5. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
We'll be the first to say that as a game, Shattered Dimensions was more than a little disjointed. How could it not be with a concept that brought together Spider-Men from different universes? You basically ended up with four different, smaller Spider games in one and some aren't as good as others. However, even if it fails at times to be a great video game, as a celebration of Spider-Man's history and mythos, few games are as good.
Shattered Dimensions brought together the regular Marvel Universe Spidey with Ultimate Spider-Man, 2099's Spider-Man, and the Noir Spidey of an alternate 1920s. The dialogue, settings, rich rogues' gallery and even the casting of the voice talent all function as some kind of tribute to Spidey's decades of history. Even when the gameplay falls down, any Spider-fan will find something to love about the game.
4. Spider-Man 2: The Game
Unlike DC Comic's fictional locales like Metropolis and Gotham, Marvel heroes has always been very directly tied to New York City. Almost every Spider-Man game has been set in NYC, but you never really got a real feel for the Big Apple before 2004. After Grand Theft Auto III proved the power of sandbox gaming set in a persistent world, Spider-Man and developer Treyarch came to the obvious conclusion: put Spidey in a living, breathing Manhattan.
By today's standards the city seems a little empty and the missions, particularly the balloon-catching ones, are regrettably boring more often than not. But the impact of finally swinging through a full recreation of NYC as Spidey can't be understated. Until Batman came around, games like Spider-Man 2 and its sequels were seen as the absolute best in comic book games.
3. Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
As this list proves, Spider-Man is most at home in third person adventures of the platforming or open world variety. Still, when he branches off sometimes you get great results, the best example being his appearances in fighting games. And no, we aren't talking about Marvel: Nemesis, but all the fun times he's had in Capcom fighters.
We had great times for more than a decade busting out Maximum Spider in a half-dozen games, but if we had to pick a favorite of all the Vs games, the choice is obvious for Spider-Man fans. Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 featured way more fan service than any before, with so many alternate costumes and whole stages made in tribute to Peter Parker. Let the fighting game fanatics argue over the gameplay, for Spidey fans the choice is easy.
2. Ultimate Spider-Man
The direct sequel to the genre-defining Spider-Man 2 game, developer Treyarch improved everything for their second open world adventure. New York City was expanded, given more character and the mission variety grew bigger than ever. NYC looked better than ever too, as Ultimate embraced the cel-shaded look that was all the rage back then, meaning the game's graphics have aged well.
Set in the comic book world of Ultimate Spider-Man starring a younger version of Peter Parker, you spend the game trading off between Pete and his nemesis Venom. The story was written by Ultimate Spider-Man scribe Brian Michael Bendis and the visuals were based on Ult Spidey artist Mark Bagley, making the game appear ripped from the comics page. No Spider-game since has so embraced its comic roots, but we wish someone would try.
1. Spider-Man: Web of Shadows
With SO many classic Spider-Man adventures to choose from, it was tough to pick the best. Ultimately we had to ask ourselves, "If we could suggest only one Spider-Man game to someone that never played one, what would it be?" The answer was clear. Unappreciated in its time, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows pulled together almost everything we love about the franchise into one beautiful package.
Let's run down the list: The best defined Manhattan that's continually shifting, combat perfectly expresses Spider-Man's proportionate spider powers, cameos from Marvel heroes Luke Cage and Wolverine, and bringing back the fan-favorite black symbiote suit as a core feature. We're not sure why it never had a sequel, but if you can still find the game out there it's at least worth a couple of weekends.