For the obvious reason, the price of Spider-Man games has shot up in the past month or so. Even the rushed out Spider-Man 3 movie tie-in – in which some female NPCs had male voices and vice versa – is selling for more than a tenner on Amazon. What’s really quite astonishing though is that 2008’s Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is currently selling for more than The Amazing Spider-Man on various auction sites.
I think the reason for this is because just like Activision’s own Transformers: War for Cybertron, it wasn’t too heavily promoted so only hardcore fans bought it. It’s a shame – I’ve been playing through it this month and it’s a really well made web-swinging adventure.
Rather than resemble Spider-Man’s silver screen endeavours, this one has more in common with the comic books and cartoons. The first achievement I unlocked was for performing a 50 hit combo, and that was achieved by pummelling the first bad guy I came across. It’s this outlandish combo system that makes Web of Shadows a joy to play – it has been kept simple, but not too simple. It also helps that Spidey is a pleasure to control be it in the air or on the ground. You can even sprint up the side of a building in a matter of seconds to get to higher ground, rather than mess around flinging webs all over Manhattan.
Taking a leaf out of Crackdown 2’s book there are loads of collectables that’ll distract you off course. Sometimes there are even three or four on one rooftop. These help to improve Spidey’s stats while XP is used to unlock new combos and the special moves. Spidey certainly isn’t restricted in this department. A click of the analogue stick makes Spider-Man don his black symbiote suit to gain access to an entirely different skill set.
Just to enforce the fact that this has been designed for comic book fans, Wolverine appears in his garish yellow and black outfit, while other characters that can be summoned to assist in battle include the lesser-known Moon Knight and Luke Cage. The boss battle with Wolverine is a memorable moment. As Spider-Man has been ‘infected’ with the symbiotes parasite, Wolverine claims he “doesn’t smell quite right” and a battle then ensues. During the battle you have to prove your alliance by killing some smaller enemies before Wolverine has the chance to, and also answering questions that he poses. These questions are bound to baffle those not familiar with the Marvel universe – “Who refused to join The Avengers?” is one fine example.
Dare Devil is the answer, if you’re wondering. Or as Spider-Man puts it: “The guy in the red devil suit.”
There are just three chapters to play through but each feels suitably different. The first simply sees Spidey in his daily grind of trying to stop two groups of gangsters from taking over town, while the second is set at night during the guidance of the Black Cat. The third chapter couldn’t be any more different – Manhattan has been turned into a warzone with the streets filled of brainless white symbiote bad guys. Citizens have to be escorted to safe zones and later it’s possible to mark areas for air-strikes – there’s a lot of mindless fun to be had trying to unlock some of the achievements.
A short game it may be – clocking in at around six hours – but during some cut-scenes you can choose good or bad paths which will eventually determine which of the four endings you’ll get, so there is reason to replay it again.
Curiously, the back of the box has a screenshot showing Spider-Man fighting off a zombie-like enemy who doesn’t appear in the game, while one of the mission objectives even refers to the enemies as actually being zombies. Perhaps it was once in line to become a Marvel Zombies tie-in?
Now there’s a game we would be keen to play.