Ultimate Spider-Man (video game)
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|Director(s)||Brian Michael Bendis
Christopher A. Busse
Joseph I. Valenzuela
|Writer(s)||Brian Michael Bendis|
|Genre(s)||Beat 'em up|
Ultimate Spider-Man is a 2005 video game by Activision, 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 Sam Raimi's Spider-Man film trilogy, 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.
The game begins with a recap of Spider-Man (Peter Parker) explaining how his and Eddie Brock's fathers worked together to find a cure for cancer. After signing a contract with Trask Industries, they lost ownership of "the suit," which was the only one made and remained incomplete. This "Venom" suit would be capable of healing the wearer. The dangerous and incomplete Venom suit is kept by Trask Industries after Eddie Brock Sr. and Richard Parker die.
Years after, Eddie Brock Jr. and Peter Parker reunite and discover the Venom suit is their inheritance. After finding out the way his dad had been cheated by Trask Industries, Spider-Man breaks into the vault containing the Venom suit and is covered by a portion of it, creating his black suit. It enhanced his superhuman abilities to new levels, but the suit tried consuming him and left him drained by the experience. Eddie soon finds out what Peter did and his secret identity, taking the rest of the Venom suit for himself, imbuing himself with an incomplete, monstrous and feral Venom symbiote, lacking the white spider symbol on his chest. They confront each other on Midtown High School's 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 after police intervened. Adrian Toomes witnesses this confrontation from inside a laundromat, contacting someone and informing them of the presence of the Venom suit.
Three months after, Parker has resumed his normal life. Spider-Man ends up in a friendly race against the Human Torch throughout Queens and defeats Shocker with ease. Meanwhile, Eddie, who secretly survived their last confrontation, has been forced to feed on the life energy of random civilians in Central Park, lest the suit consumed him. He proves his strength in a violent fight with Wolverine, trashing a bar and the next-door building, with Venom coming out victorious.
While at Midtown High's library, Mary Jane Watson listens to a radio broadcast of a large rhinoceros monster rampaging through Queens, imploring Peter to go and investigate. After following the trail of destruction, Spider-Man discovers it is R.H.I.N.O., a giant, rhinoceros-themed mecha suit. After a chase and defeating R.H.I.N.O in a parking lot, leaving Alexander O'Hirn for the police to find, Spider-Man gets his first foreshadowing of Venom returning when his Spider-Sense overloads due to Eddie Brock being nearby. That night, Silver Sable and her Wild Pack, having been contracted by Bolivar Trask to retrieve his "property", attack Venom, who easily escapes and decimates Silver Sable's forces.
During a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Peter gets his violent headaches again and suits up. Eddie is nearby and, detecting Spider-Man, transforms into Venom and they confront each other on the roof of the building. The fight proves a challenge for Spider-Man since getting too close to Venom for too long activates his headaches, but he still manages to defeat Venom. Venom is captured by Silver Sable; Spidey assumes Sable works for S.H.I.E.L.D and lets them go. 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 Electro. Venom chases Electro all the way to Times Square. Seeing the fight from inside the Daily Bugle, Spider-Man confronts Electro and gets knocked out from falling to the pavement from one of Electro's attacks. Before Electro can kill the unconscious Spider-Man, Venom attacks him, as he believes Spider-Man is his to kill. Electro powers up using the electrical signs in Times Square but is still no match for Venom. Reaching for Spider-Man, Venom is interrupted by the arrival of S.H.I.E.L.D., forcing him to flee. Nick Fury wakes up Spider-Man as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents arrest Electro. Venom returns to Trask, revealing 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 realize Richard Parker's DNA was used as the basis for the Venom suit, which was 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 on a construction site, the Beetle manages to escape from Spider-Man. 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 tries to infiltrate the Latverian Embassy, Green Goblin emerges, forcing Spider-Man to pursue him. Saving people the Goblin's put in harm's way, they fight outside the Baxter Building and eventually end up inside 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. The beetle is later dispatched to collect a sample of the Venom suit. Venom eventually pursues him to a warehouse, 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 taking 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 fighting him throughout the building, 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 via helicopter, although he can't get away because he does not know how to fly one. Venom threatens to throw Trask's helicopter from the building's roof to the street below but is defeated by Spider-Man before he can get to Trask. Venom manages to escape before S.H.I.E.L.D. authorities arrive.
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 declaring this, Eddie transforms into Venom and proceeds to slay Bolivar Trask as revenge for his suffering by his hands. Then, the game cuts to a scene showing Peter and Mary Jane sitting atop a warehouse roof. He tells Mary Jane that he does not know if he is scared of, or for, Eddie, whom 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.
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 the 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, Spider-Man and Venom 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 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. Spider-Man's attacks are also generally Weaker than Venom's. Venom 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, so he 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.
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.
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Ultimate Spider-Man was met with positive reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Xbox version 76.61% and 77/100, the PlayStation 2 version 75.74% and 78/100 the GameCube version 75.41% and 76/100, the Nintendo DS version 75.11% and 75/100, the Game Boy Advance version 74.58% and 74/100, and the PC 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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