With the Spider-Man 3 trailer causing the masses to count the days until the movie's May 2007 release, Activision is offering up a little something to tide fans over in the form of a new DS title starring everyone's favorite web-head. Spider-Man: Battle for New York is an original title from Torus Games that lets you play as Spidey or his archnemesis the Green Goblin. Your battleground is--surprise!--the city of New York. We had the chance to check out a work-in-progress version of the game, which is set to debut at Comic-Con this week, to just how that's going to work out.
The game's story, which plays out via narrated stills that cycle on both the DS's screens, finds the Goblin escaping from S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. Obviously hurting some for finances, he hooks up with the Kingpin, who's awash in cash, resources, and clearly better lawyers. The evil duo hatches a plan to turn the city's gang members into superhuman, Oz-enhanced soldiers. Your mission as Spidey is to stop them, while your goal as the Goblin is to create chaos and mayhem and take out Spider-Man. It's all very "yin-yang," and it's a prime setup for a game.
The demo of the game featured a single-player level featuring Spidey. Your goal is to infiltrate a warehouse. Your task is complicated by the high volume of thugs making the rounds, as well as by security cameras. Thankfully, Spidey's natural strength, enhanced reflexes, and wallcrawling abilities, combined with his webshooters, come in very handy. You're able to maintain a low profile by staying out of sight and using your webs to get above the mounted cameras so you can destroy them. If you're spotted by the cameras, thugs will be dispatched to take you out. However, when discovered, you'll have a good array of combat moves to deal with your foes. Your webbing will also come in handy, as you can use it to get in close to lay down some smack, which is especially useful when dealing with gun-toting thugs.
Control was good and tight and offered a solid array of options. You move with the D pad, punch with A, kick with Y, jump with B, dodge with the L button, and shoot your webs with R. In addition, you'll have a number of enhanced webslinging abilities that will let you make like a spider. A webzip will let you zip to a set location quickly. A webswing is your standard web-powered locomotion. Capture webbing lets you fire web balls that temporarily immobilize your foes by encasing them in a cocoon. Finally, web yank lets you pull in foes or objects to you very quickly. One element of the game that wasn't fully implemented yet was Spidey's supermoves, which you'll access via the DS touch screen in battle.
Battle for New York's visuals pick up where Ultimate Spider-Man on the DS left off and mix 3D visuals with a 2D perspective and gameplay. Spidey is looking good thanks to smooth animation and a modest amount of detail. The thugs we came across in the level were your garden-variety thugs that are a bit repetitive but move well. The warehouse environment was heavy on the large boxes and containers and offered ample opportunities for wallcrawling, webslinging, and butt-kicking.
The audio wasn't fully implemented but covered all the important bases for a demo. There was already a fair amount of sound effects for all the key actions and events. The big thing about the sound in the game is the copious amount of spoken audio. Spidey and company are a talkative bunch, and sound quite good.
Based on what we saw of the demo level, we're anxious to see more of Spider-Man: Battle for New York. The game looks promising and has a good feel already. The chance to wreak some havoc as the Green Goblin is something we're especially hankering to try. Spidey fans--and anyone looking for a good action game for the DS--will want to keep track of how Spider-Man: Battle for New York progresses, as there's a lot of potential to be realized here. Spider-Man: Battle for New York is currently slated to ship this fall for the Nintendo DS. Look for more on the game in the coming months.