These games are adaptations of the film Spider-Man 2. The GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions of the game, developed by Activision's Treyarch studio, allow the player to freely roam around Manhattan, Roosevelt, Ellis, and Liberty Islands. The home console versions were also innovative in that physics-based algorithms simulated Spider-Man's web swinging in three dimensions, creating a new game mechanic unlike the traditional jumping or flying of previous Spider-Man games.
Versions of the game on other platforms feature more linear side-scrolling and platform sections. The PSP version of Spider-Man 2 was compared to playing the Spider-Man 1 plot.
While street thugs only have handguns, machine guns, crowbars and their fists to protect them, the super-villains and their minions have their various unique powers and weapons that they use to either steal, cause terror or defeat Spider-Man. At the end of the game, it becomes possible to unlock a warehouse in which the player can again fight thugs and villains such as Shocker, Rhino, Doctor Octopus, and an additional boss, Calypso, who is not found elsewhere in the game.
The player has the ability to choose either to go on with the storyline or swing around the city. The player can explore Manhattan, Roosevelt Island, Ellis Island, Liberty Island, and a mysterious label on the map over the water claiming "Governors Island" with many sidequests for the player to complete. The player can do random tasks to earn "hero points," which must be accumulated to continue with the plot and are spent on upgrading Spidey's skills.
It is two years following the events of the first game. Spider-Man is trying to balance his civilian and superhero life, frequently late or absent for school, work, and leisure time with his friends. Following dinner with Mary Jane Watson, Peter thwarts an armed looting of an art museum, and tracks down an escaped robber, the Black Cat. Soon after this, he thwarts an attack in the streets of Manhattan by The Rhino. Meanwhile, Doctor Otto Octavius attempts to recreate nuclear fusion of that seen in the sun to provide an energy source for Manhattan. To control this fusion, he creates four metal arms which he can mentally control. His fusion creates a strong magnetic field, destroying the lab, killing his wife Rosie, and grafting his metal arms to his spine and giving his arms control over him. He blames Spider-Man for the incident, despite the fact that Spider-Man was not in the lab until the middle of it.
Octavius, now known as Dr. Octopus, kidnaps Aunt May, but she is saved by Spider-Man. In the time following, special effects artist Quentin Beck tries to prove that Spider-Man is a fraud by challenging Peter in a series of "games". Spider-Man emerges successful. Consequently, Beck tries to kill Spider-Man, but is thwarted. The embarrassment causes Beck to assume the identity of Mysterio, attacking journalists attending his press conference, and commands his "UFOs" to "invade" the Statue of Liberty. Both of these attacks are thwarted by Spider-Man's efforts, with no casualties. Spider-Man eventually teams up with Black Cat, who leads him to the Shocker, who escaped during Beck's initial competition with Spider-Man. Shocker is apprehended in a warehouse after attempting to use an experimental propulsion system to enhance his powers, while Mysterio is knocked out with one punch from Spider-Man while trying to rob a Speedy Mart. Mysterio tells Spider-Man that he trifles with his power once again, Mysterio tells him that Peter will face his doom today, and he hits him as Mysterio's helmet drops reveals himself to be Quentin Beck. Peter takes a few photos of Beck as Mysterio, and J. Jonah Jameson uses these photos to make it appear that Spider-Man is in league with Mysterio. Black Cat then leads Spider-Man to an illegal weapons trade, where she tries to convince him to permanently become Spider-Man, but he rejects the idea, saying that he cannot stop being either Spider-Man or who he really is.
Dr. Octopus kidnaps Mary Jane Watson and steals tritium from Harry Osborn to repower his nuclear fusion in exchange for Spider-Man. A long battle on top of a moving train leads to Peter being delivered to Harry. Harry unmasks him, and is greatly shocked that his best friend is Spider-Man. Nevertheless, Harry tells Peter where Dr Octopus is based, and Spider-Man sets off to defeat Dr. Octopus a final time. After shut down all the switches, Peter sees that the fusion reactor is still on and all of them explodes. After Peter defeats Dr. Octopus and push him into a switch that shocks him, Otto regains control of his mind and sacrifices himself to destroy the fusion reactor permanently.
The next day, Peter gets a surprise visit from Mary Jane, who tells Peter that she cannot live without him, and wants to offer her full support to his life as Spider-Man. With his confidence renewed, Spider-Man continues to defend the city from evil - thus a never-ending game.
The plot of the PC game differs drastically from the main console versions. It first starts out with a short cutscene from the primary console game that introduces as to how Dr. Otto Octavius became Doc Ock with his fusion reaction experiment. The PC version then diverges from the console versions with a tutorial, (narrated by Bruce Campbell) telling the player how to play as Spider-Man, (i.e. web swinging, wall crawling, fighting, etc.).
The storyline for the game starts off with a cutscene of a gray van being chased down by the police before it crashes, and out comes two crooks. Spider-Man dispatches the crooks quickly, but the van drives away on automatic. Spider-Man follows it to the New York Maximum Security Prison where a large group of thugs are causing a riot. Spider-Man defeats many crooks and escaping prisoners before the Rhino busts out of the prison. He briefly fights Spider-Man before he tries to charge away, but is caught in a laser cage set up by the police. Deciding to let the undefeated prisoners escape (whom he can later find in alleys and hidden areas), Spider-Man goes after the Rhino and defeats him by making him charge into the laser field (and subsequently pummel him while he is down, which is an option and could make Rhino's defeat quicker). And just before he is defeated, Rhino charges at Spider-Man one last time, escapes the laser field but accidentally rams into a gas station that blows up and knocks him several blocks away from the explosion, where Doc Ock takes his unconscious form. Spider-Man lets Ock get away with Rhino while he douses the fires caused by the explosion and then demonstrates a new power punch by defeating three crooks (these power punches are gained when defeating normal enemies, not bosses, and once they are gained, they drain out during combat, which quickly defeats enemies with a single punch).
Later, Peter Parker, Spider-Man's alter ego, is with his Aunt May at the bank, and goes to the bathroom just as Doc Ock and a gang of his robbers hold the bank hostage. Spider-Man pummels his way through the robbers and saving the hostages, including Aunt May, until he reaches the basement of the bank where he confronts Ock. They fight, but Ock gets away with his stolen cash. Spider-Man once again lets him get away in order to save Aunt May from a band of three robbers who kidnap her and take her into their van. Spider-Man stops the van, dispatches the robbers and saves Aunt May.
The next day, Peter is walking with Mary Jane Watson through the city when they both spot MJ's car getting stolen. Peter tells MJ to wait where she is while he calls the police. Then Spider-Man follows the car to a garage where he confronts the villain Puma and a band of his crooks in a warehouse. Puma leads Spider-Man on a chase throughout the warehouse while Spider-Man pummels his way through Puma's cronies, and their initial fight takes place in a small room. After Puma takes some beating, he takes the fight outside to the rooftops, at a water fountain and finally to an unfinished construction site. There, Puma finally surrenders in his fight against Spider-Man, but gleefully tells him that he was merely a distraction for Spider-Man while Doc Ock kidnapped Mary Jane. In a cutscene, Puma tries to get away but Spider-Man webs him up and finally defeats Puma. He calls Mary Jane, but Ock has kidnapped her.
Later, Ock and his cronies attack OsCorp. Spider-Man goes to OsCorp to foil the heist there, defeating many cronies and saving countless civilians and scientists, as well as disabling the eight bombs Ock placed in the building. Spider-Man is then confronted by Rhino in a room with six generators which Spider-Man makes the brutish villain ram into and electrocute himself, but Rhino is not done yet. He confronts Spider-Man for a third time in a room with four liquid nitrogen tubes that Spider-Man destroys and leaks the gases in the tubes, quickly freezing the room. But fortunately, Spider-Man escapes the room before it freezes and Rhino is frozen with it, finally defeating him. Then Spider-Man leaves OsCorp through an elevator to continue his search for Doc Ock on OsCorp's rooftop before he finds himself in a New York literally torn out of the ground and into the sky by the machinations of the supervillain Mysterio, who has done this to further Ock's plans.
Spider-Man destroys the generators that seemingly hold New York in the sky, as well as fighting through Mysterio's numerous robots, before fighting and chasing a flying Mysterio himself, which Spider-Man fights back by throwing meteors at the villain that the latter throws down from the sky to defeat the superhero. But Mysterio is not done yet; he tries to kill Spider-Man again with a giant laser gun on top of the Daily Bugle, but Spider-Man destroys it and defeats Mysterio. Mysterio tells Spider-Man of Ock's plans and disappears, reverting New York back to normal.
Spider-Man takes the final fight to Doc Ock through the subways, fighting past the remainder of Ock's cronies, saving Mary Jane and battling Doc Ock in a final showdown at his fusion reactor. Spider-Man pummels enough sense into him to make Ock realize the error of his ways and he sacrifices himself by pulling his machine in with him into the river (much like the movie), and Spider-Man escapes with Mary Jane without revealing his identity to either.