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October 23, 2005
Ultimate Spider-man - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
79KBDolby PLIIYesNoNoneNo

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Venom feeding.
In the history of video games Spiderman is one of the only comic book characters to receive first class treatment when it comes to games. Usually comic to game conversions end up being nothing short of terrible. One of the biggest mistakes game companies have made is by straying too far from the comics which the games inspire, in the process making a lot of fans very upset. Even the two Spiderman games that have appeared on the Playstation 2 have been based mainly on the two movies. For the third game though, developer Treyarch have based Spiderman on the Ultimate Spiderman comic book series. So is this the game comic Spiderman fans have been waiting for or is it a step back for the famous wall crawler?

Marvel started the Ultimate Spiderman comic series in 1999 with quite a few changes made to the Spiderman universe. In the Ultimate series Peter Parker is a 15 year old web designer and his best friend is Eddie Brock. In the game you see the scene of how Peter became Spiderman, but that is pretty much all of the classic Spiderman lore you hear about. The game focuses more on Peter and Eddies uncovering of there late Fathers work on a special suit. Of course Eddie gets hold of the suit which then transforms him into the menacing Venom. Along the course of the story you also run into many of the famous characters from the Marvel universe, Wolverine, Rhino, Human Torch, Elektro, Green Goblin and a few others. The story is one of the highlights of the game with it constantly being pushed forward by some fantastic comic book styled cut scenes.

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Spider-man soars through the air.
While Ultimate Spiderman is based on the comics and not the movies, the gameplay is pretty similar to the last two Spiderman games. Spiderman swings about New York solving random crimes, finding hidden items and of course completing the various story missions that make up most of the game. The big new addition to the game is the ability to play as villain Venom. Playing as Venom is much different than playing as Spiderman, whereas Spiderman saves the civilians Venom eats them to regain his strength. The moves for both are also quite different, Spiderman swings about and fights with nice smooth moves where Venom is all about brute strength.

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Peter Parker fighting.
The story missions are what make up the bulk of the playing time. They range from the usual Spiderman missions where he must help civilians who are in trouble to trying to stop Venoms violent rampages. When you take control of Venom you pretty much just wreak havoc, find out more of Eddie’s history and occasionally fight famous Marvel heroes like Wolverine.

Unfortunately there are a few things that prevent Ultimate Spiderman taking the comic book gaming crown. One of my main complaints with the game is the fact you have to do a certain number of tasks to continue with the story missions. Sometimes you have to race the Human Torch around, stop two crimes or find a certain number of hidden items. It is quite annoying to be taken from the story to do these compulsory missions. The reason these missions were included was obviously to make the game longer. You see the game is really, really short and easy with most players being able to beat the game in about 7 or 8 hours. There are only a few missions that provide any real challenge at all. Another is the lack of variety in the missions, especially with Spiderman. It really is just swinging around, fighting the odd goon, chase missions and things we have all done before in past Spiderman games. Also the camera can cause real trouble in some of the chase missions and you sometimes can’t see enemies who are attacking you.

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Comic book cut-scenes.
Sadly Ultimate Spiderman is a single player only game. Having both Spiderman and Venom in the game seemed like a good opportunity to get some head to head multiplayer action going. So it is a shame that it did not happen, maybe next time.

One thing that Ultimate Spiderman does deliver on is the visuals. Featuring an advanced looking cel shaded style, this game does look like a comic book bought to life. All the characters look great and New York looks absolutely fantastic. Special mention has to go to the cut scenes. They are some of the best I have seen in a long time. They are set up like a comic strip and look stunning in action.

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More action in the streets.
The sounds are a mixed bag in Ultimate Spiderman. The voice acting is pretty solid with no one sounding out of place. They do become annoying though with the same lines being heard over and over.

Overall I was quite disappointed by Ultimate Spiderman. This was one of my most anticipated games of the year. Having the story focus on the comics, the new cel shaded look and having Venom as a playable character I was expecting a great game. What we ended up with can only really be described as solid. At only 7 or 8 hours long it really cant be recommended to any but hardcore Spiderman fans. It seems far too much time was spent on the slick new look visuals than was spent on the actual gameplay. So sadly this game is a rental at best, and not the essential title it could have been.

Review By: Graham Darko

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC Version).
GRAPHICSSuperb cel shaded look really makes this one of the more attractive and unique looking games on the market.
SOUNDSolid voice acting and sound effects.
GAMEPLAYPretty solid. Playing as Venom is cool. Shame about the compulsory city missions though, as they are pretty dull.
VALUE8 hours should get you through it. There are a few unlockables like new outfits but there is not much to keep you coming back.
OVERALLI felt this game should have been much better than it turned out to be. While not a bad game the ease at which it can be completed makes it a rental only.

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