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Spider-Man Games Showed What Raimi Villains Could’ve Looked Like

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Editor’s Note: A lawsuit has been filed against Activision Blizzard by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which alleges the company has engaged in abuse, discrimination, and retaliation against its female employees. Activision Blizzard has denied the allegations. The full details of the Activision Blizzard lawsuit (content warning: rape, suicide, abuse, harassment) are being updated as new information becomes available.

All three of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films starring Tobey Maguire received their own tie-in video game, with these titles expanding the stories of the movies and featuring new iterations of Marvel villains that didn’t make it to the big screen. Raimi spotlighted five classic Spidey adversaries across his trilogy (six, if one were to count the difficult receptionist from Spider-Man 2), and had planned to introduce Mysterio in a sadly unfinished fourth film. However, Quentin Beck did technically make his debut in Raimi’s universe in 2004, as he was a major adversary in the open-world Spider-Man 2 video game. Other planned villains like the Vulture also received movie-style reimaginings in Spider-Man tie-ins in the early 2000s, and while it’s not the same as seeing them on the big screen, it is cool to look back on these designs and see how games reimagined them to fit the aesthetic of Raimi’s films.

Spider-Man games in the early 2000s were all published by Activision, which had an exclusive license to make Marvel games. As Sony moved ahead on a live-action adaptation of the web-slinger helmed by horror legend Sam Raimi, Treyarch – who had helped port NeverSoft’s acclaimed Spider-Man game to the Dreamcast and PC – got to work on a movie tie-in of its own. The studio would follow this up with a further four Spider-Man projects, two of which were based on the remaining Raimi movies. Treyarch’s Spider-Man 2 redefined superhero games Batman: Arkham-style by putting the web-slinger in an open-world New York, and it’s frequently considered one of the best comic book video games ever released.

Related: What Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 Can Learn From the ’90s Cartoon

Movie tie-ins typically expand upon the plot of the film they’re based on due to not having enough material to make a decent enough-sized game. In the case of Treyarch’s Spider-Man tie-ins, the studio had Peter Parker face off against villains that didn’t appear in any of Raimi’s films. Rather than jump straight into Green Goblin in the first game, the studio pit players against the Vulture, Shocker, Scorpion, and (on the Xbox version exclusively) even Kraven, who will appear in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 from Insomniac. All characters were designed to fit the aesthetic of Raimi’s film, resulting in a blend of bright and colorful – yet occasionally realistic – costumes. This trend continued into Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3, which introduced the likes of Black Cat, the Lizard, and Kingpin. It’s impossible to tell what these villains would’ve looked like in an actual Raimi film, but it’s still interesting to see how they were reinterpreted.

The 2002 Spider-Man video game from Treyarch loosely followed the plot of the Sam Raimi film, only with the addition of more villains to make it a lengthier experience. This changes the story in a key way, as Green Goblin is no longer the first villain that Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker encounters. Instead, after Norman Osborn attempts to capture Marvel’s Spider-Man for the purposes of enhancing his own super-soldier serum, players meet Scorpion and Vulture, who have robbed a jewelry store together. Both characters’ designs are fairly faithful to the comics, and aren’t as big a divergence as the design sported by Willem Dafoe’s Goblin on the big screen. Vulture is especially accurate, boasting his iconic green jumpsuit and feathers look from the comics.

Perhaps more interesting, however, is Scorpion. Spidey gets the drop on his old comics adversary as he’s outrunning some Oscorp-created Spider-Slayers, as they’ve also identified Scorpion as having arachnid DNA. The full origins of the character aren’t disclosed in the game, but he does boast a more unique design than either of the previous villains, and one that feels more in line with the Goblin suit seen on screen. Similar to the villains in Insomniac’s Marvel’s Spider-Man universe, the look here is more armored and features purple as well as green, which helps Scorpion slot in more seamlessly into the aesthetic of the films. Mac Gargan’s arc in Treyarch’s games would later be resolved in Spider-Man 3, which saw Peter and him team up to take down the scientists that had experimented on him.

Related: Spider-Verse Fans Shouldn’t Ignore Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

The last non-Goblin villain to appear in the 2002 Spider-Man video game was Kraven the Hunter, who had been hired by Norman Osborn to capture the web-slinger. An Xbox-exclusive mission, the game saw Spidey trapped in a zoo while trying to avoid Kraven’s attacks. Like Shocker and Scorpion, this version of Kraven didn’t boast a design that differed drastically from the one in the comics, but he was still able to slot well into its interpretation of Marvel’s Spider-Man comics.

One of the biggest frustrations with Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films is that he was never able to make Spider-Man 4, with Sony opting to pursue a reboot with Andrew Garfield as a new Peter Parker instead. Had the director been able to follow Spider-Man 3, he would’ve reportedly had Bruce Campbell play Mysterio. Campbell, a frequent collaborator of Raimi’s going back to 1981’s The Evil Dead, had cameos in all three Spider-Man films, with the fourth film set to reveal him as Marvel’s master of illusion.

Although Campbell was never given the opportunity to play Mysterio in Raimi’s films, the character did appear as a side villain in Treyarch’s classic Spider-Man 2 tie-in game. This version – sadly – was not voiced by Campbell, but Treyarch was still able to put a fresh spin on the character. Spider-Man 2 sees Beck pretend to be an alien to dupe NYC and later challenges Spider-Man in his own obstacle course. His redesign in the game differs from some of the character’s more traditional looks, with his classic silver fishbowl helmet now amber, and a purple cloak draped over the entire suit. It’s unlikely that this would’ve been the same costume to appear had Spider-Man 4 ever been made, but as a fun look into what could’ve been, it is interesting.

Related: Marvel’s Spider-Man Already Set Up A Morbius Origin

The two other most notable villain additions introduced in Spider-Man 2 were Marvel anti-hero Black Cat and villain Rhino, although, like Shocker and Vulture in Spider-Man (the former of which returns once again), their looks don’t differ drastically from their traditional comic book garb – and neither do their depictions. Black Cat is still the seductive femme fatale with a soft spot for Spider-Man from the comics, and Rhino is a brute with powerful armor. Encountering them in the Raimi-verse is still exciting, though – especially in Black Cat’s case, as she was also supposedly set to feature in Raimi’s planned Spider-Man sequels.

The finale of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy also brought with it a final movie tie-in. Treyarch’s Spider-Man 3 was the first Spidey game released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 but the leap to the then-new generation of consoles didn’t lead to a better game, with the third entry widely being considered the weakest of the studio’s Marvel titles. Even so, it – like the previous entries – also reimagined several notable Spider-Man villains from the comics that didn’t appear in Raimi’s films, including most notably the Lizard and Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin. Kraven the Hunter and Scorpion also resurfaced, with the latter boasting a new pallid design, and the former being assisted by longtime ally Calypso.

As with Bruce Campbell’s Mysterio, one of the biggest “What-Ifs?” with Spider-Man 4 is that the film would’ve supposedly included Dr. Curt Connors’ transformation into the Lizard. The character, who had been portrayed by Dylan Baker in the first two Spider-Man films, had only made brief appearances up until that point, but Treyarch saw fit to reimagine him for the Spider-Man 3 tie-in game. As in the comics, Connors is transformed into the Lizard after he experiments on himself in an attempt to regrow his arm. This leads to a chase in Manhattan’s sewers and another confrontation with Kraven, only this time with the added presence of Calypso.

Apart from the Lizard, the other most significant Raimi-style reimagining in Spider-Man 3 is Kingpin, who orchestrates a gang war between the Arscenic Candies and Dragon Tail in the game’s open-world New York. This incarnation of Kingpin doesn’t differ too drastically from his comic depiction, with Treyarch even giving the character his iconic white suit and purple pants combo. A villain to both Spider-Man and Daredevil in Marvel’s comics, Kingpin’s first big-screen appearance came in 2003’s Daredevil film starring Ben Affleck, where he was portrayed by the late Michael Clarke Duncan. It would’ve been great to see that incarnation in Raimi’s Spider-Man films at some point, but given the rights issues endemic to the superhero genre in the early 2000s, such a crossover was always unlikely.

Next: Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 Theory: Peter Takes The Symbiote To Save Harry

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