In case you didn't know, news just broke over the interwebs about the next Spider-Man game, Shattered Dimensions. We'll have our own look at it very soon, but the concept alone of four different Spider-Men from different worlds gets us excited. At least as far back as Neversoft’s first Spider-Man on the PlayStation, being able to dress up your digital Spidey in the huge array of costumes he’s worn through his comic career has been a fun distraction. And changing between the black symbiote and the classic red was central to the last solo Spidey game, the underrated Web of Shadows. But now we know about Shattered Dimensions making it way more than dress-up.
Above: Here's a little taste of Spider-Man Noir in the comics
Only two universes have been announced so far, the traditional Spidey we all know and the one from the mini-series Spider-Man: Noir, a fine story that recast Pete in the 1930s fighting crime in the hard-boiled tradtition of Raymond Chandler. That leaves two dimensions unspoken for, and if you know GR (and this author) we can’t wait to speculate on what they could be while at the same time showing off our useless comic knowledge. So journey with us through the many worlds and their Spider-Men to see which we’d love to see and which can stay on their own planet for all we care.
Note: To save space we’re excluding the Ultimate Universe, which had a game already.
What we want to see
In a universe that seemed identical to the main Marvel U, all was well for the heroes until a strange virus broke out. Soon enough basically everyone on earth was a zombie, including the heroes, who still had most of their consciousness, but only became their old selves after eating live flesh, which in their ruined world has become a hot commodity. Spidey is among the now-ghoulish heroes, and when his hunger is briefly sated he is wracked with guilt over eating Mary Jane and his elderly aunt. As the story goes on, Spidey does his best to beat his zombie demons and occasionally his old heroic self comes out.
We think this one has the best chance of appearing, for a multitude of reasons: Marvel Zombies has been one of the most popular comics of the last decade, zombies appear in approximately 11 out of every 10 games, and then there was this story from awhile back. The only hinderance we can see is that to properly do the world would also get an M-rating, but we'd bet Activision can find a way around that.
Spider-Man: House of M
Following a very convoluted series of events, Magneto’s daughter Scarlet Witch remakes the world as her dad would prefer, with mutants as the dominant species. Life for everyone changes including Pete’s. He’s a very rich celebrity with a public identity, a living Uncle Ben and a son with his wife Gwen Stacy. But once it’s revealed to the human-hating populace that Spidey is an enhanced human, not a mutant, he’s public enemy number one, and he eventually decides to strike against the ruling Magneto for his anti-human policies.
Like Noir, this alternate world would provide an interesting backdrop and it has a clear plotline that the story could follow. Still, we think the odds aren’t great for it, as the company-wide crossover that spawned it has been pretty much forgotten by fans, and even at the height of popularity, it can’t hold a candle to such properties as Marvel Zombies or Civil War.
One of the few Spideys that aren't Peter Parker, the Spider-Man of 2099 has a sharper edge to him than the classic one. Taking place in 2099, which seemed much farther away in 1992 when he first appeared, Miguel O’Hara, a scientist, accidentally splices his genes with a spider. When his powers develop, aside from the strength, speed and agility, the rest are in a stark contrast to classic Spidey: he climbs walls using razor-sharp talons that pop out of his fingers, shoots webs out of his forarms, has a poisonous bite, awesome hearing, and has a cape-like set of webs on his back that allow him to glide for short distances.
We’d love to see this one in Shattered Dimensions. The near future would make a great setting, and this Spider-Man would certainly play differently than the standard one. Though the 2099 world has been pretty underused in this century, there are still some fans out there, and the costume has appeared in several games - like Web of Shadows and Marvel Super Hero Squad - as an unlockable. We expect this one to appear to really mix things up.
In the early ’70s Japanese company Toei, famous for Godzilla and other kaiju (giant monster) properties, got the rights to make a series based on Spider-Man. They took full advantage of their creative license to really change Spidey, who was relatively-unknown internationally back then. Yamashiro Takuya, a motorcycle enthusiast, comes into contact with an alien that gives him a bracelet to transform into Spider-Man, an arachnid avenger out to stop the Iron Cross Army. Just like the Power Rangers series from the same genre, Spidey fights the monster of the week, whether riding in his Spider-car or using his giant robot. Just watch it here and it will make a little more sense.
After marveling at how insane that is, wouldn’t it be ludicrously awesome to play as Spider-Man in a giant robot fighting monsters?!?! Just think of the great, hyper-Japanese levels that could come from that setting. But there’s probably tons of legal red tape preventing it from happening, but wouldn’t it be great if they did it?
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane
As everyone knows, Mary Jane Watson didn’t go to high school with Peter Parker in main cannon, she only really became part of his world in college. Well this girly comic does a soft reset and places her in Midtown High with Pete and the rest of that cast like Liz Allen, Flash Thompson and Harry Osborn while Spidey’s career is starting. MJ’s the star, as Spider-Man’s adventures happen in the background, and Mary Jane starts with a crush on the wall-crawler but slowly comes to recognize her feelings for Peter as well.
Yes, it’s a dating comic aimed at teen girls, so hate it in concept if you must, but the great writing and manga-style art made the series way better than it deserved to be. And wouldn’t playing as MJ in a dating-sim while pining for Spider-Man be a great change of pace to the game? *crickets chirping* Fine, guess we’re alone in this.
What can stay away
This is basically fan-fiction that Marvel publishes, as it supposes that the changes made to Spider-Man during the horrid Clone Saga stuck. Peter and MJ are still married about 16 years in the future with a daughter named May who takes on the webs from her retired dad. It’s all about the plucky young lady fighting second generation baddies and is full of cliches and references to ‘90s comics no one cares about. We’ll admit the Spider-Girl series has its fans, but they certainly aren’t at GR.
Taking place in the Marvel’s animal universe, the webhead is recast as Peter Porker, an anthropomorphic pig, and we get lighter tales of Spidey told with hacky puns and terrible animal jokes. It was cute when we were kids, and we wouldn’t mind it as a gag costume, but we would probably rip out our eyes to have to play a fourth of the game with him.
Spider-Man: Chapter One
John Byrne was a giant of '80s comics, with amazing runs on Fantastic Four, X-Men and Superman, where he retold the Kryptonian's origin with much success. By the late '90s, it had been awhile since his last hit, so he decided to do for Spidey what he did for Supes. Fans were less than pleased with the results, let alone with the idea that these comics were intended to replace the classic Stan Lee/Steve Ditko originals. The actual book itself was pretty crappy, as it tried to update the science and over explain concepts that no one cared about while telling a boring story. The whole series has been ignored canonically by Marvel ever since it ended, making it an alternate universe we’d rather ignore.
We’ll admit that the concept of resetting the silver age of Marvel in during 1602 in Europe is attention-grabbing, but the story itself was pretty slow moving and Peter didn’t even gain his powers until the last page of the original series. In later spin-offs he became a hero, travelling the land and righting Enlightenment-era wrongs, but we sayeth nay to playing as Spider-Man in such an olde-tyme setting.
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