Backlog Quest: Day 4 – Spider-Man: Edge of Time – On the edge of good

Dear Journal,

Today I found out that two Spider-Men (mans?) are not always better than one.

Spider-Man: Edge of time was Activision’s follow up to the sleeper hit Shattered Dimensions that took the more traditional Spider-Man and teamed it up with the surprise star from Shattered Dimensions, Spider-Man 2099.  Together the duo must fight to restore the proper time-line after an evil time-traveling corporate d-bag mucks everything up.  The anomaly allows the two Spider-Men to talk as well as have a direct influence on each other’s worlds and together they work together to stop a shadowy villain from the future.

And it is just on the edge of being good.

Spider-Man: Edge of Time isn’t really bad but rather it is mostly uninspired.  The voice acting is solid, the gameplay flawed but enjoyable, and the story somewhat forgettable and predictable. Ultimately the end result ends up being a very mediocre outing for the web-slinger; not his worst but certainly not his best.

The Spider-Man of today and tomorrow are constantly bickering with each other, and the writers couldn’t resist the urge to make a barrage jokes about the differences in technology and slang (“What the shock!?”), yet almost every level regardless of time period feels nearly identical.  There are differences, no doubt, but when playing present or future, Spider-Man or Spider-Man 2099, the game feels more or less the same.  While the parallels of two different Spider-Man characters from two different times create a few interesting or funny moments, most of it is spent with them yelling at each other about how the other could be doing more to help (again though, the voice acting is phenomenal, but when the writers make a joke about people from 2099 not knowing what a toaster is, they can only do so much). Combine that with a separate upgrade tree for each Spider-Man and it the switching back and forth starts to get annoying at times.

Gameplay is hindered largely by two main factors and a third incredibly annoying bit thrown into the game occasionally as well.  First and foremost, the web slinging is such a crap shoot that you never really “get good at it.”  The game attempts to give you “tagets” that you can web sling to with ease, but the result is that you often end up slinging to another location or just simply swinging around aimlessly. In a couple very specific moments in the game, including the end boss, this becomes very frustrating.  The other big factor hindering the game is that everything takes place inside a single building. That’s right, a single skyscraper makes up the entire game’s environment. Now, it is a big skyscraper, but still, Spider-Man wants to swing feely not run down corridors.

Now the third factor that was less frequent but possibly the most annoying were the Spider-Man 2099 free-fall levels.  Much like similar levels in The Force Unleashed II, you must guide Spider-Man 2099 down an elevator shaft, avoiding obstacles and outrunning fire or whatever from above.  The controls and camera for these moments are so poor they are almost obscene and they feel entirely out of place (not to mention just plain stupid) in the game.  Edge of Time would have been much better off without these moments.

Also, they make Mary Jane a complete tool in this game (which is all the more impressive considering that she only appears in the game briefly).

Spider-Man: Edge of Time mostly gets points for trying something different with a Spider-Man game.  The story is unique, even if a little ridiculous at times, and there are moments where the cross generation banter between classic and 2099 is actually quite funny.  The game’s combat system is borderline button masher, but still manages to be fun despite the total debacle that is the web slinging system and at the very least the game doesn’t drag on like the final act of Web of Shadows did.  Is it great? No, but the game certainly has some moments and for the right price you can play Edge of Time without feeling like you’ve been ripped off.

Tomorrow I tear shit up in Splatterhouse.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On
: Xbox 360
Time to completion: Approximately 7 hours
Gamer Score Earned: 555/100
Price Bought at: $13
Current Price: $22.70 (Amazon)
Recommend Purchase Price: $15 or under is a fair price for this.
Why you should buy it: You really liked Spider-Man 2099 in Shattered Dimensions.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: You still have Shattered Dimensions or Web of Shadows to play first.

Keep track of all the Backlog Quest journal entries!

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