Spider-Man 3

Format: Xbox 360

5 030917 043826
Age Restrictions: 12+
04 May 2007

Possess the never-before-experienced powers of Black-Suited Spider-Man. Unleash incredible agility, amazing durability and awe-inspiring web abilities. But be warned - the rush your intensified powers bring could overwhelm you. More freedom than ever. More city than ever. For the first time, enjoy unprecedented freedom - choosing what you want to do, when you want to do it. There's no checklist to complete in order to progress. You set your own next goal, roaming anywhere you want - including subterranean areas such as subways, sewers and villains' lairs...

It's been a while since a game came along that I got so engrossed in I lost all track of time. Spider-Man 3 is one game that will keep you glued to the TV for hours at a time. It could be the fantastic graphics, the impressive combat system, or the fact that you are free to roam the city and take on whatever challenges you wish when you want to do them, but at the end of the day there is so much to do and see that you'll soon get lost in a world of your own.

You can choose various missions from the map. Once you've decided what you are going to do it's simply a case of following the onscreen directions to get to your destination. At any point you can change to another mission, or engage in one of the numerous hidden missions dotted around the city. The missions take many forms including photo assignments (where you have to get a good quality picture for the Daily Bugle); chasing down lizard creatures (using your Spidey senses view in order to see things that you can't see normally); stopping master criminals in their tracks; and if you are swinging through the city and hear a commotion below you, it's worth checking it out - you might just stop a crime.

The graphics are incredible, the missions are varied and never get boring, and the difficulty is pitched at just the right level so that you don't feel like it's a walk in the park, but then neither do you stop playing because you have spent hours and hours trying to get past a boss that's impossible to beat.

There are a lot of controls to master, but thankfully the tutorial (which is incorporated into the opening levels of the game) helps guide you through them. At first I had a nightmare swinging through the city on my webs, but it doesn't take long to master this skill. The same is true of crawling up buildings - I soon discovered it was easier to start Spider-Man crawling, and then hit the jump key to make him leap up the side of buildings.

The combat sequences are also quite complex, but once you master them you'll have great fun shooting out your webs and pulling the enemy towards you, or dodging their attack and countering with a barrage of moves.

For some of the missions there are also cut sequences where a button will flash up on screen and you have to press that button to progress to the next part of the sequence. This I thought was the weakest part of the game - mainly because you only have to press a maximum of four buttons in any one sequence and, if you fail, the sequence starts again but the buttons you have to press are the same. I may have found a slight glitch too in one of these sequences. After defeating the Lizard, I failed to tap the first button in the sequence in time. The result was that I had to battle against the Lizard all over again. After I'd beaten the Lizard for the second time I had to go through the button pressing sequence again. I fell at the second hurdle, but this time I was transported back to the start of that sequence, instead of having to defeat the Lizard again.

As you progress through the levels you unlock new abilities and moves (I particularly liked the double web slinging ability - which is purely for show - for swinging around the city).

Not only are there plenty of missions on offer from the city map, but there are a whole stack of hidden races and other mini games to be found as you leap from roof top to roof top. There are neat little touches too to a lot of the missions. For example on the levels where you have to defuse bombs you not only have to shoot your webs at them to defuse them. Sometimes you have to pick them up and carefully take them to an awaiting bomb disposal unit, or you may have to unscrew the bomb and defuse it yourself.

And you'll find it hard to resist the temptation of climbing the highest building on the landscape - and when you do a mini-game is your reward. It's little additions like this that ensure that this game constantly provides new surprises and treats for the gamer willing to invest a little extra time exploring their environment.

And as if all that wasn't enough, the developers have also given gamers the chance to control the legendary black suit, which magnifies Spider-Man's strength, agility and durability. Punish your enemies with explosive new attacks and incredible upgrades, including fearsome room-clearers. All this power comes with a price, though, as players will find the black suit harder and harder to control.

Without a doubt one of the best movie tie-in games I've ever played - and also one of the most engaging games I've played in a long time.

Darren Rea

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