Monday, June 7, 2010
In all honesty, I haven't been over the moon about Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. This game has you switching between four different Spider-Men in their respective universes as you try to fight an overwhelming evil that threatens to destroy everything. That sounds cool and I'm a man who loves webswinging around levels, but all the universe hopping has me worried. Spider-Man is – and comics games in general are -- about a story, in my eyes. Are we going to get to know these characters? Will the story evolve beyond, "We have to save the world by punching Villain X in the face"?
I don't have the answers for you, but after seeing Activision's E3 demonstration, I do know that the third universe in this game is Spider-Man 2099 and it's pretty sweet looking.
If you missed the 1992 debut of Spider-Man 2099, this version of Spidey takes place in the far-flung future. There, geneticist Miguel O'Hara was studying the original Spider-Man and ends up getting spider-like abilities from messing with his own DNA while trying to cure himself after being poisoned. O'Hara notices the abilities, grabs a costume he had for the Day of the Dead celebrations, and – voila – we have a new Spider-Man.
When Beenox Studios got to the 2099 part of its demo – before that the developers showcased the Amazing universe and Noir universe, but you know all about those – it was hard not to get excited about the inclusion of this superhero. Amazing looks like the Spider-Man we all know and Noir is just a darker looking webhead, but 2099 looks unlike anything I've seen in a Spider-Man game before. Sure you could unlock this costume in other Spidey games, but the artistic vision surrounding this area is so different from what we know as gamers.
The demo began with Spider-Man freefalling in his slick-looking dark blue and dark red suit while flying cars whizzed by underneath him. The screen was saturated with neon colors, filled with holographic "Stark" and "Osborn" signs, and set among buildings that had the clean, futuristic look to them that fans will recognize from the comic book series. When Spidey landed, you really got to take in the detail on his suit, the talons coming off his arms, and what Beenox did with this universe's villain, the Hobgoblin.
In the past, Activision has said that this game will have a major villain designated to each level – Amazing has Kraven so far and Noir has the circus freak version of Norman Osborn known as the Goblin so far. Apparently, fans told the company that they loved boss battles, so that's the focus for Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. In the first demos, this looked like it was simply an aesthetic choice. Spider-Man was going to fight Kraven the hunter, so the level was set in the jungle. However, in 2099, you kind of see what Beenox and Activision have been driving at with this boss/level relationship.
Here, we're in a world where the normal ride to work is through the air, so having a villain like Hobgoblin 2099 – a monster of a man clad in blue and orange – swoop in with his massive wings and engage Spider-Man from the sky makes sense. Hobby'll throw bombs that the player can web and hurl back at him, but Spider-Man's also going to be able to web the baddie, pulled himself close, and begin duking it out in the air.
With the neon lights of the future as your backdrop and cars speeding by underneath you, the scene is pretty damn cool. Eventually in the demo, Hobgoblin retreats to the top of a building and shoots down the center of it. Spider-Man follows, and the player needs to guide the freefalling superhero past obstructions and to the villain below.
Each Spider-Man in Shattered Dimensions is going to be voiced by someone who has played the character in the past. Remember the Spider-Man cartoon from the '90s? Well, Christopher Daniel Barnes played Spidey in that and is back to be Spider-Man Noir. When it comes to Spider-Man 2099, Dan Gilvezan, the voice of Spidey on the '80s cartoon Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, will be lending his pipes. No word on the voice for the Amazing universe, and Activision is mum on what the fourth universe will be.
As a comic nerd and someone who has been wronged by Spidey games in the past, I'm trying to keep my expectations in check while watching this game and wondering how it's all going to come together. However, after seeing the 2099 demo, I can say for the first time that I really want to play Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. The future looks cool, and I want to be a part of it.
Oh, Mr. Parker, please be good to me.