I seem to have developed a thing as of late where as I’m starting to feel like I should wind down and turn in for the night my brain decides to try everything it can to stop me from doing so. The other night it was by reminding me of a fanmade version of the Doctor Who theme in the style of Jean Michel Jarre, and last night it was making me admire just how damn good those basslines are for the soundtrack to Spider-Man for the Playstation 1, better known as Spider-Man 2000.
Yup, it’s another game that I played when I was a wee lad and still occasionally play today as a wee adult. Released on the eve of the Tobey Maguire films, the two Spider-Man games released for the Playstation 1 were two of the very first games I had for that particular console and as a result they are the first thing I think of when I think of Spider-Man. Which also means that my favourite version of Spidey isn’t Maguire or Andrew Garfield or Tom Holland, it’s Rino Romano. And whenever I decide to pick up a Spidey comic I typically end up apply the voices from these games to the various characters (I’ll take Daran Norris over Tom Hardy anyday) and may very well have the soundtrack to Spidey 2000 and Enter Electro bouncing around in my head whilst reading.
Simply put, while a lot of these bits of music that I’m going to showcase here are pretty much the same few seconds of track on a loop, each one is definitive of the level they represent. And for the record, yes, I am including Enter Electro aswell because even though it is the weaker of the two soundtracks, I have rose-tinted spectacles and tend to put both OSTs on the same level as a result.
Let’s have a quick look, starting in the year 2000.
Spider-Man 2000 theme
I didn’t realise until writing this that the main theme song for the first game, a remix of the one used for the 1960’s cartoon, was done by Apollo 440. Not a fan of the band overall but Stop the Rock was one of my favourite songs growing up (Thanks, FIFA 2000) so I guess this is extra reason to appreciate the turn-of-the-millennium style tune that greets you upon booting up the game.
Stop the Bomb
A bit of sneaky-sneak and dropping from the ceiling to punch goons’ lights out, represented by slithery bassline and a smug guitar riff respectively.
Special mention as well to a recently rediscovered ‘extended’ version from the game’s beta stage that has a bridge that I think creates a nice bit of build up to Spidey emerging from the shadows to save the day.
Police Chopper Chase
Most of the soundtrack to Spider-Man 2000 is sadly compressed owing to the smaller storage spaces in games at the time. Thankfully though, Police Chopper Chase is not one of them, which means we can appreciate its guitar riffs in all their heart racing glory. Bonus points if you’ve got What If mode on and the helicopter pilot starts humming Flight of the Valkyries.
When I was younger I spent most of my time playing this game on Kid Mode, an easier than easy difficulty. How easy? Well on the Hidden Switches level, normally you would have to go around, activate switches and open a gate. On Kid Mode, it’s all done and ready. You can literally walk through the level in five seconds flat. Doesn’t really give you enough time to appreciate this more grungey piece that compliments the endless amount of Lizardmen coming your way.
Symbiotes Infest Bugle
The most electronic, and I’d argue most unnerving, track in Tommy Tallarico’s arsenal from the original game that I’ll talk about here, this one gives the sense you are really alone and the stakes are kind of against you as you do battle with symbiotes that have taken over your own work place.
The one that caused me to really admire the basslines in this game last night. I mean, listen to that thing, it’s tremendous!
Spider-Man vs Mysterio
I’m currently watching the MCU films for the first time with my Dad right now, and we’re nearly at the end of Phase One. If I get to Far From Home and discover that this track hasn’t somehow found its way into the soundtrack when Spidey encounters Mysterio, I will be immeasurably disappointed.
Carnage + Monster Ock
Bumping two tracks together here. The first, for the battle against Carnage, sums up the character perfectly; insanity and bloodthirst rolled into one mesh of symbiote. Then there’s the second, for when the symbiote melds with Doc Ock (Yes that actually happened, and it scarred many a child, myself included). The insanity of Cletus Kassidy is still there, but the bloodthirst? Oh dear lord, the bloodthirst, that right there is one pissed off symbiote. It doesn’t help that you can’t even fight Monster Ock; if he catches you, you’re stuffed. All you can do is run, and this track ain’t gonna help your heartrate. Damn your guitars, Tallarico.
That’s about it for the first game and its industrial metal-inspired soundtrack, time now to move on to the second game which focuses more exclusively on electronica. Some call it a step down, and I can see why, but I think of it as more of a natural progression. After all, 2000 already churned a lot of the a-tier villains and the b-tier ones found here in Enter Electro aren’t exactly worthy of tracks such as Mysterio’s theme. Regardless though, there’s still a lot to like here, such as…
Enter the Webhead/Vs. Sandman
First level, first track and it’s not one that makes you feel easy about proceedings thanks to the inclusion of a choir and a guitar riff that, while not quite as punchy as those found in the first game, is still relatively effective. Definitely worthy of being reused later on during the encounter against Sandman.
Spidey Vs. Shocker
From what I’ve seen Shocker seems to be considered something of a joke by the Spidey fandom. Well 5 year old me would never have guessed that if this is what they give us for his fight music, easily the best track in the game. This feels like it should be used at the end for fighting Electro, or maybe even Mysterio back in the first game, not Herman bloody Schultz. That electronic whisper-chant is just too good for him.
In Darkest Night + Heart of Darkness
Again, lumping two together seeing as they exist in the same location of the trainyard. Very much gives the sense of stealth and that you’re alone on dangerous territory.
Spidey Vs. Lizard
They really did well with the boss fight music in this game (Apart from the very last one), like Monster Ock before you know that if you don’t act fast and efficiently you’re going to get torn to pieces. The Lizard’s constant roaring doesn’t help.
Rock of Ages
The long climb that remains as only the final obstacle in your long awaited showdown with Electro. You know by this point you’re within a gnat’s hair of getting to the end of the game and you just need to keep going. Then a cascade of electricity comes down and sends you plummeting back down to the bottom. F*ck’s sakes.
Spidey Vs. Electro
By this point Electro has almost everything he needs to become a god, so to reflect that we have a track that very nicely conveys both the fact he is drunk with power as well as the stakes if Spidey were to fall now. I just wish that instead of recycling an infinitely less intense piece of music from earlier in the game (Smoke Screen), we had got a remixed version of this as the final battle took place atop the (not)World Trade Centre.