If I were Spider-Man, I bet I could come up with an enormous list of people I’d prefer to have operating on me than Doctor Octopus. Dr Strange, for one. Charles Xavier, maybe. Reed Richards would be good – hell, even Bruce Banner seems like a better option than Otto. Nonetheless, for whatever reason, the people who produced this Spider-Man version of the hand-eye coordination game Operation have opted for Doctor Octopus. Probably because marketing is more important than Spider-Man’s personal preferences and Doc Ock was in the movie, so maybe I should move on, ignore the completely nonsensical idea that if Spider-Man were in danger, Doc Ock would be the one to fix him, and review the game.
Not that there’s a lot to it. It’s Operation, almost exactly the way you remember it from childhood: there’s a board with holes cut in it, odd-shaped pieces that need to be fished out using slightly awkward tweezers, and there’s a red light that switches on and buzzes obnoxiously when you mess up. Players take it in turns to “operate”, and whoever has the steadiest hand wins. Simple, effective, and fun. The only reason I’m writing about it here is because it’s Spider-Man themed. And therefore awesome.
I always liked this game as a kid, and I love Spider-Man, so I’m pretty much guaranteed to love it. But credit where it’s due, the makers have done a pretty good job on this game. Rather than just replacing the usual patient with Spider-Man and leaving it at that, they’ve revamped all of the pieces. Instead of the Writer’s Cramp piece, it’s a broken web-shooter; instead of Butterflies in the Stomach, it’s a Spider Cents piece (with added pun goodness!). Other pieces include “web-head”, “wedgie” (apparently the Spider-Man costume is liable to chafe), “symbiotic ooze”, and “webbed feet.” All the playing cards have two-line scraps of doggerel on them, which is a nice touch (sample rhyme: “The Green Goblin’s causing trouble! Fix this now please, on the double!”) and all the money is Spider-Man branded.
All in all, while nothing particularly innovative has been done to the gameplay, this is a nicely put-together version of a classic children’s game. My only quibble is that on the box, it estimates a game takes 15 minutes. It took us a lot longer than that on Christmas Day. (Which probably says more about me than the game – but the broken webshooter piece is actually really really difficult!)