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For Ultimate Spider-Man for the DS, developer Vicarious Visions takes the technology and gameplay style of their earlier Spider-Man 2 to adapt the storyline of the console version for the handheld.

Based on the Ultimate Spider-Man comic series, the game follows up on the comic's storyline about Peter Parker's childhood friend Eddie Brock and the Venom suit. Three months after his apparent death, Venom roams the streets of New York again. Thus Spider-Man must not only deal with the usual assortment of criminals and supervillains but also his old friend, while both Trask Industries and S.H.I.E.L.D. have set their sights on Eddie, who struggles to take control of the Venom suit. The DS game follows a cut-down version of the console version's storyline, but differs a lot in the details. The story is told in comic-style cutscenes that emulate the drawings of series artist Mark Bagley and also feature voice acting.

The game is a 2D side-scroller with real 3D graphics, with the camera moving and rotating to always keep the protagonist in view. Players will play as both Spider-Man and Venom, who have different abilities and are controlled in fundamentally different ways. Both must beat up various enemies and fight bosses, but other goals vary between the two.

Spider-Man is controlled via a standard button interface, allowing him to jump, swing along his web, punch, kick, shoot web balls and use his web to zip to walls and ceilings. When attack moves are stringed into combos, a power meter fills up that allows Spidey to unleash a special move that can be selected beforehand from the touch screen. His Spider-Sense also comes into play: when in immediate danger, an icon flashes. Pressing the left shoulder button within time allows Spider-Man to dodge the attack that follows.

A large part of Spider-Man's levels consists of rescuing innocents - freeing them from below heavy objects or carrying them away from danger. Lifting up the objects requires stroking upwards on the touch screen. The screen is also used for modifying electronics or disarming bombs. Lights flash up on a grid: green ones must be touched and red ones avoided.

In contrast, Venom is controlled almost exclusively through the touch screen. Alternate button-based controls are available but don't offer the full variety of moves. Venom can attack through either his claws or his tendrils by tapping either close or away from him. He can also use his tendrils to pick up objects and enemies and throw them around or smash them to the ground, all done through stylus movements. A further use of the tendrils is a targeted attack launched by stroking away from Venom in the wanted direction. Another gameplay element that only applies to Venom is feeding. The Venom suit drains Eddie's health constantly, so he must feed on humans to survive. This is done by simply tapping and holding the intended victim.

The game features branching paths: at some points, players can choose where to continue with the story (like Spider-Man choosing on whether to confront Shocker or the Rhino), leading to different sets of levels.

A multiplayer mode is also available: it features five different characters and eight arenas for one-on-one fights.


Ultimate Spider-Man Nintendo DS Title/menu screen.

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Critic Reviews

64 Power / big.N / N Games Dec, 2005 81 out of 100 81
4Players.de Oct 15, 2005 80 out of 100 80


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Terok Nor (32756) added Ultimate Spider-Man (Nintendo DS) on Sep 13, 2014
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