Ultimate Spider-Man Hands-On

We get our hands on Mforma's new Spider-Man game prior to CTIA.

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The upcoming Ultimate Spider-Man will mark the return of Venom, a villain whose symbiotic relationship with an oily alien suit lends him incredible powers of agility and strength. In each level, Spidey must defend hapless citizens--that meander around construction sites and rooftops--from a ravenous Venom, who frequently proclaims that he "Must...hunt!"

Mein Gotte, Venom is so angry! If we had that cool suit, we'd be stoked!
Mein Gotte, Venom is so angry! If we had that cool suit, we'd be stoked!

The premise of the game may be a little odd (what are women and youths doing on suspended I-beams, anyway?), but Ultimate Spider-Man's gameplay is quite standard. You control Spidey's movement with the directional pad, and you perform acrobatic attacks with the OK key. Generally, your goal is to locate Venom and his cohorts (including The Amazing Spider-Man regulars Shocker and The Green Goblin) and dispatch them before they kill or eat the citizens roaming about the New York City skyline.

Webslinging is Spidey's primary mode of transportation, and simple directional presses will prompt him to release streams of sticky ichor from his specially equipped wrists. Of course, the crafty guy can also shamble up walls at a rapid clip. Stages are multitiered, and you'll often have to shimmy up ledges to reach upper levels. Venom could be anywhere.

If you spend too long trying to find your nemesis, Ultimate Spider-Man will pity you and provide directional arrows. You can follow these right to the archfiend before initiating fierce combat. Even in levels in which Venom has several supervillains under his employ, you'll only have to take out the leader of the pack to progress to the next area.

Apart from its anime-style splash screen, Ultimate Spider-Man doesn't do much to translate the console game's unique, new visual style to mobile. Instead, the visuals are not unlike what we saw in the platforming segments of last year's Spider-Man 2 for the N-Gage. The combat animations seem to be very similar as well. The comic book-inspired sound effects we encountered in this incomplete LG VX7000 build were likely not final. They seemed jarring and a bit out of step with the action, but we imagine they'll be fixed up with more development time.

Ultimate Spider-Man looks to be a conventional but solid action platformer for mobile. We look forward to seeing if the final version departs substantially from previous portable entries in the series. The inclusion of Venom, with his malleable, tarlike skin, is enough to get our spider sense tingling.

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