by Marjolein Verheij
previewed on PC
Spiders from Space
The moment that I looked into those big yellow eyes I was sold, by a spider no less! I’m no fan of spiders I can tell you that, but this one caught my eye and held it. Alien Spidy starts with titular Spidy crash-landing on Earth. He had set out to find his explorer lady friend Virgi and followed her to Earth. Upon entering Earth’s atmosphere his spacecraft failed and broke apart, scattering the parts across forests, ponds and caves. Brave, fearless alien that he is, he sets out to track down his friend and find the missing pieces of his craft to repair the damage so he and is leggy love can go home.
Spidy’s journey takes you through beautiful and colourful environments filled to the brim with strange enemies, deadly thorns, mushrooms, power-ups, collectables and lots more. You hop over rolling boulders, jump off bouncy pads and even get to ‘float’ underwater in air bubbles while dodging spiky obstacles. The game includes over 70 challenging and diverse levels that are divided into 3 environments: Forest , Pond and Cave. When a new environment unlocks, so do all of its levels so you can play them in any order you would like. A few Special Levels and the Boss Levels in which you confront the reigning boss of the area are the exception to the rule.
Boss levels are unlocked after collecting a number of stars. Stars are gained by collect Orbs in the base levels and collecting them in rows of 5 gives you a huge bonus to your score. You can collect them individually but the scores will be so low it’s really pointless. Be careful not to collect the red orbs scattered about though! They won’t kill you, but they’ll reduce your score immensely. Once you’ve completed the boss level the next environment will unlock. Special Levels branch off from the main path and are a lot more difficult than the normal ones.
Quick Reflexes Needed
Not only the red orbs should be avoided, red is the colour that you need to avoid throughout the game. Red enemies such as hedgehogs will kill you instantly, as will red flowers and mushrooms. Navigating around them you will need some very quick fingers and reflexes, which really goes for the whole game. Luckily there are lots of checkpoints which will save your game automatically when passed. If you die (because you calculated your jump wrong and fell into the pointy thorns -again-) you will respawn at the checkpoint, so you don’t have to start the level from the beginning. Beware though, every respawn will costs you points on your scorecard, so dying is to be avoided. Only one red object in the game will help you instead of kill you, and that’s the red berry. When pulled down, they trigger an event that clears the way for you. Whether it is a huge monkey with his arm blocking the tunnel or a super-bat that eats the berry, you will be able to pass safely instead of being eaten.
As said before, you’ll need quick reflexes to play this game, especially when it comes to swinging. Being a spider (alien though, so instead of your butt, the web shoot from the top of your head) you’ll need to swing a lot, moving along cave roofs, trees, lianas, ladybirds (yes really!), flowers and stalactites. To add some suspense, some latch points crumble within moments after you’ve attached your web, so you’ll need to be quick. Other times you will shoot your web only to find that the roof is covered with moss, causing your web to fail to attach. Falling to your death is something not uncommon, though lots and lots of practice will lower the chances. Timing is everything and sometimes shooting your web sling just that little bit later will result in a better swing. With Orbs scattered everywhere your swings can become very chaotic indeed, especially when wasps threaten to cut your sling mid-swing if you’re not careful, causing you to plummet into those deadly thorns once again.
Alien Spidy can be a bit frustrating until you master the controls and falling into poisonous mushrooms or being crushed by rolling boulders for the tenth time isn’t much fun. Yet the feeling that you will get when you have mastered that most difficult bit of a level gives you a satisfying rush that wants you to keep on playing. Seeing Spidy swing, jump, swing again and jump again, bounce off of a mushroom, swing, bounce and then reach the check point before being cut down by a wasp is exhilarating and addictive.