Reviewed: November 14, 2011
Released: October 4, 2011
It is fair to say that the past couple years have not been kind to Spider-Man. From the cancellation of the fourth Spider-Man film, to the disastrous failure of the Spider-Man Broadway musical, our favorite web-slinger just can’t seem to get a break these days. And just when it seemed like it couldn’t get any worse for Spidey, we find Spider-Man: Edge of Time for the DS.|
For those not in the know, in the early 2000’s Marvel introduced a new “futuristic” Spider-Man series called Spider-Man 2099. In the 2099 series, Peter Parker has long since passed on – replaced by Miguel O’Hara, famed genetic scientist for the Alchemax Corporation. Edge of Time attempts to connect the current (Parker) Spider-Man with the future (O’Hara) Spider-Man 2099 through the use of an interesting time-travelling mechanic that allows the two to work cooperatively over time and space.
Miguel uncovers a plan devised by fellow Alchemax Corporation scientist Walter Sloan to travel back in time (to the present day) and found the Alchemax Corporation for himself. Miguel attempts to stop Sloan, but finds himself trapped within the time portal. He sees a vision of the Peter Parker Spider-Man being killed by uber-enemy Anti-Venom before being flung back in his own 2099 world, which has been transformed into a tyrannical state as a result of Sloan’s historical alterations.
Miguel – the genetic scientist – uses a stored sample of Peter Parker’s DNA to form a communications link between the two to pass information back and forth between the present and future, and the two Spidey’s work together to undo the changes made by Sloan. The way it works is that changes made in the present day affect the future Alchemax building layout. This allows Peter to make present day actions to help Miguel solve future puzzles by moving a box, or unlocking a door or what have you. Gamers can switch between the two at will, which seems cool at first but quickly gets tiring.
Convoluted as it is, the storyline is delivered with surprising audio production value for a DS title, including voice acting from the likes of Spider-Man vets Josh Keaton (Peter Parker) and Christopher Barnes (Miguel O’Hara), and even Val Kilmer as the nefarious Sloan, rounds out the stable of voice actors. The visuals are another story – the stark backgrounds are drab and blocky, and the character modeling is lifeless and stiff. The enemies are heavily recycled, and the framerate often comes to a freeze rendering combat an exercise in frustration. The DS’s punch and kick buttons will get a good workout with all the button crunching going on – believe me, finesse is not a prerequisite for Edge of Time.
I cannot say that Edge of Time is a total failure – while it may not have made much of an impression on me, my 8-year old son thinks it is the coolest thing since peanut butter and jelly – and that’s what really matters.