Spider-Man: Web of Shadows

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is a 2008 action-adventure video game based on the fictional superhero Spider-Man. The game was released in October 2008 across multiple platforms, and encompasses three drastically different versions: one released for the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360, which features an open world and non-linear gameplay; one for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable (called Spider-Man: Web of Shadows - Amazing Allies Edition), which is a 2.5D side-scrolling beat 'em up; and one for the Nintendo DS, which is also a linear beat 'em up, but features a different storyline and aspects of the Metroidvania genre.

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows
Web of shadows boxart.jpg
Developer(s)Shaba Games and Treyarch
Griptonite Games (DS)
Amaze Entertainment (PS2, PSP)
Publisher(s)Activision
Composer(s)Jamie Christopherson
Platform(s)
Release
  • NA: October 21, 2008
  • EU: October 24, 2008
  • AU: October 28, 2008
Genre(s)Action-adventure
Beat 'em up (PS2 and PSP)
Metroidvania (DS)[1]
Mode(s)Single-player

All three versions of the game have several common elements, such as choices that may alter the storyline, an ally system where Spider-Man can choose from several allies to summon during fights, and a similar plot, despite different characters being featured across the various versions. In Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, Venom has launched a full-scale symbiote invasion of Manhattan, forcing Spider-Man to join forces with a number of unlikely allies in order to stop him, while being faced with difficult choices that could change his life forever. The game's story is noticeably darker than in previous Spider-Man games.

The game received generally mixed to positive reviews from critics, who singled out the boss fights, destructive combat, original story and open-ended nature. However, the game's choice system received mixed reviews; although some praised how the player is able to create a dynamic experience with their choices, others were critical of the system's limitations. In addition, reviewers criticized the storyline's poor execution, bothersome camera controls, the inability to free-roam after completing the game, lip-syncing issues and the subpar graphics. Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, along with most other games published by Activision that had used the Marvel license, was de-listed and removed from all digital storefronts on January 1, 2014.[2][3]

GameplayEdit

Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360Edit

Spider-Man Web of Shadows is a third person action-adventure video game, set in an open-world that resembles Manhattan. The gameplay is very similar to previous Spider-Man titles (namely Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3 and Ultimate Spider-Man). Players take on the role of Spider-Man and can web swing, web zip, crawl walls, and use the 'spider-sense' to identify and lock onto enemies. The combat improves on that of previous games, and now takes place on ground, walls, and in the air, due to new enemy types being introduced, who can either fly or stick to surfaces. The game also introduces the "web strike", a gameplay mechanic where Spider-Man attaches a web to the nearest enemy and pulls himself to them; this serves as the basis of air combat, but can also be used on the ground and other surfaces.

While the game's main story is linear, there are various random events constantly occuring across the game's map, such as fights between gangs, or, in later stages of the story, symbiote nests that need to be destroyed. These are entirerly optional, but if the player chooses to intervine, they reward him with XP. There are also numerous challenges, such as defeating a given number of enemies or collecting symbiote samples, and collectibles, that reward the player with XP as well, and increase their health bar and web swinging speed.

At specific points in the story, the player is presented with two choices that they need to pick from, which don't affect the overall narrative, but influence the ending of the game and Spider-Man's interaction with other characters. In addition, the game features a 'reputation bar', which becomes red when the player chooses the Red Path in the aforementioned situations or performs heroic acts, such as saving civiliains, and turns black when the player chooses the Black Path or causes destruction across the city. As they progress through the story, the player meets characters that become allies, meaning that they can be summoned at almost any time during gameplay to help fight enemies; if the reputation bar is mostly red, the player can summon superheroes (Luke Cage, Moon Knight and Wolverine), otherwise they can summon villains (Black Cat, Vulture, Rhino and Electro).

The player is able to switch between Spider-Man's traditional red and blue costume and the black symbiote suit at any time during gameplay. Each suit has individual upgrades, which unlock new fighting moves.[4] Chris Scholz from Shaba Games commented that the developers "worked on really separating the black and red suits to give the player a different feel". For example, red and blue-suited Spider-Man is fast and agile, while symbiote black suit Spider-Man is stronger and more destructive.

The mini-map on the screen is also different from the style used in previous Spider-Man games. The traditional 2-D overhead view has been removed, replaced by a new 3D map with an "X", "Y" and "Z" axis which shows the player's position in three-dimensional space (north and south, as well as vertical position). Also, as a Wii exclusive, there are 6 alternate costumes (Spider-Carnage for the black suit, and Spider-Armor, Ben Reilly, Spider-Man 2099, Cosmic Spider-Man and the Iron Spider suit for the red suit).[5]

Although the player is unable to free-roam after the storyline's completion, this can be achieved through a secret method, which has the player watch the credits twice. Afterwards, when they select to continue the game, the player will start a new game with all of their previous upgrades already made, essentially acting as a New Game Plus.

PlayStation 2 and PlayStation PortableEdit

The PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable versions were released as Spider-Man: Web of Shadows - Amazing Allies Edition and are drastically different from the console and PC versions. Rather than being set in an open world, this version of the game is a level-based 2.5D side-scrolling brawler. Players can change between Spider-Man's two costumes at any time during gameplay, and the game features several situations that can be resolved using only a certain suit, such as weak walls that can be destroyed only by the black suited Spider-Man. Each suit has individual upgrades, which unlock new combos or increase the player's health bar.

Like the its name suggests, this version of the game puts more emphasis on the ally system, which features over the most allies to summon out of all versions, as well as power-ups, such as increasing health or damage. The game lacks cutscenes, which have been replaced with dialogue sections that also replaced the choice system from the other versions. During these sections, the player can choose can choose between multiple lines of dialogue that Spider-Man will say. Depending on the nature of these lines, the player will be awarded points to upgrade either the red and blue suit, the black suit, or both. These dialogue sections can also result in accepting or declining secondary quests, unlocking new allies, and different endings to the game's story.

This version also features a slightly different plot, and characters absent from other versions, such as Nick Fury, the Shocker, Kraven the Hunter, Jackal, Spencer Smythe, and A.I.M.

Nintendo DSEdit

The Nintendo DS version is also a 2.5D scrolling beat 'em up. Much like the other versions, players can switch between Spider-Man's two suits at any time during gameplay, which play differently (the red and blue suit provides faster movement and attacks, whereas the blak suit is slower, but has more devastating attacks), and earn XP from defeating enemies, which can be used to purchase new combo. As the players progress through the story, they will also obtain upgrades that will allow them to explore more of the open world map and eventually reach the end of the game, similarly to the Castlevania and Metroid franchises.

The choice system has been redesigned to only consist of players choosing which mission to undergo next. Depending on which character Spider-Man helps out the most, the ending of the game will change. This version also features a slightly different plot, wherein Venom is not the cause of the symbiote invasion, and is available as an ally, in addition to Black Cat, the Green Goblin and Nightcrawler. This version also features an exclusive revival system where, if the player's health depletes, they can spend one "life point" to attempt to revive the fallen Spider-Man by using the Touch Screen to draw health orbs to him, while poking at poison orbs to destroy them and they will throw health orbs to Spider-Man. The revival will be successful if Spider-Man receives enough health orbs before a time limit is reached.

PlotEdit

Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360Edit

The game begins with Spider-Man looking for Mary Jane amidst a symbiote invasion that has consumed Manhattan. After finding her with Luke Cage, he is attacked by an unknown assailant. Flashing back to four days prior, Spider-Man is attacked by Venom, but he absorbs part of his symbiote to easily overpower him, which he now has more control over, being able to remove it at any time. While Venom escapes and Mary Jane, who was injured during Venom's attack, is hospitalized, Spider-Man joins forces with Luke Cage to stop a gang war in Harlem. In the process, Spider-Man uncovers evidence that the gang war was orchestrated by the Kingpin, which he may show to the gangs' leaders during a meeting with Cage to persuade them to make peace. Regardless of his choice, the gang war ends, and Spider-Man goest to confront Kingpin at Fisk Tower, only to encounter Black Cat. Assuming she works for Kingpin, Spider-Man chases and defeats her, aided by Moon Knight, only to discover that she is actually a double agent, and still loves him; Spider-Man may return or reject her feelings.

Spider-Man later joins forces with either Black Cat or Moon Knight to dismantle the Kingpin's operations. In the process, he thwarts an attack on the courthouse, and defeats Vulture, who has been manufacturing Goblin gliders for Kingpin's goons to use. While fighting some of Kingpin's men, Spider-Man is attacked by several symbiote-infected civilians. Later, Spider-Man encounters Wolverine, who mistakes him for a symbiote, but the two settle their differences after a fight and join forces to track down more infected civilians. Spider-Man runs into Venom, who is behind the infections and escapes after another battle. As more civilians get infected with symbiotes, a S.H.I.E.L.D. team led by Black Widow sets up quarantine camps across the city. Electro rampages through them in search of his sister, but is defeated by Spider-Man, and escapes after being infected by a symbiote. Spider-Man later breaks the Tinkerer out of Ryker's Island, aided by an incarcerated Rhino, so that he could create a device to destroy the symbiotes without harming the hosts.

 
Spider-Man web-swings through an infected New York. As the game progress, more symbiote constructs appear.

Eventually, the symbitoes take over Manhattan, forcing S.H.I.E.L.D. to isolate it from the rest of New York. While the Tinkere begins work on his device with resources from S.H.I.E.L.D., Spider-Man helps in dealing with the symbiote invasion in the streets, assisting with patrols and civilian evacuations. He also persuades the Kingpin to aid S.H.I.E.L.D. in fighting the invasion and building the Tinkerer's device, and tracks down Symbiote Electro, whom he defeats and frees from the symbiote's control, before convincing him to also be of assistance. Later, Spider-Man helps fend off a symbiote attack on the S.H.I.E.L.D. base at Stark Tower after their defenses briefly shut down, and assists Moon Knight in defending Spector Tower from an aerial symbiote attack. He also aids Wolverine with an evacuation, but the latter is infected by a symbiote and fights Spider-Man, who defeats him and removes the symbiote.

Later, Spider-Man assists Mary Jane and Luke Cage in escorting civilians from Harlem to Fisk Tower, but after the two don't make it there, Spider-Man storms off to search for them, leading to the game's openning scene. He is attacked by Symbiote Black Cat, whom he defeats with Mary Jane's help. However, Black Cat is left severly injured, forcing Spider-Man to either leave her in Mary Jane's care, or infect her with a symbiote to heal her, which upsets Mary Jane. Meanwhile, S.H.I.E.L.D. installs the Tinkerer's device, but Symbiote Vulture leads an aerial assault to destroy it. Upon defeating Symbiote Vulture and removing the symbiote from him, Spider-Man either activates the device, which eliminates all the symbiotes in Manhattan, including his black suit, or destroys it at Vulture's urgings, who advises him to try and rule over the symbiotes instead.

Regardless, Spider-Man then learns Venom is attacking the Helicarrier, and goes there to plant bombs, before a giant, five-headed Venom, whom he dubs "Venomzilla", attacks him. After destroying four heads and failing to kill Venomzilla using one of the Helicarrier's turrets, Spider-Man instead persuades Eddie Brock to see the error of his ways and emerge from Venomzilla. After Brock dies, either at Spider-Man's hands or by committing a heroic sacrifice, Spider-Man evacuates, just as the bombs detonate, destroying the Helicarrier and Venomzilla.

Afterwards, Manhattan either returns to normal, or the symbiotes continue to rule over, with Spider-man as their new leader. In the former scenario, Spider-Man may reconcile with Mary Jane, or leave a message in her voicemail, hoping she would eventually forgive him for his actions. In the latter, Spider-Man may rule with Black Cat at his side, or alone, vowing to win Mary Jane back, while Black Widow, the Kingpin, and the Tinkerer enlist Symbiote Wolverine to kill Spider-Man.

PlayStation 2 and PlayStation PortableEdit

Spider-Man has an encounter with Venom and defeats him, but Venom then inexplicably explodes, leaving no trace of Eddie Brock and causing Spider-Man to regain his symbiote black suit. Later, Spider-Man is surprised when Nick Fury calls him and reveals that Venom has infested Manhattan with symbiotes, forcing S.H.I.E.L.D. to quarantine the city. He also explains that Spider-Man's previous encounters with the symbiote give him more control over it, being able to remove it at any time, though he warns him that the symbiote can still influence his behavior. Tasked with collecting pieces in order to build a sonic generator to counter the symbiotes, Spider-Man first goes after the Shocker's vibro gauntlents, whom he finds robbing a hotel vault and defeats. Next, having been informed by the Kingpin, who is also trying to stop the symbiotes, that Spencer Smythe and A.I.M. are working on a secret project involving vibranium, Spider-Man infiltrates A.I.M.'s underground lab through the sewers, while avoiding Kraven the Hunter's traps and defeating him. After an encounter with J. Jonah Jameson, whom A.I.M. captured and cloned as part of a plot to discredit both him and Spider-Man, he retrieves the vibranium and escapes from the lab, upon defeating Rhino, who was hired to guard the lab, and whom Kraven was trying to hunt.

 
The PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable versions of the game feature 2.5D graphics.

Returning to Manhattan, Spider-Man finds it swarming with symbiotes, and encounters Luke Cage, who suggests splitting up to fight the symbiotes. While doing so, Spider-Man learns of the Tinkerer's plot to spread the infestation to other countries, and may redirect a train full of symbiotes towards Cage to make his own travel through the city easier. After defeating Cage, who is either infected by a symbiote, or tyring to remove Spider-Man's black suit for redirecting the train, Spider-Man infiltrates the Tinkerer's lab, and encounters a brainwashed Venom, who was weakened by the explosion after his last defeat and captured by the Tinkerer. Eventually, Spider-Man battles the Tinkerer, who escapes, though Spider-Man is able to prevent his missle from launching and spreading the symbiote.

Later, Spider-Man arrives on a symbiote-infested Helicarrier to build the sonic generator, but is forced to assist with the evacuation and reactivate the ship's defense systems. He then encounters Jackal, hired by S.H.I.E.L.D. out of desperation for someone to analyze the symbiotes, who reveals that S.H.I.E.L.D. plans to weaponize the symibotes and that he is in an alliance with Spencer Smythe, who aims to control the symbiotes. However, Jackal betrays Smythe and tries to take Spider-Man's symbiote for his own schemes. After defeating Jackal, Spider-Man evacuates the Helicarrier, which crashes in the city. Making his way to the crash site, Spider-Man finds a symbiote-infected Jessica Drew, whom he defeats, and the blueprints for the sonic generator. He is then informed by Nick Fury that the sonic generator is on the top of Fisk Tower, so he heads there and combines the parts he collected to a super-computer, completing the generator. However, it is stolen by the Jackal while Spider-Man is busy fighting A.I.M. agents dispatched by Smythe. Claiming that he had nothing to do with the generator's theft and that it's too late to stop the symbiotes, Smythe then unleashes a mind-controlled Black Cat to kill Spider-Man, who either frees her from Smythe's control, or lets the mind-controlling device kill her so that he can claim it for himself.

Spider-Man laters tracks the generator to Central Park and confronts Jackal, who claims to be the mastermind behind all recent events and reveals that he has modified the sonic generator to control the symbiotes. After defeating Jackal, Spider-Man recovers the generator and programs it to either destroy the symbiotes or, if he obtained Smythe's mind-controlling device, to control them. As the generator is powered up, Spider-Man finds a symbiote-filled fountain, from which seven serpent heads containing Venom's consciousness emerge to fight him. Using the generator to supply energy that weaken the heads, Spider-Man defeats Venom, allowing him to stop the invasion, or take over Manhattan as the new symbiote leader.

Nintendo DSEdit

The game begins with the symbiote invasion already in progress. After an encounter with several symbiotes, Spider-Man is infected by one, but is able to maintain control over it, leading to the re-creation of his black suit, which he can now remove at will. Afterwards, thinking Venom is responsible for the invasion, Spider-Man searches for him. Along the way he encounters Black Cat, who informs that both Nightcrawler and the Green Goblin require his assistance: the former is helping out with civilian evacuations, while the latteris setting up bombs to defeat the symbiotes. After choosing to help either of them twice and defeating several "super symbiotes", Spider-Man arrives as a symbiote hive, where he finds and defeats Venom. However, the villain claims that he is not behind the invasion, but rather is trying to stop it as well. With Venom now too weak to accompany him, Spider-Man decides to infiltrate deeper into the hive by himself and eliminate the symbiote leader. He does so, and escapes from the hive before it is destroyed.

The ending of the game depends on who Spider-Man helped earlier. If the player helped either Nightcrawler twice or both him and the Green Goblin once, Manhattan is saved and the citizens are restored to normal, praising Spider-Man as he swings away thinking of taking a shower after having gone to the sewers twice in a day. However, if the player helped Green Goblin twice, Spider-Man realizes that, with the symbiote leader gone, he is now in charge of the symbiotes. The infected citizens worship Spider-Man as their new leader while he swings through a New York City covered in symbiotes, reflecting upon how great power is simply a lot of power and that it is far better than sharing the responsibility.

DevelopmentEdit

On April 17, 2008, Activision confirmed that Spider-Man: Web of Shadows was in development, and that the game would be released on the Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Wii, and Xbox 360 systems,[6] and they confirmed that the story would center around an invasion on New York that Spider-Man and the other heroes and villains would have to deal with.[7] Venom was confirmed as the main antagonist in June.[8]

ReceptionEdit

Reception
Aggregate scores
AggregatorScore
GameRankingsDS: 79%[9]
PC: 54%[10]
PS2: 69%[11]
PS3: 70%[12]
PSP: 77%[13]
WII: 65%[14]
X360: 68%[15]
MetacriticDS: 77/100[16]
PC: 52/100[17]
PS2: 69/100[18]
PS3: 67/100[19]
WII: 63/100[20]
X360: 68/100[21]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Eurogamer5/10[22]
Game Informer6.5/10[23]
GamePro     [24]
GameRevolutionB[25]
GameSpotPS3/X360: 8/10[26]
DS: 7/10[27]
WII: 6/10[28]
GameSpy     [29]
GameTrailers6.3/10[30]
GameZoneX360: 8.5/10[31]
PS3: 8.3/10[32]
DS: 8/10[33]
PS2/PSP: 7/10[34][35]
PC: 6.5/10[36]
WII: 5.9/10[37]
Giant Bomb     [38]
IGNDS: 8/10[39]
PS2/PSP: 7/10[40]
PS3/X360 (AU): 6.7/10[41]
X360 (US): 5.7/10[42]
PS3 (US): 5.5/10[43]
PC: 5.3/10[44]
WII: 5.2/10[45]
Nintendo Power6.5/10[46]
OXM (US)8/10[47]
PC Gamer (US)48%[48]
Common Sense Media     [49]
Variety(average)[50]

Web of Shadows received generally mixed to positive reviews. GameRankings and Metacritic gave it a score of 79% and 77 out of 100 for the DS version;[9][16] 54% and 52 out of 100 for the Microsoft Windows version;[10][17] 69% and 69 out of 100 for the PlayStation 2 version;[11][18] 70% and 67 out of 100 for the PlayStation 3 version;[12][19] 77% for the PlayStation Portable version;[13] 68% and 68 out of 100 for the Xbox 360 version;[15][21] and 65% and 63 out of 100 for the Wii version.[14][20]

Critics praised the idea of an original story, but cited poor execution.[42] IGN criticized the story, and also pointed out that the lock-on camera has a tendency to detach itself, making mid-air battles difficult.[42] 1UP.com praised the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game as having "plenty of cool "Spider-Man" moments throughout thanks to the basic locomotion and combat", which "settles into a rhythm of repetition", summing up with "Shadows might be the best Spider-Man game yet, but that's just a testament to the series' now-mediocre standards".[51] GameSpot mentioned occasional technical issues with the graphics, sound, and camera, while praising the story, combat system, variety and "memorable" boss fights.[26] GameSpy commented that "Web of Shadows manages to provide a good deal of fun even if it doesn't bring much new to the table", praising the animation and combat, and mentioning camera problems and visual glitches along with a repetition of objectives.[29] Game Informer criticized the voice acting, camera, and animation, claiming, "as explosive as the new combat is, it’s all this game has to offer".[23] X-Play gave the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions three stars out of five and said, "there’s enough great gameplay here to make Web of Shadows recommendable for Spider-Man fans. The sheer level of glitches in the game, however, manages to take the fun factor down several notches".[52]

The DS version of the game, in contrast to the console versions, was relatively well-received,[27][39] with reviewers praising level design similar to the Castlevania and Metroid franchises while criticizing the short length.

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit