derelict's Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (Amazing Allies Edition) (PlayStation 2) review

Amazing is too strong a word, but it isn't terrible either.

I think this game picked up a lot of flack because people were disappointed with the fact that it was PSP port, and not a graphically stripped down PS3 port (myself included). But, if you can put aside those emotions, the game that lies underneath isn't bad, it just doesn't feel up to PS2 standards. The basics of the game are fun (mindless fun mind you), but the trouble is that it doesn't evolve past the basics.

WHAT'S GOOD:
Old School Feel: It's a throwback to the days of 2D beat-em-ups that used to come out in droves. Even though it doesn't rank up there with the best of the genre, it's still more fun for me than many of them.

Upgrades: As you fight, you earn points which you can use to upgrade your skills, and strength. Which upgrades you can get depends on the reputation points you've earned - either good (red) or bad (black). These are based on the choices you make.

Special Items: Throughout the levels you can also find special items which you can use to assist you throughout the levels. You can also earn what can best be described as favours from heroes and villains to come to your aid during a fight by causing heavy damage to the opponents on your screen. All of these are a one shot deal. Once a hero has come to your aid, they won't do you the pleasure again. You do have a limited supply of these items, but it is a generous supply, considering you can handle most of the without using them.

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:
Enemy variety: There's a decent number of different skins for the bad guys you'll meet during the game, but besides their outfits, there's not a lot that differentiates them.

Enemy Proximity Detection: Where you're positioned in relation to an enemy can be a little picky when your fists are trying to make contact. You get the hang of it, but I've often found myself taking a step away, and turning around just to get myself lined up to throw a punch.

Special attack moves: You do get some special moves to upgrade too, but there's not a lot available, and very few cool web-tricks.

Humour: Okay, there's a few funny lines, but they're buried underneath eye-rolling-cheesy jokes and extreme silliness that was simply annoying. I will say that the this humour was paired nicely with the equally sigh-inducing voice acting.

No evolution: Although the core game-play is fun, it isn't blow-you-away fun. It also doesn't change a whole lot throughout the game. What you're doing and how you fight in the first level isn't all that different in the last level.

Technical aspects: This wasn't an issue for me, but I think it's worthwhile to mention as I can easily see it preying on the enjoyment of others. It seems as though it wouldn't even push the technical limits of the PSP. The absence of true-3D game-play has no doubt left some players turned off on the experience.

It's easy: Yes, you do get lots of special items to use, but you don't even need them (except perhaps when you face off against Kraven the Hunter). The ease of this title will leave many gamers feeling unchallenged, with no way to change the difficulty level. If you are, however, looking for a game for a less experienced player, then this may suit them.

Generic game-play with a specific license: As I was playing the last level, I realized that the Spider-man license wasn't really used to it's full capability. This is a game that could be easily replaced with another license, and not much of the game-play would have been impacted. It's always fun for me to play as Spider-man, but when I'm thinking that it could be anybody on the screen, it loses some of it's appeal.

The ending: From what I've seen, a lot of people were upset with the ending. It was a bad ending, but I thought it was filled with unintentional-hilarity and I couldn't stop laughing. There's not doubt that it was disappointing.

When you're done, you're done: Yes, you can start the game over with all your power ups and special items intact, but it would have been nice to include a few level options. Perhaps a rush attack, time trial goals, boss stages only, or something like that. You get nothing.

FINAL WORD:
I had some fun with it.

It's not worth the $40 that it may cost you to pick it up brand new, but I if you come across it one day in a bargain bin, or see it on the rental shelve, you may want to give it a go. It's not that it's bad if you're looking for a quick fix of old-school beat-em-up action, but there's so much that could have been done to make it better.

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