Spider-Man: Web of Shadows
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is a video game title encompassing three versions: a full-3D action game for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360; a 2.5D sidescrolling beat em up action game for the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 2 (called Amazing Allies Edition), and a 2.5D side-scrolling brawler/platformer for the Nintendo DS.
The game received generally positive reviews from critics, who singled out the boss fights, destructive combat, use of an original story, voice acting 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-synching issues and the ugly graphics.
PlayStation 3, PC, Xbox 360, and Wii
At various points in the game, the player is able to choose between good and evil paths which take a fair amount of time to complete. There are multiple endings depending on how the game is played out. In addition, the player can choose which villains to fight against. The player is able to switch between Spider-Man's traditional red and blue costume and the symbiote suit at any time during gameplay. Chris Scholz from Shaba Games also 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 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). Although the player is unable to free-roam after the storyline's completion, there is a secret code: watching the credits, selecting continue, watching the credits again and selecting continue. If the code is done right, the player can replay the game with all of their previous upgrades.
Spider-Man searches for Mary Jane Watson while the city of New York is infested with symbiotes. He finds her with Luke Cage but then sees a mysterious figure and is attacked. During a flashback to four days earlier, Spider-Man retells his account of how his latest encounter with Venom ended with a piece of the symbiote binding to himself. After the fight with Venom, an injured Mary Jane is sent to a hospital and Spidey meets Luke Cage during a gang war. Cage explains the Rolling Sevens and Park Avenue gangs are at war, and that their task is to bring the two to a truce. After pursuing the two gang leaders across the city, Spider-Man manages to get them to agree to a peaceful meeting in a park in Harlem. Outside the rendezvous point, Spider-Man discovers high-tech assassins on top of the nearby buildings. If the player chooses the Red Path, the two form a friendly truce. If the player chooses the Black Path, the gangs will remain at war. Nonetheless, after defeating the assassins, he traces the assassins back to the Kingpin.
Spider-Man heads to Kingpin's lair, but finds Black Cat leaving and gives chase. The two fight briefly, but in the end, Black Cat reveals she is working against Kingpin and still has strong feelings for him. Depending on the player's choice, Spider-Man can either reject her advances or return her feelings and spend the night with her. Spider-Man joins forces with Moon Knight in order to stop the Kingpin's illegal activities, battling several of his men, including the Vulture; Vulture had been mass-producing Goblin gliders for Kingpin's goons to use. Eventually, Spider-Man confronts a number of Kingpin's henchman on the roof of the Daily Bugle; all are surprised by the sudden appearance of civilians that attack them with their hands and teeth. A news helicopter records Spider-Man throwing civilians off of the building, and the police believe him to be a murderer. Unknown to them, the civilians have been infected with symbiotes.
Spider-Man runs into Wolverine in Hell's Kitchen; after a battle (in which infected civilians appear), the two settle their differences and begin tracking down other infected citizens. Eventually, Spider-Man finds Venom throwing people into symbiote pods, turning them into monsters. The two engage in a cross-city battle in which Venom escapes and several of the pods are destroyed. A S.H.I.E.L.D. team led by Black Widow arrives quarantines New York and sets up symbiote controlled citizen quarantine camps. Electro rampages through the camps, looking for his sister; Widow shoots him to restore order. Electro's sister accidentally infects and heals him with the symbiote attached to her. The result is a powerful symbiote monster, who takes off before anything can be done to contain him.
Since he can't reach Iron Man, Ant-Man, Mr. Fantastic, or Beast, Spider-Man decides to break the Tinkerer out of Ryker's to utilize his scientific genius to find a countermeasure to the symbiotes. Before leaving, the player must choose who should take him to prison (Moon Knight or Vulture). Upon reaching the prison, Spider-Man teams up with the Rhino, using his strength to help free the Tinkerer. At this point, Spider-Man may trick Rhino into getting incapacitated or break his moral code and allow Rhino to escape. With Wilson Fisk's support, the Tinkerer then designs a device that won't harm the hosts, only remove the symbiotes; it must be installed on the Trask Building for the maximum efficient sound waves. While the Tinkerer constructs the device, Spider-Man aids S.H.I.E.L.D. in dealing with the symbiote infestation in the streets of Manhattan and does some errands for Fisk. First, he confronts the symbiote Electro in Central Park, defeating him and stopping him from reaching the city's power supply. After defeating Electro, the player can choose to reach out to Electro so that he can remove the symbiote, or Spider-Man can remove it by force. He then helps Wolverine in evacuating a church filled with civilians, but Wolverine ends up getting infected and attacks Spidey. Spider-Man is able to purge Wolverine of the symbiote, but he either lets him fight it off or rips Wolverine in half and absorbs his symbiote, before looking for Mary Jane.
He finds her, helping Mary Jane and Luke Cage clear out Harlem, but goes to a building invaded by symbiotes. There, he finds a symbiote possessed Black Cat, apparently the leader of the hive, and defeats her with help from Mary Jane. Black Cat is still alive on the rooftop where she landed just as Mary Jane. If Spider-Man chooses the Red Path, he shows complete devotion to Mary Jane by keeping Black Cat under the former's care. However, if the player chooses the Black Path, Spider-Man reinfects Black Cat with his symbiote, healing her and giving her a more revealing and sexualized appearance and an eerier voice, after which Black Cat says she always knew that Spider-Man loved her, much to Mary Jane's dismay. The Tinkerer's device is completed, but a symbiote Vulture leads an attack against the Trask Building to stop it. After defeating the Vulture, Spider-Man confronts him at the device. At this rate, the player will permanently use one of the two suits depending on all the previous choices. If all player choices are Red, Spider-Man activates the detonator, wiping out the symbiotes and ridding himself of the Black Suit. If all player choices are Black, Spider-Man removes the detonator. He then responds to an attack on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, which is being attacked by Venom.
Enlisting Moon Knight or Vulture to carry him to the Helicarrier, Spider-Man sets bombs to destroy the ship while the heroes or villains keep the infected at bay. After everyone evacuates, Spidey is confronted by Venom in the form of a monstrous five headed behemoth. Spider-Man is able to destroy four of the heads, and calls on Eddie Brock. If the Red Path is chosen, Spider-Man is able to convince Brock to see the error of his ways, causing the latter to sacrifice himself in the process. If the Black Path is chosen, Spider-Man kills Brock. Nevertheless, Spider-Man is able to escape the Helicarrier before it explodes.
The ending of the game depends on the choices made:
▪ If the player chose the Red Path for the whole game, Spider-Man finally reconciles with Mary Jane at the end and swings with her across the city.
▪ If the player chose the Red Path for the whole game, but infected Black Cat with the symbiote, Spider-Man calls Mary Jane, hoping she would forgive him for his actions, and leaves the message in her voicemail.
▪ If the player chose the Black Path for the whole game, Black Cat becomes Spider-Man's "queen" and new lover as he rules over the city with an army of symbiotes. Black Widow teams with Fisk and the Tinkerer and tells a symbiote Wolverine to stop Spider-Man.
▪ If the player chose the Black Path for the whole game and left Black Cat to Mary Jane, Spider-Man rules alone and vows to reclaim Mary Jane.
PlayStation 2 and PSP
The PS2 and PSP versions were released as Spider-Man: Web of Shadows - Amazing Allies Edition. These versions of the game are a linear 2.5D scrolling game instead of a free-roam game as on the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and PC. Spider-Man can still switch between the Black Suit and Red Suit. There are also conversations in which the player may choose what Spider-Man says, which may affect the outcome of the game. There are also fewer upgrades. The story of the game is also changed a little.
Venom explodes, leaving no trace of Eddie Brock and knocking out Spider-Man. When Spider-Man comes to, he finds he has the black suit once again and is surprised to receive a call from Nick Fury explaining Venom infected the city and that S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents are quarantining Manhattan. He informs Spider-Man that he needs to help build a sonic generator that will separate the symbiotes from the citizens of New York, and Spider-Man begins to collect the necessary items. Also, Spider-man's previous encounter with the symbiote allows him to retain his sanity, but even if he doesn't wear the black suit, it will influence his choices.
Spider-Man meets up with Luke Cage before facing the first 'infected' citizens. He finds clues of the Tinkerer's plot, and is attacked by Cage shortly after; Luke will either be infected by a symbiote or will attack Spider-Man to get the black suit off him since Spidey redirected a train of infected citizens towards Luke to make his travel through the city safer. Through the fight, a sign of Spider-Man is damaged to say "Thanks Nerd" instead of "Thanks Hero". Victorious, Spider-Man heads to a warehouse where the Tinkerer is building a missile to spread the symbiotes to other cities. Spider-Man prevents this, but Tinkerer escapes. Spider-Man manages to convince the A.I. controlling the missile to stop the countdown, but has the choice of firing it at the Tinkerer for revenge. He arrives on the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier where he helps to complete a sonic generator to stop the symbiotic invasion. However, the infected citizen they were studying gets loose and begins infesting the helicarrier with pods and goop. While collecting pass codes from agents to proceed through the ship, Spider-Man will have the choice of turning an infected agent into a full drone by turning up the temperature in the room or not. After rescuing Spider-Woman, Spidey encounters Jackal, who was recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. out of desperation for a genius to analyze the Venom suit. Jackal now plots to obtain Spider-Man's symbiotic suit for his own purposes. Spider-Man defeats Jackal, who gives him a serum that will enhance his black suit. Jessica Drew then contacts Spider-Man informing him the helicarrier is going down and that they have to evacuate.
Spider-Man follows the trail of the crash, and finds Spider-Woman infected by a symbiote. After defeating her and obtaining the S.H.I.E.L.D. plans, he gets a call from Nick Fury to obtain the sonic generator from the top of Fisk Tower. After making it to the top and defeating A.I.M. soldiers, Spider-Man combines the parts collected earlier to a computer, completing the generator. Jackal appears and steals the sonic generator. Spider-Man then gets a call from Spencer Smythe saying he has brainwashed Black Cat. Spidey is forced to either let her mind get fried by the control device, or save her.
Spider-Man confronts Jackal at Central Park where Jackal states that he has modified the sonic generator to control the symbiotes. After defeating Jackal, Spider-Man makes the choice to use the sonic generator to fry or to control the symbiotes. As the device is powered up, Spider-Man finds the fountain in central park filled with goop and pods with seven serpents containing Venom's consciousness. Spider-Man manages to evade the damaging breath of Venom's mouths and destroys the pods supplying his energy. After defeating Venom, the player is shown one of two endings based on their actions. If they choose good, the symbiote invasion is repelled. If they chose evil, Spider-Man enslaves Manhattan with his symbiote army.
The Nintendo DS version is also a 2.5D scrolling action brawler. Much like the console games, enemies drop exp points when defeated which can be used to purchase new moves for Spider-Man. As the player progresses 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. At certain points in the game, the player will need to decide which mission to undertake next; these decisions change the overall outcome of the game. This version is the only version in which Venom is not the cause of the invasion and can be Spider-Man's ally. This also shows the fewest number of allies: Black Cat, Venom, Green Goblin and Nightcrawler. During the game play the player can switch between the red and black suit at will with each suit having unique abilities (the red suit is more equipped for swift and dynamic movement and fast flurry of attacks while the black suit is used for overwhelming powerful but slower attacks and devastating large masses of enemies).
This version also exclusively features a revival system where if the player's health depletes, he or she 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. The revival will be successful if he receives enough health orbs before a time limit is reached.
The game begins with the symbiote invasion already in progress. Thinking Venom responsible, Spider-Man searches for him. Along the way he encounters Black Cat who informs him of two choices that he can be of assistance on - Nightcrawler is helping out with the evacuation and Green Goblin is setting up bombs to defeat the symbiotes. Who Spider-Man helps is decided upon by the player, and each one of them can be helped twice. After defeating several "super symbiotes", Spider-Man eventually arrives at a symbiote hive where he encounters and defeats Venom. Venom informs Spider-Man that he is not responsible for the alien invasion, but was trying to stop it. He reveals that if the hive's symbiote leader is defeated, all of the infected will return to normal. With Venom now too weak to accompany him, Spider-Man decides to infiltrate deeper into the hive by himself and eliminate the leader. Spider-Man defeats the symbiote leader, after doing this, Spider-Man escapes a collapsing hive. If the player helps either Nightcrawler twice or both Green Goblin and Nightcrawler once, the citizens return to normal and praise Spider-Man, who swings away thinking of taking a shower after having gone to the sewers twice in a day. However, if the player helps Green Goblin twice, Spider-Man escapes the hive wearing his Black Suit and realizes that, with the symbiote leader gone, he is now in charge of the symbiotes. The infected citizens worship Spider-Man as their leader as he swings through a New York City covered in symbiotes, reflecting upon how great power is simply a lot of power.
On April 17, 2008, Activision confirmed that Spider-Man: Web of Shadows was in development, and that the game would be released on the PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo DS systems, 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. Venom was confirmed as the main antagonist in June.
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Web of Shadows has received generally mixed to positive reviews. GameRankings and Metacritic gave it a score of 78.50% and 77 out of 100 for the DS version; 53.89% and 52 out of 100 for the PC version; 69% and 69 out of 100 for the PlayStation 2 version; 70.10% and 67 out of 100 for the PlayStation 3 version; 77.25% and 75 out of 100 for the PSP version; 68.37% and 68 out of 100 for the Xbox 360 version; and 65.26% and 63 out of 100 for the Wii version.
Critics praised the idea of an original story, but cited poor execution. IGN criticized the story, and also pointed out that the lock-on camera has a tendency to detach itself, making mid-air battles difficult. 1UP.com praised the PS3 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." GameSpot mentioned occasional technical issues with the graphics, sound, and camera, while praising the story, combat system, variety and "memorable" boss fights. 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. 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." X-Play gave the PS3 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."
The DS version of the game, in contrast to the console versions, was relatively well-received, with reviewers praising level design similar to the Castlevania and Metroid franchises while criticizing the short length.
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