I wouldn’t try to hide it, but I love Spider-Man. When I was younger, I constantly replayed the first two Raimi movies on my PC -the third one wasn’t out yet- and believe it or not, some episodes of the late 70s interpretation of the web swinger titled The Amazing Spider-Man. Read the comics? I did, well, some of them at least. Since the web-headed menace was by far the most famous Marvel property of the early 2000s and probably until now, it’s not a surprise to know that there are a ton of video game releases of web swinger. From arcade titles to mobile games, there is a Spidey game for nearly every console.
On the rare occasion of releasing a great Spider-Man game on the PC, I will be skimming through the web swinger’s games and try to rank the games based on objective matters like how the game holds up to today’s standards and subjective matters like the personal taste and a very biased nostalgia meter. I will rule out the platformer games because I don’t think the platforming genre serves red spandex justice. I will also rule out any Arcade Spidey game, like Spider-Man: The Video Game, because I simply didn’t have the chance to play these games as much as the ones I’m currently ranking. Now let’s begin.
11- Spider-Man: Edge of Time
Released on the 4th of October, 2011.
Subjective Opinion: Spider-Man: Edge of Time is the sequel less popular than its predecessor, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. For me, It never was boring to get to play with Miguel O’Hara, a.k.a. Spider-Man 2099. Although I do not have many fond memories of when I played it back in 2013, I do remember sticking for the interesting plot. The linear gameplay experience was less interesting to me than the plot. I came for an original Spidey story, and I got it.
Objective Truth: Under the lights of objective matters, the gameplay brings up a new system to back up the key idea of the gameplay that pushes the plot. Spider-Man’s current actions affect the 2099 universe and vice versa, which was the primary thing holding the story together. The adventure was interesting, but that was practically about it. The gameplay didn’t advance as much as fans of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions expected, so it fell short here. The web-swinging is limited due to their linear approach to driving the narrative.
Fun Approach: Although Spider-Man: Edge of Time could’ve served better for a game released in 2011, It still has many features for you to unpack. If you’re in need of a good masked menace story with an overall good gameplay experience and a plot to keep you hooked, It’s my pleasure to tell you that you’re knocking at the right door.
10- Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro
Released on the 19th of October, 2001 in North America.
Subjective Opinion: Spider-Man: Enter Electro is the one and only sequel to the Spider-Man game released back in 2000. I still feel the nostalgia pumping through my veins as I write. And I can definitely hear the sound of the web being shot. This time you could swing down the street level, which is something the first game missed due to the narrative that the game presented. It’s either just me, or it’s that life was less bad than it is now, at least for me.
Objective Truth: Enter Electro had good graphics for a game released in 2001. Somewhat good voice acting and narration by Stan Lee himself. The game had Electro as the main antagonist for the sequel, which was a choice praised by fans since he didn’t get a lot of “shine” in the first one. For the downsides, Enter Electro had bad controls, like its predecessor, but you’ll most likely get used to it. Pretty much like some of the games on this list, the game did not introduce many changes over its predecessor, and the game was rather shorter than the first one.
Fun Approach: Are you in for the comic relief? If yes is your answer, then Spider-Man: Enter Electro is definitely a go. Give yourself a break from all these fancy stuff and embrace the old retro vibes with a comic-book based game that’s got an entertaining story to tell with some quaint gameplay experience you’ll never get from the others.
9- The Amazing Spider-Man
Released on the 26th of June, 2012.
Subjective Opinion: I’ve seen the movie. I like the game (and the movie). Maybe not all of it, but It still holds up as one of the best. The Amazing Spider-Man is a reboot, a turning point in how Spidey games look. Not just visually but also in the swinging mechanics that helped shape the masterpiece of a game that is Marvel’s Spider-Man and its follow-up Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales.
Objective Truth: Nonetheless, The Amazing Spider-Man wasn’t exactly an objectively great game in itself. The game suffered from an uninteresting plot that mostly had to do with the game being a part of a movie’s marketing plan. The Amazing Spider-Man could’ve been candidly amazing if it wasn’t a movie tie-in. Other than that, you’ll have a good swing around Manhattan. Which is, to be honest, the point of any Spidey game. It’s to do what Spidey can and what you can’t, like having more than two strands of hair on the chest.
Fun Approach: The Amazing Spider-Man was the closest thing we got to Marvel’s Spider-Man on the PC. Multiple suits to try on. The main story includes more than 9 hours of gameplay and 5 hours of side missions. Although relatively repetitive, I will admit, Marvel’s Spider-Man had more or less the same problem. Which doesn’t deny that The Amazing Spider-Man is packed with enough content to make it to this list. Seriously. It. Is. Packed. –For a movie tie-in–
8- Spider-Man: The Movie Game
Released on the 16th of April, 2002.
Subjective Opinion: I had a good relationship with the Raimi trilogy, so hearing that there is a movie tie-in to the original debut title. I was on fire. The world isn’t as open as I thought it would be, but could I do Peter Parker stuff while pretending to be Toby Maguire? For the most part, yes, you can. My linguistic ability to express… things… Is lost right now, but I meant to tell you about the iconic voice lines from the baddies in the game. I think I will leave you to it.
Objective Truth: Although Spider-Man: The Movie Game had a swinging system similar to Spider-Man (2000), it didn’t fit the realistic movie-like look they were going for. The interesting thing about this iteration is that it really felt like it was something that could’ve happened in the movie, as some villains that appeared in the games did not appear in the Raimi trilogy at all, like Shocker for example. One good thing about it is that it used nearly the same character designs used in the movies, especially Sam Raimi’s Green Goblin and Spidey suit, which was a huge plus, with voice acting not so right that It just became iconic.
Fun Approach: Spider-Man: The Movie Game is a good tie-in. It had an improved combat system, giving a little more sense of some fluidity in action, but it doesn’t refute that the game aged a lot. If you’re in for the boss fights, especially the last one, you will have some fun. If you’re in for the laughs, I guarantee you will laugh.
Released on the 30th of August, 2000.
Subjective Opinion: Spider-Man was the first Spider-Man game I ever got to play. It’s simple, it’s great, and it’s narrated by Stan Lee. What else would you want? Comics as collectables, bad guys as punching bags, and the iconic web sound effect for the first time. It just doesn’t get any better. This is one of the few linear Spider-Man games that work, along with Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro.
Objective Truth: Janky controls and camera movements, but it’s easy to get over once you’re used to it, as I mentioned before. Graphics aged a bunch. But if you were to put Spider-Man on scales against any superhero game at the time, Spider-Man would easily destroy any opponent. The game transcended the lame square of superhero games that had to be extremely limited at the time with little to no story at all.
Fun Approach: The linear design of Spider-Man was its major win. Telling a hooking story with primitive cutscenes still completes its job by disclosing what the developer meant for you to know. Fight against a roster of infamous crooks and villains, among them are Venom, Carnage, Mysterio, The Scorpion and more. Spider-Man, with all of its flaws, is undeniably a certified classic.
6- Ultimate Spider-Man
Released on the 19th of September, 2005.
Subjective Opinion: Where can I begin? My beloved. I remember the first time I ever played Ultimate Spider-Man; sometime in 2010, I had just bought a new PC, and with it came Ultimate Spider-Man. Fighting Venom in the rain, comic panels suddenly pop up and out of nowhere, I felt like I was literally playing a comic. And the fluid swinging mechanics had me on the floor. I loved and still equally love the story of this game to my grave.
Objective Truth: Ultimate Spider-Man was aesthetically and visually pleasing with graphics that shouldn’t really be applicable to our definition of ageing. The game also had a great story and a great way to tell it. You switch between Spider-Man and Venom across the main timeline to have equally cool boss fights on both sides. However, The game felt like it was abruptly finished. There had to be more of Ultimate Spider-Man, but the game apparently wasn’t the most commercially successful friendly neighourhood game, so Activision, of course, had to cut things short (possibly to work on more movie tie-ins).
Fun Approach: If you don’t have much time, and you’re a person who loves the wall crawler, then there isn’t much thinking to be done here. Ultimate Spider-Man is made for you. You will have instant fun with every mission you accomplish and every plot key you advance; Ultimate Spider-Man will be one of the best experiences in any video game.
5- Spider-Man 2 (Console Versions)
Released on the 28th of June, 2004
Subjective Opinion: No, I won’t bite you. I understand why someone would be upset that Spider-Man 2 isn’t ranking higher. Some people went as far as comparing it with Grand Theft Auto. On the other hand, I don’t have many good memories of it, and I’m not fond of it as much as other people. I’m not saying it’s bad or even worse than any Spidey game ranked on this list, but it’s not the best among them.
Objective Truth: Nevertheless, Spider-Man 2 is undeniably the best wall crawler movie tie-in that felt like its own thing while reminding us that it’s a movie tie-in with the iconic actors of the Raimi trilogy performing the voices of the characters. Maybe the voice acting wasn’t the best, but it was compensated with a great and lively open world for the game’s time and standards at this specific generation. However, the game’s visuals were less interesting than the first tie-in. With much less color and no overall progress or advancements in the game’s graphics. Swinging mechanics that inspired great games to come but was ditched at the time due to Spider-Man 2 being a little short on selling.
Fun Approach: Swing in a 2004 version of Manhattan that needs your help cleaning its streets of crime. Earn some points along the way so you can progress through the main story’s chapters and do some balloon catching on the way. Spider-Man 2 is an extremely fun game for people who don’t care about the graphics or the voice lines. Which I still think are Ironically funny.
4- Spider-Man: Web of Shadows
Released on the 21st of October, 2008
Subjective Opinion: Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is a game that strived very closely to Spider-Man 2 in its swinging system. The game provided a very interesting story to tell with multiple endings depending on the choices between black and red suits in some missions. I have many good memories of playing this game.
Objective Truth: Spider-Man: Web of Shadows featured an interesting story, yes, but committed itself to multiple plot holes and questions left unspoken of and unanswered. Also, I do not usually speak of the voice acting as an objective matter. But holy heavens, the voice acting in this game exceeded all boundaries of being terrible. It’s not a deal breaker for a game like Spider-Man: Web of Shadows that serves all aspects more than decently, and I can go as far as saying some aspects are greater than any predecessor.
Fun Approach: Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is the closest thing at that time Spider-Man got to a new story that wasn’t linked to a movie. It is refreshing to experience what Shaba Games presented in the new extensive combat system that we haven’t seen before in any Spidey game.
3- Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
Released on the 7th of September, 2010.
Subjective Opinion: Back to the more linear side of things. Many will be surprised by how high Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions ranked on this list. The reality is that I can’t skip a game that introduces the main aspiration of the concept of the spider-verse and just let it slip. I adore this game for what it is, really. We’ve reached a point on this list where movie tie-ins are no more. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions could’ve been a great Spidey movie, and the truth is, we got what we wanted from a Shattered Dimensions movie in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and probably No Way Home.
Objective Truth: Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is a revolutionary game for its time. Although the game was linear and had limited swinging, the game was pretty much successful in the other aspects. Shattered Dimensions presented a good story that feels like it’s borrowed a lot of stuff from the comics, which it did, to assemble a bigger, more beautiful picture. The game slowly grew on me over time. With all of its flaws, I still consider it to be one of the best webheaded masked menace games ever made.
Fun Approach: Take control of Amazing Spider-Man, Ultimate Spider-Man, Spider-Man Noir, or Spider-Man 2099 and engage in a variety of fun gameplay styles to advance the fascinating story that will keep you entangled for hours on end.
2- Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Released on the 12th of November, 2020. Releases Fall of 2022 on PC.
Subjective Opinion: In a very ex-controversial game that got people confused for months as to whether it was an expansion or a standalone game, but people eventually got so tired of arguing that they settled it might be a standalone follow-up game. I was baffled because I did plan on putting Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales in the first place, but for reasons that I will later clarify, Marvel’s Spider-Man rules. This game is just beautiful in every way.
Objective Truth: Spider-Man: Miles Morales took Marvel’s Spider-Man and cranked everything to the extremes. Insomniac Games overhauled the swinging system to be swifter and more fluid and give more options while in the air. The combat system included more gadgets and abilities than Peter Parker. The only thing that this game didn’t top the first one in is the story it presented. Don’t get me wrong, Spider-Man: Miles Morales had a great story, but the first one was just outstanding in plot and narrative.
Fun Approach: Experience a Spider-Man story with Miles Morales as the main character of interest. Go invisible or electrocute the hell out of your enemies with additional abilities that break this game’s fun meter. Miles Morales has a story to give, and so does Peter Parker, so strap on for a game that gets you ready for the much-awaited sequel, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.
1- Marvel’s Spider-Man
Released on the 7th of September, 2018. Releases on the12th of August, 2022 on PC.
Subjective Opinion: This is the first Spidey game I owned at launch; I was extremely excited about this game, and it didn’t fail or disappoint me at anything. The story and climax made me tear up, although it was predictable. And that’s the clever thing about it. Marvel’s Spider-Man is the virtue and the pinnacle of superhero games in the last decade, and I don’t suspect the sequel would be better. Insomniac Games did a wonderful job at balancing their resource allocation to make a masked menace game equally great in every aspect, except maybe the repetitiveness of side missions.
Objective Truth: Marvel’s Spider-Man is the gospel of the wall crawler’s games and definitely superhero games. Insomniac Games gave a well-written story that is better than most superhero movies. They took inspiration from the best (Batman: Arkham Games) to make the best. And it worked. They excelled at capturing the most optimal swinging system in decades. A combat system that can be upgraded yet reasonably good on its own. Featuring a unique voice acting performance from renowned voice actors.
Fun Approach: Marvel’s Spider-Man is a complete package full of emotions. It initiated a line of superhero video games I’m pretty convinced that I will forever be grateful for. Swing in a photorealistic modern-day Manhattan. Do things you can’t do, like freely socially interacting with pedestrians. Collect bags scattered around the city if you’re bored, help the city with crime, and unlock new suits with perks to try out. There’s a ton of stuff to do in this one.
It’s very nice that you pointed out that it’s the console versions of Spider-man 2 that are on the list. The PC version is so bad. It’s that weird era in gaming where licensed games were really dumbed down on PCs compared to the console versions. The original PC version of SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom is not the same game as the console versions. It’s basically a minigame collection as opposed to a collect-a-thon platformer. I guess the publishers thought that the target audience wouldn’t have a powerful enough PC to play an actual PC port of the console versions.