Spider-Man: Web of Shadows

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Spider-Man: Web of Shadows
Web of shadows boxart.jpg
Developer(s)Shaba Games & Treyarch (PS3, X360, Wii, PC)
Eurocom (Wii)
Griptonite Games (PS2, PSP, DS)
Amaze Entertainment (PS2, PSP, DS)
SuperVillain Studios (PSP)
Aspyr (PC, macOS, OS X)[1]
Feral Interactive (macOS/OS X)
Aspyr (macOS)
Director(s)Zak Krefting
Producer(s)Tamsen Mitchell, Anna Donlon
Glenda Adams, Zeb L. West, & Jennifer Bullard (PC)
Designer(s)Richard D'Alosio
Claud Campbell & Bruce Adams (PC)
Programmer(s)Michael Vance, Tim O'Neil
Artist(s)Scott Werner, David Dalzell
Rhett Bennatt, & Jose Cepeda (PC)
Composer(s)Jamie Christopherson, Loren Ferris, Michael Kimball
  • NA: October 21, 2008
  • EU: October 24, 2008
  • AU: October 28, 2008
Beat 'em up (PS2, Wii and PSP)
Metroidvania (Wii and DS)[2]

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is a 2008 action-adventure video game based on the fictional superhero Spider-Man. The game was released in October 2008 across multiple platforms, and encompasses three drastically different versions: one released for the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360, which features an open world and non-linear gameplay; one for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable (called Spider-Man: Web of Shadows - The Amazing Allies Edition), which is a 2.5D side-scrolling beat 'em up; and one for the Nintendo DS, which is also a linear beat 'em up, but features a different storyline and aspects of the Metroidvania genre.

All the three versions of the game have several common elements, such as choices that may alter the storyline, an ally system where Spider-Man can choose from several allies to summon during fights, and a similar plot, despite different characters being featured across the various versions. In Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, Venom has launched a full-scale symbiote invasion of Manhattan, forcing Spider-Man to join forces with a number of unlikely allies in order to stop him, while being faced with difficult choices that could change his life forever. The game's story is noticeably darker than in the previous Spider-Man games.

The game received generally mixed to positive reviews from critics, who singled out the boss fights, destructive combat, original story and open-ended nature. However, the game's choice system received mixed reviews; although some praised how the player is able to create a dynamic experience with their choices, others were critical of the system's limitations. In addition, reviewers criticized the storyline's poor execution, bothersome camera controls, the inability to free-roam after completing the game, lip-syncing issues and the subpar graphics.

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, along with most other games published by Activision that had used the Marvel license, was de-listed and removed from all digital storefronts on January 1, 2014.[3][4] It was the last Spider-Man game developed by Treyarch, as Beenox was passed to Spider-Man games license and developed Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and its sequel Spider-Man: Edge of Time.


Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360[edit]

Spider-Man Web of Shadows is a third person action-adventure video game, set in an open-world that resembles Manhattan. The gameplay is very similar to previous Spider-Man titles (namely Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3 and Ultimate Spider-Man). Players take on the role of Spider-Man and can web swing, web zip, crawl walls, and use the 'spider-sense' to identify and lock onto enemies. The combat improves on that of the previous games, and now takes place on ground, walls, and in the air, due to new enemy types being introduced, who can either fly or stick to surfaces. The game also introduces the "web strike", a gameplay mechanic where Spider-Man attaches a web to the nearest enemy and pulls himself to them; this serves as the basis of air combat, but can also be used on the ground and other surfaces.

While the game's main story is linear, there are various random events constantly occurring across the game's map, such as fights between gangs, or, in later stages of the story, symbiote nests that need to be destroyed. These are entirely optional, but if the player chooses to intervene, they reward him with XP. There are also numerous challenges, such as defeating a given number of enemies or collecting symbiote samples, and collectibles, that reward the player with XP as well, and increase their health bar and web swinging speed.

At specific points in the story, the player is presented with two choices that they need to pick from, which don't affect the overall narrative, but influence the ending of the game and Spider-Man's interaction with other characters. In addition, the game features a 'reputation bar', which becomes red when the player chooses the Red Path in the aforementioned situations or performs heroic acts, such as saving civilians, and turns black when the player chooses the Black Path or causes destruction across the city. As they progress through the story, the player meets characters that become allies, meaning that they can be summoned at almost any time during gameplay to help fight enemies; if the reputation bar is mostly red, the player can summon superheroes (Luke Cage, Moon Knight, and Wolverine), otherwise they can summon villains (Black Cat, Vulture, Rhino, and Electro).

The player is able to switch between Spider-Man's traditional red and blue costume and the black symbiote suit at any time during gameplay. Each suit has individual upgrades, which unlock new fighting moves.[5] Chris Scholz from Shaba Games commented that the developers "worked on really separating the black and red suits to give the player a different feel". For example, red and blue-suited Spider-Man is fast and agile, while symbiote black suit Spider-Man is stronger and more destructive.

The mini-map on the screen is also different from the style used in previous Spider-Man games. The traditional 2-D overhead view has been removed, replaced by a new 3D map with an "X", "Y" and "Z" axis which shows the player's position in three-dimensional space (north and south, as well as vertical position). Also, as a Wii exclusive, there are 6 alternate costumes (Spider-Carnage for the black suit, and Spider-Armor, Ben Reilly, Spider-Man 2099, Cosmic Spider-Man, and the Iron Spider suit for the red suit).[6]

Although the player is unable to free-roam after the storyline's completion, this can be achieved through a secret method, which has the player watch the credits twice. Afterwards, when they select to continue the game, the player will start a new game with all of their previous upgrades already made, essentially acting as a New Game Plus.

PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable[edit]

The PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable versions were released as Spider-Man: Web of Shadows - Amazing Allies Edition and are drastically different from the console and PC versions. Rather than being set in an open world, this version of the game is a level-based 2.5D side-scrolling brawler. Players can change between Spider-Man's two costumes at any time during gameplay, and the game features several situations that can be resolved using only a certain suit, such as weak walls that can be destroyed only by the black suited Spider-Man. Each suit has individual upgrades, which unlock new combos or increase the player's health bar.

Like its name suggests, this version puts more emphasis on the ally system, featuring over the most allies to summon out of all the versions; there are also power-ups, such as a temporary damage increase or health regeneration. The game lacks cutscenes, which have been replaced with dialogue sections. During these sections, the player can choose between several lines of dialogue for Spider-Man to say. These dialogue lines can either be respectful, mean, or neutral, and the player will be awarded points to upgrade either the red and blue suit, the black suit, or both, depending on which line was chosen. These dialogue sections can also influence other aspects of the game, such as unlocking new allies, or accepting/declining secondary quests.

This version also features a slightly different plot, and characters absent from other versions such as Nick Fury, the Shocker, Kraven the Hunter, the Jackal, Jessica Drew, Spencer Smythe, and A.I.M.

Nintendo DS[edit]

The Nintendo DS version is also a 2.5D scrolling beat 'em up. Much like the other versions, players can switch between Spider-Man's two suits at any time during gameplay, which play differently (the red and blue suit provides faster movement and attacks, whereas the black suit is slower, but has more devastating attacks), and earn XP from defeating enemies, which can be used to purchase new combo. As the players progress through the story, they will also obtain upgrades that will allow them to explore more of the open world map and eventually reach the end of the game, similarly to the Castlevania and Metroid franchises.

The choice system has been redesigned to only consist of players choosing which mission to undergo next. Depending on which character Spider-Man helps out the most, the ending of the game will change. This version also features a slightly different plot, wherein Venom is not the cause of the symbiote invasion, and is available as an ally, in addition to Black Cat, the Green Goblin, and Nightcrawler. This version also features an exclusive revival system where, if the player's health depletes, they can spend one "life point" to attempt to revive the fallen Spider-Man by using the Touch Screen to draw health orbs to him, while poking at poison orbs to destroy them and they will throw health orbs to Spider-Man. The revival will be successful if Spider-Man receives enough health orbs before a time limit is reached.


Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360[edit]

The game begins with Spider-Man (Michael Vaughn) looking for Mary Jane Watson (Dana Seltzer) amidst a symbiote invasion that has consumed Manhattan. After finding her with Luke Cage (Robert Wisdom), he is attacked by an unknown assailant. Flashing back to four days prior, Spider-Man is attacked by Venom (Keith Szarabajka), but defeats him after absorbing part of his symbiote, which he now has more control over, being able to remove it at any time. While Venom escapes and Mary Jane, who was injured during Venom's attack, is hospitalized, Spider-Man joins forces with Luke Cage to stop a gang war in Harlem. Eventually, he finds evidence that the war was orchestrated by the Kingpin (Gregg Berger), which he may show to the gang leaders (James C. Mathis III and Isaac C. Singleton Jr.) during a parley with Cage to persuade them to make peace; otherwise, the two gangs will finish each other off.

Either way, Spider-Man goes to confront Kingpin at Fisk Tower, only to encounter a fleeing Black Cat (Tricia Helfer). Assuming she works for Kingpin, Spider-Man pursues her, aided by Moon Knight (Robin Atkin Downes), only to discover that she is a double agent trying to bring down the Kingpin in an attempt to gain Spider-Man's affection. Returning or rejecting Black Cat's feelings, Spider-Man join forces with either her or Moon Knight to dismantle the Kingpin's operations, including his production of Goblin gliders, led by the Vulture (Kristoffer Tabori), whom he defeats. During a fight with Kingpin's men, Spider-Man is attacked by several symbiote-infected civilians, and decides to investigate. He encounters Wolverine (Steve Blum), who is also hunting symbiotes and mistakes Spider-Man for one, but the two settle their differences after a brief fight. Spider-Man's investigation leads him to Venom, who has been abducting and infecting civilians with his symbiote, but he escapes once again. As more people become infected, a S.H.I.E.L.D. team led by Black Widow (Salli Saffioti) sets up quarantine camps across Manhattan. Electro (Liam O'Brien) rampages through them in search of his sister, but is defeated by Spider-Man, and escapes after being infected by a symbiote.

Spider-Man web-swings through an infected New York. As the game progress, more symbiote constructs appear.

Unable to contact any scientific genius, Spider-Man breaks the Tinkerer (William Utay) out of Ryker's Island, aided by an incarcerated Rhino (Fred Tatasciore), so that he could create a device to destroy the symbiotes without harming the hosts. However, by this point the symbiotes have taken over Manhattan, forcing S.H.I.E.L.D. to isolate it from the rest of New York and set up several bases across the island. While the Tinkerer designs his device, which will be built by S.H.I.E.L.D., Spider-Man assists with various operations across the infected Manhattan, including persuading a reluctant Kingpin to join forces with S.H.I.E.L.D. and defeating Symbiote Electro, who also agrees to help after Spider-Man frees him from the symbiote's control. Spider-Man also helps S.H.I.E.L.D. defend their base at Stark Tower from a symbiote attack, assists Moon Knight in protecting Spector Tower, and aids Wolverine with a civilian evacuation. When Wolverine gets infected by a symbiote, Spider-Man defeats and rescues him, potentially ripping him in half under the symbiote suit's influence.

After assisting Mary Jane and Luke Cage with escorting civilians from Harlem to Fisk Tower, Spider-Man is devastated when the pair are nowhere to be found, and leaves to find them, leading to the game's opening sequence. The figure who attacked him is revealed to be Symbiote Black Cat, whom he defeats with Mary Jane's help. However, Black Cat is severely injured in the process, forcing Spider-Man to leave her in Mary Jane's care, or infect her with a symbiote to heal her, which upsets Mary Jane. Meanwhile, S.H.I.E.L.D. installs the Tinkerer's completed device, but Symbiote Vulture leads an aerial assault to destroy it. Upon defeating Symbiote Vulture and thwarting the assault, Spider-Man either activates the device, which eliminates all the symbiotes in Manhattan, including his black suit, or destroys it at Vulture's urgings, who advises him to rule over the symbiotes.

Either way, Spider-Man learns Venom is attacking the Helicarrier and proceeds to plant explosives across the doomed aircraft, before being confronted by a giant, five-headed Venom. After destroying four heads and failing to kill Venom with a Helicarrier turret, Spider-Man instead persuades Eddie Brock to see the error of his ways and emerge from Venom. After Brock dies, either at Spider-Man's hands or by committing a heroic sacrifice, Spider-Man escapes from the Helicarrier, just as the explosives detonate, destroying the aircraft and Venom.

In the aftermath, Spider-Man either oversees Manhattan's return to normal, while reconciling with Mary Jane or hoping that she will eventually forgive him; or takes over the island as the new symbiote leader, alone or with Black Cat at his side. In the latter scenario (assuming the player went down the evil path), Black Widow, the Kingpin, the Tinkerer and Symbiote Wolverine strike an alliance to eliminate Spider-Man.

PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable[edit]

Spider-Man has an encounter with Venom and defeats him, but Venom then inexplicably explodes, leaving no trace of Eddie Brock and causing Spider-Man to regain his symbiote black suit. Later, Spider-Man is surprised when Nick Fury calls him and reveals that Venom has infested Manhattan with symbiotes, forcing S.H.I.E.L.D. to quarantine the city. He also explains that Spider-Man's previous encounters with the symbiote give him more control over it, being able to remove it at any time, though he warns him that the symbiote can still influence his behavior. Tasked with collecting pieces in order to build a sonic generator to counter the symbiotes, Spider-Man first goes after the Shocker (Liam O'Brien) to obtain his vibro gauntlets, whom he finds robbing a hotel vault and defeats. Next, having been informed by the Kingpin, who is also trying to stop the symbiotes, that Spencer Smythe and A.I.M. are working on a secret project involving vibranium, Spider-Man infiltrates A.I.M.'s underground lab through the sewers, while avoiding traps set by Kraven the Hunter (Dwight Schultz) and defeating him. After an encounter with J. Jonah Jameson (Daran Norris), whom A.I.M. captured and cloned as part of a plot to discredit both him and Spider-Man, he retrieves the vibranium and escapes from the lab, upon defeating Rhino, who was hired to guard the lab.

The PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable versions of the game feature 2.5D graphics.

Returning to Manhattan, Spider-Man finds it swarming with symbiotes, and encounters Luke Cage, who suggests splitting up to fight them. While doing so, Spider-Man learns of the Tinkerer's plot to spread the infestation to other countries, and may redirect a train full of symbiotes towards Cage to make his own travel through the city easier. After defeating Cage, who is either infected by a symbiote, or tyring to remove Spider-Man's black suit in retaliation for redirecting the train, Spider-Man infiltrates the Tinkerer's lab, and encounters a brainwashed Venom, who was weakened by the explosion during their last encounter and captured by the Tinkerer for experimentation. Eventually, Spider-Man defeats the Tinkerer and foils his plot, despite the villain's escape.

Later, Spider-Man arrives on a symbiote-infested Helicarrier to build the sonic generator, but is forced to assist with the evacuation and reactivating the ship's defense systems. He encounters Jackal (Greg Baldwin), hired by S.H.I.E.L.D. out of desperation for someone to analyze the symbiotes, who reveals that S.H.I.E.L.D. plans to weaponize the symibotes and that he is in league with Spencer Smythe, who aims to control the symbiotes. However, Jackal betrays Smythe and tries to take Spider-Man's symbiote for his own ends. After defeating Jackal, Spider-Man escapes from the Helicarrier as it crashes in the city. Making his way to the crash site, Spider-Man finds a symbiote-infected Jessica Drew (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn), whom he defeats, and the blueprints for the sonic generator. He is then informed by Nick Fury that the sonic generator is on the top of Fisk Tower, so he goes there to combine the parts he collected to a super-computer, completing the generator. However, it is stolen by the Jackal while Spider-Man is busy fighting A.I.M. agents dispatched by Smythe. Claiming that he had nothing to do with the theft and that it's too late to stop the symbiotes, Smythe unleashes a mind-controlled Black Cat to kill Spider-Man, who either frees her from Smythe's control, or lets the mind-controlling device kill her so that he can claim it for himself.

Spider-Man later locates the generator in Central Park and confronts Jackal, who claims to be the mastermind behind all recent events and reveals that he has modified the sonic generator to control the symbiotes. After defeating Jackal, Spider-Man recovers the generator and programs it to either destroy or control the symbiotes. As the generator is powered up, Spider-Man finds a symbiote-filled fountain, from which seven serpent heads containing Venom's consciousness emerge to fight him. Using the generator to supply energy that weaken the heads, Spider-Man defeats Venom, allowing him to stop the invasion, or take over Manhattan as the new symbiote leader.

Nintendo DS[edit]

The game begins with the symbiote invasion already in progress. After an encounter with several symbiotes, Spider-Man (Michael Vaughn) is infected by one, but is able to maintain control over it, leading to the re-creation of his black suit, which he can now remove at will. Afterward, thinking Venom is responsible for the invasion, Spider-Man searches for him. Along the way he encounters Black Cat (Valerie Arem), who informs him that both Nightcrawler (Yuri Lowenthal) and the Green Goblin (Roger L. Jackson) require his assistance: the former is helping out with civilian evacuations, while the latter is setting up bombs to defeat the symbiotes.

After choosing to help either of them twice or both once, and defeating several "super-symbiotes", Spider-Man arrives at a symbiote hive, where he finds and defeats Venom. However, the villain claims that he is not behind the invasion, but rather is trying to stop it as well. With Venom now too weak to accompany him, Spider-Man decides to go deeper into the hive by himself and eliminate the Symbiote Leader. He does so, and escapes from the hive before it is destroyed. The ending of the game depends on who the player helped earlier.

  • If they helped either Nightcrawler twice or both him and the Green Goblin once, Manhattan is saved and the citizens are freed from the symbiotes' control, praising Spider-Man as he swings away thinking of taking a shower after having gone to the sewers twice in a day.
  • If they helped the Green Goblin twice, Spider-Man realizes that, with the symbiote leader gone, he is now in charge of the symbiotes. The infected citizens worship Spider-Man as their new leader while he swings through a New York City covered in symbiotes, reflecting upon how great power is simply a lot of power and that it is far better than sharing the responsibility.


On April 17, 2008, Activision confirmed that Spider-Man: Web of Shadows was in development, and that the game would be released on the Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Wii, and Xbox 360 systems,[7] and they confirmed that the story would center around an invasion on New York that Spider-Man and the other heroes and villains would have to deal with.[8] Venom was confirmed as the main antagonist in June.[9]


Web of Shadows received generally mixed to positive reviews. GameRankings and Metacritic gave it a score of 79% and 77 out of 100 for the DS version;[10][17] 54% and 52 out of 100 for the Microsoft Windows version;[11][18] 69% and 69 out of 100 for the PlayStation 2 version;[12][19] 70% and 67 out of 100 for the PlayStation 3 version;[13][20] 77% for the PlayStation Portable version;[14] 68% and 68 out of 100 for the Xbox 360 version;[16][22] and 65% and 63 out of 100 for the Wii version.[15][21]

Critics praised the idea of an original story, but cited poor execution.[43] IGN criticized the story, and also pointed out that the lock-on camera has a tendency to detach itself, making mid-air battles difficult.[43] 1UP.com praised the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game as having "plenty of cool "Spider-Man" moments throughout thanks to the basic locomotion and combat", which "settles into a rhythm of repetition", summing up with "Shadows might be the best Spider-Man game yet, but that's just a testament to the series' now-mediocre standards".[52] GameSpot mentioned occasional technical issues with the graphics, sound, and camera, while praising the story, combat system, variety and "memorable" boss fights.[27] GameSpy commented that "Web of Shadows manages to provide a good deal of fun even if it doesn't bring much new to the table", praising the animation and combat, and mentioning camera problems and visual glitches along with a repetition of objectives.[30] Game Informer criticized the voice acting, camera, and animation, claiming, "as explosive as the new combat is, it's all this game has to offer".[24] X-Play gave the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions three stars out of five and said, "there's enough great gameplay here to make Web of Shadows recommendable for Spider-Man fans. The sheer level of glitches in the game, however, manages to take the fun factor down several notches".[53]

The DS version of the game, in contrast to the console versions, was relatively well-received,[28][40] with reviewers praising level design similar to the Castlevania and Metroid franchises while criticizing the short length.


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External links[edit]