Ultimate Spider-Man swings into stores

Activision's latest puts players in the formfitting outfits of the friendly neighborhood wallcrawler and his greatest foe.

One side, Tobey Maguire. Gamers everywhere are getting to experience what it's like to be Spider-Man in Activision's Ultimate Spider-Man, now shipping to stores for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, PC, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo DS.

With no movie for Marvel's moneymaking arachnid hitting theaters this year, Activision turned to the Ultimate Spider-Man comic series for inspiration for its latest game. A reimagining of the Spider-Man mythos, Ultimate Spider-Man follows a 15-year-old Peter Parker as he deals with the truly intimidating trio of great power, great responsibility, and high school.

To faithfully translate the atmosphere of the comic series to the game, developer Treyarch enlisted the comic's talent, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mark Bagley, to provide a new story and character illustrations for the game, respectively. While the popular Spider-Man villain/antihero Venom has yet to appear in director Sam Raimi's films based on the webhead, he plays a much bigger role in the comics. That's reflected in the game, where Venom is not just an obstacle in Spider-Man's way, but he's a second playable character with his own distinct moves and fighting style.

Treyarch is no stranger to the world of Spider-Man. The company ported NeverSoft's original PlayStation game to the Dreamcast in 2001, and it also developed the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube games based on the two Spider-Man movies.

It's been a big week for Marvel games, with the major releases of Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects and X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse. Throw in last month's release of The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction and this is shaping up to be a banner holiday season in the Marvel household.

Ultimate Spider-Man for the GameCube, Xbox, and PS2 retails for $49.99 and is rated T for Teen. The PC version is $29.99 and also carries the T for Teen rating. The Game Boy Advance and DS editions have been rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older, with $29.99 and $39.99 price tags, respectively.

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