Spider-Man: Battle for New York
More action from everyone’s favorite wall crawler.
Preview by Ken Horowitz (Email)
August 8th 2006
The Basics: Coming hot on the heels of the popular Ultimate Spider-Man game, Activision and Australian-based developer Torus Games bring us another title featuring Marvel's red-hot property. Slinging his way onto the GBA and DS, Spider-Man returns once again for some side-scrolling beat-‘em-up action in Battle for New York. As either the web-slinger or the Green Goblin (not the traditional one but the Ultimate mutated one instead), players can pummel tons of generic bad guys through the streets of the Big Apple, and while it doesn't seem like anything revolutionary, there's some definite promise here.
The first thing you'll notice is that the game features a pseudo 3D look. While the backgrounds boast some cool-looking visuals, all the action is strictly classic 2D. Think of it as a throwback to the classic brawlers of the 16-bit era but with some major emphasis on the presentation. Spidey's got a decent repertoire of moves, going beyond the standard punches and kicks you'd expect, and there are even a few cool new special moves to boot (the spin attack looks nice!). His famous web shooters, still useful for taking out baddies, also come in handy for the numerous platform sequences sprinkled throughout each stage.
The DS version makes sparing use of the touch pad for a few puzzle sequences that require Spider-Man to unlock certain doors to move through the each stage. What real differences there are between the DS and GBA versions, aside from these sequences, still remains to be seen. It looks like Torus wanted to make at least some use of the touch screen, but found it hard to figure out just how. The jury's still out on how much of a difference its attempt will make though, and hopefully things will become much clearer before the game's November release date.
What we think: I can't think of any reason to buy the GBA version unless you don't own a DS. Everything seems to be the same, save for the touch-screen enhancements, and while we don't know if that necessarily means anything yet, it certainly doesn't look like it will. The side-scrolling fighting action might turn off fans expecting more from a modern action game, but it should at least warrant some interest from those who fondly remember the genre's glory days. I only hope that Battle for New York goes beyond what we used to play ten years ago. Still, the Spider-Man franchise has continued to impress over the last few years and hopefully this latest installment keeps the torch alive.