.

Documentation

Reading the instruction booklet is helpful. The controls are simple enough to figure out as you play, but for the combinations of controls, you will need to read the documentation to figure out the added moves and special attacks. Reading the book is quick and will increase your chances of survival early in the game. The book also identifies all the good and bad stuff in the game so you know what to collect and what to avoid. There are lots of things you can find in the game to increase Spider-Man's abilities. The book shows you what they look like and it also tells you what you will get out of that item.

Bottom Line

Spider-Man: Mysterio's Menace is an E-rated game that appeals to adults as well as kids. I would recommend this game for all ages. It has a lot of replay appeal, if you finish the game on 'Easy'? just step up and play it on 'Normal'? and then try again on 'Super Hero.'? Spider-Man has those great skills of web spinning and wall and ceiling walking that every kid dreams of and now you can get it all on Game Boy Advance. A great game! Score 91: This is a great way to feel like a super hero. Fun game, Activision.

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Activision

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