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Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

 

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

ESRB: Everyone - E
Platform: Nintendo DS , DSI
Category: Action Games
 
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Developer: Griptonite Games
Publisher: Activision

This is not the first time Spider-Man has made his way onto the Nintendo DS. In fact, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions represents the 6th Spidey game on Nintendo’s handheld machine. Unfortunately, the previous Spidey games for the DS have left gamers, well, for the most part, underwhelmed. Spider-Man’s target audience has always appeared satisfied; however, critics and hardcore gamers have criticized the games for coming across as rushed, cheap ports and more of an afterthought than anything else. Last year, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows showed some serious promise generating favorable reviews; yet, it still fell short in some areas and at the end of the day it was not exactly considered a ‘Triple A’ DS game. This year the same development team is back at it (Griptonite Games) and they are clearly looking to build from last year’s game. Do they pull it off? Read on to find out.

Graphics

Overall, the visuals in Shattered Dimensions for the DS are sharp and appear to be a slight upgrade over the previous Spider-Man game (Web of Shadows for the DS). The game is set in three dramatically different universes from the legendary Spider-Man lore. Visually the results are very good considering the limitations of the DS. This 2D side scrolling adventure is a bright and colourful game and pays great homage to the Spider-Man franchise. From the fantastic looking versions of Spider-Man (something I will explain a bit more below), to wonderfully detailed universes where the game takes place, Shattered Dimensions is arguably the best looking Spidey game on the DS to date.

Sound

Overall, Shattered Dimensions is a decent sounding game. The game's music is perfectly suited and amps up as the action becomes more intense. You won’t be humming any of the tunes after you have put down the game; nevertheless, the game's music is certainly not obtrusive. Some familiar names lend their voices to the game not to mention Stan Lee who gives us a nice little introduction. All in all the voice work is a real treat and gives the game instant credibility and authenticity unlike we have heard before in the Spider-Man world of gaming. The game's sound effects are about what I expected but good nonetheless.

Gameplay

A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to play and review Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions for the Xbox 360. All in all, I enjoyed the game and was pleasantly surprised not only by the slick visuals and stellar sound, but also the game had challenging yet very enjoyable gameplay elements. Needless to say, I was very curious to see how this game would pan out on the DS.

In the same ilk as Metroid, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions plays out like your typical 2D side scrolling platformer. It will remind you very much of Metroid and at times is every bit as enjoyable. But before I get any further, let me give you a ‘gist’ of the storyline:

An artifact known as the "Tablet of Order and Chaos" is shattered into pieces during a fight that happens at the outset of the game between Spider-Man and Mysterio. The shattered tablet, as you would guess, causes a chaos with multiple Marvel Universe realities. Madame Web appears shortly after the ‘bru ha ha’ between Spidey and Mysterio and calls on three versions of Spider-Man from three realities to assist her in bringing the realities back into balance. The versions being: The Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Man Noir (a 1930s version of Spider-Man), and Spider-Man 2099 (futuristic Spidey). Various villains from each of the universes have gained possession of the fragments and have enhanced powers. Each villain possessing a fragment is granted power to accomplish what he desires most: defeating the Spider-Mans of their respective universes. Shattered Dimensions follows Spidey across various universes as he embarks on a journey to recapture shattered tablets.

All in all, Shattered Dimensions offers up a ‘so so’ storyline but it is a somewhat basic one as well. What the story does lack in terms of depth, it makes up for it in terms of some of the enjoyable gameplay elements and sharp looking visuals and voice acting. Yet at the end of the day, DS gamers are not playing Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions for its storyline. For them it’s all about web slinging and non-stop action; and you get plenty of this in Shattered Dimensions.

The majority of Shattered Dimensions involves web slinging, jumping to and from suspended platforms and obstacles and taking out enemies with your arsenal of attacks. Throughout the game you play as the different types of Spider-Mans as you make your way across each level. As you progress along in the game you gain new powers for each version of Spider-Man which gives them access to news areas of their respective universe. Gaining Spidey-sense, smashing walls or even simply wall climbing are just few examples of the powers you gain the game. Much of these powers are obtained by exploring each the game's various levels. I was surprised to see the amount of exploration offered up in the game. The exploration certainly gives the game some re-playability and slows down an otherwise short single player experience.

In terms of the game's display, the lower screen is your map which lays out the levels and whatnot. The upper screen is where all the action takes place. Spider-Man attacks the enemies with the Y button. He jumps and web-slings with the B button. He performs a web-line with the A button and interacts with the X button. The L and R buttons perform the various special functions such as dodging attacks, gliding or Spider-Sense. I had no major concerns with the controls as they are easy to pick-up. Web slinging can be finicky at times but for the most part I had no issues with the controls and neither will gamers. You can make it through much of the game with simple button mashing but towards back end of the 2nd half of the game you will have to become a bit more creative in your attack.

After you have made you way through the various levels you do encounter some boss fights which can be challenging and frustrating. Yet bottom line, the boss fights are some of the best sequences I have seen on Nintendo’s handheld machine in quite some time. The villains you face are not all the game villains as you face in the Xbox 360 version either. In Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions for the DS you will face Calypso, Vulture, Silvermane, Electro, and Boomerang amongst others in the single player campaign.

As I suggested above, the single player campaign is somewhat short but the various collectibles do give the game some re-playability. Offensive, defensive, damage and health upgrades are all upgrades that are hidden throughout the various worlds. You can also replay challenges that are unlocked as you progress and revisit any areas in the game so you can collect all the items you need.


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