Cult Video Game Essentials

Spider-Man – Atari 2600 (1982)

In 1982 Parker Brothers made history by releasing Spider-Man for the Atari 2600 – it wasn’t only the first ever video game to feature Spider-Man, it was also the first ever Marvel Comics based video game.

In the game you controlled Spider-Man as he climbed various buildings using his web shooters. As you climbed you had to defuse bombs planted by the Green Goblin.

Spider-Man is only able to use his web lines to move up the building either vertically or diagonally and random criminals dwell along the many floors of the building, moving randomly from one window to another.

Spider-Man begins each level with limited web fluid available to achieve his goal. Fluid level is indicated by a meter at the bottom of the screen. The web fluid meter slowly depletes as time passes, acting like a time limiter of sorts. If the meter depletes completely, Spider-Man will plummet to the ground with no means of saving himself and a life will be lost. If the player has no lives left, the game will be over.

Spider-Man can replenish a little amount of web fluid for each captured criminal or for each small bomb defused. To capture a criminal, Spider-Man must make physical contact with them. However, if a criminal manages to touch his web line, they will cut it and send Spidey plummeting below, though the player can shoot another web in time to save himself.

Near the top of each building, the layout changes to a series of girders where the Goblin has planted many small bombs to hinder Spidey’s progress. When a bomb is about to explode, it will change its color from black to red. Defusing a red bomb yields more points than a black one.

Upon reaching the top of the building, Spidey must then face off against the Goblin, who has planted a “super bomb”, whose fuse is activated upon defeating a certain number of enemies and/or defusing a certain number of small bombs.

Once the fuse is lit, there is a limited time to reach the super bomb before it detonates, claiming one of Spidey’s lives. Upon defeating the Goblin (which involves simply avoiding him) and defusing his super bomb, the game starts over at the next level, which may feature faster-moving and/or more instances of the Green Goblin, taller buildings, taller scaffold sections or a quicker-depleting supply of web fluid. The building is also sometimes a different color.

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