Review | Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
Format: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS | Genre: Sandbox | Publisher: Activision | Developer: Beenox | Release date: 10/09/2010 | Price: £44.99
SPIDER-MAN: SHATTERED DIMENSIONS shatters all of Steve K Peacock’s worries.
The docks were quieter than usual, which was a bad sign. You expect docks to be noisy, embittered drunks hauling goods across concrete forecourts. The silence meant that the dockers weren’t working, and dockers don’t do days off. They can’t afford it. What light the pitiful lanterns provided was enough to see the mooks and their typewriters, and their boss, a guy with a head like a swollen cliff face and a mug like every wanted poster you’ve ever seen. He’d be difficult to take with his goons around. Good thing it’s always night in this city. What I can do in the dark would surprise you.
IT’S A difficult task, a Multiverse crossover. You’ve got to balance the need for a central protagonist with the necessity of making his alternate versions looks just as strong. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is one of the rare breed that seems to do this rather well, crafting a story that originates in the mainstream universe while roping in three other entire universes without any significant subordination on their part.
Mysterio, long-standing enemy of our witty web-slinger, has set his sights on the mystical Tablet of Order and Chaos, a relic that gives the bearer the ability to remake reality as he sees fit. Naturally, being Mysterio, he’s foiled in the opening cut scene, but not before Spidey accidentally shatters the tablet into a dozen pieces with a punch so powerful that it can apparently drive certain fragments into another dimension. Thus enter Madame Web, powerful telepath, who brings together Spidey’s counterparts in the hope that together they can reunite all the pieces of the tablet before the various supervillains get their grubby little mitts on all that godly power. In true Spider-Man fashion, the various Spideys are a little lacking in punctuality.
A Spider-man for every mood.
If you’ve played a Spider-Man game before, you’ll be familiar with how most of the Spideys handle. For all the pre-release boasting on the part of the developers, Amazing, Ultimate and 2099 all handle pretty much the same: run into a group of enemies, pound their faces in till they stop getting up, repeat. This is not actually as repetitive as it sounds, with each Spider-Man having slightly different enemies to deal with. Though they are all built around the same basic classes (small, medium, large and annoying little swarmy buggers) their tactics shift to take into account things relative to their universe. 2099’s hulking brutes fire homing missiles at you, for instance, that require the liberal use of that particular Spider-Man’s special power: accelerated vision.
I’m not sure whether to feel terrified or honoured: I knew Alchemax hated me, but to go so far as to engineer me a little Hobgoblin of my own? I’m touched, I really am. But then, so is he. With the ugly stick. Repeatedly.
The only real differentiation between those three Spideys come from their special powers. 2099 has accelerated vision which slows down time, Ultimate has rage which makes him very angry and punchy, and Amazing has, well, nothing. Actually, that’s not true, Amazing has Neil Patrick Harris.
All the Spider-Men are voiced by previous Spider-Man voice actors, drawing on familiar voices from the various cartoons. It is a brilliant idea, and immediately undoes one of the major problems I’ve had with every previous Spider-Man game. Usually, Spidey is played by a whinging prat, but here we’ve got four established voices that can maintain the various Spider-Men’s personalities without turning them into the sort of snarky tween that you would be quite willing to punch. Special mention goes to Josh Keaton, for actually making the Ultimate universe not terrible, and his delivery of the never-ending punpocalypse in the Electro level is outstanding. If you’re going to make electricity jokes, you might as well stay current.
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