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Platform

DS

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Griptonite Games

 

ESRB

E +10 (Everyone)

 

Released

September 7, 2010

 

 

- Metroid-inspired level design
- Collectible power-ups, challenge rooms
- Well controlling wall crawler

 

 

- Repetitive enemies, level design
- Cheesy Dialog (but if thatís how Spidey rolls for you, consider this a Pro)
- Insufferable touch-screen mini-game

 

 

Review: Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (360)

Review: Ultimate Spider-Man (DS)

Review: Spider-Man 3 (PS3)

 

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Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

Score: 5.5 / 10

 

spider-man shattered dimensions          spider-man shattered dimensions

 

In the gaming market, Spider-Man shares a few similarities with Sonic the Hedgehog; a wise-cracking mascot beloved by children and grown-ups worldwide who has been the unfortunate star of a decadeís worth of inconsistent games ranging from mediocre to awful.

Much like Sega, Activision wonít stop experimenting on their wall-crawling cash cow, and their latest take on Marvelís most popular superhero attempts to add four times the Spider-Men, hoping it equals four times the fun. Featuring four different worlds based on Spideyís more famous spin-offs, Shattered Dimensions has

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crossed over several different platforms, including the Nintendo DS, which weíll be reviewing now.

The plot of Shattered Dimensions begins with a botched robbery attempt, where Spidey swings onto the scene to stop Mysterio from stealing a mystical artifact called the ďTablet of Order and ChaosĒ. After a one-sided boss battle, the tablet is shattered during the conflict, its pieces

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scattered across different dimensions. With the assistance of Madame Web (ever the go-to character for magic-related Spider-Man stories, at least if Dr Strange is unavailable), the alternate Spider-Men work together in retrieving the fragments from their respective dimensions, keeping them from falling into villainous hands.

While far from being the worst Spider-Man story, Shattered Dimensionsí writing is nothing more than a pretence to bridge the different spin-offs together, which should be sufficient enough for longtime fans. In addition to the standard Amazing universe, players will also control the jacket-wearing, gun-toting Spider-Man from Spider-Man Noir and the futuristic gliding Spidey from Spider-Man 2099. Curiously, the Ultimate Spider-Man universe, which stars a younger Spider-Man wearing the black symbiote suit, was left out of this version, cutting the original four worlds down to three.

The biggest difference, however, is the way the DS version plays. While the console versions is strictly a third-person beat-em-up, this portable iteration goes for a classic 2D look and feel, where each of the Spideys can run, jump, swing across each area while also fending off multiple enemies with an assortment of moves. The game is modeled like a typical 2D platformer, but actually draws its biggest inspiration from the classic Metroid games from the NES/SNES era; Each of the different themed worlds take place in a large hub divided into sections (aka rooms) which are displayed on a mini-map on the top screen. While Spider-Man is given the illusion of freedom, itís impossible to navigate every area from the start due to locked doors, far-off switches, and other obstacles that require a certain ability to pass through. In order to obtain these powers, each Spider-Man must follow the predetermined path, take out a boss, and pass the tablet fragment to the next Spider-Person: rinse and repeat.

 

spider-man shattered dimensions          spider-man shattered dimensions


And thatís the biggest problem with Shattered Dimensions: despite the stylistically different locations and the passable imitation of the Metroid formula, once youíve seen one world, youíve seen them all. The areas feature the same kind of blockades, the enemies come in the same variety (between punch-fodder baddies, weapon-wielding enemies, and shield-carrying defensive mooks, with the occasional big bruiser), and the only real difference between the Spideys is in their navigation abilities (2099 Spider-Man can glide, Noir Spider-Man can detect hidden switches), but since these powers become available all at once, even that distinction is quickly neutralized.

Despite the monotonous gameplay, all of the wall crawling, web swinging, and villain pounding handles well, and the inclusion of the multiple Spider-Men and their respective foes should elicit excitement from the under-aged gamer (or collection-crazy fanboys). Whether their voice-acted dialog will amuse or infuriate you is dependent on the individual (one villain proclaims how Spidey will soon become ďArach-DEADĒ). The visuals arenít exactly ugly, but would have worked better as 2D sprites instead of muddy, super deformed polygons. Aside from using the top screen for the mini-map, the only other DS feature is a touch-screen mini-game that is required to advance in the game; needless to say, itís an embarrassment for everyone involved.

While far from redeeming the Spider-Man videogame license, Shattered Dimensions deserves merit for maintaining a better quality experience than many of its more offensive predecessors. Itís a satisfying experience for younger fans, and fills a quota for comic-reading gamers.

 

- Jorge Fernandez

(November 26, 2010)

 

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