Spider-Man on PlayStation 1 revolutionized the franchise’s video games, introducing 3D gameplay and a more immersive experience that captured the feeling of being Spider-Man. The game set the standard for Spider-Man titles, incorporating cinematic storytelling, unlockable costumes, and bonus content like comic book covers and cheat codes. The success of Spider-Man on PS1 paved the way for the high-budget franchise we see today and proved that superhero games can be more than just cash-ins, influencing the development of other Marvel and Spider-Man games.

Spider-Man‘s history with video games dates back to the Atari 2600 and will continue this year with Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 on PlayStation 5. With over 40 years of video games, the franchise has had its highs and lows across various consoles and arcade machines. Perhaps the biggest shift in the history of the series occurred in the year 2000 when Activision released the PlayStation game simply titled Spider-Man. This would be the first 3D Spider-Man game and the beginning of a new era for the franchise.

Before Spider-Man on PS1, the comic book icon’s video games were released on an inconsistent basis and were of equally inconsistent quality. The 2000 Spider-Man‘sfantastic 3D action gameplayturned Spider-Man video games into a full-fledged, almost yearly AAA game franchise. Many elements players expect in Spider-Man games got started with the PS1 release, such as cinematic storytelling and unlockable costumes. Spider-Man on the original PlayStationtransformed the series and is responsible for the quality of Spider-Man titles today.

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In the ’80s and ’90s, Spider-Man video games were mainly of the 2D side-scroller variety. Some titles like Sega’s arcade Spider-Man and Acclaim’s Maximum Carnage were popular and are well-remembered, but others like Spider-Man and the X-Men in Arcade’s Revenge or Return of the Sinister Six were forgettable at best. Consistency was also an issue as games would come out on Game Boy and other times on Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis, usually from different developers. Consumers had no idea what type of quality to expect when they picked up a Spider-Man game. Licensed video games get a bad rap for being poorly thought-out cash-ins on a familiar product, and the Spider-Man games of the era were sadly living up to that reputation.

In 2000, Spider-Man‘s video game legacy took an important turn. Activision and Neversoft, the brains behind the Tony Hawk series, released Spider-Man on the PlayStation. The game received rave reviews upon release, and a sequel, Enter Electro, followed only a year later using the same engine and gameplay. Only a few months later, the 2002 Spider-Man movie tie-in game was released for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube using the same gameplay loop as Spider-Man on PS1. In 2004, Spider-Man 2 notably took the series into open-world gameplay. Activision carried the license for Spider-Man titles and released games almost yearly until 2014 with the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Each release continued to develop off of the template thatthe2000 Spider-Man title started, and the current Insomniac Spider-Man games feel like a modern spin on the 2000 release.RELATED: The Amazing Spider-Man Games Prove Why Movie Tie-In Games Are A Good Thing

While some of the prior Spider-Man games were well received, the 2D side-scrolling gameplay was ultimately limited to the source material. Spider-Man is a character known for swinging through New York City, running across rooftops, and webbing up foes, but in the 2D Spider-Man games the titular hero was often limited to walking and punching like any other beat-em-up character. The stories of these earlier games were also often limited to being told in walls of text or still images.

Spider-Man on PS1was the first 3D Spider-Man game and the first to successfully capture the feeling of being Spider-Man. Spider-Man was more agile and quick than he had ever been in a video game. Players were able to easily swing through levels, crawl up walls and ceilings, and combat enemies with combos and various web attacks. Spider-Man also featured an original story complete with boss fights against some of Spidey’s top villains such as Venom, Doc-Ock, Carnage, and Mysterio. The game included CGI cutscenes with voice acting providing a cinematic experience that predates even the first movie. The title was easily the most complete Spider-Man experience at the time of its release.

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Spider-Man On PlayStation Innovated Bonus Content For The Series

The 2000 releaseintroduced extra content to Spider-Man video games, most notably alternate costumes. Players could unlock classic Spider-Man suits, including Spider-Man 2099, Black Suit Spider-Man, and even Peter Parker in street clothes, to name a few. These costumes could enhance Spider-Man’s skills, such as making him completely invincible or adding double damage to attacks. The alternate costumes could also make the experience more challenging by restricting web cartridges. It is practically a requirement for current Spider-Man and superhero games to include alternate costumes, and Spider-Man on PlayStation started this trend.

Spider-Man on PS1 also featured unlockable comic book covers, cheat codes, and a humorous “What If” mode that re-imagined the game with silly background gags and light-hearted cameos from other Marvel heroes. Players would come to expect Easter eggs and fun bonus content such as this for years to come in Marvel and Spider-Man games.

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Spider-Man on the original PlayStation forever changed Spider-Man video games and helped players capture the feeling of swinging through the streets of New York as their favorite hero. It quite literally shifted the perspective of the series from 2D to 3D and also changed perceptions of what a Spider-Man and superhero game can be. The 2000 Spider-Man game transformed the character’svideo games into a high-budget franchise and provided the template for what Spider-Man titles are today.

Many superhero franchises have yet to find any consistency at all in the video game landscape, and without Spider-Man on the original PlayStation, the franchise’s video games may have suffered the same fate. As Spider-Man’s video game history continues to be written, it also continues to get better. The first 15 years or so were rocky, but the past 24 years have given fans a number of classic releases. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 will likely be another hit upon release next week, and it owes a debt of gratitude to Spider-Man on the original PlayStation.

 Spider-Man, released in 2000 for the original PlayStation, took Spidey into 3D and created the basis for Spider-Man video games that followed.  Read More