Spider-Man has been a staple of video games since 1982. Since then, nearly every video game console has had a Spider-Man game. With over 32 years of games, it’s likely that many people have a favorite game starring the web-slinger, and this list is here to point out 10 of the very best.
Ultimate Spider-Man (2005)
Sometimes a game is captivating thanks to its artistic direction, and more than any other Spider-Man game, this one wanted to remind you that Spider-Man is a comic book character. Beyond this, the game lets you play as Venom, Spider-Man’s foil, which isn’t the first game to do that but is one of the first to have it really be part of the narrative of the game itself. Despite a little bit of 2005 jankiness, the game still stands out in the crowd of Spider-Man games.
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows
In the era of edgy games, the web-slinger would have to have his hat thrown into the ring as well. Much like a lot of games at the time, there were multiple endings in which you can be varying levels of evil or good depending on your actions. It’s fun to have a Spider-Man game that lets you ask the big question of what if Spider-Man was a baddie who took over the city he once protected. It’s a cheesy game but the fun in these kinds of games is that they’re messy and not to be taken seriously. The morality is so black and white that it’s cartoonish.
Marvel Super Heroes
Honestly, it’s amazing how relevant this old gem is to what Marvel looks like now. One of the biggest draws of this game was the addition of Spider-Man to the gameplay of the previous X-Men fighting games. Thanos has a bunch of rocks and you gotta stop him from using them to do a bad thing as the heroes of the Marvel World in an arcade fighting game with the framing device of stones meaning that heroes have to fight each other. It’s silly but fun with some of the best sprite work ever produced for a video game, especially a licensed one. It was no shock that these sprites ended up being carried over to the Marvel vs. Capcom games and built up quite a legacy. A lot of the way people think of Spider-Man fighting originates from this pretty little gem.
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
This is the game that captured so much of what Spider-Man games should be. You web-sling from prompt to prompt, enjoying New York City as you punch up some people vaguely tied into the plot of the Spider-Man 2 movie. The game is simple and probably the best movie tie-in game ever made. It doesn’t have wild ambition to be more than exactly what it is. It’s a light and breezy game to enjoy almost meditatively.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
This game feels like a precursor to much of what Spider-Man would become in the popular consciousness of our modern era, with 2014’s Spider-Verse comic series and the masterpiece film Into the Spider-Verse shifting the singular idea of Spider-Man to a wider net of Spider-people across a multiverse where anyone can wear the mask and fight evil. Each of the Spider-Men here have different play styles, mixing up the gameplay and keeping it from focusing on one or the other too much. It’s a game with ambition that wants to show that a Spider-Man game can be a seriously good time, and it succeeded.
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Marvel Ultimate Alliance
This game is something a family could sit together and play, enjoying heroes they each had a personal connection to. Many a family home had arguments over who would get to play as Spider-Man, who was of course the top billing for the game. You fight against a collection of baddies, many of whom are Spider-Man’s foes since they were at the time the most iconic Marvel villains. There’s a lot to appreciate about the look and feel of the Marvel universe in 2006 vs. where the universe is now. It’s both a fun beat-’em-up game and a nice time capsule for what is now the biggest entertainment brand in the world.
Marvel vs. Capcom 2
To this day, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is one of the most beloved fighting games of all time. The wildly massive roster to date is still one of the biggest out there with 56 playable characters. Spider-Man is a poster boy in this game set to get people hype for him to go punching Street Fighter’s Ryu. From the arcade to the home console, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is a game where everyone can have a favorite character and experience something different from the other players. With the mash-up approach that this game took, it really allowed for the most wonderful mess of a fighting game.
Spider-Man and the X-Men SNES
This is an absolute classic game that feels like the peak of perfection of the Spider-Man game formula pre-3D gaming. It tries to do all sorts of things with Spider-Man’s power set all in a 2D game and pairs him with the iconic X-Men for more variety in the game play than just wall-crawling fun. The gameplay is simple, letting you beat up baddies as you travel through levels.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2
This game perhaps presents Spidey in the truest fashion: as a toy in a big collection of connected toys you care about. It’s a massive toy chest of fun where you likely have your favorite niche character also in the game. This game also has the most of the Spider-Man cast playable of any game ever made: 10 Spider-people alone, not to mention the extensive inclusions and enemies and a character creator for anyone else you might want to add. This is a dream playset where you can throw all your favorites together, web-sling around, and enjoy Spider-Man in all of his universal glory.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Spider-Man: Miles Morales feels like it’s the culmination of everything Spider-Man is in the modern day. We get to play as Miles Morales, who has quickly become many fans’ favorite Spider-Man. He brings in a colorful cast of diverse characters that round out his universe and are equally enjoyable to play. This game is paired perfectly with the amazing PS4 Spider-Man gameplay where web-slinging is perfected and combat makes you feel like you actually have spider senses. No other Spider-Man game has done such a good job of making it feel like the player is Spider-Man and demonstrates how bright the future is for other such games.