Ultimate Spider-Man (video game)
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Vicarious Visions (GBA, NDS)
|Director(s)||Brian Michael Bendis|
Christopher A. Busse
Joseph I. Valenzuela
|Writer(s)||Brian Michael Bendis|
|Release||Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2 & Xbox|
Ultimate Spider-Man is a 2005 action-adventure video game based on the comic book of the same name by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley. The game was released on most sixth generation consoles, including Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo DS.
The game begins with a recap of Spider-Man (Peter Parker) explaining how he came to become a superhero and how his and Eddie Brock's fathers worked together to find a cure for cancer. After signing a contract with Trask Industries, they lost ownership of "the suit," which was the only one made and remained incomplete. This "Venom" suit would be capable of healing the wearer. The dangerous and incomplete Venom suit is kept by Trask Industries after Eddie Sr. and Richard Parker die in a plane crash.
Years after, Eddie Jr. and Peter reunite and discover the Venom suit is their inheritance. After learning how his dad had been cheated by Trask Industries, Spider-Man breaks into the vault containing the Venom suit and is covered by a portion of it, creating his black suit. It enhances his superhuman abilities to new levels but also tries consuming him and leaves him drained by the experience. Eddie soon finds out and learns Peter's secret identity, taking the rest of the Venom suit for himself, imbuing himself with an incomplete, monstrous, and feral Venom symbiote, lacking the white spider symbol on his chest. They fight each other on Midtown High School's football field until Venom is electrocuted by a downed power line. Adrian Toomes secretly witnesses this confrontation and contacts someone about the Venom suit. Three months later, Peter has resumed his normal life. He wins a friendly race against the Human Torch throughout Queens and easily defeats Shocker. Meanwhile, Eddie, who survived their last confrontation, has been forced to feed on the life energy of civilians to prevent the suit from consuming him. He proves his strength by winning a violent fight with Wolverine.
While at Midtown High's library, Mary Jane Watson learns of a large rhinoceros monster rampaging through Queens and implores Peter to investigate. Spider-Man discovers it is R.H.I.N.O., a giant, rhinoceros-themed mecha suit. He defeats R.H.I.N.O. and leaves timid scientist Alexander O'Hirn for the police to find. That night, Silver Sable and her Wild Pack, having been contracted by Bolivar Trask to retrieve his "property," attack Venom, who easily escapes and decimates Sable's forces.
During a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Peter senses Venom on the roof and confronts him. The fight proves a challenge for Spider-Man since getting too close to Venom for too long induces massive headaches, but he still manages to win. Venom is captured by Silver Sable, who Spidey assumes works for S.H.I.E.L.D. Kept imprisoned in an energy cage, Trask and Toomes convince Eddie to test the suit for them, as they knew Eddie and Peter's parents. His first test is to battle Electro, who he chases to Times Square. Spider-Man intervenes and gets knocked out by one of Electro's attacks, but before Electro can kill him, Venom shows an unusual amount of control and brings Electro down, influenced by Eddie's former friendship. Venom flees when S.H.I.E.L.D. arrives. Nick Fury wakes up Spider-Man as his agents arrest Electro. Venom returns to Trask, revealing he had more control of the suit around Spider-Man, accidentally revealing Spidey's secret identity. This leads Trask to realize Richard Parker's DNA was used as the basis for the Venom suit, which was why Peter managed to use it effectively, though only for a short time due to Peter lacking full compatibility. Silver Sable takes Eddie to hunt Peter down, but he transforms and escapes.
Meanwhile, a mercenary who calls himself the Beetle attacks New York by freeing the Green Goblin from his prison and stealing a vial containing a sample of the Sandman. After a brief fight on a construction site, the Beetle manages to escape from Spider-Man. When asking the nearby people if they have seen the Beetle pass by, they point to the Latverian Embassy. When Spider-Man tries to infiltrate the Embassy, Green Goblin emerges, forcing Spider-Man to pursue him to the U.N. building. After being defeated, Green Goblin is taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody by Sharon Carter. The Beetle is later dispatched to collect a sample of the Venom suit, but Venom defeats him.
Silver Sable attacks Peter and tries to bring him to Trask. They fight above the Queensboro Bridge before Venom appears and knocks Sable out. Peter fights Venom again, but both end up unconscious. Eddie awakens inside Trask Industries hearing Peter screaming as Toomes injects him with their own makeshift sample of the Venom suit, transforming him into Carnage. After fighting him throughout the building, Venom then absorbs Carnage and spits Peter out. The combination of the Carnage suit and the leftover Venom samples in Peter's blood grants Eddie complete control over the symbiote, with the white spider insignia appearing on Venom's body. A furious Eddie vows to kill Trask both for using him as a weapon and for Trask's role in his and Peter's fathers' deaths. Peter battles and subdues Venom before he can kill Trask, who finally gives up files on the boys' fathers.
As S.H.I.E.L.D. arrives, Peter reads the files and discovers that the reason for their parents' plane crash was due to Eddie Sr. trying on the Venom suit on board, losing control due to his incompatibility just like Eddie did and killing the pilot. There were only three survivors, and one of the witnesses was Peter's mother, who died in the ambulance. When Peter tells Fury that Eddie must see these files, Fury tells him that Eddie escaped. Days later, Eddie confronts Trask in a minimum security prison and brutally slays him.
Meanwhile, Peter and Mary Jane look over the city atop a rooftop. When Peter vocalizes his worries about Eddie, Mary Jane replies by telling him not to worry about him, and that while Eddie was not there, she is. Peter responds by saying he's not sure if he's scared of Eddie, or for him. Elsewhere, a partially transformed Eddie leaps from a skyscraper, turning into Venom just before he hits the ground.
In Ultimate Spider-Man, the player can experience a free-roaming city environment that covers Manhattan and Queens. The player starts in story-mode where the game automatically switches between Spider-Man and Venom. Spider-Man travels by web swinging, but the player must shoot the web at an actual building to swing, much like in the previous game, Spider-Man 2. Spider-Man uses acrobatic attacks. Venom travels by using his symbiote to pull himself and by performing massive jumps. Venom attacks using his claws and tendrils. Venom can also throw cars at targets and perform much more brutal attacks, including eating people in order to gain health.
As the game progresses, Spider-Man and Venom will have certain "City Goals" to accomplish in order to continue the storyline. There are additional activities throughout the game such as finding secret tokens, landmark tokens, comic book covers, and competing in races.
Spider-Man plays similarly to his Spider-Man 2 incarnation, using his trademark web shooters as his main method of transportation and combat, while Venom has to resort to jumping for long distances. Spider-Man's attacks are also generally weaker than Venom's. Venom can also leech life from enemies and civilians. The player has to do this constantly, as Venom's health is continuously depleting, even when he is not being attacked (the suit is feeding on Eddie, so he uses other people to feed it instead). Also, if Venom tries to eat a boss, then the boss would damage him from the inside.
Game Boy Advance version
The Game Boy Advance version of Ultimate Spider-Man is a side-scroller, divided into seven "issues," each containing three chapters. The game allows players to control Spider-Man and Venom. This version features only three boss characters aside from the two leads: Shocker, Silver Sable, and Carnage.
Unlike the console, PC, or Nintendo DS games, this version features a limited supply of Spider-Man's web fluid, it can be refilled only by picking up special markers scattered throughout levels or dropped by enemies. Additionally, players may choose to collect hidden power-ups to gain more web fluid capacity or gain new moves and abilities for both Spider-Man and Venom.
Nintendo DS version
The Nintendo DS version of Ultimate Spider-Man is a side-scroller with a 3D environment. The game allows players to control Spider-Man and Venom. The gameplay differs greatly between both characters:
- With Spider-Man levels, most of the game happens on the top screen and the touch screen is only used for selecting special attacks and operating certain objects (moving heavy objects, opening broken elevator doors, etc.).
- With Venom levels, the game switches to the touch screen, enabling players to use Venom's tentacles to throw objects or enemies, and even attack by tapping the screen. Venom on the top screen can be changed in the Options menu.
The game features a slightly modified storyline. For example, players will face Shocker in a battle that is much more difficult than its console incarnation. The game also features a multi-player mode, where players can unlock different characters and arenas for a head-to-head fight.
There is a limited edition exclusive to the PlayStation 2, which contains four character biographies (Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate Venom, Ultimate Carnage, and Ultimate Beetle), an interview with Stan Lee, a G4 special entitled "Making of Ultimate Spider-Man", developer tips and tricks, and a special edition (also called "Activision Edition") Ultimate Spider-Man comic book containing scenes from issues #33-39. One of the concept arts in the special edition shows what happened when Beetle ducked into the Latverian Embassy as it shows him presenting the Sandman vial to Doctor Doom in some plot to develop Latverian super-soldiers.
The limited edition version comes in a different case sporting plain purple and red holographic sides (with a Venom symbol and Spider-Man symbol on each, respectively). The case also comes with a cardboard sleeve with a picture of Venom on it. The DVD surface itself has a new picture on it: purple instead of red, once again with Venom. The instruction manual matches this trend with the cover being a fight scene between the two. The limited edition features are accessed from a new menu titled "Limited Edition" via the unlockables screen.
CiN Weekly gave it a score of 88 out of 100 and stated that "The true letdown... is that the master villains can still be supremely frustrating to defeat, requiring several replays and exhaustive bouts of highly patterned attacks." The New York Times gave it a positive-to-average review and said that the game was "very entertaining, and the addition of Nemesis creates some interesting new situations, but over all there isn't a lot of variety; you fight, you race, you ramble around the city, and then you do it all again." The Sydney Morning Herald gave it three-and-a-half stars out of five and stated that "Combat against dim-witted goons can become repetitive but missions offer diversity."
- Ported to Microsoft Windows by Beenox.
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