Spider-Man games had been done before, most notably with Spider-man 2 on the Playstation, but this was different – this was set apart from the rest of the cluttered web-slinging landscape. In a controversial choice, the developers chose to forgo the usual setting of an explorable New York sandbox. Heresy! Swinging around New York had been every childhood spidey-fan’s dream. But the idea to make this game a level based linear gameplay offered the player a diverse selection of level design, enemies and play options. However, that wasn’t the main selling point of Shattered Dimensions.
The whole schtick of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions wasn’t just to play as Spider-man. But to play as four different Spider-Men. Before comic book cinema hopped on the multiverse train, the games beat them to it.
But to play as four different Spider-Men. Before comic book cinema hopped on the multiverse train, the games beat them to it.
You had your regular ‘Amazing Spider-Man’, your classic Peter Parker in his red and blues and with all the usual powers and quips. A winning formula for over 60 years, it’s a wonder why you’d change it up…but Marvel did just that. His levels mainly revolved around the typical Spider-man gameplay with a focus on web-based combat, swinging debris around and forming shapes out of webbing to hit any ne’er-do-wells you’d encounter. The next Spidey on our list is a familiar face to spiderverse fans, the Spider-man of 2099 AKA Miguel O’Hara. If there’s one thing this game says about the future, it’s that there’s a need for speed. Able to slow down time with his razor-quick attacks, Miguel’s levels have the fun traversal element of being forced to freefall through futuristic tunnels; dodging flying cars and trying not splatter yourself against winged supervillains. Next we have…Peter Parker, okay yes I know, not much difference between the ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ and the ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ but this Peter Parker has the benefit of being connected to the stylishly black Venom symbiotes. With rage-based attacks and tendrils flying everywhere, this Spider-Man is for the button mashers to wreak havoc. And last but not least, this writer’s personal favourite Spidey, ‘Spider-Man Noir’. Set in a Noir-ish and gritty New York of the 1920s, this Spider-Man is dripping in grit and old timey slang. Ready to beat some thugs and save some dames, this Spider’s level design revolves almost entirely around stealth. Clinging to walls and hiding in shadows, dodging tommy gun blasts and dealing out rough justice to any two-bit mook who lands in his web.
But four Spider-Men are nothing without some bad guys, at this game has a plethora of villains to pick from the Wall-Crawler’s iconic rogues gallery. With the fish-bowl-headed master of misdirection, Mysterio as the primary antagonist – on his hunt to collect all the fragments of the game’s macguffin (the Tablet of Order and Chaos) – the game takes classic Spidey baddies and switches them up for this new playstyle. A genetically mutated Scorpion who lays eggs that explode with twisted enemies to fight? Check. A cannibal Vulture who loves skulking in the shadows and is responsible for the death of his universe’s Uncle Ben? Yep. A rampaging Juggernaut that requires an entire building to be dropped on him in an epic boss fight, and then still comes up for more? Right here. A Deadpool who’s a sadistic reality tv host and runs an oil rig out in the middle of the ocean? Don’t know why you’d want that, but the game’s got it.
But you don’t need me to dissect every piece of the varied and diverse gameplay, the fun and creative level design with a different art style for each universe or the star voice-casting as the four Spider-men (“How I Met Your Mother’s” own Neil Patrick Harris in an amazing turn). What you do need…is to play it for yourself.