The 21st century has been kind to the webslinger thus far, with Spider-Man having over a dozen solo adventures in the past two decades. While the character could not be properly brought to life in the 90s, as a few particularly weak outings showed, he has done better in the 2000s. From linear beat-em-ups to open world playgrounds, the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man has swung through several genres and leapt onto numerous consoles.
While Spidey has appeared in franchises like Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and Marvel vs. Capcom, and will soon be appearing in Marvel’s Avengers, his solo outings are a separate beast entirely. Focusing completely on the hero, his villains, and his storylines, the games have been a mixed bag of average and truly incredible adventures. As such, ranking them puts things into perspective, allowing Spidey fans looking to pick up one of the hero’s games to make a wise decision.
- Spider-Man 2: Sinister Six
- Spider-Man: Battle For New York
- Spider-Man 3
Apart from Spider-Man 2’s disastrous PC port, none of the character’s games are worthy of an F tier spot. Instead, D tier is home to a trio of uninspired Spidey releases. Both Spider-Man 2: Sinister Six and Spider-Man: Battle For New York were flawed portable titles, with the former releasing for Gameboy and the latter releasing for Nintendo DS. Both of these Spider-Man games suffer from unnecessary padding, with Sinister Six wasting its formidable group of villains and Battle For New York packed with unneeded mini-games.
As for Spider-Man 3, the game is much like the deeply flawed movie that inspired it. Edgy and dark for no real reason, the visuals are outdated and the camera functions poorly. Weak combat does not help, and while the strong web-swinging from Spider-Man 2 remains intact, actor Tobey Maguire completely phones in his performance. Overstuffed with random villains just like the film, this game is truly a disappointment given what came before.
- Spider-Man: The Movie
- Spider-Man: Mysterio’s Menace
- Spider-Man: Friend or Foe
- Spider-Man: Edge of Time
- Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro
- The Amazing Spider-Man
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2
A busy category of Spider-Man games, players can find some decent titles in this list. Spider-Man: The Movie, for example, was decent for its time, though the game has aged poorly since then. Spider-Man: Mysterio’s Menace is the best of the portable Spidey games, as the Gameboy Advance title used suits as upgrades in a clever way — though it was ultimately too short and repetitive. As for Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro, it had strong visuals and voice acting, but it lacked the exciting story of its predecessor. Like Mysterio’s Menace, the game also suffered from being too brief.
Both of The Amazing Spider-Man games suffer from the same fate of being tie-in games released during the pre-PS4 era. While they include fun easter eggs involving Stan Lee, their narratives are predictable, and the gameplay of both titles is laughably easy. Spider-Man: Friend or Foe truly feels as if it is aimed at a young audience, boasting a cheesy story that does not make good use of its unique concept of supervillain team-ups. Finally, there is Spider-Man: Edge of Time, the most interesting C Tier Spidey game. A follow-up to the excellent Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, the game succeeds in its unique cause and effect storytelling but fails in terms of its mindless gameplay.
- Spider-Man: Web Of Shadows
While there are only two B-Tier Spider-Man games, both are deserving of more discussion. 2000’s Spider-Man game has more to offer than just its iconic cover, as the game features a great voice cast from the 90s animated series. An excellent story involving Venom is seen, with great visuals for the time that hold up surprisingly well today. Legendary studio Neversoft knocked it out of the park with this game, and while it lacks the excellent web-swinging or refined combat of other titles, it does have clever mechanics like Spider-Armor and fire webbing to help it shine.
The other Spider-Man game in this category is none other than Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. While it lacked the polish of other Spidey titles from the PlayStation 2 era, the game had plenty of heart, telling a fully original story that was surprisingly mature and genuinely interesting. Spider-Man: Web of Shadows focuses on the Symbiote and brings in the X-Men member Wolverine for a large role in the narrative. The Symbiote eventually corrupts Wolvie, with Logan eventually clashing with Peter in an exciting boss battle. Showing the strength of Marvel hero team-ups clearly, the game is worth a playthrough even today.
- Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
- Ultimate Spider-Man
- Spider-Man 2
Finally, there are three Spider-Man games that can be considered A-tier titles, and they each shine in different ways. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions thrives by opening the Spider-Verse, allowing players to control four different Spider-Men. Each version of the character has a different playstyle, ranging from the freefall sections of Spider-Man 2099 to the stealth levels of Spider-Man Noir. An utterly unique concept at the time of release, it would be fun to see what could be done with such a concept on next-gen consoles.
Ultimate Spider-Man is a completely different story, with this game thriving due to its use of comic book-style cutscenes, a cel-shaded art style, and the ability to play as Venom. Offering an entirely different moveset from Spidey, switching between the two characters was terrific, helping both the story and open world content shine. Finally, there is Spider-Man 2, a game that needs to explanation for its position. While it offers a deep variety of side content, a strong story, and an excellent survival mode, it is known best for perfecting webswinging in a video game.
- Marvel’s Spider-Man
- Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Unsurprisingly, both of Insomniac’s Spider-Man games find themselves at the top of the list. Outdoing Spider-Man 2’s web-swinging while offering the deepest combat for the hero by far, Marvel’s Spider-Man soars to heights the character has never seen. Great graphics, a top-notch story with brilliant performances, and a terrific cosmetic system only serve to make the game even better. The same can be said for Spider-Man: Miles Morales, only with a tighter focus that trims the fat from the open world and allows Miles’ unique abilities to shine.
When it comes to Spider-Man games, it does not get better than Insomniac’s first two outings. As such, it will be great to see what the studio does with its Spider-Men in the upcoming sequel.