Castlevania hasn't been the same since Symphony of the Night, and we mean that in a good way. Ever since it combined its monster-slaying combat with the branching map system of Metroid, it’s only gotten better. There have been imitators great and small to its style, but we're shocked to see a Spider-Man game, specifically Web of Shadows, be one of them.
With a simplified version of its console brothers’ story, Web of Shadows DS follows Spider-Man as he tries to track down Venom. His mythical red suit has now mixed with his old black suit, enabling him to switch between both at will. The story isn’t too deep, which isn't surprising based on the intended audience, but at least it isn't boring.
Combat starts out with rather plain punches, kicks and web swings, but as you open up more combos for each costume's play style, it gets kinda demanding on your muscle memory. Unfortunately, the controls can be slow to respond, making fights downright hard at times, even with regular enemies. In fact, it got so bad that we had to finish some of the boss battles by desperately spamming the same move, over and over, for way too long.
Like we stated earlier, exploration is pure Metroidvania. You go from room to room, filling out the map on the bottom screen, saving in special side rooms and doing a lot of backtracking in between. Plus, as you make your way through the game, you earn new powers that enable you to go to previously unreachable areas; good luck remembering where that now-breakable wall was.
Taking into account that this is a licensed game with an adequate level of quality in the graphics and sound department, it was nice to see something other than a plain 2D platformer. After all, if you're going to rip off another series, why not pick one that’s been consistently great for handhelds? Web of Shadows is a passable, but sincere, form of flattery to the king of the genre.
Oct 30, 2008