Ultimate Spider-Man (video game)
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2009)|
|Developer(s)||Vicarious Visions (DS & GBA)
Treyarch (GC, PS2, Xbox & PC)
|Director(s)||Brian Michael Bendis
Christopher A. Busse
Joseph I. Valenzuela
|Writer(s)||Brian Michael Bendis|
|Release date(s)||NA September 19, 2005 (DS)
|Genre(s)||Beat 'em up, Open world|
|Distribution||Cartridge, Nintendo optical disc, DVD, CD-ROM|
Ultimate Spider-Man is a video game based on the comic book of the same name by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley. The game was released on most sixth generation consoles, including Nintendo DS, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Microsoft Windows and Game Boy Advance. Treyarch, who made the console games based on the Spider-Man movies, developed the console game, while Vicarious Visions developed the Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance versions, and Beenox ported the Microsoft Windows version from the consoles.
Stylistically, it differs from its predecessor, Spider-Man 2, in that it employs what has been dubbed, "Comic Inking Animation technology," a form of cel shading intended to simulate the appearance of a comic-book.
While originally thought to be canonical to the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, it is unclear what parts of the game take place in the continuity of the comic. The story arc "War of the Symbiotes" loosely adapts the events of the game into Ultimate Universe continuity, while shortening and changing many of the story elements.
The game begins with a recap of Spider-Man (Peter Parker) explaining his and Eddie Brock's fathers worked together for Trask Industries to find a way to cure cancer; however, they died in a plane crash before completing their "Venom" suit, which would heal the wearer. Spidey breaks into the vault containing the Venom substance and is covered by a portion of it, creating his black suit. It enhanced his normal superhuman abilies to new levels, but the suit tried consuming him and ultimately left him drained by the experience. Eddie later finds out what Peter did and takes the rest of the Venom suit for himself, taking the name for himself.
They confront each other on the high school football field on a rainy night, before spanning to the middle of a street where Venom was believed to be killed by a downed, live power line. Three months later, Parker has resumed his normal life and has forgotten about Venom. After stopping Shocker, Spider-Man ends up in a race against Human Torch. Meanwhile, Eddie, who is actually alive, has been forced to feed on the life energy of people randomly in a Manhattan park lest the suit consume him. He proves his strength in a fight with Wolverine into a bar and then into a next-door building.
After a fight with the R.H.I.N.O., Spider-Man gets his first foreshadowing of Venom returning when his Spider-Sense overloads. That night, Silver Sable and her Wild Pack (having been contracted by Trask to retrieve his "property") attack Venom, who easily escapes. During a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Peter gets his "Eddie headaches" again and fights his former friend on the roof. However, Venom is later captured by Silver Sable; Spidey assumes Sable works for S.H.I.E.L.D. Kept imprisoned in an energy cage, Bolivar Trask and Adrian Toomes convince Eddie to test the suit for them as they knew Eddie and Peter's parents. His first test is to battle the recently escaped Electro where they fight over a knocked out Spider-Man in Times Square. Venom will not let Electro kill his prey and ends up fighting and defeating him. Before Venom can eliminate an unconscious Spider-Man, S.H.I.E.L.D. interferes and Venom makes his escape. Nick Fury wakes up Spider-Man as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents arrest Electro. Venom returns to Trask where he reveals he had more control of the suit around Spider-Man, just like when he fought Peter Parker; this leads Trask to discover Peter's secret identity and realise Richard Parker's DNA was use as the base for the Venom suit, which why Peter managed to use it effectively. Eddie is taken by Silver Sable to hunt Peter down, but he transforms and is chased away by the Wild Pack.
Meanwhile, a mercenary who calls himself the Beetle attacks New York by freeing the Green Goblin from his prison. Spider-Man pursues the Beetle after he steals a vial containing a sample of Sandman. After a brief fight, Spider-Man loses him during the battle. When asking the nearby people if they have seen the Beetle pass by, they point to the Latverian Embassy. Later on, Fury visits Peter at the top of the Daily Bugle warning him not to go to the Latverian Embassy. After Peter leaves, Fury tells Sharon Carter that Peter will do the opposite anyway. When Spider-Man ends up outside of the Latverian Embassy, Green Goblin emerges and Spider-Man pursues him to the U.N. building. After being defeated, Green Goblin is taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody by Sharon Carter and some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Beetle is later dispatched to collect a sample of the Venom suit. Venom eventually pursues, fights, and defeats him.
While Peter is walking through town, Silver Sable fires a tranquilizer at Peter and tries to bring him to Trask. Peter awakens and they fight above the Queensboro Bridge before Venom appears and knocks Silver Sable out. Peter ends up changing into Spider-Man and goes after Venom. Spider-Man and Venom fight but both go down due to Spider-Man knocking Eddie out and the tranquilizer that Silver Sable fired at Peter takes effect. Eddie awakens inside Trask Industries hearing Peter screaming as Adrian Toomes injects him with their own makeshift sample of the Venom suit, transforming him into Carnage. After a fight, Venom then absorbs Carnage and spits Peter out. The combination of the Carnage suit and the leftover Venom samples in Peter's blood grants Eddie complete control over the suit; the spider insignia appears on Venom's body. Bolivar Trask finally gives Peter files on their parents but takes them while trying to flee from an angry Venom. Venom is eventually defeated but escapes from S.H.I.E.L.D. authorities.
As S.H.I.E.L.D. arrives, Peter reads the files and discovers that the reason for their parents' plane crash was due to Eddie Brock, Sr. trying on the Venom suit on board. There were only three survivors and one of the witnesses was Peter's mother who died in the ambulance. When Peter tells Fury that Eddie must see these files, Fury tells him that Eddie escaped. Later, a cutscene shows Eddie on a small prison island where Boliver Trask has been imprisoned. Eddie claims that he cannot believe that "after all the things you did, all the things you made me do; that after all of that, all you got was three years in a golf course prison." After stating this, Eddie transforms into Venom, and proceeds to kill Boliver Trask. Then, the game cuts to a scene showing Peter and Mary Jane Watson sitting atop a warehouse roof. He tells Mary Jane that he does not know if he is scared of, or for, Eddie, who Peter knows is out there somewhere. She replies by telling him not to worry about it, and that while Eddie was not there, she is. The two move closer to each other, and Peter puts his arm around her.
The player battles the following bosses (in this order):
- Venom (as Peter Parker Hoodie Variant)
- Shocker (as Spider-Man)
- Wolverine (as Venom)
- Rhino (as Spider-Man)
- Venom (2nd time, as Spider-Man)
- Electro (as Venom)
- Beetle (as Spider-Man)
- Silver Sable (as Venom)
- Green Goblin (as Spider-Man)
- Beetle (2nd time) (as Venom)
- Silver Sable (2nd time, as Peter Parker)
- Venom (3rd time) (as Spider-Man)
- Carnage (Peter Parker) (as Venom)
- Venom with Carnage symbiote (4th and last time) (as Spider-Man)
Place in comic book continuity
While the game begins three months after the events of the Ultimate Venom arc, its place in Ultimate Universe continuity was the subject of much confusion and debate. At the time of the game's release, it was believed that the story took place between issues #71 and 72 of Ultimate Spider-Man. A few months later, Marvel.com advertised the Silver Sable arc as dealing with the aftermath of the Ultimate Spider-Man video game. However, no parts of the game were acknowledged and Silver Sable does not know Peter Parker's secret identity, contradicting the game. Some events of the game were later referred to, such as Spider-Man now addressing the Shocker as "Herman."
In 2009, the events of the video game were officially brought into Ultimate Universe canon through a story entitled "War of the Symbiotes." However, much of the game's story was changed or shortened in the process. Peter Parker's transformation into Carnage was ignored, as was Silver Sable's abduction of him. In the comic, the symbiote abandons Eddie Brock while battling Spider-Man, and once again takes on Peter Parker as a host. He is soon separated from the suit by the Ultimates, and Brock escapes, now powerless. Eventually Eddie Brock returns and absorbs the Carnage symbiote. However, instead of taking it off of Peter Parker, as in the game, he absorbs it from a clone of Gwen Stacy. This restores his ability to change into Venom, and gives him complete control over the suit as well. The story ends as the Venom suit, with Brock still inside, is neutralized and stolen by the Beetle, who takes it to Doctor Doom in Latveria.
In Ultimate Spider-Man, the player can experience a free-roaming city environment that covers Manhattan and Queens. The player starts in story-mode where the game automatically switches between Spider-Man and Venom. Spider-Man travels by web swinging, but the player must shoot a web at an actual building to swing, much like in the previous game, Spider-Man 2. Spider-Man uses acrobatic attacks. Venom travels by using his symbiote to pull himself and by performing massive jumps. Venom attacks using his claws and tendrils. Venom can also throw cars at targets and perform much more brutal attacks, including eating people in order to gain health.
As the game progresses, Parker/Spider-Man and the player will have certain "City Goals" to accomplish in order to continue the storyline. There are additional activities throughout the game such as finding secret tokens, landmark tokens, comic book covers, and competing in trick races.
Spider-Man plays similarly to his Spider-Man 2 incarnation, using his trademark web shooters as his main method of transportation and combat, while Venom has to resort to jumping for long distances. Venom's attacks are also generally stronger than Spider-Man's. Venom (like Spider-Man) can also scale buildings. Venom (as previously stated) can also leech life from enemies and civilians. The player has to do this constantly, as Venom's health is continuously depleting, even when he is not being attacked (the suit is feeding on Eddie Brock, so Eddie uses other people to feed it instead). Also, if Venom tries to eat a boss, then the boss would damage him from the inside.
Game Boy Advance version
The Game Boy Advance version of Ultimate Spider-Man is a side-scroller, divided into seven "issues," each containing three chapters. The game allows players to control Spider-Man and Venom. This version features only three boss characters aside from the two leads: Shocker, Silver Sable, and Carnage (technically, there are only two bosses since Shocker only briefly appears and you never fight him).
Unlike the console, PC, or Nintendo DS games, this version features a limited supply of Spider-Man's web fluid, it can be refilled only by picking up special markers scattered throughout levels, or dropped by enemies. Additionally, players may choose to collect hidden power-ups to gain more web fluid capacity or gain new moves and abilities for both Spider-Man and Venom.
Nintendo DS version
The Nintendo DS version of Ultimate Spider-Man is a side-scroller with a 3D environment. The game allows players to control Spider-Man and Venom. The gameplay differs greatly between both characters:
- With Spider-Man levels, most of the game happens on the top screen and the touch screen is only used for selecting special attacks and operating certain objects (moving heavy objects, opening broken elevator doors, etc.).
- With Venom levels, the game switches to the touch screen, enabling players to use Venom's tentacles to throw objects or enemies, and even attack by tapping the screen. Venom on the top screen can be changed in the Options menu.
The game features a slightly modified storyline. For example, players will face Shocker in a battle that is much more difficult than its console incarnation. The game also features a multi-player mode, where players can unlock different characters and arenas for a head-to-head fight.
There is a limited edition exclusive to the PlayStation 2, which contains four character biographies (Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate Venom, Ultimate Carnage, and Ultimate Beetle), an interview with Stan Lee, a G4 special entitled "Making of Ultimate Spider-Man", developer tips and tricks, and a special edition (also called "Activision Edition") Ultimate Spider-Man comic book containing scenes from issues #33-39. One of the concept arts in the special edition shows what happened when Beetle ducked into the Latverian Embassy as it shows him presenting the Sandman vial to Doctor Doom in some plot to develop Latverian super-soldiers.
The limited edition version comes in a different case sporting plain purple and red holographic sides (with a Venom symbol and Spider-Man symbol on each, respectively). The case also comes with a cardboard sleeve with a picture of Venom on it. The DVD surface itself has a new picture on it: purple instead of red, once again with Venom. The instruction manual matches this trend with the cover being a fight scene between the two. The limited edition features are accessed from a new menu titled "Limited Edition" via the unlockables screen.
|This section requires expansion. (January 2009)|
Ultimate Spider-Man was met with positive reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Xbox version 76.61% and 77/100, the PC version 75.74% and 75/100 the GameCube version 75.41% and 76/100, the PlayStation 2 version 75.11% and 74/100, the Nintendo DS version 74.58% and 78/100, and the Game Boy Advance version 62.67% and 62/100.
CiN Weekly gave it a score of 88 out of 100 and stated that "The true letdown... is that the master villains can still be supremely frustrating to defeat, requiring several replays and exhaustive bouts of highly patterned attacks." The New York Times gave it a positive-to-average review and said that the game was "very entertaining, and the addition of Nemesis creates some interesting new situations, but over all there isn't a lot of variety; you fight, you race, you ramble around the city, and then you do it all again." The Sydney Morning Herald gave it three-and-a-half stars out of five and stated that "Combat against dim-witted goons can become repetitive but missions offer diversity."
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