Unfortunately, such were my cat-like reflexes, the spider never had the chance to bite me, and I didn't develop any spider-powers. Indeed, I was disappointed to learn later that I couldn't even excrete silk from my anus. And believe me - I tried. I even ate a taffeta scarf!
What sort of actual spider-powers does Spider-Man actually have anyway? He can stick to walls, and that's about it. Spiders do this because they have special hairs on their tentacles or feet or whatever they are. Do we ever learn that Spider-Man has hairy hands and feet? And if so, how do the hairs work through his shoes and gloves? Because, let's face it, even his other most notable "spider" power - spinning webs, any size - is something he invented, rather than a natural ability.
I'd like to see him adopt some other spider traits, like the courting ritual of the male wolf spider, who taps on "dry leaves" to attract a lady friend. Or maybe he could develop "pedipalps" - a pair of appendages between his teeth and his legs, which he uses during mating to transfer sperm from a special "sperm web" right up the female's lady parts. Horribly, some male spiders even rip off their own pedipalps to bung up the female so that other spiders can't go there.
That's all pretty horrific and graphic - not least when you spend upwards of an hour thinking about a human "spider-man" doing something similar - but it's just how it is. Nature is a misogynistic freakshow, and David Attenborough should be ashamed of himself for promoting it.
Fortunately, while Sony's Spider-Man does take some liberties with the character, this is one area that their new game stays away from.
Get a load of this hot take, kids: there are few real surprises in Spider-Man.
It plays exactly how you'd expect a 2018 Spider-Man game to play; big open world, main story mission, side-missions (you'll scarcely believe how much time you spend chasing after pigeons...), collectables, hacking and "science" mini-games, spending points to buy new skills and gadgets, and doing that thing where you "focus" so you can see enemies through walls, and quick-time events, and hitting a button really quickly to do a thing, and blah-de-blah.
"Spider-Man, Spider-Man, Does whatever Batman did in the Arkham games..."
From combat, to detective work, to creeping around in rafters and spooking enemies from above, Spider-Man is a more brightly-coloured version of the Arkham games. That's fine, and probably unavoidable, but there's little escaping that there are no real new ideas in terms of gameplay.
That said, at least that gameplay works; it's a LOT of fun swinging through the city, to the degree that I generally ignored the fast travel option, and preferred to make my own way around. It helps that there's a believable, bustling, Manhattan to explore. Though it isn't much of a noticeable step-up, visually, from the last couple of GTA games, the scale and detail is nevertheless breathtaking.
NO NEW SPIDEAS
Like everything else, the combat is solid but predictable, albeit with a bunch of non-lethal web-based attacks which find you sticking enemies to walls and rafters. Marvel purists might not appreciate how quickly Spidey levels-up and becomes a tricked-out gadgetmeister with sonic and electrical attacks, but they should enjoy the huge wardrobe of costumes, drawn from comics, movies and beyond.
The downside to Spidey's huge moves list is that, on the default difficulty setting, once you become accustomed to the rhythm of the combat, there's rarely much challenge - not even against boss enemies.
I mean, look at it this way; I started the game on Friday, and here I am reviewing it a few days later. The best thing I can say about that is at least I didn't want the adventure to be over. That might be because the game is oddly reluctant to bring out the full roster of Spider-Man's rogue's gallery - holding back the heavy-hitters until the very end, and choosing instead to focus on second-tier bad guys and identikit mask-wearing goons, who make the combat feel repetitive and tedious.
More problematic, although perhaps appropriately, is that it's not a bug-free experience.
Aside from the controls occasionally refusing to play ball, I had it crash on me at least once, fell through scenery, and - in one memorable moment - found myself wandering through a New York which had suddenly become populated by faceless, denim-clad, mannequins, as a pair-of-jeans texture was overlaid atop the inhabitants. For a moment, I wondered if it was the work of some new Spidey villain called, I dunno, Jeans Genie, or Jeans Splicer, or Denim-y of the State.
Please note: I didn't think that at the time. I just thought of it now.
What I hadn't anticipated is how much I engaged with Spider-Man's characters. There's some real heart to this story, with secondary characters, and even villains, given proper emotional journeys. Yes, it offers its own version of the comics' continuity - playing around with some of the established tenets - but it works, because, where it does differ, it's gives an added emotional wallop.
Indeed, Spider-Man - the Peter Parker Spider-Man - isn't the only character you'll get to control. A couple of the other characters get their own missions, and they're sufficiently entertaining and likeable that I wished there had been more of them. Mary-Jane Watson is reimagined here as an investigative reporter; one mission, which finds her issuing orders to an off-screen Spider-Man, is almost genius.
Unlike the unremittingly bleak Arkham games, the lightness of Spider-Man's world - even when he's stopping terrorists from unleashing bio-weapons, losing his job or his apartment, or arguing with his ex - there's an optimism and deeper message about helping people that I really appreciated. It's one of those rare blockbuster video games with genuine heart, where good people do the right thing even when the world is taking a dump on them.
Yes, I know: that's probably a weird and unexpected thing to be praising in any game, but it's likely testament to the fact that the gameplay works so well that I was able to enjoy and embrace the story.
How many games require you to save people - and save them in every sense of the word - without putting a gun in your hands?
SCORE: 8 legs out of 10