Spider-Mania was developing early in the new millenium as the release date inched ever so closer to Sony’s first Spider-Man film and 2001 saw two different sequels starring the character released to capitalize on that: Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro from Vicarious Visions for the PSOne and Spider-Man 2: The Sinister Six on Game Boy Color from Torus Games, those who would go on to make my favourite Iron Man game of all time. Spider-Man 2: The Sinister Six doesn’t try to be as ambitious as its prequel, but at the same time it’s a lot more focused, playable and ultimately recommendable than its progenitor.
Tired of having his plans foiled by Spider-Man, Doc Ock assembles a new Sinister Six composed of Mysterio, Sandman, Scorpion, Vulture and Kraven the Hunter. Their ultimate plan is to kidnap the caretaker of the photographer who takes pictures of Spider-Man, Aunt May, and force him to set a trap for Spider-Man. Unfortunately for The Six, that photographer is Peter Parker, AKA The Amazing Spider-Man, and they just went and made things personal.
The Sinister Six is not unlike Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six on the NES: You play six stages where each culminates in a fight with a member of the team where the last level is a show down with the team’s leader, Doctor Octopus. Though this means that the open world-esque design of the first Spider-Man GBC game is thrown out, each of the levels are pretty big and explorable with spare lives and power-ups to uncovered for intrepid adventurers. A complaint I had with Spidey’s first GBC outing was how directionless the game could be at times, which is something Torus fixed in The Sinister Six. If you’re not meant to crawl somewhere for example, there will be an unkillable enemy to tell you you’re going the wrong way. Each of the levels will provide you with a simple objective before you fight a boss, like find a key or throw a switch, but they won’t tax you too much, plus your trusty spider-sense is around to point you in the right direction should you fall off the beaten path.
Those who played Spider-Man on GBC will have no trouble whatsoever jumping into part 2 as the two play identically from a basic control standpoint. Spider-Man himself though feels much more nimbler and easy to control than in his first game, which was the other real problem I had with the first title on GBC. To prevent you from over indulging on trap webbing Torus added in a depleting web-fluid meter like the games on PSOne, but there’s always plenty of fill-up power-ups to be found so the basic strategy of trapping an enemy and then letting loose with a flurry of punches still stands. Luckily this time around there’s no members of the animal kingdom around to buzz around you as well, just regular henchmen that you can dispatch pretty easily.
Though the team is called “The Sinister Six”, you wouldn’t be able to tell by how easy they are to take down. While you can’t rely on your trusty trap webbing like you could when fighting Venom and the Lizard in part one, you won’t really need it as at least five of the six bosses follow simple patterns that are easily figured out. The only member of the team who will make you sweat is the team leader, Doc Ock, but that’s due to the fact that you actually have to attack him in the air; something you won’t have to do for any enemies up to that point.
Is Spider-Man 2: The Sinister Six a game that will change you world? No, but its a very well put together game starring your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man that fixes all of the problems that prevented the first GBC game from being great, namely better controls and tighter level design. As the two Spider-Man GBC outings have independent stories that don’t really link despite this gaming having a number 2 in the title, you can easily skip over the first game and play its far superior outing.