SPOILERS FOLLOW FOR: SPIDER-MAN (PSOne/DC/N64/GBC/PC), SPIDER-MAN 2: ENTER ELECTRO (PSOne), SPIDER-MAN: MYSTERIO’S MENACE (GBA), SPIDER-MAN 2: THE SINISTER SIX (GBC).
From late 2000 through 2001 and before they started focusing more on Spider-Man movie games, Activision produced five Spider-Man games that are seemingly unrelated from one another, with the exception of the two PSOne titles as the ending of 2000’s Spider-Man is referenced in the opening of Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro. That leaves three games unaccounted for with no clear indication as to where they take place in reference to one another. Having played all these games over the course of the past year, I’ve come up with a way in which these five games across three systems actually take place in the same universe with reasons why I’ve chosen them to place them at their points in the series. Let’s start out with the first game in the series, which is…
After being active as Spider-Man for some time and before he wed Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker returns to his home in Forest Hills to find his home ransacked and his Aunt May missing. Doctor Octopus, tired of being beaten by Spider-Man, assembled a new version of his infamous Sinister Six: Mysterio, Sandman, Vulture, Scorpion and Kraven the Hunter who comprise a plan to kidnap Peter Parker, Spider-Man’s photographer, to draw out their arch nemesis. Not finding Parker at home, the team settle for his Aunt May. After beating the six one-by-one after adventuring all throughout New York, Spider-Man/Peter Parker is reunited with his Aunt May, though Doctor Octopus escapes from custody.
WHY THIS IS GAME #1: The booklet for Spider-Man GBC references Mary Jane Parker as a character and is mentioned in the game’s beginning and conclusion when Spider-Man states he has to pick up a present for his wife. Mary Jane is referred to as Peter’s wife also in Spider-Man: Mysterio’s Menace, as well as Spider-Man on the PSOne, with that game having a sub-plot where she has to be rescued from Venom. Mary Jane isn’t referenced in Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro, but as that game takes place directly after Spider-Man, we can safely assume that her and Peter are still together. As over half of the team that appears in this game is in custody after the PSOne games (Doc Ock, Sandman, Mysterio, and Scorpion) and Mary Jane isn’t referenced, this game can be seen as the first chapter in the Activision Spider-Man time line before Peter and MJ wed with Peter still living at home.
Having escaped the clutches of the law, Doctor Octopus thinks of a new plan to destroy Spider-Man: harvest materials from the alien costumes worn by Venom and Carnage to make his own symbiote. The evil doctor captures the two symbiotes but Venom escapes, leaving Doc Ock with just Carnage to experiment on. In order to better control his symbiote, Doc Ock retains the services of the Hobgoblin to steal the research of Dr. Curt Connors, AKA The Lizard, who is an expert in the field of combining DNA from foreign hosts. The attack by the Hobgoblin causes Connors to enter his Lizard state and escapes to the subway while Venom, having escaped the clutches of his captor but still under his control, lies in wait to try to warn Spider-Man of Doc Ock’s plan but the two end up fighting.
Upon giving an antidote to The Lizard made at Connors’ lab, Curt directs Spider-Man to the docks where he enters a rematch with Venom, defuses a warehouse full of pumpking bombs and defeats the Hobgoblin who refuses to let up who he is working for. Without a lead, Spider-Man returns to the Daily Bugle to use its resources in order to get to the bottom of the mystery and once again duels with Venom. Now free of whatever control Doc Ock had over him, Venom explains to Spider-Man that he was trying to warn him of what Doc Ock was planning and points him to the direction of his secret lab in the sewers.
After avoiding the traps of his dangerous new laboratory, Spider-Man confronts his eight-limbed nemesis who upon being defeated releases a captive Carnage. Spider-Man subdues the spawn of Venom, only to have Carnage’s weakened symbiote bond to Doc Ock, creating Monster Ock who Spider-Man also puts a stop to, this time bringing Doc Ock to the proper authorities.
WHY THIS GAME IS #2: This was actually the hardest game to place, because both it and Mysterio’s Menace can almost be interchanged. Ultimately I chose this game as second for several reasons:
1) It’s the first appearance of Mary Jane Parker (at least in reference)
2) Doc Ock tries to build a symbiote for himself as opposed to controlling a world full of symbiote bonded people.
3) Setting this before Mysterio’s Menace gives Doc Ock enough time to convince the world he has reformed and develop the plan he goes on to implement in Spider-Man on the PSOne.
While working at the Daily Bugle, Peter Parker receives a call from his wife Mary Jane who wants him to pick up a fish bowl for some fish she won at an amusement park. Before he can do this though, he first must investigate a series of high-tech heights that are occurring throughout New York. These events are being orchestrated by none other than the master of illusion himself, Mysterio, who assembles a group of Spider-Man’s deadliest villains to accomplish his goal of using large-scale holographic projectors to control the city. Upon taking down the Rhino, who was tricked into distracting Spider-Man; Scorpion who was promised the technology to escape from his suit and Hammerhead and Big Wheel who were both hired help, Spider-Man is led to Electro at Chem Corp who is promptly defeated.
Upon putting the pieces together, Spider-Man deduces who is behind this series of crimes and tracks down Mysterio to an amusement park. Spider-Man puts a stop to Mysterio’s plans, but not before the villain escapes leaving nothing but his helmet behind which Peter presents to Mary Jane as her new fish bowl.
WHY THIS GAME IS #3: A lot of the reasoning as to why Spider-Man on the GBC is number two makes this game sit at number three. Some other reasons why this is a good lead into Spider-Man on the PSOne is that after the failure with the Sinister Six and the empty promises of Mysterio, it drives the Scorpion back to his default plan of trying to end the life of J. Jonah Jameson and turns him off from working with others, as in the PSOne game Scorpion has nothing to do with Doc Ock’s plan of symbiosis. Grasping at straws a little here, but you can also kinda link this with Spider-Man on the GBC by saying Peter’s gift to Mary Jane for her birthday was a day at the amusement park. Yeah, it’s a stretch I know.
After his failed plans to stop Spider-Man with both a new Sinister Six and creating his own symbiote, Doc Ock creates his most ambitious plan to date. Instead of trying to control his own symbiote, he’ll turn everyone else into symbiotes and control them through the use of a fog that can blanket the city. As forcing symbiotes to work with him don’t go over so well the last time, Doc Ock decides to put one in his employ, Carnage, chosen over Venom as Carnage has no regard for human life like Venom does. Pulling off this plan also has two other components: convincing the public he has reformed, and turning the public against Spider-Man, something easily done with the help of his former Sinister Six partner, Mysterio.
While demonstrating his new world-changing technology, a reformed Doctor Octopus experiment is “stolen” by Mysterio clad in a Spider-Man costume. A puzzled Peter Parker looks on from the crowd, snapping pictures for the Daily Bugle, as is Eddie Brock, trying to get back into the news industry before his camera is destroyed by the imposter Spider-Man, causing him to lose control and unleash his Venom symbiote. Eager to clear his name and get to the bottom of who is behind all this, Peter Parker dons his Spider-Man costume but is immediately distracted by a bank heist being pulled off by the Jade Syndicate, and an enraged Scorpion who has once again targeted J. Jonah Jameson who be blames for trapping him in his battle armour. After saving the life of an ungrateful JJJ, Spider-Man is cornered by fellow vigilante Daredevil who demands an explanation for his present actions. Spider-Man explains his side of the story which Daredevil believes thanks to his trusty internal lie detector. Daredevil promises to spread the word of Spider-Man’s innocence, but not before the web-slinger is chased by the New York City police department through an abandoned construction site.
Upon shaking his pursuers, Black Cat meets up with Spider-Man who informs him that not only has Venom has kidnapped his wife, still thinking that Spider-Man is behind the technology heist, but the Rhino is rampaging at another technology company, Omni-Tek. Little does the Rhino know that his presence is merely a distraction orchestrated by Doctor Octopus to not only obtain another piece of technology important to his plan, but to capture The Rhino after his confrontation with Spider-Man to further prove that he’s reformed. The Rhino is taken down and taken into custody, but as is the Black Cat, which further makes Peter suspicious that Doc Ock isn’t reformed. Lacking any type of lead as to who is behind the frame up, Spider-Man turns his attention towards Venom and recovering his wife, but not before getting some advice from the Human Torch of the Fantastic Four.
Venom antagonizes Spider-Man and forces him through a sewer maze filled with the filled experiments of The Lizard. Spider-Man defeats Venom and explains to him that there was no way he was the one who pulled off the heist as he was in the crowd with Eddie Brock. With the air cleared and his wife saved, Spider-Man and his long time nemesis put aside their differences to track down the real culprit, using the resources of the Daily Bugle.
At the Bugle, Venom detects the presence of his offspring, Carnage, and takes off in pursuit while Spider-Man uncovers symbiote generators. Smashing the generators along the way, Spider-Man meets up with the imposter who reveals himself to be Mysterio who uses his technology to grow to giant size. Even with this enhancement, the Master of Illusion still loses and gives up Doc Ock’s location in a lab hidden under a warehouse that is also being staked out by The Punisher.
Spider-Man convinces The Punisher to stand watch while he investigates the lab. Inside he finds more symbiote generators and the captive Black Cat who he sets free. He once again confronts Doc Ock as he had done twice in the past and defeats Carnage who had managed to beat Venom while Spider-Man was dealing with Doc Ock. With Doc Ock’s plans foiled once more, Spider-Man once again is met with a symbiote controlled Monster Ock who chases him through his lab while it’s collapsing around them. On the surface a weary Spider-Man is met by Captain America in a Quin-Jet having been contacted by Black Cat and Venom. With Doc Ock, Scorpion, Rhino and Mysterio behind bars, Spider-Man relaxes with fellow heroes The Punisher, Captain America, and Daredevil over cards while the Human Torch and Black Cat have a dance off.
WHY THIS GAME IS #4: Spider-Man is not only a big deal as it was the first time anyone had played as the character in 3-D, but if you look at it in hindsight in the context of all the games after it being released, it really ends a lot of the stories set up in the handheld games: Venom tries to go on the straight and narrow after Spider-Man didn’t believe him in the first GBC game; The Scorpion, frustrated by broken promises opts for petty revenge over being cured of his plight and Doc Ock’s ultimate plan builds upon his failures from the past:
1) Working with fellow members of The Sinister Six (Mysterio).
2) Removing Spider-Man from the equation like in Spider-Man 2: The Sinister Six.
3) Putting a symbiote in his employ as opposed to treating them like a science experiment, as seen in Spider-Man on the Game Boy Color.
This game also seals the fate of a lot of villains who appeared in other games, such as Mysterio, Rhino, Doc Ock, and Scorpion who are all in custody by the end of this game (and still so in this game’s sequel), and Carnage who loses his symbiote in the lab explosion.
Tired of being a work for hire villain like he was during Mysterio’s Menace, Electro seeks to amplify his electrical power through a machine known as the Bio-Nexus device that amplifies a person’s own electrical field. In order to assemble this device, Electro hires known associates such as Hammerhead, hired help during Mysterio’s plans, former Sinister Six member The Sandman, The Beetle and The Shocker to help him steal the components to the machine.
During patrol Spider-Man is witness to one of the first robberies and plants a spider-tracer on the getaway vehicle that leads him to a seedy warehouse. Just as he gets the information out of one of the thugs about the next lead to follow, Spider-Man is attacked by The Shocker, the perpetrator of the robbery. Spider-Man subdues The Shocker and follows his only lead that leads him to an airport where the next member of Electro’s crew is expected to be headed. While at the airport Spider-Man is once again given the slip by another of the tech thieves but not before he tags an escaping helicopter with another tracking device that brings him to a train yard owned by notorious gangster Hammerhead.
Deducing that whoever is behind the second heist is escaping on a departing train, Spider-Man is again distracted by the arrival of The Sandman. Upon escaping the former Sinister Six team member, Spider-Man catches up with The Beetle who is in possession of yet another piece of the Bio-Nexus device. The villain manages to escape, but not before Spider-Man obtains a clue that something is planning to go down at the Science and Industry ball. It is there where Spider-Man learns that a Dr. Watts can possibly shed some light on what is going on, but she is taken by the Sandman during a fight between Hammerhead and Spider-Man.
Luckily for Spider-Man a colleague of Dr. Watts is none other than Curt Connors, AKA The Lizard. Unluckily however, Connors has turned into his alter ego who Spider-Man has to contend with at Bio-Tech, the research facility where Connors works. Using various chemicals within the Bio-Tech facility, Spider-Man manages to reverse The Lizard’s mutation and with Dr. Connors back in control, he explains Dr. Watts creation the Bio-Nexus device that will give Electro the powers of a God should the device be completed. Spider-Man visits Dr. Watts lab and learns that the last missing component is a power source for the machine, a large diamond knowns as Zeus’s Tear. Spider-Man is once again attacked by The Sandman who he defeats for the last time, and then heads to the museum where the diamond is being shown off.
At the museum Spider-Man finally confronts Electro who is holding Dr. Watts hostage as insurance. The two long time enemies fight but in the fray Electro obtains the Zeus’s Tear and activates Bio-Nexus device, becoming Hyper Electro. Using electricity generators on a nearby tower, Spider-Man overloads the Bio-Nexus device and finally brings Electro, along with most of his cronies, to Justice.
WHY THIS GAME IS #5: Not only is it the last game in this timeline before Activision started focusing primarily on Spider-Man movie games, but it also gives the final fate of for a majority of villains who have appeared in these games, namely Doc Ock, Electro, Mysterio, Hammerhead, Sandman, Rhino, and Scorpion who are all being held in the same holding facility by the end of Enter Electro.