With great power, comes great video games — at least some of the time. Marvel's Spider-Man has been swinging his way through dozens of games since the early '80s, resulting in titles that run the gamut from superhero masterpieces to duds that belong in the Daily Bugle's trash bin.
With that in mind, we've dug through decades of Spidey simulators to bring you the best of the best. Whether you're getting hyped up for Spider-Man: Homecoming or you need something to tide you over until Sony's mouthwatering Spider-Man PS4 title arrives, here are the nine best games for getting your wall-crawling fix.
Editor's Note: Want more ways to play as Spidey and friends? check out our ranking of the best Marvel games overall.
The movie tie-in for the original Spider-Man movie isn't a masterpiece, but it's about as good as those kinds of games get. Tobey Maguire and Willem Dafoe came back to voice Spidey and the Green Goblin, respectively, and the plot was extended with Spidey's extended rogues' gallery, including Scorpion, Vulture and Shocker, who battles Spider-Man in a subway tunnel. After beating the game, you could play as Harry Osborn in his father’s Goblin suit, gliding throughout Manhattan, which gave the title a bit of replayability. It also didn't hurt that cheat codes provided a bunch of different costumes for Spider-Man, as any good Spidey game should. — Andrew E. Freedman
Who knew that a free-to-play endless runner based on Spider-Man could actually be good? Despite being a simple mobile title, Spider-Man Unlimited cements itself as a legitimate Spidey game thanks to how good it feels to jump, swing and punch your way through New York City with just a few taps. With a gorgeous, comic-book-inspired art style and nearly 200 Spider-Man characters to unlock, Spider-Man Unlimited offers a ton of fan service in a tiny package. —Mike Andronico
It might not reach the thrilling heights of 2004's Spider-Man 2: The Game, but The Amazing Spider-Man is one of the stronger open-world Spidey games we've gotten since then. This movie tie-in gets kudos for actually serving as an epilogue to the 2012 film reboot, opening some interesting story threads rather than rehashing the same conflicts between Spider-Man and the Lizard. While it suffers from repetitive missions and some dull environments, The Amazing Spider-Man nailed the feel of freely swinging through New York City — and got us hooked on collecting hundreds of hidden comic book pages along the way. —Mike Andronico
If you grew up with Spider-Man comics and 16-bit games in the '90s, Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage was designed with you in mind. Spider-Man and Venom team up, Double Dragon style, to take down the psychotic killer Carnage. Along the way, they'll beat up countless hordes of mundane thugs and superpowered henchmen. The game is loosely based on the "Maximum Carnage" storyline from the comic books, and even involves cameos from Captain America, Black Cat and Iron Fist, which is cool. On the other hand, it's fiendishly difficult, so give your thumbs a good warm-up beforehand. — Marshall Honorof
The '90s Spider-Man animated series was one of the defining interpretations of the character, and Spider-Man on the PlayStation, N64 and Dreamcast was about as close as you could get to playing through the TV show for yourself. This action game delivered everything fans love about Spider-Man in 3D for the first time: web-slinging, wall-crawling and engaging in fisticuffs with colorful supervillains. The cast reads like a who's who of Spider-Man supporting characters, including Doctor Octopus, Daredevil, Black Cat, Scorpion and even the Human Torch. Keep an ear out for Jennifer Hale, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Stan Lee himself. —Marshall Honorof
Ultimate Spider-Man is a celebration of the comics it's based on. Writer Brian Michael Bendis penned both, and the game focuses on Spider-Man's relationship with Venom (you can play as hero and anti-hero), but also includes Marvel heroes like Wolverine and the Human Torch, as well as villains like Rhino, the Green Goblin, Electro and the Beetle. The art is gorgeous, and, most importantly, the web-swinging system is very similar to the one in Spider-Man 2, making it feel realistic. — Andrew E. Freedman
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions was the rare Spidey game that did something truly unique with the franchise. The game portrays a rift in the multiverse, which gives you control of four different wall-crawlers — Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Man 2099 and Ultimate Spider-Man — each with his own unique storyline and abilities. When you're sneaking around as Spider-Man Noir, using futuristic gadgets as Spider-Man 2099, unleashing the symbiote suit as Ultimate Spider-Man or doing some classic wall-crawling as Amazing Spider-Man, every minute of this innovative interdimensional adventure is a delight. —Mike Andronico