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When we last saw Spider-Man, he and three alternate spider-men had succesfully un-shattered their respective dimensions and saved the world yet again. Apparently everything in the Noir and Ultimate universes wrapped up quite nicely, while both Amazing and 2099 still have some lingering issues to deal with. Namely, the apparent death of Spider-Man and the complete corruption of time as we know it. Oops!
It all starts when a mad scientist travels from 2099 to present day, where he founds the evil Alchemax corporation and starts a chain reaction that, among other things, leads to the death of present-day Spidey. Spider-Man 2099 escapes the effects of the time change (so only he notices the sudden shift in reality), then contacts Spider-Man to warn him of his impending doom. Thing is, for the moment, this alternate timeline is treating Peter Parker very well, so he doesn't believe some screaming Spidey wannabe from the future. Nevertheless, Parker does infiltrate Alchemax to stop any shenanigans, and that's where our demo kicks in.
Above: 2099 asking for help in his timeline; Amazing Spidey destroys this machine to change it in the future
Throughout the game you alternate play as Amazing and 2009 Spider-Men, with one appearing in a picture-in-picture display in the corner every so often to request aid in their timeline. For example, while playing as Amazing, 2099 will say he's pinned down by a giant robot. Your goal as Amazing Spidey is to find the prototype for said robot in present day and dismantle it, which, through the magic of time travel, makes 2099's robot menace transform into a different, less imposing enemy.
This "cause and effect" gameplay is said to be a cornerstone of Edge of Time, where the two Spideys are in constant communication. While playing as Amazing Spider-Man, 2099 will make requests and, once they're handled, his future changes for the better. Conversely, as 2099 you'll see entire walls or enemies disappear or change mid-game, as Amazing is back in the past getting into trouble. We only saw a few basic instances of this gameplay feature (a dead end hallway became a new path etc), but the concept is cool and could lead to some interesting level designs.
Above: The large robot from the last image, thanks to Spider-Man, becomes four smaller robots
Outside of this new premise, the fundamentals looked rather similar to Shattered Dimensions; combat, character animations and the linear, tunnel-like levels were all reminiscent of last year's Spidey title. There are a couple of new wrinkles, such as 2099's holographic decoy power that can distract enemies, but for the most part Edge of Time looks like a tweaked and upgraded sequel instead of brand new idea. But why revisit just ONE of Shattered Dimensions' four playable universes? Well, that's one of the questions I asked in this interview with creative director Gerard Lehiany:
Edge of Time launches this fall, presumably in the same September area as Shattered Dimensions. We'll likely learn more (including which villains made the cut) during June's busy E3 week.
April 4, 2011