After All These Years, Ultimate Spider-Man Is Still Nothing To Sleep On

With the Spider-Man hype train higher than ever, it's time to give Ultimate Spider-Man the credit it deserves.

Story Highlights

  • Treyarch’s Ultimate Spider-Man has a unique and distinct art style that still holds up today.
  • The story not only humanized Eddie Brock but was so good the comics consider it canon.
  • With cameo appearances from Marvel characters like Wolverine and Human Torch, it’s a Marvel fan’s dream game.

Many Spider-Man games have been released throughout the years. From Neversoft’s Spider-Man, the first 3D Spider-Man game, to the revolutionary movie-tie-in game Spider-Man 2. Out of these titles, most casual or new Spider-Man fans would likely call Insomniac’s incredible Spider-Man game or maybe Web of Shadows the best Spider-Man-based game.

However, I’m here to argue that while both Spider-Man games are no doubt amazing, the forgotten Ultimate Spider-Man deserves more love and appreciation. If you haven’t heard of this game before, don’t worry, you aren’t alone.

Ultimate Spider-Man launched on September 19, 2005, for various consoles, including the Gameboy Advance. However, we’ll focus on the main flagship version of the game that was available on PC, PS2, Xbox, and the GameCube. At launch, Ultimate Spider-Man received lukewarm to decent reviews from fans and critics, but I think that, even now, it isn’t something to sleep on.

One Of The Best Aesthetics In A Spider-Man Game

Ultimate Spider-Man is based on the comic book series of the same name. Therefore, Treyarch decided on a visual style reminiscent of the comic book it’s based on. It looks like the comic book source material, which no game has really been able to capture since.

YouTube video

Activision used cel-shading to give the game’s world a stylized and graphic look, making the game look like a comic book. As a result, the game’s visuals have aged much better than most games from that generation, including other Spider-Man games. Additionally, the game’s character designs are more stylized than what’s normally seen in other games.

The game uses comic book style throughout the presentation of the game, particularly in its cutscenes. Everything from the use of multiple panels to how sound effects are written makes it feel like I’m playing in a comic book. I remember back in the day this was the game that got me interested in actually picking up and reading comic books, a habit that I still have.

Ultimate Spider-Man Has A Story Worth Making Canon

Ultimate Spider-Man’s story is a riff on the classic Symbiote story arc, focusing mainly on Peter Parker and Eddie Brock. It takes elements from the original story and changes them around. Everything from the relationship dynamic of Peter and Eddie to the nature of the symbiote is different from the original.

Ultimate Spider-Man Best Game Ever
by inSpidermanPS4

The thing I loved most about this game’s story is how it humanizes Eddie. I enjoyed playing as him, even if he had moments of violence and mindless destruction. The symbiote is used as an extension of Eddie Brock’s psyche instead of relegating him to some mindless creature that just wants to kill like most games make it out to be. The game’s story was so good it’s considered canon for the comic books so that really says something.

Ultimate Spider-Man also fleshes out the world by incorporating other characters from the Marvel Universe as cameos. You can imagine my shock when I found the game had beloved characters like Wolverine and Human Torch. In a world before the MCU’s crossoverfest, seeing characters from different IPs was amazing.

It’s Not Just A Spider-Man Game

YouTube video

Ultimate Spider-Man’s gameplay is generally pretty good, especially since it expands on Treyarch’s previous Spider-Man game. However, the biggest thing Ultimate Spider-Man does to differentiate itself gameplay-wise is the inclusion of a fully playable Venom.

Throughout the campaign, you switch between Spider-Man and Venom, with Venom’s gameplay being heavier than Spidey’s. The Symbiote-induced Eddie mostly deals brutal combos and has slightly different traversal. His health bar is also always depleting and requires restoration via “absorbing” other humans. These humans may be civilians or enemies.

Ultimate Spider-Man is nearly 20 years old and has really good swinging mechanics for its time
byu/Sacrer inSpiderman

The addition of a playable Venom that is fleshed out like this isn’t something that’s been seen prior or since. While Insomniac’s Spider-Man 2 did include Venom as a playable character, he was only there for a bit for story reasons. Meanwhile, Venom in Ultimate Spider-Man plays a prominent role, hence the more fleshed-out mechanics. You can even play as Venom after you’re done with the story in a free-roam mode.

With so many factors, it’s surprising Ultimate Spider-Man doesn’t get as much attention as it should. With a timeless art style like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and gameplay that still holds up today, I think Spider-Man fans should stop sleeping on one of the best web-slinging games.

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Ahmed Shayan is a News Writer on eXputer with decent experience writing about games. He’s a machine learning enthusiast with a passion for a plethora of gaming genres. Ahmed is fond of Soulsborne games in which he has invested more than 3,000 hours! You can follow Ahmed's gaming activity on his PSN Profile.

Experience: 1.5+ Years || Mainly Covers News Stories on eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Data Science.

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