Another Great Spidey Brawler
If you haven't played any of the other DS Spidey games, Battle for New York is a side-scrolling brawler. You switch between playing as the Green Goblin and Spider-man and either beat-up a lot of dudes, save some folks or swing about the city. The levels are fairly short but paced really well.
As the Goblin you'll generally beat-up everyone in sight and destroy many environmental objects. You've got special powers that can be charged up by merely attacking enemies, as well as a fireball ability that uses energy similar to a mana system. As Spider-man you're spending more time saving victims but also beating up baddies and disarming alarms and such. The gameplay mechanics are really fun and tightly executed for both characters.
One of the main drawbacks with gameplay, however, has to do with the game's timed events; in most cases you'll initially fail and have to redo a level several times before you learn the layout of victims or alarms and all that. The time allocated is short and there's often too much to do within the given time frame. Also, the boss battles can be frustrating. They're not hard in the sense of knowing what to do to defeat a given boss – they're just hard. Your opponent can withstand a ton of damage while you cannot.
But the game's real enjoyment comes from the feeling you get of being a super hero. There have been countless games based on comic-book characters, but the physics, graphics and mechanics in Battle for New York really put you in Spidey's shoes. The game's production, too, is really polished and offers an entertaining comic-book tale. The graphics in Battle for New York are some of the best 3D visuals I've seen on DS. Buildings appear far off in the background, lots of great lighting and the character models are detailed with a wonderful cel-shaded style. Everything works great for a system as limited as the DS is, and the frame rate is lightning fast. The audio presentation is also very impressive, with lots of voice-over work, sirens wooing away in the distance, enemy and pedestrian feedback – lots of great stuff.
Overall, Battle for New York is a great little package, even at the full retail price. Of course, you can now get it quite cheap, and if you're in for a modern beat`em-up and dig Spider-man, this game is a great way to beat the summer heat. It's fairly short, but it's one of those you can play through multiple times and enjoy. If you played Ultimate Spider-man and didn't care for it, you probably won't care for this game. But if you did have fun before, chances are you'll get your money's worth out of this romp.