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'Web of Shadows' just amazing

Nov 10, 2008

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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If you are one Peter Parker, you've got a lot of friends like the mighty mutant buzz saw Wolverine, the mysterious Moon Knight and the sexy but deadly Black Widow. You've also got a lot of enemies like the human bulldozer Rhino, the vicious Vulture and the very gross and very slimy, Venom. All of these folks and more come together in 'Spider-Man: Web of Shadows', the latest free roaming game featuring everyone's friendly neighborhood web-slinger.

Spider-Man: Web of ShadowsAt the start of 'Shadows', the normally jovial crime-fighter has sunken way down into the dumps. His much-loved city of New York has been turned into a charred battleground that has been isolated from the rest of the state. SHIELD made sure of that when they blew the Brooklyn Bridge to smithereens.

Why so serious? Venom has unleashed symbiotic life forms all over the city creating a massive plague that is turning perfectly normal humans into grotesque, salivating monsters. Enlisting the help of other homegrown heroes such as Luke Cage and Moon Knight as well as some baddies like The Vulture, Rhino and Kingpin, Spidey and SHIELD try to contain the outbreak the best that they can until a cure can be found to stop the Venom clones.

Spidey has some totally accessible but awesome combat moves to splatter the Venom clones. As you gain more experience points, you can purchase more moves. What is great about that is besides building up your arsenal is that you can string moves together and wallop multiple opponents into oblivion. The system can be tailored to your style of play too. If you just like to button mash, you can just pound away and hope for the best. If you would like to utilize more finesse, you can engage the counter system to block blows and use aerial, ground moves together. When things get really hairy, you can even get a little bit of help from your friends. At the press of a button, one of your allies will appear, join the fray and lend you a temporary hand...or is that a "fist"? Depending on the foes you are dealing with too, you can change from the black costume or the red,blue costume on the fly during the game.

Spider-Man: Web of ShadowsNew York City and its denizens look magnificent in 'Shadows'. The city is a real delight to swing around and explore. Since the detail in Spidey's web-swinging and wall-crawling movements are so genuine, you will find yourself just swinging or crawling around New York just for the heck of it.

As with the earlier installments in the series of Spider-Man games, the main story and the sub-plots are all very engrossing, undoubtedly Marvel Comics caliber and lead to some fun twists. Twists like busting The Tinkerer out of prison by riding Rhino and using him as a battering ram or trading blows with a befuddled Wolverine as he asks you clever trivia questions to find out if you are the real deal or some recycled symbiotic replica.

At assorted points in the game too, you will be asked to make moral choices which are represented by the traditional red, blue or black suits. Do you stay with Mary Jane or dump her for The Black Cat? Do you team up with The Vulture or remain with Moon Knight? The choice is yours and the decisions you make affect the outcome of the story.

Spider-Man: Web of ShadowsIt is these types of brainy plot points and gameplay variations that make 'Shadows' so much better than any of its predecessors. Gone are the pointless and exasperating "follow the leader" missions or the timed quests that have driven fans insane for so, so long. Thank you, thank you, Treyarch and Shaba Games for completing the much-needed renovations on the series and taking out the awful smelling trash in the badly designed missions that brought the action to a standstill. Finally, Spider-Man fans have THE game they have been waiting so patiently for.

As Marvel icon Stan Lee would say, Excelsior!




Spider-Man: Web of Shadows
Format: Xbox 360
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Treyarch and Shaba Games
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Official Site:

Rating: 8.5 / 10

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