Get ready for time changing spider-action as Spider-Man (now) and Spider-Man (2099) team up to untangle each otherâ€™s changing realities while battling super-villains, cracking wise, and slinging plenty of webs.
In the battle of the superhero franchises, is Spider-Man: Edge of Time another Arkham, or just one more beaten foe lying at the feet of the Batman?
What is apparent about Edge of Time is that itâ€™s a fast paced beat-em-up. In the beginning, Spider-Man is getting a kicking from the immensely powerful Anti-Venom. Serving as a quick training level, the beat-down gives you a chance to get the hang of the combat mechanics. Being Spider-Man you can jump, punch, shoot webs to temporarily blind and stun opponents, and use your hyper spider-sense to slow the action and quickly slide out of harmâ€™s way.
While the controls are pretty straightforward, the story isnâ€™t. Because no sooner has Anti-Venom dealt to Spider-Man, itâ€™s almost a century into the future and Spider-Man 2099 is following evil scientist Walker Sloan around the hi-tech Alchemax complex. This is where everything starts to get a bit... involved.
Sloan goes into the past, not just the futureâ€™s past, but nowâ€™s past, and builds Alchemax into a powerful corporation. Now, Peter Parker works as a scientist for Alchemax, along side Dr Octavius, rather then at the Daily Bugle. So future Spider-Man uses future science to create a link with Spider-Man now, in the Alchemax dominated altered reality, so they can talk to each other through time, get stuck in each otherâ€™s times, and finally stop Sloan by sending a Terminator back to kill John Connor before he (will have never?) been born and win the war between the men and machines before it (has or hasnâ€™t??!) even starts.
Or did start.
Or had startedâ€¦
Hold on, I think Iâ€™m confusing myself now.
Anyway, what you get is some levels of Spider-Man 2099 bashing his way through an Alchemax research complex and fighting future Alchemax guards, inter-cut with Spider-Man now - fighting his way though present day Alchemax guards in a present day Alchemax. All the time giving each other advice, ignoring each otherâ€™s advice, and pretty much getting on each otherâ€™s nerves.
Although the story is kind of a mess (what story about time travel isnâ€™t?), once you get your head around the thing, or just choose to ignore it, the game starts to move forward pretty quickly. While the Spider-Men are very different, with Peter Parkerâ€™s cocky and over-confident Spider-Man contrasting Miguel Oâ€™Haraâ€™s serious Spider-Man of 2099, the interaction between the two Spider-guys is fun, just like all superhero team-ups should be. And the whole premise is at its best when the actions of one bleeds into the reality of the other, changing things as you play.
Unfortunately, if the personalities of the two Spider-Men are noticeably different, the fighting isnâ€™t. Lasting less than ten hours the game descends into a very generic beat-em-up. While the two Spider-Men have their special moves, as well as the hyper (spider) sense, thereâ€™s a stun field and Spidey 2099â€™s ability to drop holograms of himself to act as accelerated decoys.
Of course both the Spideyâ€™s hands and feet are as sticky as ever, so you can crawl up walls and across ceilings. You can also collect XP and buy a couple of alternate costumes and a few special moves like the medium range Talon Strikes or the explosive Web Torpedo. Also, despite being well shy of ten hours gameplay, there is nothing to do on-line. Honestly. Nothing.
Sadly, Spider-Man: Edge of Time even manages to take the best thing about Spider-Man, the web slinging, and make that boring. Since the game is set inside, all you do is press the trigger when an icon indicates something can be targeted. So if youâ€™re on the ground you see an icon, press the button and youâ€™re on a ledge. Once youâ€™re on the ledge, when you see an another icon. Press the trigger and there you are. Itâ€™s the same old grappling hook that youâ€™ve seen in a dozen other games, done in the most obvious way. A shame really.
In the end the whole game is a bit of a shame. While the voice acting is fine, visually itâ€™s repetitive and underwhelming. The fighting, though smooth and fast paced, also gets repetitive. Every area you enter has a locked door. A few waves of guards come in. When you kill the last one, he drops a key, and then you enter another room with a locked door.
While Spider-Man: Edge of Time is disappointing, ultimately, the main problem is that thanks to Batman the bar for superhero games has been raised. So unless Spider-Man can send a Terminator back through time to kill the makers of the Arkham games before they ruin it for all the other superhero game developers, then Iâ€™m afraid, despite all the web-slinging and wise-cracking, most, including Spider-Man, will fall to Gothamâ€™s Dark Knight.