Spider-Man 2 is a game based on the 2004 film of the same name. The console versions are developed by Treyarch and published by Activision. The handheld and PC/Mac versions are developed by various developers and also published by Activision. The console and PC/Mac versions are sandbox action-adventure games, while the PC is notably for a younger audience.
Two years after the events of Spider-Man: The Movie, and Peter Parker is trying to find a balance with his school, moonlighting, job and personal life. Rarely able to meet up to the expectations of his peers or friends, Peter has come to resent Spider-Man, but continues his work out of New York's necessity for it's superhero. One evening, having successfully arrived on time for a meal with Mary Jane and Harry Osbourne, Peter realises a museum is being looted and immediately steps into action and eventually trails master cat burglar, the Black Cat who manages to slip through his fingers and escape.
The next day, whilst perusing the streets, he comes across The Rhino causing a stir, and successfully defeats him, quipping the entire time. However, realizing he has to attend Dr. Otto Octavius' presentation he soon leaves the scene.
Otto is attempting to recreate a Nuclear Fusion, the idea being that he could create a miniature sun and help fuel the world for eons to come. To control this power, he has created 4 giant mechanical arms which he can control mentally. However, the arms are stopped from thinking for themselves thanks to an inhibitor chip.
As Otto conducts his experiment, he finds himself unable to control the strong magnetic field, which leads to the destruction of the apartment, and the death of his wife Rosa. Spider-Man, appearing on the scene at the time, manages to unplug the machine, but Otto finds himself electrocuted, and his inhibitor chip is destroyed. His metal arms are grafted to his spine, and because of the advanced AI in the arms, they begin to overpower his thoughts. They convince Otto that Spider-Man's presence is a sign of Spider-Man's guilt and Otto blames Spidey for Rosa's death. Octavius, now working under the alias Dr. Octopus, or Doc Ock robs a bank which Peter happens to be in. Peter quickly dons his Spidey outfit and battles Doc Ock who kidnaps Aunt May. Spider-Man manages to save her, but barely.
Not long after, Special Effects guru Quentin Beck challenges Spider-Man to a series of 'games' citing Spider-Man as a fraud. Spidey agrees and emerges successfully, and out of anger, Beck tries to kill Spider-Man but fails. The failure of the very public incident causes Beck to assume the identity of Mysterio who tries to assault journalists and sends a small army of UFO's to the Statue of Liberty. Spider-Man stops both these schemes before anyone can be hurt. During Beck's competition however, the Shocker has escaped prison and Spider-Man who was unaware could not stop him. Enlisting the help of the Black Cat, the two find Shocker trying to enhance his electronic abilities and apprehend him, whilst not long after, Spider-Man finds Mysterio trying to rob a Speedy-Mart and knocks him out with one punch.
The Black Cat leads Spider-Man to an illegal weapons trade where the two put an end to the illegal activities and Black Cat asks Spider-Man why he doesn't assume his super-hero persona permanently. Spidey responds that he can't give up either of his two lives, that they're both too important.
In order to get Tritium from Harry Osbourne to replicate his experiment, Doc Ock kidnaps Mary Jane before blackmailing Harry. Harry demands that he wants Spider-Man, alive before he gives over the tritium. After a long confrontation on the subway, Spidey is defeated by Doc Ock and delivered to Harry. Just as Harry unmasks Peter, he awakens and breaks free to save Mary Jane, with Harry astounded when he finds out who Spider-Man really is... his best friend.
Spider-Man manages to disengage the fusion reactor for Doc Ock's mechanism, but cannot stop the experiment. He convinces Octavius to help him and as Octavius regains his sanity and takes control over his arms, he pulls the mechanism into the river and sacrifices himself. The next day, Mary Jane visits Peter, telling him that she needs Peter and will stand by Spider-Man as well. More confident than ever, Spidey sets off into New York to bust crime!
The game includes other world famous Marvel comic book characters, players experience what it’s like to be the world’s most celebrated Super Hero, Spider-Man. Players can swing, sling, dive, jump and scale the heights of Manhattan to protect the innocent, in a living city with Super Villains, common criminals, vehicles, trains and helicopters. Players re-capture the movie experience by following the main storyline or choosing to embark on missions that challenge them to perform good deeds, deter random crimes, and face classic Marvel comic book villains such as Mysterio, using innovative new combat moves in locations from the film and environments exclusive to the game.
Sharing many of the mechanics of the first game, Spider-Man 2 explores new ground with it's Sandbox method, as well as by adding new features for Spider-Man:
As well as this, upgrading Spider-Man's abilities have been given a great deal of focus, with some levels even requiring you to get to the next level of web-swinging and the like. The web-swinging aspect has been improved a great deal, allowing for more fluidity throughout the game, as Players swing over buildings and travel across the city.
A big part of the sandbox appeal was the chance to earn extra points by taking on petty criminals, or helping people through a mild crisis. The points earned could be put towards leveling up your abilities throughout the game.
The response towards the game was generally favorable. The improved web swinging as lauded as a success, as in prior Spider-Man games, the player only had to shoot at the sky to swing, whereas in Spider-Man 2, the web needed to hang onto something for the player to swing. The fact that this was handled so well that it rarely hindered gameplay was seen by many as a great achievement. However many people felt that the story missions felt a bit linear, which seemed to be against the point of having a sandbox styled game.
Gamespot gave the console version of the game a 7.2/10 whilst IGN gave it a 9.0/10 explaining that "The final analysis is based on this: When I finished this game at 2 am this morning, I kept playing for two more hours. Just for fun."