Every so often a game comes along that tempts me to buy a console. This week, naturally, it’s Spider-Man, with its web-slinging and web-swinging, its dope-ass photomode that I want so much I can almost taste it, and the fact that you can apparently walk around giving New Yorkers friendly finger-guns at will. I want to play Spider-Man, dammit. I want to do flips and deliver quips and swing through a beautifully realized, puddle-free Manhattan—but I don’t own a PS4. It’s not a PC snob thing, I just don’t want to buy a whole console for just one dang game.
So, what’s a PC-only gamer to do when he wants to play some Spider-Man today? Luckily, there are options! Lots of great options that are making me feel so much better about not having a PS4. These options are great, he insisted again, hoping everyone would believe him.
Shattered Dimensions, for instance, which The Global Authority On PC Games described as “pretty good” in an article last year. That’s a ringing endorsement. And it’s the only Spider-Man game on Steam, according to our article, which is now a bit out of date because it’s not the only Spider-Man game on Steam, and also, it’s not actually on Steam anymore. Activision’s license deal with Marvel Entertainment was only through 2017 and the game was pulled from sale. So I can’t play it.
Well, that blows, but what else we got? There’s also a $4 Spider-Man costume for Marvel vs. Capcom and a free Spider-Man character pack for Lego Marvel’s Avengers, but I don’t want to play a fighting game or Lego game. I want to play a Spider-Man game, where I’m Spider-Man.
That leaves me with Spider-Man: Homecoming—Virtual Reality Experience, though it’s usually not a good thing when you’re looking for a game but you find an ‘experience’ instead. Still, I’ve got a Vive, so I give it a try.
It’s not so good, really. While standing in one place for long minutes—Spidey’s trademark move—I learn about the different kinds of webs available to me, like a web grenade, web bullets (or something), and the traditional Spider-Man webs that let me grab onto things, like posters, and pull them off the wall. Having redecorated the rooftop a bit, there’s some sort of explosion in the city, and the Vulture appears and I swing from a helicopter and then… it ends and tells me to buy the movie.
Why did I just spend 10 minutes learning about all these different webshooters for the game to end the second I get a chance to use them?
Off to the internet, then, or the ‘web’, to look for Spider-Man game that won’t end because I’ve made the mistake of trying to be Spider-Man.
I find a flash game called Spider-Man: City Raid. In this side-scroller you’re Spider-Man and you have zero bones, possibly from losing a fight with a supervillain who dissolves human skeletons. Spidey is tenacious though, and can still swing through a city, or at least swing from some platforms that are near a city.
The gif above isn’t the entire experience: you can’t hear the generic rock soundtrack and you can’t see that when I click submit for my high score it opens a entire page of ads.
Searching the Windows Store for Spider-Man games brings up a few choices, including a game called Guess The Heroes. It’s free so I try it, and it brings up a picture of Storm, so I type Storm—feels like a good guess since it’s Storm and all—but nothing happens. I type it again, and nothing. I finally realize it’s a hangman-style game, and you’re meant to enter one letter at a time, clicking enter after each.
I painstakingly one-letter my way through Thor, Loki, Professor Xavier, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, skip some green dude I don’t recognize (it’s not Hulk, anyway), get Invisible Woman again, then finally reach Spider-Man. Just for kicks, I expire all 10 chances by guessing wrong and lose. I definitely do feel like I’m losing.
Meanwhile, the itch.io store has a game called The Unreal Spider-Man. It’s a bit of a work in progress, as you can see below, but I sorta swing around while looking through my arms and body and getting webs stuck to things, but never the things I want them to get stuck to. Also, it occasionally prints the world ‘hello’ along the side of the screen.
Naturally, there are Spider-Man mods, especially for the GTA games. My favorite modder, JulioNIB, has a Spider-Man mod for GTA 4, and there are a few Spidey mods for GTA 5 as well. Those are always fun, and all it requires is downloading and installing a GTA game and Scripthook and whatever pedestrian model I want for the costume and possibly some version of the Microsoft NET Framework and potentially some audio dll files and OpenIV and… you know, I think maybe the problem isn’t that I don’t have a PS4, it’s that I’m extremely lazy.
Oh well, no Spider-Man for me today. Enjoy yourself, PS4 players. I’ll be doing the next best thing.