The Best Spider-Man Games, Ranked

He's one of gaming's greatest superheroes, but which Spider-Man game is the best of the best?

Best Spider Man Video Games
Photo: Photo: Art By Lucy Quintanilla

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 represents Insomniac’s biggest attempt yet to create a Spider-Man title unlike any that have come before. Of course, the web-slinger has long enjoyed an incredible history of exceptional video games that many other superheroes can’t quite match. Every time a new Peter Parker title is released, we’re inspired to make comparisons to the character’s rich legacy in the medium and judge it based on those expectations. Every time, the bar is raised just a little bit higher.

There are certain elements in a Spider-Man game that developers always have to get right like the costume designs, web-slinger mechanics, and roster of rogues. Well, all of these games feature notable examples of those core qualities while bringing their own unique flavor to Marvel Entertainment’s neighborhood hero.

So, while there are some great ensemble pieces that we haven’t had a chance to include such as 2013’s Lego Marvel Super Heroes or 2009’s Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, this range of solo adventures truly brings the best out of the vigilante. 

15. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

The Amazing Spider-Man franchise left a lot to be desired. While Andrew Garfield’s take on the titular masked crime-fighter is both nuanced and emotionally compelling, the obsession with franchise-building limited the potential of the series. 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is widely considered to be the weaker of the pair, with an underdeveloped villain in Electro and a slap-dash attempt to adapt the death of Gwen Stacy.

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The video game adaptation defied expectations though and seemingly exists in its own continuity. The action-adventure was developed by Beenox and published by Activision. It took the plot of the film and fleshed it out further, adding in more characters, conflicts, and Spider-Man lore from the comics. Most surprising of all is the game’s commitment to establishing Carnage as the big bad of the plot; a foe who never crossed paths with Spidey on screen. 

The story was still hampered by its source material and the graphical limitations were obvious to see with the tech of the time period providing some issues. Launched on consoles like the Wii U, PlayStation 3 and 4, and the Xbox 360, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 did manage to pack in an impressive stealth system and energetic web-slinging mechanics. There were noticeable differences between the performance of each generation’s iteration, and while it wasn’t always precise or smooth the combat was utterly entertaining. Plus with an expansive open-world that offered a treasure trove of small storytelling opportunities, there was enough to love here for Spider-Man fans to feel a part of that superhero world. Anything that can improve upon the original movie should be celebrated! 

Spider-Man 3 (2007)

14. Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Much like The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the 2007 release of Spider-Man 3 resulted in a quiet period for the Marvel franchise. The Tobey Maguire series was coming off the back of two absolute hits, but the third installment was utterly overstuffed. The video game of the same name had a tough task to pull off.

Thankfully, developers Treyarch, Beenox, Vicarious Visions, and publisher Activision rose to the challenge. Spider-Man 3 opted to take its own path when it came to telling this story, involving characters like the infamous Dr. Michael Morbius and Kraven The Hunter in an attempt to vary the boss battles. As has so often been the case for movie adaptations, the narrative actually took on different forms based on the consoles the title was played on. 

Released on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows, Wii, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, and PlayStation Portable, there were ultimately of that story, each of which was criticized for being too short. Comparisons were made to past entries into the series, but the foundations were so solid that Spider-Man 3 still stood as a mighty addition to the webhead’s legacy. It had refined the web-slinging mechanics, bolstered its button-mashing combat style, and evolved its animations to add a comic-book feel to every move. The character models required some work, especially in the villain department, but there’s a nostalgia attached to this game which many players will find difficult to overlook. It’s far from perfect, but it’s hard not to be enthralled by Maguire’s Spider-Man facing off against these iconic rogues while the classic score blasts in the background. 

Spider-Man And Venom: Maximum Carnage (1994)

13. Spider-Man And Venom: Maximum Carnage (1994)

Before the movie releases drove the development of Spider-Man video games, Spider-Man And Venom: Maximum Carnage, a team-up title that lived up to its name, was released. Developed by Software Creations and published by Acclaim Entertainment, the side-scrolling beat-em-up has aged superbly.

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While initial reviews might have been mixed, hindsight has provided a clearer picture of the entertaining memories the 16-bit adventure has left behind. Narratively, there was nothing complicated about this release but the game did thrive on the uneasy atmosphere between the titular characters. Forced to work together to take down Carnage’s impressive gang including Hobgoblin, Jackal, and an evolved Demogoblin, the story was beautifully portrayed through a series of fun comic book panels. 

Featured on platforms like the Super NES and Mega Drive/Genesis the retro graphics of the era were complemented by a series of fantastic character designs. The combat was as button-mashy as they come and that was part of the charm. The gameplay was chaotic in every sense, and although the attacks never seemed to land quite as the player might have hoped, the variety of combos did leave a lot to experiment with. No one will argue that Spider-Man And Venom: Maximum Carnage was groundbreaking, nor is it categorically Spider-Man’s best title. There’s even an argument to be made that some of the levels could be conceived as repetitive. But the ambition and effort were there, and as far as side-scrollers go, this is a throwback worth revisiting for the sheer joy of it. 

12. Spider-Man: The Video Game (1991)

Spider-Man: The Video Game is a step up in functionality compared to some of its predecessors. Developed and published by SEGA, the side-scroller beat-em-up followed all the familiar conventions of the genre. But there was one thing that set it apart from many other Spider-Man titles: its roster of playable characters.

Players didn’t just get to suit up as the titular web-slinger in this arcade title. They also had the opportunity to check out the combat combos of Black Cat, Hawkeye, and Namor the Sub-Mariner. That diverse roster ensured that the gameplay had far more depth than other retro Spider-Man titles. 

The game was a genuine crowd-pleaser that boasted frenetic momentum, with players smashing through the levels at a good pace. That isn’t to say that the title wasn’t challenging. At times the improvements seen in Spider-Man: The Video Game weren’t enough to avoid unexpected bugs and imperfect gameplay mechanics. And there wasn’t anything overly inspiring about the storyline, with players getting moved from one boss battle to the next through convenient means. Yet, there was a magic to the game, elevated further by the variation in those villain face-offs. Kingpin, Electro, and even Doctor Doom provided opportunities for inventive design, which SEGA made the most of. Spider-Man’s strength was always its replayability. 

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

11. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 video game might have made some major improvements on the original movie, but the initial Amazing Spider-Man video game truly set the stage for the franchise.

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Inspired by the 2012 movie of the same name, the game was developed by Beenox and published by Activision. Just like its sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man existed in its own continuity, taking creative license with its source material. The game was designed to follow the events of the film, taking place months after The Lizard’s defeat. Set in a well-detailed open-world environment, it pitted fans against new antagonists such as Alistair Smythe, Scorpion, and Vermin. Just like other movie tie-ins, there were criticisms about how the title was adapted to different consoles. 

Released on the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360, there simply wasn’t a way to replicate that same open-world setting on such a wide variety of platforms. Others criticized The Amazing Spider-Man for its general lack of innovations and often familiar bits of level design. However, its developers made the wise choice to mimic the style of the Arkham games, producing combat mechanics unlike anything that was seen in the Spider-Man titles that came before. The array of costumes available to players is to be commended, and the game’s graphics hold up surprisingly well. Ultimately this was a title that was held back by its movie tie-in status that still showed great potential. If only it had broken the mold in areas like its travel system. 

Spider-Man (2000)

10. Spider-Man (2000)

At the time of its release, Spider-Man was the best Spider-Man video game that had been produced. That may seem like a bold statement, but it shed the faults of the past decade, ignoring its beat-em-up and side-scrolling past and aiming for a more traditional action adventure.

Developed by Neversoft and published by Activision, the devil of this game really is in the details. Unshackled by any cinematic tie-in, Spider-Man told an original story, depicting the web-head’s battles with Doc Ock, Carnage, and even The Lizard. With character cameos like The Punisher and The Human Torch, the game really embraced the notion that Peter Parker lived in a superhero universe. The narrative carried genuine emotional levity, with Pete’s personal struggles and character relationships driving the plot forward. 

The game was released on a huge range of platforms including PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, Game Boy Color, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS X. Unfortunately, the technology of that era has taken its toll. The graphics have aged incredibly poorly. At times, the character models fail to capture the essence of the comic book icons. But pushing those aesthetic flaws aside, Spider-Man found a way to make the web-slinger come to life on screen. The way Spidey scaled a building or fired a web feels far more natural. It’s clunky at times but there’s a new level of functionality that hadn’t been seen in past games. This title was a massive step for the franchise, laying the groundwork for what was to come. Finally, I have to give a nod to the voice cast and sound design, which brought so many additional layers to the material. 

9. Ultimate Spider-Man (2005)

The Ultimate Spider-Man brand was designed as a fresh start in the comics. Although the title would come to be associated with Miles Morales far more than it would Peter Parker, the game would focus on the latter.

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Everything about this game’s open world is slightly unfamiliar, with the Ultimate Universe allowing the developers to put their own stamp on the franchise. That’s much to the game’s benefit, with a cartoonish quality forcing each scene into a more energetic aesthetic. The narrative jumps between Spider-Man and Venom’s point of view with players even getting to control both. Mechanically the game is sound, with the developers finding a way for Venom and Spider-Man to actually feel different. There’s a heaviness to Venom’s attacks that contrasts well with Spider-Man’s speed and agility. Although they may travel in similar manners, the animations have been perfected with Peter’s web-slinging seeming very separate from Brock’s Symbiote tendrils.

Featured on platforms like the Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and mobile there’s a huge variation in the quality of those adaptations. The performance especially suffers across platforms, and players will get the most depth from the Windows, PS2, and Xbox iterations. There aren’t many groundbreaking combat improvements, but the variety of challenges helps the player feel that they really are the neighborhood hero. Ultimate Spider-Man is packed full of things to do from races to combat tours, but the hero of the title is its boss battles. Far from easy, these foes finally live up to their terrifying reputation with fans encouraged to think outside of the box to defeat them. 

8. Spider-Man (2002)

The first ever live-action, big-screen Spider-Man movie set the stage for the superhero genre and its impact has been felt years after its initial release. The 2002 movie was groundbreaking and it was only natural that the popularity of the project was capitalized on by a tie-in title.

Developers Treyarch, LTI Gray Matter, Digital Eclipse, and publisher Activision got stuck in producing a game that would set Spider-Man’s future in a completely different direction. It’s fair to say that without Spider-Man, Insomniac’s version just wouldn’t exist. This game, just like other movie tie-ins, opted to make it up as it went along, bringing in antagonists like Shocker and Vulture to ensure that there were variations in the boss levels. 

As a level-based beat-em-up there perhaps should be reservations about how Spider-Man measures up to some of those more deliberate combat styles. But a few simple tricks stopped the title from becoming repetitive. The inclusion of the web-shooters for example was superb, with Peter actually trapping the enemy for a brief amount of time in the webbing. This title’s web-swinging mechanics paved the way for later games, matching the momentum and authentic feeling that the movie provided. The character models even hold up well (even if the graphics are clunky in other areas). Considering the game was released on PlayStation 2, Game Cube, Xbox, Windows, and Game Boy Advance there is a surprising consistency in the look across the platforms. The game might have been a little short and is infamous for Tobey Maguire’s wooden voice acting, but it captures the fun and drama of its cinematic spinoff just as the developers hoped it would. 

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (2008)

7. Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (2008)

Critically, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows didn’t perform quite as well as its creative team certainly would have hoped. However, the impact it has had on future Spider-Man games makes it worthy of a reappraisal.

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Developed by Shaba Games, Treyarch, Aspyr, Griptonite Games, and Amaze Entertainment and published by Activision, the title focused on a Symbiote invasion threatening to take over Earth. It was the beginning of a bold new series of original narratives for Spider-Man games and even featured cameos from characters like Black Widow and Wolverine. This was a fully fleshed-out Spider-Man world, separate from the comics, which told the story through its carefully crafted and memorable cut scenes. 

Even still, Web of Shadows isn’t quite as cinematic as some of the best Spider-Man games, and graphically, there’s plenty of work to be done. While its console iterations were debatably superior, each game struggled with its camera choices and encountered performance issues. However, by utilizing a system that had been harnessed in Spider-Man 3, Web of Shadows perfected many of the flaws the combat and web-slinging had previously come across. Plus, New York felt more alive than ever, with those swinging mechanics encouraging players to make the most of the city. The overwhelming consensus is that the game delivered some genuinely cool moments, with the bold approach paying off. 

6. Spider-Man: Edge Of Time (2011)

Spider-Man: Edge Of Time is a third-person action-adventure game that many readers will likely have fond memories of. It represented a different time in Spidey’s history: an era before Insomniac’s links to the franchise where developers were allowed to truly embark on ambitious and large-scale Spider-Man stories.

Boasting an all-star voice cast like Katee Sackhoff and Val Kilmer and featuring characters like Black Cat, Anti-Venom, and Doc Ock, the developers dug deep for this portrayal. Beenox once again came together with publisher Activision to tell a story of two worlds on the brink of collapse: Peter’s regular time and the year 2099. Yes, that’s right; Miguel O’Hara was the co-star of this terrific narrative. 

It’s important to point out that despite its successes and achievements, comparisons were always going to be made to Edge Of Time’s predecessor (which we will get to in due course). Many critics were thus unfair at the time of its release, but looking back, there were a lot of things that really worked. With a well-thought-out progression system, players fought to earn their upgrades which were always worth the grind. There was an over-the-top quality to the combat which took advantage of the comic book backdrop but didn’t boast the precision or intelligence of later systems. Still, the biggest compliment that Edge Of Time can be given is that it was totally cinematic. While past tiles relied on comic book panels to tell their story, the cutscenes here were beautifully crafted and utterly immersive. 

5. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (2010)

Edge of Time and Web of Shadows both brought something different to the table, but they will always be contrasted with Shattered Dimensions. Developed by Beenox and Griptonite Games and published by Activision, the title produced one of the best stories that players have seen in Spider-Man’s video game vault.

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The narrative brought together four different variants of Spider-Man, with the player controlling the original recipe Peter Parker, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Man 2099, and Ultimate Spider-Man. With a fantastic voice cast including Neil Patrick Harris, the game was absolutely carried by its epic arcs and compelling conflicts. Classic villains like Mysterio and Hammerhead made an appearance, but really it’s all about the Spiders here. Each was given a very different gameplay style, with the stealth of Noir acting as an opposite to the bombastic combat of the original Spider-Man, for example. 

This third-person action-adventure title launched on a smaller array of platforms including Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360, and PC. This allowed the developers to be a little more focused on how they were adapting this tale, with the visuals becoming a lot more consistent across consoles. From the character models to the animation choices, everything was obviously authentic to the comic book personas. At this stage, web-slinging mechanics had really come into their own, but the level-based design of Shattered Dimensions did often coerce players into combat scenarios where the swinging really couldn’t be applied. These sequences were sometimes chaotic and messy but were nonetheless entertaining because of the variation in enemy types. Boss battles and henchmen encounters were always highlights despite the challenges they posed. When picking up Shattered Dimension, the biggest takeaway is the sensation that the developers just “got it” when it comes to most things Spider-Man.

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

4. Spider-Man 2 (2004)

All the video game adaptations of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies set a bar that other titles based on the webhead had to stay level with or surpass. But Spider-Man 2 still sits above many that follow in its footsteps. Many still consider Spider-Man 2 to be one of the greatest superhero games of all time, much less one of the best Spider-Man games ever.

The game’s narrative sticks relatively closely to the events of the film, but it fleshes that plotline out with unique boss battles, encounters, and interactions. The key cast from the film reprise their roles and the plot isn’t overly complicated nor does it overstay its welcome. This is a brisk and hugely enjoyable experience put together by Treyarch, The Fizz Factor, Vicarious Visions, and Advance (across all platforms). The third-person action-adventure title even features an open world, which is layered with side missions that inspire the player to truly serve as the neighborhood Spider-Man.

However, those daring rescues and challenges are nothing compared to the combat. Spider-Man 2 utilized a complicated combat system (especially for its time), with the spider-sense linked to Spidey having to dodge and dive out of the way of attacks while timing his own combos effectively. There’s definitely a learning curve to this system, but once the player has gotten to grips with it, the sky’s the limit. Yet, the cherry on top remains the game’s wonderful web-slinging system which revolutionized Spider-Man games and continues to be heralded as one of the best takes on the travel system of all time. 

3. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales (2020)

For many, Insomniac’s take on Spider-Man’s universe is on another level. It’s sometimes difficult to separate Miles Morales from Insomniac’s 2018 title, but for now, Miles falls just behind its predecessor. It’s a little shorter and less expansive in its scale compared to the original, but that isn’t to say that its story isn’t emotionally engaging.

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This game sees Miles rise up as a hero worthy of the Spider-Man mantle and pits him against ROXXON and the mysterious Underground. Full of twists and turns, the character interactions are some of the best elements of the game. With the script pulling the best out of its voice performers, these cutscenes prove to be worthy of the character’s best big-screen adventures. Published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, the studios have used the Marvel license to the max, teasing a wider universe that’s yet to come. 

In many areas, this game does improve upon the previous installment. Crucially, there is much more to do around the city this time around thanks to activities that range from making music to completing neighborhood tasks. The web-swinging has been refined with a plethora of Miles-specific animations having been added in. It would have been great to see more in the way of DLC, but from the combat combos to the brand-new powers and gadgets, everything about the title is polished and refined. There could have been one or two more boss battles, but the range of enemy types kept every combat scenario feeling unique. And the addition of Miles’ own stealth capabilities truly elevated the system. Graphically it’s stunning and it’s a fantastic display of what can be achieved in the current generation. 

2. Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018)

Groundbreaking, innovative, and inspired, Insomniac and Sony Interactive Entertainment pulled everything out of the bag when they produced Marvel’s Spider-Man: a comprehensive and complete superhero game that established Marvel’s biggest video game franchise to date.

From a story perspective, this title almost faultlessly packs in massive twists, complex character relationships, and intense cinematic sequences. The script was spot on and the voice performers came to steal the show. Choosing to portray a web-head who had already established himself as a hero was a wise move, with the history of this Peter Parker woven into the fabric of the title. 

The web-slinging was just as good as Spider-Man 2’s take on that concept and added a few wrinkles of its own. The combat was nuanced and elegant, with the combination of gadgets, unique attack techniques, and Spider sense dodges giving the player a genuine arsenal at their disposal. Launched on the PlayStation 4 and Windows and eventually added on the PlayStation 5 through the Miles Morales Ultimate Edition, the graphics of the latter are certainly superior but the original game is still impressive. The range of costumes available is superb, with fans getting to suit up as both comic book and cinematic iterations of the character.

Marvel’s Spider-Man also treats New York as a character unto itself, and the additional challenges and side-quests don’t feel like unnecessary add-ons. They always inform the character and are varied enough to make them worth hunting down. While the DLC is arguably a little varied, it laid the groundwork for the sequel and boasted a couple of great character arcs. Marvel’s Spider-Man was the game that fans had always been hoping for, but can its sequel outmatch it? 

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Marvel's Spider Man 2

1. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 (2023)

Yes, actually, it can.

Much of the praise that Marvel’s Spider-Man and Miles Morales earned applies to Spider-Man 2. The incredible web-slinging, the fluid combat, and all of those wonderful callbacks and meticulous Marvel details can all be found here. With their previous games, Insomniac crafted a nearly perfect foundation for the ideal Spider-Man gaming experience. They obviously found few excuses to deviate from the core components of that formula for this sequel.

And yes, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is bigger in all of the ways you expect a modern gaming sequel to be bigger than what came before. A bigger open world, more ways to navigate it, more powers, more villains…you even get two Spider-Men! It’s enough new content to ensure that even this title’s otherwise exceptional predecessors suddenly feel just slightly more underwhelming by comparison.

What truly elevates and separates this sequel, though, is Insomniac’s clear commitment to not letting the epic be the enemy of the intimate. The love that the team has for these characters, this universe, and the story they’ve crafted so far is evident in what is almost certainly the best Spider-Man video game story yet. No matter how intense the action gets, this game never lets you forget the people and stories at the center of it all. It’s rare for such a technical and design showcase to also showcase so much heart, but that is exactly what Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 offers.

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 sets an impressive new bar for Insomniac, Spider-Man games, and, in many ways, superhero games in general. It’s difficult to imagine how anyone manages to deliver an even better Spider-Man gaming experience from here, though the remarkable history of those experiences has shown that we should never doubt the possibility that someone will eventually rise to the challenge. – Matthew Byrd