Home | News | Reviews | Previews | Hardware
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows
Score: 68%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Amaze Entertainment
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:
Spider-Man Web of Shadows: Amazing Allies Edition is not going to win any awards this year for graphics. I know we're talking about the PS2 here, but things still look a little dull. The colors are muddled and everything just looks simple and blocky. This is basically a 2D beat-em-up with 3D graphics, but it all seems a bit wasted. Even when there are areas where details could be added in, such as a picture on a wall or graphics on a TV set, there's just boring patterns and plain static. And there are a whole lot of enemies that shop at the same store. At least Spider-Man himself looks pretty decent, with fairly smooth animation and a wide range of moves.

The music is the standard movie type of score that everyone loves to put into superhero games now. What's really annoying is the set of grunts and groans that Peter constantly supplies. You'd think someone who can jump as high and move as fast as Spider-Man would have gotten used to it instead of having to grunt every time he touches the ground. As far as voice acting, there's not much. You'll get the standard witty one-liners from Spider-Man and a very limited amount of voice from other characters in the game. Perhaps if there were more of a story to this game, there might have been more dialogue.

Spider-Man Web of Shadows sends you through Manhattan at the request of S.H.I.E.L.D., an organization that is concerned about the growing number of zombie looters taking over the city. Well, story isn't this game's strong suit. No one really explains why you can summon X-Men and other various Marvel characters either. I wouldn't get too excited about that though, unless you get excited by gigantic Sandman and Xavier faces zooming out of the screen at you. It's more than a little lame.

Besides punching and kicking your way through hordes of characters, you also have the chance to talk to people and, based on the way you respond, build up points as good Spider-Man or mean Spider-Man. Well, they call them red or black choices, but really, I usually can't tell the difference between Spider-Man's normal witty remarks and the black suit's darker comments. It seems sometimes they just wrote a set of equally Spider-Man-like lines and then just assigned red or black suit points to a couple of them.

You get your standard skill leveling and special moves in this game. Again, Spider-Man's model is really well animated, and the basic repertoire of moves looks good. But get into some of the special moves and it makes you wonder why they even bothered. A dozen Spider-Man shadows blipping around the screen? It wouldn't look right even if Peter Parker were a secret ninja.

In Spider-Man Web of Shadows: Amazing Allies Edition the easiest difficulty level of "Friendly" is a breeze. You can mash buttons away and mow down most anything. It's only when you get to a boss that you have to actually concentrate.

Harder difficulty gets into the "just not fair" zone because of all the shoddy game mechanics mentioned later on. As always, you shouldn't have to fight game design to test your skills.

Game Mechanics:
Spider-Man Web of Shadows: Amazing Allies Edition plays well enough, if you really like repetitive beat-em-ups. But there are a lot of issues with shoddy game mechanics that are going to hold you back from that satisfying day of cleaning up crime. For one, there's a lot of walk through and punch through problems. Enemies can sometimes hit you even if they're punching on your opposite side, and sometimes you can't hit the enemies because your punching animation lands on the other side of the enemy. The web slinging is often the first thing that's scrutinized in a Spider-Man game, but here the game feels flat as well. It just all feels cheap, as if they're skimming all the bad Spider-Man games to find content for a new one.

It's games like this that make superheroes seem like the most boring people on the planet. Spider-Man just mows down fodder enemy after enemy and spouts some lame one-liners. What do you care as long as it's Spider-Man, right?

-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

This site best viewed in Internet Explorer 6 or higher or Firefox.