There Are Tons of Spider-Man Games I Didn’t Even Know Existed (1982-1999)

Spider-Man Wanted

Spider-Man has been around in video-game form for some time now — almost four decades, in fact. Chances are, you’ve played at least one Spider-Man game, if not a handful of them. But I would wager you haven’t played them all — there are just too many.

In fact, I meandered down the rabbit hole of Spider-Man games to satisfy a particular curiosity of mine — who owns the video-game incarnation of the Web-Slinger? (You can read the answer to that in my piece over at Retrovolve’s sister site, Half-Glass Gaming.)

So here is a complete breakdown of every Spider-Man game of the 1980s and 1990s, from Spidey’s first outing on Atari 2600 to the acquisition of the film property by Sony in 1999. From there, we’ll move into the 21st Century with the second half of the list over at Half-Glass Gaming.

Spider-Man Atari Game

Spider-Man (1982) – Spider-Man’s first video-game appearance was in the 1982 Atari 2600 game simply titled Spider-Man (published by Parker Brothers, which is fitting since Spider-Man happens to be a Parker himself, or so I hear). This pixelated vertical action game took a bit of imagination to really enjoy, featuring Spider-Man’s attempt to climb a building and battle the Green Goblin. A far cry from the fast-paced, web-slinging action of more recent Spider-Man games, I might say.

Questprobe featuring Spider-Man (1984) – His next outing was an Adventure International game oddly titled Questprobe featuring Spider-Man. This was a graphical adventure game that was the second part of a trilogy (originally intended to include more games, but only three were made). The first was Questprobe featuring the Hulk, the third being Questprobe featuring Human Torch and the Thing. All three were released in 1984.

Spidey would get a five-year break from the digital world, only to appear in not one, but two games in 1989 (though one of those was an accident).

The Amazing Spider-Man and Captain America in Dr. Doom’s Revenge! (1989) – In The Amazing Spider-Man And Captain America In Dr. Doom’s Revenge!, players alternate between playing as Spider-Man and Captain America as they battle through a host of Marvel supervillains. This absurdly long-titled game was developed by Paragon and published by Medallist, releasing for MS-DOS, Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, and Commodore 64.

The Revenge of Shinobi - Spider-Man

The Revenge of Shinobi (1989) – Believe it or not, Spider-Man ended up in Sega’s The Revenge of Shinobi, alongside Batman, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Godzilla. None of the characters (or actors) were licensed for the game originally. Noriyoshi Ohba, the game’s director, revealed in an interview with Retro Gamer:

I made some rough sketches of characters from my mind and from some photos due to my lack of drawing ability. They were meant to be used as a rough example. Unfortunately, the designer of the sprites reproduced my drawings a bit too faithfully and you know the end result. I personally think that if the designer had tried to show more of his own personality in those characters, they would have looked a lot different to the originals.

Consequently, the game had numerous revisions as it got subsequent releases, though Sega did end up acquiring the license for Spider-Man. By the game’s 2009 re-release on the Nintendo Virtual Console, all of the offending sprites had been changed to no longer infringe on anyone’s copyrights or likenesses.


And that brings us to the 90s. At this point, Spider-Man is really taking off as bankable video-game commodity, and going forward we start seeing multiple releases per year.

The Amazing Spider-Man (1990)The Amazing Spider-Man was developed by Oxford D.E. and published by Paragon for Amiga (it was later ported to MS-DOS, Commodore 64, and Atari ST). This one actually goes for puzzles rather than being a straight action-combat game like so many of the other superhero games of its time. Rick Yapp, who had worked on the game, explained in an interview with The One magazine:

The platform idea wasn’t part of the original brief. It just seemed to fit in quite nicely with the ability to swing on webs properly. And we thought a straight beat ’em up was a bit boring for someone of Peter Parker’s intelligence.

There was also a Game Boy game with the same title released that year, but this one was developed by Rare, the legendary studio behind Battletoads, Donkey Kong Country, and GoldenEye 007. It was published in North America by LJN (which would have been under the ownership of Acclaim by this point), and Nintendo was the publisher in Europe.

Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin

Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin (1990) – That same year, Spidey would swing into Sega’s camp (with an official license this time) in Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin. This one was developed by Technopop and was exclusive to Sega consoles, released for the Genesis/Master System, Game Gear, and even the Sega CD.

Spider-Man: The Video Game (1991) – Spider-Man finally came to arcades in 1991 with Sega’s Spider-Man: The Video Game. This blend of platforming and beat-’em-up action could be played solo or with up to four players.

The Punisher: The Ultimate Payback! (1991) – Spidey also made an appearance in The Punisher: The Ultimate Payback!, which was developed by Krome Studios Melbourne and published by Acclaim Entertainment for the Game Boy. This was a handheld port of the 1990 NES game The Punisher, but the NES version features a distinct absence of Spider-Man.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (1992) – Rare’s 1990 Game Boy game would see a sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, also for Game Boy. This one, however was not developed by Rare, with Bits Studios taking the wheel (and Acclaim’s LJN as a publisher).

Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six (1992) – That same year, Bits Studios would also develop a Spider-Man game for non-handheld consoles, Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six. It was published by LJN (for NES) and Flying Edge (for Sega Master System). A handheld version for Game Gear would come out in 1993.

Spider-Man X-Men Arcade's Revenge

Spider-Man and and the X-Men in Arcade’s Revenge (1992) – LJN and Flying Edge would also split publishing duties on Spider-Man and and the X-Men in Arcade’s Revenge, with LJN publishing for Nintendo consoles and Flying Edge for Sega. Developed Software Creations, this one released for SNES, Genesis, Game Gear, and Game Boy.

The Amazing Spider-Man 3: Invasion of the Spider-Slayers (1993) – If you don’t count the Game Gear release of Return of the Sinister Six (mentioned earlier) 1993 would see only one Spider-Man game, The Amazing Spider-Man 3: Invasion of the Spider-Slayers. Bits Studios would return to develop the third installment in this Game Boy series, with LJN handling the publishing duties.

Up to this point it’s been a bit of a mixed bag in terms of scope and quality. Much of this was due to the limitations of the hardware in the early years of the video game’s “Wild West” period. But by the mid-90s, Spider-Man games were really starting to come into their own — at least in my opinion.

Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage

Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage (1994) – You need look no further than 1994’s Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage to see just how far our web-slinging friend had come. This might very well be considered the first really great Spider-Man game. Developed by Software Creations and published by LJN, this is considered to be a seminal classic. The soundtrack was created by punk rock band Green Jelly, and the game came on stylish red cartridges for both the Genesis and the Super NES.

Was the word feeling any sort of Spider-Man fatigue at this point? I think not. 1995 would capitalize on the success of Maximum Carnage with the release of three more Spider-Man games.

The Amazing Spider-Man: Lethal Foes

The Amazing Spider-Man: Lethal Foes (1995) – With incredible pink-and-purple box art, The Amazing Spider-Man: Lethal Foes would launch for the Famicom in Japan. Based on the 1993 comic series The Lethal Foes of Spider-Man, it was developed by Argent and Epoch Co., Ltd., with Epoch also handling publishing duties.

Spider-Man (1995) – Outside of Japan, fans of the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man weren’t being ignored, of course. Spidey would swing into action in the simply-titled Spider-Man, which was based on the animated series (fans often refer to this one as Spider-Man: The Animated Series to distinguish it from other Spider-Man games). It was developed by Western Technologies and published by LJN/Acclaim Entertainment. The game was released for the SNES and Sega Genesis, and the versions are similar but not identical.

Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety (1995) – After the success of Maximum Carnage, it was only a matter of time before a follow-up came out. That follow-up was 1995’s Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety for the Super NES and Sega Genesis. This one was developed by Software Creations and published by Acclaim Entertainment (LJN was dissolved in 1995).

The Amazing Spider-Man: Web of Fire (1996) – There was only one entry in the long (and only getting longer) list of Spider-Man games in 1996, The Amazing Spider-Man: Web of Fire. It was developed by BlueSky Software and published by Sega, and it had the misfortune of being one of only 40 games released for Sega’s doomed 32X.

The world of Spider-Man video games went silent for a few years (though Spidey did make an appearance in 1998’s Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes), but things would pick back up after 1999, once Sony had acquired the film rights to Spider-Man from Marvel Studios. Of course, this brings us into the 21st Century, so we’ll continue the list over at our sister site, Half-Glass Gaming.

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