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Video Game / Spider-Man vs. the Kingpin

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Spider-Man vs. the Kingpin is a Licensed Game based on Spider-Man that was released by Sega for the Sega Genesis and Master System in 1991, and later ported to the Game Gear and the Sega CD in 1992 and 1993, respectively. For the CD port, the game was re-titled The Amazing Spider-Man vs. the Kingpin.

The premise of the game is that The Kingpin turns the city against Spider-Man by framing him for stealing a nuclear bomb, which he intends to use on New York City in an attempt to Take Over the World. It is up to Spidey to clear his name and defuse the bomb before 24 hours have passed, but many villains stand in his way, including Dr. Octopus, Venom, Sandman, the Vulture, Hobgoblin, Mysterio, the Lizard, and Electro.


  • Adaptation Expansion: Along with the expected CD audio and animated cutscenes, the Sega CD version also has extra levels, bosses and enemies, including the Vulture and Mysterio, rearranged levels, and a more cartoony but better-animated art style compared to the Genesis version.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • The version of the Kingpin in the Sega CD version lacks any of his nobler traits and is willing to nuke New York as step one of a plan to conquer the world.
    • The Lizard is conscious all the time and in the paybook of Kingpin in the Genesis version. This is rectified in the Sega CD version, where the Lizard is once again Curt Connors' Superpowered Evil Side, and when Curt regains control of himself, he willingly hands over the key to defuse the bomb before the Lizard took over again. Likewise, the Lizard is no longer part of the Boss Rush in the last level unlike the Genesis version.
  • Bookend: The final level uses the same music as the title screen in the Genesis version.
  • Cardboard Prison: If defeated, Spidey is taken to a jail designed for normal criminals. There's no way that's going to hold Spider-Man.
  • Clear My Name: The plot has Spider-Man attempting to defeat the Kingpin and disarm the bomb to clear his name.
  • Cold Ham: Kingpin in the Sega CD version speaks in a husky, soft tone akin to what would eventually be his incarnation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe portrayed by Vincent D'Onofrio - although, he still has an arsenal of almost cartoonishly evil lines.
  • Continuing is Painful: Using a continue causes the in-game clock to fast-forward two hours, giving you less time to get all the keys needed to disarm the bomb. If you lose all of your health and continuing would put you over the 24 in-game hour time limit, you get an instant Game Over.
  • Crossover: This incarnation of Spider-Man also appeared in Sega's 1989 Genesis game The Revenge of Shinobi as a boss. Originally, this was unofficial, to the point of having his suit's design slightly changed. But once Sega got the Spider-Man license in 1990, and was granted permission from Marvel to use him in Shinobi, his suit was changed again to match the official design, and stayed that way until 2009, when he was changed once again, due to Activision and Capcom both holding the Spider-Man game rights at the time.
  • Damsel in Distress: Mary Jane Watson gets kidnapped partway through the game in the Sega CD and Sega Genesis versions, with the final boss fight having Spidey having to defeat the Kingpin quickly so he can stop Mary Jane from being dunked in acid.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Subverted Trope. Spidey can easily escape if he's captured and get back into action, but each capture wastes roughly two hours of in-game time, and you have only 24 of them to disarm the Kingpin's bomb.
  • Evil Overlooker: The Sega CD version's cover art depicts Kingpin looking down at Spider-Man.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Losing to the Kingpin in the Sega CD version has Spider-Man and Mary Jane getting killed via a pit of acid onscreen.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • You can take pictures throughout the level to sell to J. Jonah Jameson, which Peter uses to buy web fluid and cartridges.
    • The game has our hero's spider-sense buzz when he's about to be attacked by someone especially dangerous, like a boss or mini-boss. Venom doesn't trip it, just like he didn't in the comics.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Spider-Man faces a Killer Gorilla as a boss fight in Central Park. A gorilla is in Central Park, and is trying to kill Spider-Man.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: If you lose a life and get caught by the police, Spider-Man escapes effortlessly if you choose to continue. It gets even sillier in the Sega CD remake, where they take precautions on subsequent captures, only for you to just keep escaping.
  • Happily Married: Peter and MJ are in wedded bliss in the game.
  • The Hero Dies: In the 'Kingpin wins' ending of the Sega CD version, Kingpin hangs Spider-Man alongside Mary Jane above a pit of acid and lowers them to their deaths on-screen.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Thanks to the Kingpin framing him for stealing a nuclear bomb, Spider-Man is wanted by the police for much of the game.
  • Killer Gorilla: A gorilla escaped from its zoo acts as a Mini-Boss in the Central Park level.
  • Large Ham: The Sega CD version depicts Venom as speaking melodramatically.
  • Mini-Game: The Game Gear version has a well-hidden one that plays similarly to Pac-Man, where Spidey is in a maze collecting webs while avoiding Venom. To play this game, first select Nightmare mode. At the end of the third stage, after you defeat Electro, take the key from between the conductors, and jump down while holding left so you'll land on top of the Game Gear icon. You will be sent back to Peter's room, and have the option to press the 2 button to play the Game Gear, which starts the mini-game.
  • Multiple Endings: The Sega CD version gives multiple endings, depending on the outcome of the final level.
    • Beating the Kingpin in time to save Mary Jane results in the good ending, where Spider-Man successfully clears his name.
    • Defeating the Kingpin, but failing to save Mary Jane in time results in Spider-Man vowing vengeance for Mary Jane's death as the Kingpin is carried away by the authorities. The Mega Drive version simply had Spider-Man kneeling on Mary Jane's death in anguish, while Kingpin didn't even get arrested and simply walked away.
    • Losing to Kingpin or one of the prior miniboss fights against Bullseye and Typhoid Mary results in the Kingpin knocking out Spider-Man and having him join Mary Jane in being dunked into acid.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Should the player manage to run out of time or fail to input the keys needed to defuse the bomb in the proper order, the result will be New York City being destroyed in an explosion.
  • Password Save: Bosses defeated and level reached are saved on up to 10-letter passwords.
  • Press X to Die: If you input the codes to defuse the nuclear bomb incorrectly, it detonates immediately, causing an instant game over.
  • Puzzle Boss:
    • Sandman can only be defeated by luring him to a fire hydrant and spraying him with water.
    • In the Sega CD version, during the first battle with Venom he must be lured into a church tower and the bells must be rung in order to beat him.
  • Shout-Out: The brief introductory stage serves as one to Spider-Man (Atari 2600), where Spidey has to scale the facade of a building while avoiding mooks that pop out of windows to knock him off.
  • Timed Mission: The entire game is a timed mission. Spider-Man has to defeat all the villains in order to get their keys to the bomb and defuse the bomb before the time limit runs out. The time is said to be 24 hours, but the time goes by much faster in-game and is closer to a few hours.
  • Tuckerization: The Sega CD version features a female news anchor named Lisa Sands in one of its cutscenes. She shares her name with the game's production manager.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Snapping photographs of any enemies other than bosses results in a much smaller cash payout from the Daily Bugle. This includes the freakish, obviously non-human mutants that Spidey finds in the sewer system, which apparently are about as remarkable as a random crook driving a forklift.
  • Unwilling Suspension: Mary Jane is held this way, being suspended in mid-air above an acid-vat while being manacled with her wrists overhead. If Spidey loses to Kingpin (or either to Bullseye and Typhoid Mary), he gets subjected to this fate too.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The regular citizens of New York don't know of the Kingpin's criminal activities, and he's easily able to turn the public and police against Spider-Man.


Video Example(s):


Kingpin (SM vs. the Kingpin)

Should Spider-Man lose to the Kingpin, he will lower him and Mary Jane to a pool of acid.

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