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Vicarious Visions (handhelds)
|Director(s)||Brian Michael Bendis|
Christopher A. Busse
Stephane Brault & Dee Brown (PC)
Joseph I. Valenzuela
Sebastien Poirier & Sylvain Morel (PC)
|Writer(s)||Brian Michael Bendis|
Ultimate Spider-Man is a 2005 action-adventure video game based on the comic book of the same name created by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley. The game was released for PlayStation 2, Xbox, Microsoft Windows, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, and Nintendo DS. The console and PC versions are the second open world Spider-Man video game, after 2004's Spider-Man 2, and incorporate similar gameplay, allowing the player to freely explore Manhattan and parts of Queens, while engaging in various side activities. The handheld versions are side-scroller beat 'em ups.
Aside from Spider-Man, the game features Venom as a playable character, with different gameplay mechanics and missions. Set within the Ultimate Marvel universe, the game's story takes place three months after the Venom arc, and centers on Spider-Man's investigation of the corrupt Trask Industries and its connection to the creation of the Symbiote and his parents' death. Meanwhile, Venom must avoid constant capture attempts by Bolivar Trask, who wants to recreate the Symbiote's capabilities.
Ultimate Spider-Man received largely positive reviews from critics, and is still regarded as one of the best Spider-Man games produced. A prequel, Spider-Man: Battle for New York, was released for the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS in 2006.
Ultimate Spider-Man is a third-person action-adventure video game, set in an open world based on Manhattan and parts of Queens. Players take on the role of Spider-Man or Venom and complete missions—linear scenarios with set objectives—to progress through the story. The player starts in story-mode where they can only free roam as Spider-Man, and the game automatically switches between Spider-Man and Venom during missions. After the main story is complete, the player can switch between the two characters at any time, and free roam as Venom.
The two characters play differently from one another. Spider-Man is more agile and uses webs to travel through the city, being able to either web swing or web zip; similarly to Spider-Man 2, the player needs to be close to buildings and manually attach webs to them. Spider-Man can also use his webs during fights, immobilizing enemies for a few seconds, or grabbing and throwing them around. Once an enemy is down, the player needs to quickly web them in order to immobilize them for good, otherwise they will get up and continue attacking the player.
Venom is much more aggressive and uses his tentacles to pull himself to buildings, much like Spider-Man's web zip. He can perform massive jumps and grab enemies, whom he can either throw away, crush against the ground, or consume. While playing as Venom, players can consume non-player characters to regenerate their health; normal pedestrians usually grant the player more health than enemies. While free roaming as Venom, he will slowly lose health regardless of taking damage or not, requiring the player to often consume people to regenerate health. Venom can throw cars and go on destructive rampages, earning police attention. The more destruction Venom causes, the more police will attempt to stop him.
As the game progresses, Spider-Man and Venom will have certain "City Goals" to accomplish in order to continue the storyline. These consist of various side missions, such as races, combat tours, and collectibles.
The Game Boy Advance version of Ultimate Spider-Man is a side-scroller beat 'em up, divided into seven "issues", each containing three chapters. Both Spider-Man and Venom are playable, and each has his own series of levels. In addition to the two main characters, the game features three additional bosses: Shocker, Silver Sable, and Carnage. This version includes a limited supply of Spider-Man's web fluid, which can be refilled 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 moves and abilities for both Spider-Man and Venom.
The Nintendo DS version of Ultimate Spider-Man is a side-scroller beat 'em up, albeit it features a 3D environment. Both Spider-Man and Venom are playable, and each play differently from the other. In the 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.). In the Venom levels, the game switches to the touch screen, and players are able to grab and throw objects or enemies using Venom's tentacles, or attack by tapping the screen. The game also features a slightly modified storyline and a multiplayer mode, where players can unlock different characters and arenas for a head-to-head fight.
After explaining how he came to be Spider-Man, Peter Parker reveals that his and Eddie Brock's fathers worked together on finding a cure for terminal diseases, and created a black liquid substance that can envelop one's body and heal them, in addition to enhancing their strength and granting them super-human abilities. However, they were tricked into selling the "suit" to Trask Industries, and later died in a plane crash before they could complete work on it. Years later, Peter and Eddie reunite and discover the suit is their inheritance. After learning how his dad was tricked by Trask Industries, Spider-Man tries to take the suit and is covered by a portion of it. While it enhances his powers, the unstable suit also tries to consume him, forcing Peter to swiftly remove it. After learning of this and deducing Peter's identity as Spider-Man, Eddie's feelings of betrayal prompt him to take the rest of the suit for himself, becoming Venom.
After a fight with Peter that results in Venom's apparent death, Adrian Toomes, an employee of Bolivar Trask that witnessed their confrontation, contacts his boss to inform him of the suit's abilities. Three months later, while Peter has returned to his normal life, a still-living Eddie has been forced to feed on the life energy of civilians to prevent the suit from consuming him. One night, he attacks and defeats Wolverine to prove his superior strength. The following day, at Mary Jane Watson's pleads, Spider-Man investigates something rampaging through Queens, and discovers it to be R.H.I.N.O., a giant, rhinoceros-themed mecha suit, built by Trask Industries. He ultimately defeats R.H.I.N.O. and leaves its pilot, Alex O'Hirn, for the police. Meanwhile, Trask hires the Wild Pack, led by Silver Sable, to capture Eddie, but he defeats them as Venom and escapes.
During a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Peter senses Venom's presence nearby and defeats him. Venom is captured by Sable, who Spider-Man assumes is working for S.H.I.E.L.D., and imprisoned inside an energy cage by Trask. Forced to test the Venom suit for him, he chases and defeats Electro, while protecting Spider-Man, who was knocked unconscious by Electro when he interfered. As S.H.I.E.L.D. arrives and arrests Electro, Venom flees and Nick Fury wakes up Spider-Man, only for him to storm off after berating Fury over constantly interfering with his life. Eddie returns to Trask and informs him that he had more control over the suit in Spider-Man's presence. Remembering that Richard Parker's DNA was used as the basis of the suit, Trask concludes that Peter is Spider-Man and that getting some of his DNA will help stabilize the suit. Sable takes Eddie to track down Peter, but he transforms into Venom and escapes.
Meanwhile, the Beetle releases the Green Goblin and steals a vial containing a sample of the Sandman for his mysterious employer. After an encounter with Spider-Man, he escapes to the Latverian Embassy. Nick Fury later asks Spider-Man to infiltrate the Embassy, only for the Goblin to emerge from inside, though Spider-Man quickly subdues him, leading to his re-incarceration. Elsewhere, Venom defeats the Beetle when he attempts to collect a sample of the symbiote.
Silver Sable later kidnaps Peter and attempts to deliver him to Trask, but he escapes and fights her. Venom interferes and kidnaps Sable, forcing Spider-Man to give chase. The confrontation leaves both exhausted, allowing Sable to deliver them to Trask. While Eddie is imprisoned, Peter is injected by Toomes with a makeshift sample of the Venom suit, becoming Carnage and going on a rampage. Venom escapes and defeats Carnage, before absorbing the symbiote off Peter, which gives him full control over the suit. He then attempts to exact revenge on Trask, but Spider-Man goes to warn him, leading Trask to attempt to escape via helicopter. When Venom tries to destroy the helicopter, Spider-Man stops and defeats him.
As S.H.I.E.L.D. arrives and arrests Venom and Trask, Peter retrieves some files from the latter, revealing that the plane crash that killed Peter's parents was caused by Eddie's father trying the Venom suit on board and losing control due to their incompatibility, just like Eddie. When Peter tells Nick Fury that Eddie must see the files, he reveals that the latter escaped. Days later, Venom kills Trask in prison, while Peter vocalizes his worries about Eddie to Mary Jane, saying that he is not sure if he is scared of Eddie, or for him. Elsewhere, a partially transformed Eddie leaps from a skyscraper, turning into Venom just before he hits the ground.
Reception and Legacy
|Nintendo Power||(GC) 9/10|
|PC Gamer (US)||81%|
|The Sydney Morning Herald|||
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".
The premise of Making a comic book styled Spider-Man game led to inspire other games such as Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.
Spider-Man: Battle for New York, a side-scrolling beat 'em up where players can control both Spider-Man and the Green Goblin, was released for the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS on November 14, 2006. The game is also set in the Ultimate Marvel universe, prior to the events of Ultimate Spider-Man.
- Ported to Microsoft Windows by Beenox.
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