There’s a stark number of Spider-Man games to play. Chances are, if someone asks you, “did you play that Spider-Man game?” you have to respond with, “which one?” There’s too many Spidey games to count so we’ll be looking over some that left a good mark. With as many Spidey games as there are, there’s a fair chance that there’s a game for everyone. In this list we’ll be ranking the best Spider-Man games from least spectacular to the most amazing.
15. Spider-Man: Friend or Foe
Spider-Man is no stranger to the beat ‘em up genre. That’s the draw of Spider-Man: Friend or Foe. It borrows the aesthetic of the Sam Raimi Spidey movies and pits the Web Head against the likes of Green Goblin, Sandman, Dr. Octopus, and Venom. Sure, the gameplay gets predictable after a while and the gameplay is somewhat easy but you could at least play as the villains. There’s a plethora of playable characters, including Rhino, Iron Fist, Black Cat, and Blade.
14. Spider-Man 3
The tie-in game for Spider-Man 3 had a lot to live up to from its direct predecessor. Unfortunately, it didn’t come all that close. The odd thing is that the Spider-Man 3 game released amidst new console releases and each are fundamentally different. Still, there’s a good time to be had regardless which version of the game you’re playing. We’re giving special mention to the Wii game for its use of motion controls for web slinging. This Spidey game is known for being real short on the campaign side so why not awkwardly live out swinging around New York with a Wii Remote and Nunchuk?
13. Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro
This Spidey game is a sequel to the Spider-Man (2000) game. This time Electro acted as the main antagonist. Unlike the previous game, Enter Electro sees Spider-Man take the good fight to the streets of New York. Shocker, Hammerhead, and Sandman are among additional obstacles Spidey must overcome. It didn’t quite leave an indelible mark as the previous but the charm is still there. You could say that its most glaring flaw is its short length although the fun factor doesn’t disappoint.
12. Spider-Man (2002)
There was a time when blockbuster movies were released alongside their video game tie-ins in abundance. Spider-Man, the 2002 release, is based on the first Sam Raimi movie. It’s not the most sophisticated Spider-Man game on this list. What it lacks in depth it makes up with entertainment. Both Tobey Maguire and Willem Dafoe reprise their roles from the movie, though the former delivers their lines endearingly deadpan. This Spidey game is another short but fun beat ‘em up you don’t have to take too seriously. Spider-Man is often campy and this game cashes in on that vibe. The oddest thing about this game is that, when swinging above skyscrapers, Spidey’s webs keep him suspended in midair.
Following the end of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy, the next tie-in game would be with the advent of The Amazing Spider-Man. Developer Beenox came off a good track record having worked on Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and Edge of Time, respectively. The Amazing Spider-Man goes open world and features some fun swing mechanics for its time. Additionally, this game introduces a “Web-Rush” mechanic that slows down time to chain quick attacks and web slinging. To its credit, the game acts as an epilogue to the movie and tells its own original story, though not necessarily the best. Still, nothing beats scouring the city and coming across vintage Spider-Man comics hidden amongst the rooftops.
10. Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage
If ever there was an amazing Spidey side-scroller beat ‘em up, it’s Maximum Carnage. Based on the comic book arc of the same name, Maximum Carnage is a tough as nails game. Make no mistake, this is a hard game which some may find understandably off putting. Nowadays you’ve got emulators and save states so don’t miss out on this one. Players can swap between Spider-Man and Venom as they ultimately aim to put a stop to Carnage’s chokehold on NYC. It’s got a small amount of variety in enemies, you have to manage your item inventory wisely, and stages can go a tad long.
9. Spider-Man: Edge of Time
Spider-Man: Edge of Time is the second Spidey game from Beenox after receiving the license to develop games for the franchise. Though not as refined as Shattered Dimensions, Edge of Time features a highly entertaining story. Peter Parker and Miguel O’Hara (Spider-Man 2099) must work together across space and time to prevent the former from an untimely death and restore each of their timelines. Gameplay remains practically the same as Shattered Dimensions before it and combat feels cumbersome over time. Still, it’s a treat to listen in on the exchanges between Peter and Miguel.
8. Spider-Man (2000)
Neversoft’s take on Spider-Man was bold for its time and the narrative still holds up after all these years. He goes up against the likes of Doc Ock, Venom, Scorpion, and the Lizard. Arguably, the greatest thing that Spider-Man (2000) does is make both Spidey and the player feel part of a large, connected Marvel world. Sure, this is Spider-Man’s game but the cameo appearances from Ghost Rider, The Punisher, Black Cat, and The Human Torch drive up the fan appeal. Even better, Stan Lee himself provides narration over pivotal story sequences. It’s the chef’s kiss of the game for sure. Alternate costumes not only provide cosmetic changes, but include their own unique abilities. Plus, that ending chase sequence with Monster Ock still makes the Spider Senses tingle.
7. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
Beenox’s first take on the level-based Spidey games with Shattered Dimensions was a refreshing change of pace. Four different versions of Spider-Man share the spotlight in this multiverse story. Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2099, Spider-Man Noir, and Ultimate Spider-Man each have different gameplay styles with levels based around their unique movesets. For instance, Spider-Man 2099 can slow down time to dodge attacks, Ultimate Spider-Man can take out large groups of enemies thanks to the symbiote suit’s limbs, and Spider-Man Noir encourages stealth. These gameplay styles are unobtrusive and ultimately fun to play. It’s also interesting that this game is responsible for inspiring the Spider-Verse comic that would inspire the commercially successful Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse series of movies.
The game adaptation of the Spider-Man 2 movie is still beloved to this day. At the time of its release, this game changed the way Spidey games would be made by going open world. It puts the “neighborhood” in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. The narrative can be paused at any time in favor of touring the city to stop petty crimes, deliver NPCs to the hospital, or stopping speeding cars. The web slinging physics are, arguably, regarded as the best in the series to this day. The game’s story may follow that of the movie, but tosses in some extra characters, such as Rhino, Shocker, and Black Cat, and scenarios that don’t appear in the movie to sweeten the pot a little. Spider-Man 2 is a spectacular precursor for greater things to come.
5. Ultimate Spider-Man
Ultimate Spider-Man, based on the comic series of the same name, followed in the footsteps of the 2004 released Spider-Man 2 game. Like its predecessor, this Spidey game brings back an open world to explore. Its most prominent feature is its aesthetic, as if this game is leaping off the pages of a comic book. Additionally, both Spider-Man and Venom are playable characters, each with vastly different movesets and stories. Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 can go neck and neck with each other. Its predecessor delivers more extensive combat options and preferable traversal mechanics. However, they’re both solid games, with Ultimate having the better story. Playing as Venom, there’s a lot more at stake. With nods to other Marvel Comics’ mainstays like S.H.I.E.L.D., the Human Torch, and Silver Sable, Ultimate Spider-Man also feels more lived in.
4. Spider-Man: Web of Shadows
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows has several different variations such as the Nintendo DS port acting as a Metroidvania. We’re looking at the PC/PS3/Xbox 360 port as it was a good blend of open world and mission-based gameplay. The web slinging can get to neck breaking speed. Web of Shadows beats out Spider-Man 2 for not being tied-down to replicating the plot of a movie or comic. This game presents an interesting concept in that the Venom symbiote has completely taken over New York City. What’s more is that Web of Shadows takes a noticeably ominous turn by including a morality system. This system is tied to the use of the Symbiote Suit which Spidey can swap interchangeably with his tried and true threads. Too bad the free roam aspect of the game is disabled after the credits roll. You’ll have to opt for a new game but at least you can carry over your upgrades in New Game Plus.
3. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Miles Morales appears as a supporting character in Marvel’s Spider-Man and when he got his own game in 2020 Insomniac marketed the game as a spin-off rather than a sequel. Miles grapples with being his own unique Spider-Man and whether he can live up to the example that Peter Parker embodies. While the game’s story is significantly shorter in length compared to its predecessor, Miles Morales doesn’t hold back on delivering a strong, emotionally gripping narrative. To remedy this, the game has a great selection of side missions. The most entertaining of which include collecting sound samples around the city, Uncle Aaron composing a lame beat, but still getting a cool suit for your efforts anyway.
2. Marvel’s Spider-Man
If anything unfavorable can be said about Marvel’s Spider-Man it’s that it boasts some awkwardly implemented puzzle sections that takes you away from the game’s heart and soul. With that out of the way, Insomniac’s take on the Wall Crawler seems to incorporate all the best that Spidey has given us in gaming over the years. The result is a detailed New York that is as much a character as any one person in the game. Web slinging may not be as fast as Spider-Man 2 but momentum doesn’t necessarily have to stop when you think you’re going to slam into a building’s side. Chances are you can vault over, under, or through obstacles and not slow down. The story is one unobstructed by a film tie-in and is equal parts suspenseful, saddening, romantic, and genuinely happy. It’s a passion project deserving an honor as one of the best Spider-Man games of all time.
“With great power comes great responsibility.” Those words cannot ring more true looking at Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. Insomniac struck gold with their first Spidey game. Although Miles Morales is intended as a spin-off plenty of heart surrounds that game. The true challenge then is to surmount what its predecessor accomplished. The length of the campaign may be a point of contention for some and the Mary Jane sections won’t please everyone. Yet, Insomniac’s third game in their Spider-Man series manages to deliver a gripping story, expanded gameplay, and in a bigger playground all in one. The developer’s choice to create this game only for current-gen makes Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 a technical and vivid showcase. It’s no surprise that the main draw of the game is Peter succumbing to the Symbiote’s power and how it poisons not only himself, but those he cares about. To take responsibility for that power is part of a journey that can’t be missed.