thumbs upRecently, I received Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions for the Wii, as a gift for my birthday. I had been really wanting to play this game for quite some time, so I was really excited. Spider-Man has always been, and still is, my favorite superhero that actually has superpowers; my other favorite would have to be The Punisher, only because, even though he has no powers, he does have a shitload of guns and knows how to use them. Anyway, on with the review...
The story starts out (and narrated by Stan Lee himself) with the villain, Mysterio, breaking into a museum in order to steal the ancient artifact, the Tablet of Order and Chaos. As usual, our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man arrives just in time to stop him. In the ensuing brouhaha, the tablet is shattered in pieces and Mysterio escapes. Before Spidey has a chance to even think straight, Madam Web appears in front of him to explain the unfolding events that are happening. Apparently, when the tablet broke, it caused the barrier around Spidey's dimension and all the others to shatter; hence the name of the game. So now our favorite web-head must team up with his alternate counterparts to save all of time and space and return the dimensions back to normal. This is where the game begins and when you can finally start bashing baddies.
Along with normal Spidey, who is referred to as the Amazing Spider-Man in this game, you will also be able to play Noir Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2099 (my personal fav), and Ultimate Spider-Man from the ultimate Marvel-verse. Now if you're a fan of the comics, you might be wondering what the difference is in appearance between Amazing and Ultimate since wouldn't be they both be wearing the same costume? Well I guess the guys at Beenox also thought about this, and decided to put Ultimate Spidey in the Venom symbiote suit. That's right you get to play as Spider-Man in the black suit with full symbiotic powers! All the spider-men have relatively the same abilities with a few exceptions. Amazing can pick-up slabs of concrete with his webs as he is fighting which looks pretty fucking cool. Noir relies more on stealth rather than direct combat (although he can do that too); which accounts for this game falling into the stealth genre as well as the action-adventure and platformer genres as well. 2099 seems to be the fastest of the spideys and can also enter what is call “Acceleration Mode”, in which time and everything else slows down with the exception you; this allows you to take out vast hordes of baddies in a minimal amount of time while receiving a minimal amount of damage. Finally, Ultimate can enter “Rage Mode”, which allows you to fully unleash your symbiote powers; you can stay in this mode as long as you keep hitting baddies.
The game is divided up into three acts, with each act consisting of four levels; one for each Spider-Man. You can play the levels in any order you want (with the exception of the first level), but you must complete all four stages before you can more on to the next act. So if you count those plus the final showdown with Mysterio and the tutorial stage, that's a total of 14 levels. That may not sound like much, but the levels are quite long and extensive, so there will be pretty of stuff to keep you occupied. The game has 3 modes of difficulty; easy, normal, hard. Beating the levels on each difficulty will unlock different things in the bonus gallery. Honestly, this game isn't that difficult, so I would just recommend starting on hard, that way you can unlock all the bonus in one go. I can't tell what the difference is between playing it on normal and then on hard; so I can't really tell you how they work. Each level has 15 challenges that you can accomplish on, either while playing the level the first time or when you come back to replay it (and you will) later. These challenges run from the very easy to the downright tedious. So, with 15 challenges a piece for each of the 12 main levels, that comes to 180 challenges all together. Completing each challenge will net you certain amounts of “spider essence”; the game's version of EXP. The more spider essence points you get, the more abilities, each Spidey's unique special moves, alternate costumes, etc. from the upgrade menus. Don't think that just doing the challenges is the only way to collect essence; don't worry its not. You'll get essence mainly just from beating up baddies, collecting spider emblems (which are scattered in great number throughout the levels), and beating the bosses.
The one major flaw with this game is that it glitches; oh god does it glitch. I played it on the Wii, so the graphics were what I was expecting for the console. However, sometimes, more often than not, I would find myself “falling through the floor” into an endless void of nothing, with no choice but to restart from the last checkpoint. Only once did it completely fuck up and I had to restart the whole level from the beginning. Also like most games, if there is to much fast-paced action happening on the screen at one time, then the game slows down because it can't process all that at the same time. But, you know, some gamers like to see how far they can push a game's “rules” and boundaries, so if you're one of them you might get a kick playing this game.
So how does this game stack up to other recent Spider-Man titles? In my opinion, pretty damn well. The last one I played was Spider-Man 3 for PS2 and it sucked ass. I haven't played the more recent titles, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows and Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, but from what I've heard, I'm not missing much. It seems like Beenox really did their homework, while making this game. They got Spidey's personality down to a tee. He's still the same wise-cracking, web-slinger we all grew up with reading the comics or watching the various Saturday morning cartoons. One level where this really stands out is the first Ultimate level, where you must face the villain, Electro. Throughout the whole level, Spider-Man constantly taunts him for not wearing in pants (think Dr. Manhattan only whiter); it gets pretty hilarious. All the voice work was done by the same people who voiced them in the many different cartoon series. Neil Patrick Harris, who voiced Spidey in 2003's Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, reprises his role as the Amazing Spider-Man. Christopher Daniel Barnes, who voiced Spidey in the 94' hit series, Spider-Man: The Animated Series (best fucking Spider-Man series ever!), does the voice for Noir Spider-Man. Spider-Man 2099 is voiced by Dan Gilvezan, who also the voiced the spider in the 1980's, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends; which is kinda of impressive since that show hasn't been on the air in over 2 decades! Finally, Ultimate is done by Josh Keaton, who was Spidey in the 2008 series, The Spectacular Spider-Man.
Since this game was released for all the current consoles, with the exception of the PSP, is there any difference with them? Well since Beenox developed all the versions, except the DS one, I don't think there is really any difference; although I've only played the Wii version, so I could be wrong. The DS version was the only one that was developed by Graphite Games. From what I've read the game only features 3 Spider-Men (no Ultimate) and is only in a 2-D perspective. However, it does feature villains that aren't in any of the other versions; such as the Tinkerer and Vulture (2099).
In conclusion, while this game is horribly glitchy, it is still a blast to play. I had a great time playing this game, and it rekindled my love for the web-head, which has been slipping in the past couple of years. I loved the fact, that someone finally put Spider-Man 2099 in a game; he was long overdue for one. I'm also very interested in reading the Spider-Man Noir comics now. Personally, I think this game should only be bought if you absolutely love Spider-Man. It's not that long of a game and for $50 bucks, it probably won't seem that worth it for you to buy it. I do think that everyone should at least give this game a try though, so if you don't want to buy it, then just rent it from your local video store or from GameFly, if that's easier for you. It's a fun game to play if you got a couple of hours to kill.