Thursday, May 17, 2018

Plug n Play Game Corner: Spider-Man Web Master

Well, we're on a bit of a superhero high, so why stop the party so soon? Let's head back into the Wide Webbed World of Spider-Man and check out one of his more ambitious Plug n Play consoles with Spider-Man Web Master!


Game: Spider Man Web Master
Distributor: Jakks Pacific
Release Date: 2009
Genre: Platformer/Third-Person Rail Shooter

Spider-Man was in Infinity War! ...And, like I said, I haven't seen it, so I have no opinion of him finally in the shared Marvel universe. Let's move on.

I've already gave my thoughts on Spider-Man in both my review of Spider Man and the Masked Menace game and the KAZI Super Man Spider brick sets. He's a fun superhero and one of my favorites. ...When he's being a superhero. When he's Peter Parker, he's a whiny, irresponsible idiot who's so wrapped up in his self-loathing and immaturity, that it's a wonder he can still function as a human being! ...But, seeing as how I've already gone over this, there's no reason to harp on it again here. Especially since "Peter Parker" doesn't appear in this Plug n Play game! ...Or any of them, to the extent of my knowledge.

Like I mentioned, Spider-Man is a property that had a large amount of titles released in the Plug n Play heyday. Most of them were your standard button-and-joystick controllers, but there was also a VR-esque console, and today's offering, which comes to us from Jakks Pacific's "Motion" line!

The impact of the Wii console on the world of gaming can't be understated. It's a console that sold over 100 million units in the 10 years it was active, beating out competitors like the PS3 and Xbox 360 by a large margin for the first several of those years! While a lot of factors contributed to its success(a large library of colorful games, its flexibility with a number of easy-to-acquire peripherals, the game and non-game related applications it offered, its appeal to serious and casual gamers alike and overall compatibility with all game genres, etc.), the most obvious was its use of motion controls. Suddenly, the regular gamepad seemed like an antique, compared to infrared remotes that could interpret your motions and translate them into onscreen actions! While far from the first console to fiddle with motion-sensing controls, it was the first to implement them in a functional and fun way that gave a unique experience to console gaming and nearly every game genre that exists! So while we can laugh at the Wii's pathetic library comprised mostly of shovelware titles, it's the technical gimmickry and the way they sold the system to the public that makes the Wii and its control system so memorable.

 Since the Wii was so profitable, becoming the first time Nintendo was a market leader since the days of the SNES, a lot of other companies tried to replicate their success by giving their own consoles similar functionality to the Wii. ...And, like most things that blindly copy something successful without stopping to think about WHY they were successful, they thought it all boiled down to motion controls and went with that. The Xbox Kinect and the PlayStation Eye/Camera were released a few years later to a universal reception of

 While roughly Wii-shaped consoles with wireless bare-minimum motion controls became the standard for many knockoff systems, most blatantly making it clear they were there solely to capitalize on the Wii and prey on the ignorance of unsuspecting customers.

That was also the case with more official and "mainstream" Plug n Play games. As the Plug n Play market started to lose steam, a handful of developers tried to keep the ball rolling by creating consoles with "motion-sensing" capabilities, most notably with Jakks Pacific's "Motion" line of consoles. Instead of sensor bars and infrared, most of these use gyro sensors to detect motion inside the controller itself(similar to early smartphones or the GBA game WarioWare Twisted!), technically responding to motions and interpreting them onscreen, but in a much more primitive and limited function than infrared or photosensitive arrays.

The first console I featured on this blog was a "Motion" game, utilizing the sensors to detect if the console moved in the appropriate direction during certain prompts! ...And it wasn't always that responsive, to put it mildly. Still, for budget game consoles I'm pretty sure had neither the time nor money to invest in actual infrared sensing, it's impressive that they found a way to incorporate motion capture into these systems! ...Even if it was just a gimmick that nobody was asking for and that would lose its novelty across all gaming systems within the decade...

So, with that unnecessary information out of the way, let's take a look at the SECOND "Motion" game and the SECOND Spider-Man game ever featured on this blog! Two milestones in one!

I don't have the packaging, so let's skip straight into the console's cosmetics. ...This is definitely one of the more unique builds of Plug n Play system we've come across. Instead of the standard controller/wheel/gun-shape we've seen so far, this is clearly meant to be worn on the arm like a wireless, standless joystick. ...And I don't want to put it back on just yet, for reasons I'll explain later.

 The primary controls are positioned on the handle on the console, with this trigger being the "A" button

And the body of this spider on the top being the "B" button. Nice cosmetics! ...But don't do this to an actual spider that size... They don't like it, and you'll likely live just long enough to regret it...

All the secondary controls are on the top of the forearm section of the console. This is the stuff you're not going to be using that often(arrow keys, Menu button, Power switch) while playing the game, but it's still kept relatively on hand for when you need it. Kudos for not needlessly spreading them across the console, like a lot of other Plug n Plays do!

Actually, the way the controls are laid out sort of looks like the Power Glove, doesn't it?

 Now if we could only convince Freddy to use this in his next movie!

Once again, the console is labeled with the "Spider Sense Spider-Man" title, which I guess they just liked to use for Spider-Man consoles around this time, as it was also the only name attached to the Masked Menace console. ...And seeing as how Spidey's spider sense doesn't play into either of them, you have to wonder if the designers themselves had any sense...

And here's the console on my arm, the way it's meant to be played! ...And the reason I didn't want to wear it as I was taking pictures is because it's REALLY uncomfortable...

The console attaches to the arm via an elastic band, with this curve on the bottom wrapping around the arm. ...And since it's hard plastic and meant for younger players with smaller arms than mine, it squeezed and chafed my arm after only a few minutes of play! If you look closely, you might be able to see a purple bruise near the bottom of my arm where the console kept hitting me as I maneuvered it around during the more intense parts of this game. ...It's not made for the Call of Duty Modern Warfare audience, is what I'm saying...

Still, this is how the console is designed to be held, with the buttons on the front resting comfortably under the thumb and forefinger. Just think old PC game or Top Gun jet fighter, and you'll do fine. ...Just don't actually try to pass this off as jet fighter training. The air force has a policy against the mentally unbalanced...

One final warning to anyone wanting to hunt one of these consoles down for themselves: This is the first console I've come across with a breakaway cable. It's a very sturdy and hard-to-detach cable, making me question its use as such, but, like with wired Xbox and X360 controllers, it's required to use the controls. And, since these are meant for young, irresponsible, destructive kids(and a few of the other types of kids), the breakaway cable is often lost and not bundled with the rest of the console. It took me a while to find a complete console, and I highly doubt I'll casually find one with the cord attached again in the future. You might be able to identify and find a similar cord that can act as a replacement, but it's more likely you'll just have to come up with $50 and buy a new one. ...If you're really one of the people that serious about collecting Plug n Play systems(which I'm pretty sure can all be counted on one hand.)

The only other console I've come across that requires a breakaway cable of this type is Jakks' Disney Fairies Plug n Play game, which is also a "Motion" title. ...And I might have to play this one very soon, while I still have the Web Master console on hand, because, what a shock, the Disney Fairies console is missing its cord. ...Maybe I'll just wish upon a star for one, and see how well that works...

Once again, the usual team-up of Jakks Pacific and Hot Gen. Your symbols of quality when it comes to Plug n Play games! ...And I mean that seriously for once...

The Menu confirms that this game is indeed called "Spider-Man: Web Master". ...And, once again, we don't get the Spider-Man theme. ...At least not that I could recognize. Maybe it's the theme or one of the background tracks to one of the five dozen things Spider-Man has appeared in, but I couldn't find a match during my search. ...It does sound like something that belongs in Spider-Man media, though, so it has that going for it.

It's much more upbeat and colorful than what The Masked Menace gave us...

While the Menu has your standard New Game, Continue, High Score, Instructions, etc. that aren't worth going into detail about, it has a super sweet transition between selections with this Spider-Man signal logo! So with the upbeat music, fun transition, and the scrolling menu background, this game has already demonstrated more energy and creativity than the last Spider-Man Plug n Play game! And I haven't even started it! ...Which I will now do.

Unlike The Masked Menace, this game doesn't include cutscenes, and only gives you a vague idea of what's going on throughout the game through these caption boxes. For the first mission, Rhino is trying to steal a "Lightning Cannon", so Spider-Man has to beat him to the lab, then actually beat him. ...Also, I love how it says "Top Secret Weapon", then tells you what it is in the very next sentence. ...Methinks the security around this lab was down the tube BEFORE Rhino got involved...

The game is comprised of four different level variations, all of which helpfully flash an instruction screen before they start to remind you of the controls and let you know what kind of level it'll be.

Which they then remind you of again right before an action needs to be performed, giving you enough time to prepare for it and realize what to do. It's repetitive, but it only occurs once, and it doesn't last long enough to break the flow of the game, so kudos! I don't feel like the game is treating me like an idiot! ...I mean, I'm an idiot anyway, but enough about my personal life.

This first section of the game, which I've decided to call the Train Yard Stage, involves Spider-Man running along the tops of moving trains, trying to reach the end while generic thugs try to knock him off, in a sort-of "endless running" style of gameplay. I say "sort-of", because it does eventually end, of course. ...And it's this first stage where you learn how awkward the controls can be...

It's a little hard to demonstrate solely with a gameplay video, but the controls are pretty unresponsive throughout the game. As I mentioned, most of the game controls solely through motion(save for certain actions like shooting and dodging, which are performed through the buttons), and the console's method of gyroscopes results in inaccurate control, to say the least. In this stage, making Spidey jump from train to train is accomplished by tilting the console left-and-right, but, depending on the angle you're pointing the console in, how far and forcefully you're tilting, and how functional the console is, it can take several tries before you finally get a reaction. And in a fast-moving, automatically running stage like this, it quickly gets annoying... As well as painful, if you have arms like mine that are too big for the console and rub along the plastic each time...

This also means quicktime events are difficult to pull off. You'll probably lose more hit points and lives trying to dodge a bridge than fighting actual bad guys!

Boy, won't the Daily Bugle have a field day with this one...?

The only action that seems to work with little/no problem is punching. ...And BOY, most combat in this game is BORING! Even WORSE than The Masked Menace, if you can believe it! When you run into one of the goons on top of the train, the characters' forward motion grinds to a halt until combat is over. You then repeatedly thrust the console forward in a punching motion until the guy falls over and disappears. THEN you can move again, until you reach another bad guy and it starts ALL. OVER. AGAIN! There's literally no challenge! As long as you keep punching the guy, he can't fight back, and you just wail on him for about 5-10 seconds until his hit points deplete! They're everywhere, they're unavoidable, and you can't exit the fight until it's over! ...Why is it so hard for them to program action in a SUPERHERO game?!

Was Ang Lee also the creative consultant on these Jakks Pacific superhero games?

 The only real challenge in this stage, and across most of the game, is in grabbing these "spinning Spidey coins", which are scattered across the level. Collect 25 of them, and you receive an extra life! ...They're not that necessary for completing the game, since, even on Hard difficulty, most obstacles are easily avoidable or don't deal that much damage, but they're useful to keep on hand anyway, and the number you collect is displayed in the end-of-level results screen, so you can at least challenge yourself to see how many you can collect!

Think Banjo-Kazooie! ...Minus most of the stuff that made that game fun... Heck, I'd even take Banjo-Kazooie Nuts & Bolts...

And don't worry if you miss a coin on this stage. Simply push B to do a backflip, and Spidey can continually leap back to the beginning of the stage! *phew* And here I was worried the game's challenge might begin...

Eventually, you reach the end of the stage, where the game tells you "Well Done", before showing you a Results screen. As well as the number of foes defeated and percentage of coins collected, the screen also judges your skill level. I don't know if I encountered all the different ranks, but they don't play a role in the rest of the game, anyway, so it really doesn't matter how you rank in the end. ...Sort of an allegory for death, come to think of it... Eh, that's too depressing. NEXT!

 The next stage is what I like to call the Warehouse Stage, which is simultaneously the most fun AND most annoying part of the game. In this stage, Spider-Man has to fend off waves of armed henchmen all shooting and launching missiles at him, which he has to either dodge or counter with a web blast before they can cause damage. Just from that description, you can probably guess that this is where most of the game's action takes place, hence why it's the most fun! ...The annoying part comes from actually trying to control it.

The problem mostly lies in how my brain is hardwired to interpret "motion controls", especially after playing Toy Story Mania. After playing a game with a sensor bar, I instinctively moved my arm around the front of the screen, thinking the cursor would simply point where I'm pointing. ...That's not the case. What you ACTUALLY need to do is tilt the console up-and-down to control vertical movement, and left-and-right to control it horizontally. This makes directions not in a straight line nearly impossible, and takes a while to get used to, as you can probably see by the crosshair flailing around in the above GIF.

There IS a tutorial right before the first of these stages, but, if you don't know what you're doing(or you're stupid like me and treating it like a Wii sensor), chances are it's not going to help that much...

Still, once you finally get the controls down, the stage turns into a pretty decent third-person rail shooter! ...At least, I THINK that's the term to describe it. Spider-Man in clearly in the foreground, shooting at the bad guys, yet you control the crosshair from your point of view to determine where he shoots. ...Second-person shooter? Does that even exist?

Regardless, this is easily the most fun of the different stages. It's fast-paced, it's challenging, you're always kept on your toes as to where the next enemy will spring from, and the guys go down with one hit, so you're not repeatedly shooting at one guy! Plus you need to really quickly shoot at the coins each guy drops before they disappear, if you're hoping to gain some extra lives from this endeavor. Sure, it's the same enemy over and over again, with patterns that eventually repeat, but it's fun and inventive with how it controls, and I've never seen this style of gameplay as a minigame on a Plug n Play console before!

On a scale of Rambo: The Video Game to House of the Dead, this game sits at a Revolution X. Take that for what it's worth.

Still, five will get you ten that you'll forget 90% of the time about the guys throwing grenades at you. And then ten will get you twenty that you don't take that bet*. ...Whatever that means...

*ZC-Infinity. Shamelessly stealing Ashens memes since 2016.

At the end of this first Warehouse Stage, Rhino himself barges in to take matters into his own hands(hooves?) Here, you simply need to punch him every time he lands in front of you, then repeatedly shoot him while he's in the background. But watch out for debris he throws your way! ...Or don't, since you'll likely have enough hit points to survive the level regardless...

Eventually, Rhino will get tired of this and run off, ending the level. ...I really wish I had an edit of that Spider spotlight without the background I could play for a transition, but that would probably get annoying quickly, so I'll just go with my standard standby of NEXT!

Next is the Rooftop Stage, and the final level of the Rhino arc, which takes the form of a standard platformer. Here, tilting the console left-and-right moves Spider-Man in that direction, while pushing A makes him jump or shoot web, depending on the circumstance. ...That's basically all there is to say about the basics. Just run right, jump from rooftop to rooftop, and collect the Spidey coins along the way. It's as a standard a platformer as The Masked Menace was. ...Possibly even a little more simplistic. ...I keep waffling back and forth on if this game is better or worse than The Masked Menace, don't I?

Sometimes, whether it's because a jump was missed or it's required to progress, Spider-Man has to climb, requiring you to shake the controller to get him to shimmy up the wall. ...And I mean SHIMMY! He looks like one of those retracting-pull-string spider toys, with the legs that vibrate as it "climbs" up the string! It doesn't look like forward momentum up a wall can be accomplished with this movement, is what I'm saying. ...Anyone else tempted to sing The Duck Song? "Then he waddled away, waddle waddle waddle waddle..."

Most disappointingly of all, the boring combat from the Train Yard Stage returns. ...Only here, it's even WORSE! You're again locked in one position as the goon with a pipe weapon tries to knock you out, and you can do nothing but shake the controller in a vague "punching" motion until he goes down. And if it wasn't tedious enough, now he BLOCKS some of your actions, AND he's sometimes knocked down, only to get back up again! Since all you can do is stand there and thrust the controller forward, it's COMPLETELY pointless, and it can take TEN SECONDS OR MORE to fell just ONE bad guy! ...I can literally feel myself dying during these segments.

Especially when two or more of them gang up on Spidey! Again, there's no challenge. Just pure annoyance.

At the end of this certain stage, Rhino appears for a showdown. ...Which you win by repeatedly repeating the same punch motion over and over again... Sure, he charges at you, and sometimes does a ground pound to knock you over, but even on Hard difficulty, it doesn't do much damage. I literally survived the fight without dodging ONCE! ...And I totally meant to do that, too, and not because he came at me too fast to react! ...Totally!

Eventually, Spidey causes enough damage to Rhino to de-tusk him, completing the level and the Rhino arc.

Which we get to see the end of on the front page of the Daily Bugle. "Just you wait! I, J Jonah Jameson, will one day uncover that Spider-Man and Rhino are actually twins and that Spider-Man is the evil one! ...No, I'm not publishing a story on the Scarlet Spider! Any resemblance to him and Spider-Man is purely coincidental!"

The next mission involves The Vulture, comics' most geriatric supervillain, kidnapping the Mayor, and Spider-Man has to save him. ...You'd think that in a universe of super heroes and villains, leader figures would be housed in airtight fortresses with their own private army, given the wide variety of powers these hundreds of individuals have and how easily they can crumble your typical building. ...But there I go trying to apply logic to comics. *smack* Bad ZC-Infinity! *smack* BAD!

And that brings us to the final level variation, which I like to call the Skyline Stage. This area features Spider-Man doing what he does best(and how he's introduced in comics 9 times out of 10), as he swings between the buildings of New York City, fending off legions of floating killer robots. ...That are just there for some reason. No explanation is ever given to whose robots these are, they're just floating around, trying to take down Spider-Man as he tries to get to where he needs to be. ...How funny would it be if, while trying to take down this game's roster of bad guys, it turned out he was also inadvertently thwarting another villain's plan?

 "Yes, my plan is perfect. Soon, my robots will seal off the city's exits, then surround it in a giant force field, which I will then use to shrink and bottle the city for my collec-WAIT! SPIDER-MAN?! WHAT IS HE DOING HERE?! Last I checked, Marvel and DC had a strict border policy! ...Well, he just blasted through a good number of my robots, so that's another plan scrapped. ...Perhaps I'll check on this Mister Terrific and his Brother Eye program. I'm sure there will be no threat to me there..."

This stage takes on a vertical-scrolling shooter style, only with Spider-Man continually swinging from the bottom to the top of the screen and back again. Pushing A shoots web balls at the robots, which fly across the screen in differing patterns, then disappear. They sometimes shoot lasers on their way offscreen, but they're easily avoidable, so the only challenge here is shooting as many as you can to grab the Spidey coins. ...Still, SOMETHING is happening, and the robots only take one web ball to break down, so I guess I can call this the second-most fun level variant of the game. ...Not the highest of barriers to scale over...

The other obstacles involve a similar quicktime bridge jump as the Train Yard Stage(though with much more of a warning)

And the robots occasionally ganging up on you, requiring a shaking motion to get them off. Again, it's this variation that keeps this game from being as monotonous as The Masked Menace.

And variety is absolutely required for this stage, as it's easily the longest of all the levels. It's only used twice in the entire game, but this first example alone takes over FIVE MINUTES to complete! That may not sound like a long time, but seeing as how it's just Spider-Man web-slinging, occasionally jumping, and shooting web balls at the same robots over and over again, it becomes noticeable...

Eventually, right before you want to eat your own leg, the level comes to an end and you can move on with the game. ...I'd just like to point out that in the time it took to complete this level, you could have seen the entirety of Spider-Man 3's bar dance scene. ...It's up to you to decide which one is less painful to sit through...

As I said, there are 4 different stages in this game, so all future levels are slight variants of what we've seen so far. Therefore, I'm just going to give a quick overview for the rest of the game, with a couple of stops when there's a variation worth pointing out. ...It's not going to be often, but it'll at least be more exciting than... That other game. I'm tired of saying it.

The next level is another Rooftop Stage, only with more of a construction-site theme, as you're jumping across cranes and boxes.

Also, a couple spots require quick action, or they'll drop you to your death. ...Or to your "quick-respawn-at-the-last-solid-platform", I should say.

Eventually, you find the mayor, and it's all good. ...Except for the fact you need to find Vulture now. Slight oversight, there.

That takes us to another Warehouse Stage and more shooting up nameless goons. Hey, best part of the game. No complaints here!

Vulture makes an appearance at the end of this stage, and you need to fight him by shooting web blasts at him, similarly to how you fought Rhino. However, he flies around the screen, shooting "Chrono-Freeze" blasts at you, so it's a little more challenging. Which, again, I'm totally down with!

Especially since, after you've webbed him up, you get to throw Vulture around the warehouse by shaking the controller! ...This alone makes this game worth it! ANY game that involves Spider-Man webbing up a villain and tossing him around like a pinball deserves respect! Heck, I'm so happy with this feature, I don't even have a punchline!

Just play some Nightwish over this scene and you have one of the greatest moments in gaming!

After tossing him around for a bit, Spidey clips his wings and leaves him to be arrested, leading to

Mysterio! ...Who isn't even given a goal for his arc. It just says that Mysterio might be involved somehow, so Spidey's off to gather evidence. ...The game never suggests that all these villains have teamed up, or they're working towards a greater goal, so how Spider-Man came to that conclusion, I have no idea. ...Then again, Spider-Man has a troubled mind, so maybe we're better off NOT knowing what goes through his head.

Spider-Man's "investigation" involves another trip through a Rooftop Stage(this time involving many elevators)

Then another Warehouse Stage with another round of armed nameless goons and another end level showdown with the villain.

But you still get to throw Mysterio around like a rag doll, so it's all good!

This time, close combat doesn't defeat the villain. Instead, Spidey progresses(regresses?) to another Train Yard Stage, only with the addition of bombs you have to flick off the trains before you reach the end. ...Not typically Mysterio's style, but it's something new at least. ...And why hasn't Mysterio gotten a movie appearance?!

At the end of the train is the final boss fight against Mysterio. Here, you again shoot web balls at him, while he's armed with a scanning laser and a number of energy blasts that are annoyingly difficult to avoid. It's pretty much a guarantee that you'll lose a life or two in this villain battle. ...Which is a change from most of the other conflicts...

It's probably worth pointing out at this point that the life system works similarly to Tom and Jerry 3, in that it's less of a life counter and more one long health bar. When health is depleted, it reverts back to full, with the life counter decreased by 1. Besides that, you're still in the exact same place you died; you simply get up and keep going. In other words, unlike most games, nothing is lost if you lose a life! So unless you lose ALL lives(which is very hard to even intentionally do), you can just keep playing and keep getting hit and you probably won't even notice! ...If you've ever wanted to know what a game's "Super Easy" mode would be like, here you go! Now can I please play a mode that doesn't treat me like an idiot?

Finally, the fat lady sings on Mysterio's performance and he joins the jailbird chorus, leading to our fourth and final villain of the game:

The Green Goblin! ...I guess he had some kind of master plan involving the villains you just threw in the clink, because he's off to Ravencroft to bust them out. ...I was going to ask if this was originally going to be a Sinister Six game, and they just ran out of money around the fourth villain, but Green Goblin's never been part of the team, so it's never explained what his involvement in the whole thing is! ...Or anyone's involvement, for that matter... ...What was the master plan, here?

The Goblin arc is first comprised of the second Skyline Stage, with a boss fight against Gobby at the end.

And here's a new one for this blog. When I first played this game, right after I beat Green Goblin, it FROZE! These Plug n Play consoles(at least the "quality", "mainstream" ones) are pretty well built and programmed, so this is the first time I think any of them ever suddenly crashed on me! Since this is towards the end of the game, that meant I lost about an hour of playtime, and I had to wait about two days to play again since my arm was so sore from the motion controls! ...So that's something to keep in mind for anyone who wants this console. It might crash on you and your (literal)pain may be for nothing...

Anyway, next is another Rooftop Stage to save Aunt May, whom Green Goblin kidnapped, with GG himself waiting at the end of the level for another fight!

 ...And apparently, Aunt May isn't fazed by her kidnapping and the brutal fight that just took place in front of her at all. ...If anything, she looks upset that it took Spider-Man this long to come rescue her! ...And that he didn't wipe his feet after he was done kicking Goblin in the face with them!

Then again, this is the same lady who didn't even flinch when she slammed her umbrella into Doc Ock's face while hanging 10 stories above the ground! This is possibly the most fearless woman in all of comics! ...Why didn't SHE get the spider powers?

Guess she'll just have to settle for the abilities of Silver Surfer... ...Yes, that really happened! ...Sort of.

While Spider-Man's distracted getting Aunt May to safety, Green Goblin breaks into Ravencroft and frees Rhino, Vulture, and Mysterio. ...Which Spider-Man seems completely surprised by, despite knowing that was GG's destination in his first level...

However, this game goes out with a bang, as the final level, appropriately titled "The Final Battle", is another Warehouse Stage, where you fight the supervillains all over again! This means taking on




 Rhino again

And finally Green Goblin one last time! By this time, you're a pro at this stage, and you know how the motion mechanics work, so you're going to breeze through these fights and bring these big baddies to justice with one hand tied behind your back! ...Literally, since you only need one arm to play this game.

 Once Gobby's gone down, the day is saved, everyone's back in jail, and Spider-Man gets a rare bit of praise from The Daily Bugle! ...Which ends about a week later, when they all escape again and JJJ blames Spider-Man for it, which Peter believes for some reason and quits being Spider-Man for the sixteenth time, until he suffers hallucinations that bring him back into action against the villains! ...Comics are weird and repetitive...

And that was Spider-Man: Web Master. I can absolutely say that was better/worse than The Masked Menace! Huge props to how they incorporated the motion controls, and how much more variation was put into the levels and skills needed to progress through the game! ...Not as many points towards the lack of a story and hand-to-hand combat that's even MORE monotonous than Masked Menace! Still, in the world of Spider-Man video games, especially compared to Friend or Foe, Dr. Doom's Revenge, and Spider-Man 2's PC port, this is a game that hits a happy medium.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm in desperate need of an ice pack for my arm*...

*Picture included not actually my arm.


Design: This is one of the more unique designs for a console I've come across. As I pointed out, it's designed similarly to other controllers, wired or wireless, that are focused more on motion than button mashing, such as the Power Glove. It's a longer console than most, it's designed to fit on the arm, and everything's controlled using only one hand(save for when the directional pad is used for the Menu.) I guess it doesn't stand out that cosmetically, since it just uses the standard red & blue Spider-Man colors with a faint web pattern, but the overall build is pretty noteworthy, and helps affirm that it is indeed a "Motion Game". As an adult, I wish the console was built a little bigger, as it painfully squeezed my arm all throughout the game, but that's a nitpick at best, and it's fine for its target audience of 10-year-old Spider-Man fans. If I saw this on store shelves, I'd pick it up just to see what it was!

Controls: Judging unconventional controls is really hard for me to do, and since this console uses an unconventional way to create motion controls, that makes it even harder to express. I guess in terms of motion-sensing, they're... Standard. Tilting the console in the directions each stage specifies does indeed cause the action to happen, but it's not always picked up on. If you want to move Spidey left/right during the Train Yard stage, for example, you're going to find yourself constantly thrust-tilting the console to get any response, and you may miss a few Spidey coins as a result. While these are inferior to using a directional pad, they're pretty OK for motion controls, since I've never come across even 75% accuracy on ANY motion controls I've used, including the Wii and Kinect. So while they can be frustrating to use, they're on par with most other games that incorporate motion. Take that for what it's worth.

Graphics: The graphics are REALLY nice for a Plug n Play game, incorporating a number of different perspectives and elements to give the game an overall feeling of size and scope! When you're on the train, it feels like trains are zooming by at over 100 MPH! The city on the rooftops feels dark and mysterious, everything kept in shadow, including the character sprites! You're kept guessing where the bad guys will pop out next in the warehouse segments, and there's a real feel of depth, like there actually is enough room behind the crates to hide behind! And while Spidey is swinging over the city, the buildings are incredibly detailed, there are actually cars beneath driving by, and the animation of Spidey swinging from an overhead perspective is nearly flawless! In fact, most of the animation in this game is VERY fluid and lifelike, to the point I'm curious if they utilized live actors for motion capture! ...Though it's pretty stiff during the Warehouse Stage, which I assume they did to keep the action tight and responsive. There is the standard blurriness and compression of Plug n Play games of this time period, but, overall, this is one of the most detailed, exciting-looking games I've come across!

Music & Sound: The music is a huge step-up from The Masked Menace. It's energetic, action-packed, and sort of conveys a feeling of desperation in addition to excitement, like Spider-Man is swinging into action, but he has to do it quickly, or the world is doomed! ...Of course, I still can't remember any of the tracks, and most of them sound the same with a few notes changed, but it still feels like a superhero game with a lot of action, as opposed to a meandering drearfest like the last game. I would believe that these tracks were used in the score of a Spider-Man show or movie. The sound's pretty standard, with mostly stock effects only covering the necessities. Web blasts, punching, jumping, warnings, etc. Nothing I haven't already heard before. I will give it credit that there are a number of different scream and grunt sounds, as opposed to using one or two for each character, and Spider-Man even gets his own vocal track! ...Unfortunately, they use the same vocal effects for all the villains, and, once again, there's no sampled speech. How cool would it have been to hear any of the villains laugh, like the Green Goblin's cackling, or Mysterio's distorted chortling? As is, the sound does its job and nothing else. Which, for a superhero with some of the most memorable sound effects and villains in his rogues gallery, is disappointing.

Gameplay: As I stated in my constant comparisons to The Masked Menace, this game fluctuates between being exciting and being even more monotonous than that game... It mostly depends on the type of stage. The Train Yard Stage is... Passable. It's basically an endless-runner, where you run forward and jump from train to train, picking up collectables. It's something that could have been fun, if not for the henchmen that take a good number of hits to fell, and the unresponsive tilting controls. The Rooftop Stage is UNBEARABLE! It's an incredibly bare bones platformer without free range to move and very slippery controls and prompts. All that keeps you from speeding through each stage in under 30 seconds are the henchmen, which take FOREVER to beat, especially with how they pointlessly block like you have a way to counter! These stages are both physically and mentally painful to complete, yet practically every other stage is this certain format! If not for their brevity, I would have tossed the console... The Warehouse Stage is EASILY the best stage in the whole game! It takes the form of a classic arcade light gun shooter, and offers the most movement with the unique gyroscopic motion controls. Enemies come out of everywhere, you point and shoot, what's not to love? Sure, it's also a bare bones example of its genre, but it keeps you on your toes, and, once you've learned the controls, it's REALLY fun to play! Finally, the Skyline Stage is fun too, but not as much. It's a basic scrolling shooter, where Spidey moves left and right and throws web balls at robots, which is a formula that very rarely fails. What ruins it for me is just how long these segments are, taking about 5 minutes of repetitive shooting and shaking to complete... Plus, it's the same robots over and over again, with no powerups or anything to differentiate it from any other shooter, so, while it starts out exciting, it gets boring REALLY fast... Besides the quality of each stage, there's no actual story(at least not a coherent one), and the beginner-level difficulty across the entire game, despite the game having a difficulty selector, kept it from being one of the more engaging Plug n Play games I've played. Overall, this game did keep my interest, and was shorter than The Masked Menace, so I didn't get as mind-numbingly bored as I did with that game. ...But this whole game should have just been the Warehouse Stage.

Replay Value: The game only takes about an hour to beat, playing the whole game from the beginning, and once completed, it does save your high score, which you can view from the High Score section and come back and beat any time. ...However, it's still the exact same levels and progression each time, giving no additional challenge or surprise if you decide to come back and play again. Plus, if you're an adult like me, it's highly unlikely you'd want to come back even if you wanted to play again. Unless you really want a painful arm rash each time...


It's a much more playable game than The Masked Menace, and one of the more varied and detailed games I've come across. The animation is great, the music's fine, and the short length and different game modes keep it from getting too boring! However, it's too easy, and only one of those game modes kept my interest, while another made me regret picking the console up in the first place. And, as I've repeatedly stated, the console isn't built for people with large arms... I guess younger gamers would have a bit of fun with it, especially since the Motion feature is pretty fun, and a lot more responsive than I initially thought. If you see it sitting on the shelves of a thrift store, go ahead and check it out! ...Just make sure it has the cord attached BEFORE you buy it...