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Ultimate Spider-Man (Xbox Review)


Well-known Member
This arrived on Friday morning (thank you modded Xbox for allowing me to play imports!), and after a weekend of play, I'm a bit disappointed. Being a Spider-Man fan, and having loved Spider-Man 2, I was waiting anxiously for this game, so much so that I imported it.

Firstly, the graphics are pretty good. If you've ever played XIII, it's the exact same style, and it works well, though I prefered the more realistic look of Spider-Man 2. Sound is fine, though as per norm, Spidey does tend to get a bit OTT with the quips. Then again, he is a snotty 16 year old as per the Ultimate Universe, speaking of which, if you dislike the Ultimate Universe, you're probably not going to like this as there are a number of significant changes to the standard Spider-Man mythos.

1. Peter Parker is a 16 year old web designer, not a photographer.

2. Aunt May is more of a new age hippie, than a helpless old woman who dotes on Peter. More stern old grandmother than pushover aunt.

3. The Green Goblin is a mutated Norman Osborn, not Norman in a suit.

4. The Rhino is a midget in a big electronic suit, not some dumb thug who went a little crazy with the super glue and got stuck in the suit.

There are numerous other changes, like Eddie Brock being Peters childhood pal and the Venom suit originally being a cure for cancer not an alien from another planet.

The main change though is the swing mechanics. No longer does the easy fluidity of Spider-Man 2 exist. This Spidey seems only to be able to shoot webs from his right arm (maybe an upgrade in future levels fixes this) so you're swinging once, hopping off, swinging again, hopping off. It's take a bit to get used to but it does work well enough, but personally, I didn't think it was broke, so no need to fix it. You can also climb your webline, but annoyingly, you can't run along walls (yet) or speed wall crawl up walls either (just the web zip). Controls are a bit different from Spidey 2 (X is speed up swing rather than L plus there is no charged jump anymore, which is replaced by an inferior double jump). Since a lot of the buildings in this NYC are low, you can't swing through most of the urban settings properly, and you'll find yourself hopping from rooftop to rooftop by zipping and jumping rather than swinging. Also, playing as Venom is alright. It's basically just a smash-a-thon. Venom handles differently to Spidey, but he's not as much fun. Still, it's nice to play from both sides, but I can't help feeling that it would be a stronger game if it had just concentrated on Spidey alone.

The camera is also a bit iffy. They did it great in Spidey 2, but Spidey seems to move too fast for the camera to keep up at times here. Plus the lock on doesn't work anywhere near as well as it's predecessor.

Combat takes some getting used to but it's better than Spidey 2, though I do miss the Spidey 2 'sense slowdown'.

That's the main bad. The story though is a lot better than Spidey 2, and the side missions aren't as repetitive. Graphically, it's good looking, but I did notice that when on high, you could see textures not drawn in properly in the distance, and this never happened in Spidey 2, well not as frequently anyway.

All in all, it's a distinctly average game. If they had kept the Spidey 2 swing system, with a few upgrades perhaps, and thrown this story in with it, left out Venom or kept him as an optional bonus mission or something, it would have been a stronger game. Personally, I don't understand the appeal of Venom. He's not that cool. Himself and Boba Fett seem to have gotten reps they don't really deserve.

Either way, if you're a Spidey fan, you'll probably enjoy it, but perhaps a rental first for everyone else?

*** (out of 5)


Well-known Member
Well, that was a short game. Finished the main story in about 5 hours, and that included doing about 20% of the filler stuff (such as races, combat paths etc). You unlock Venom for free roam, but that's really not enough for me to be coming back to.


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