|Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions|
Griptonite Games (DS)
|Director(s)||Jose Pablo Gonzalez, Kody Sabourin|
|Release||Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, Wii, & Xbox 360|
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is a 2010 action-adventure video game based on the Marvel Comics superhero Spider-Man, developed by Beenox and published by Activision. Players control four different versions of Spider-Man, each originating from a different universe in the Marvel Comics multiverse. Previous Spider-Man voice actors Neil Patrick Harris, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Dan Gilvezan, and Josh Keaton each voice one of the four Spider-Men. The Nintendo DS version of the game was developed by Griptonite Games and features only three Spider-Man variants.
The game revolves around an artifact known as the Tablet of Order and Chaos. When it is shattered into pieces during a fight between the Amazing Spider-Man and Mysterio, it causes problems with multiple realities across the Marvel Multiverse. Madame Web recruits the Amazing Spider-Man and three alternate versions of the hero—Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Man 2099, and Ultimate Spider-Man—to restore balance by retrieving the tablet fragments from villains within their respective dimensions. Gameplay alternates between the four Spider-Men, who control similarly but present a different gameplay style and/or abilities. For example, the Spider-Man Noir levels encourage a stealth approach, while the Ultimate Spider-Man levels place emphasis on large scale combat encounters.
Shattered Dimensions is the first Spider-Man game developed by Beenox after being given the license by Activision, replacing previous developer Treyarch. It received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the concept of bringing four Marvel universes together, and lauded the voice acting, combat, presentation, humor, and score. However, criticism was aimed at the game's simplistic story, choice of villains, and the overall design of the cutscenes as well as its technical difficulties.
A sequel, Spider-Man: Edge of Time, was released in October 2011, featuring only the Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099. Both the game and its sequel were de-listed from the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live marketplaces in 2014 following the expiration of Activision's existing licensing deal with Marvel. Shattered Dimensions was re-released via Steam on October 24, 2015, but was later removed on April 1, 2017.
One of the writers of the game, Mark Hoffmeier, also worked on the well-received Spider-Man: The Animated Series on Fox Kids before working on the game. Some of the concepts from the TV show influenced the game, including the use of multiple versions of Spider-Man (as seen on the show) and the concept of the Tablet of Order and Chaos. Another writer for Shattered Dimensions, Dan Slott, later worked on the 2014 comic book storyline, "Spider-Verse", which was influenced by the game and, in turn, helped to inspired the animated Spider-Verse film franchise.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is a level-based third-person action-adventure video game, where the player assumes the role of four different versions of Spider-Man, spanning across the Amazing, Noir, 2099, and Ultimate universes. Gameplay revolves around each Spider-Man's unique superhuman abilities; players are able to web swing, web zip, crawl walls, and use the 'spider-sense' to identify enemies or objects of interest. The combat of the game offers a large variety of fighting moves, and each Spider-Man has his own fighting style. The points necessary for buying upgrades and new fighting moves are earned from defeating enemies or completing various challenges in the "Web of Destiny." The points earned can also be used to purchase 16 alternate costumes (four for each Spider-Man), which do not provide any gameplay advantages and are purely cosmetic.
The game features numerous supervillains from classic Spider-Man comics as bosses; some of the villains are created exclusively for the game, such as the 2099 versions of Hobgoblin and Doctor Octopus, and the Noir version of Hammerhead. All bosses are usually fought twice in a level, and during the second battle, they possess a new series of powers, granted to them by the Tablet of Order and Chaos, requiring players to change their strategy. During specific parts of the boss battles, Shattered Dimensions switches to a first-person perspective, where the player can use the analog sticks (or the Wii Remote and Nunchuk in the Wii version) to control Spider-Man's arms, punching their opponent and dodging their attacks. Three different types of punches are available.
While all four Spider-Men control identically, they each feature a different gameplay style. For example, the Spider-Man Noir levels require players to hide in the shadows and take down enemies stealthily, while Spider-Man 2099 features unique free falling segments. Some of the Spider-Men also feature unique abilities, such as Spider-Man 2099 being able to slow down time to dodge incoming attacks, and Ultimate Spider-Man being able to use his symbiote tendrils to take on large groups of enemies at once.
The Nintendo DS version of Shattered Dimensions is a side-scrolling brawler with little gameplay difference between the multiple iterations of Spider-Man. This version also omits Ultimate Spider-Man, and features less villains: Electro and the Tinkerer for the Amazing Spider-Man; Boomerang and Calypso for Spider-Man Noir; and Vulture and Silvermane for Spider-Man 2099. Not all the moves are available at the beginning, and can be unlocked as players progress through the game. While most of the action is played with pad and button controls, the touchscreen is used to play a mini-game in between levels to help Spider-Man use the Tablet to travel between dimensions.
During a confrontation with Mysterio, who attempts to steal the Tablet of Order and Chaos, the Amazing Spider-Man accidentally shatters the Tablet into 17 fragments. While Mysterio makes off with one piece, Spider-Man is approached by Madame Web, who reveals that the other fragments have been scattered across this and three other realities across the Multiverse. To restore balance, Madame Web recruits him, Spider-Man Noir of Earth-20914, Spider-Man 2099 of Earth-928, and Ultimate Spider-Man of Earth-1610 (whose Venom Symbiote is kept in line by Madame Web's powers) to retrieve the fragments from their native dimensions. After the Spider-Men collect their first fragment with no difficulty, Madame Web warns them that the Tablet pieces can grant incredible powers and must not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands.
While searching for their second fragment, the Spider-Men discover that they have already been found by supervillains. In the Amazing universe, Kraven the Hunter forces Spider-Man to overcome a series of trials for a fragment; however, after Spider-Man defeats him, Kraven reneges on their deal and uses the Tablet piece to gain superhuman speed and strength. In the Noir universe, Hammerhead uses a fragment to fuse his guns with his arms and, driven mad by power, seeks to overthrow his boss, Norman "The Goblin" Osborn. In the 2099 universe, Hobgoblin, an android mercenary, uses a fragment to increase his psy-powers and create illusions to torment Spider-Man 2099. In the Ultimate universe, Electro attacks a hydro-electric dam and uses the fragment he found to grow larger and more powerful as he absorbs more energy. In the end, the Spider-Men defeat the villains and retrieve their fragments before heading off to find more.
The Amazing Spider-Man finds another fragment at an abandoned Roxxon Industries quarry, but it is stolen by Sandman, who uses it to increase his powers and take over the quarry. Spider-Man Noir pursues the Vulture, Osborn's right-hand man and his Uncle Ben's killer, for a fragment, which has granted the villain teleportation powers. Spider-Man 2099 faces his half-brother Scorpion of 2099 who has stolen a fragment from the Public Eye Patrol for a contractor in exchange for reversing his mutation, gaining the ability to create numerous offsprings in the process. Ultimate Spider-Man competes in Deadpool's reality TV show, Pain Factor, for a fragment, which the latter eventually uses to clone himself. Meanwhile, Mysterio discovers his fragment granted him magic powers, and seeks out the rest. When the Spider-Men return to Madame Web with the fragments they collected, Mysterio attacks, threatening to kill Madame Web if the remaining pieces are not delivered to him.
The Amazing Spider-Man finds his final fragment at a construction yard, but is forced to intervene in Silver Sable and the Wild Pack's chase of the Juggernaut after the latter unknowingly picks it up. Spider-Man Noir faces Osborn, who used a fragment to gain a goblin-like appearance and took over a carnival to lure him into a trap. Spider-Man 2099 breaks into Alchemax, where he finds his final fragment in the hands of his time period's Doctor Octopus named Dr. Serena Patel, who hopes to use it to power a dangerous reactor. Ultimate Spider-Man visits the Triskelion to seek S.H.I.E.L.D.'s help in finding his final fragment, only to find the base under Carnage's control after S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists fused the creature with a Tablet piece, giving it the ability to resurrect its victims into zombie-like minions.
After retrieving the final set of fragments, the Spider-Men return to Mysterio, who absorbs the complete Tablet after a brief struggle and becomes a god. He shatters the borders between realities, seeking to create a new one under his rule. However, this allows Madame Web to summon the four Spider-Men to fight Mysterio together. After defeating Mysterio and separating him from the Tablet, the Multiverse is restored to normal and Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Man 2099, and Ultimate Spider-Man return to their native realities, while the Amazing Spider-Man takes Mysterio to prison. The game ends with all four Spider-Men web-swinging in their respective dimensions while claiming to be the best version of Spider-Man.
In a post-credits scene, Madame Web is visited by Spider-Ham, who had also hoped to help save the Multiverse, but arrived too late.
Each of the different Spider-Men is portrayed by an actor who voiced Spider-Man in a prior animated series:
Several actors return to reprise roles from elsewhere in Spider-Man and Marvel Comics media:
Other cast members include David Kaye as Mysterio, Susanne Blakeslee as Madame Web, Dimitri Diatchenko as Sandman, and Matt Willig as Juggernaut. Peter Porker / Spider-Ham, an alternate talking animal version of Spider-Man, also makes a brief appearance at the end of the game, voiced by Kevin Umbricht, who was uncredited for the role; this marks the first time Spider-Ham was seen outside of comics. Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee narrates the game's story.
Jamie Thomson served as voice director, having previously directed The Spectacular Spider-Man. Jim Dooley composed the game's orchestral score.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions was unveiled on March 30, 2010, where two of the universes, Amazing and Noir, were revealed. The third universe, 2099, was revealed on June 8. The final universe, Ultimate, was first shown to players at San Diego Comic-Con 2010. Developer Beenox sought to make each universe feel unique by creating an individual art style for each universe and giving each Spider-Man different gameplay mechanics. For example, the Amazing and Ultimate universes are rendered with bright colors and tones of cel shading, with the Amazing universe given a traditional comic feel based on those of 1960s classic comic book art styles, while the Ultimate universe was meant to evoke more modern comics from the early 2000s. In contrast, the Noir and 2099 universes are rendered with realistic graphics, with the 2099 universe given a futuristic feel while the Noir universe was given a "very dark, very gritty" appearance. The developers also worked closely with Marvel Comics to create new versions of characters not seen before in a particular universe, such as Hobgoblin 2099, Hammerhead Noir, and Doctor Octopus 2099. The story for the game was written by Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott and later provided him with an inspiration for the Spider-Verse comic book crossover event, which saw dozens of Spider-Men from alternate realities teaming up.
Several pre-order bonuses were offered for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions prior to release. Players who pre-ordered at GameStop received a Cosmic Spider-Man pack, which provided a Cosmic Spider-Man outfit for each Spider-Man. It was later included as a free bonus on the PC version, along with some minor fixes, which were not patched on the console versions. The Cosmic Spider-Man pack was later publicly released as downloadable content for the Xbox 360 on October 28, and for the PlayStation 3 on November 2, 2010. Pre-orders via Amazon.com included early access to Spider-Man 2099's Iron Spider costume and a book containing concept art for the game. Kmart pre-orders offered early access to Amazing Spider-Man's Scarlet Spider costume, while Best Buy included early access to the Negative Zone costume for Spider-Man Noir. Wal-Mart offered a 20-page comic book for online pre-orders of the game. All the three costumes can otherwise be unlocked with cheat codes on copies of the non-DS versions of the game.
Shattered Dimensions was de-listed from the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live marketplaces in 2014 following the expiration of Activision's existing licensing deal with Marvel. The game was re-released via Steam on October 24, 2015, but was later removed on April 1, 2017.
|Nintendo Power||WII: 8/10|
|Official Xbox Magazine (US)||7.5/10|
|PC Gamer (US)||50%|
|The A.V. Club||B+|
The game received mostly positive reviews from critics. Metacritic gave it a score of 73 out of 100 for the DS version; 74 out of 100 for the PlayStation 3 version; 76 out of 100 for the Xbox 360 version; 75 out of 100 for the Wii version; and 68 out of 100 for the PC version.
IGN gave the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions eight out of ten and said, "Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions has a lot of great things going for it", but scored the Wii version half a point lower despite being nearly identical to these two versions due to that version lacking a button to center the camera. Game Informer awarded it 8.5 out of 10 and said it "delivers a non-stop action ride with something new around every corner". GamesRadar gave it three-and-a-half stars out of five and said "Shattered Dimensions is a good game, but it fell short of an Ultimate Marvel Team-Up". GamePro gave the Xbox 360 version four and a half out of five stars and said, "thankfully, [Spider-Man's] latest adventure, Shattered Dimensions, is one of his best yet, offering four unique worlds, classic Spidey action, and an engaging story that puts it near the top of the franchise both in terms of quality and impact". X-Play gave the game four stars out of five and said it "streamlines the usual trappings of the genre to focus on combat and personality. It's true that the linear gameplay and old-school combat sensibilities don't put it on par with Arkham Asylum, but the game succeeds regardless. It's fun, fast-paced, and long enough to make it well worth checking out". 1UP.com gave it a B and stated, "the change in combat options is a welcome addition, I just wish that the story had delivered on the comic legacy of one of Marvel's more enduring heroes".
Non-video-game publications gave some strong praise for the game. The A.V. Club gave the Xbox 360 version a B+ and stated: "Filled with countless remember-when moments—as in Remember when you outran that wave of sand?— Shattered Dimensions is less literary and artful than Batman: Arkham Asylum, but it's far more fun". The Daily Telegraph gave it seven out of ten and stated, "the combat, and it's worth noting that this makes up the majority of the game, is superb. It's not particularly deep nor clever, but it's immensely rewarding, as too are the scripted first person sections which exist purely to, yes, let you punch things in the face". However, The Escapist gave the Xbox 360 version three stars out of five and said, "creative set-pieces and an awesome concept can only hide a repetitious game structure for so long - and the stealth sections that mix it up are just frustrating".
The Nintendo DS version of the game drew mixed reviews. IGN and Digital Chumps praised the visuals. IGN felt the visuals stayed true to the comics, while Digital Chumps praised the smooth and detailed animations. Reviewers felt that overall the 2.5D Metroid-style gameplay was enjoyable, and fit the DS well. Sounds and voice acting were also praised. Some reviewers felt the game was too short, and that not enough emphasis was put on exploring the open world.
The premise of a crossover between different versions of Spider-Man that was used in Shattered Dimensions became the inspiration for the 2014 comic book storyline Spider-Verse (the main story of which was also scripted by Dan Slott), which would go on to become one of the most popular and media adapted Spider-Man story arcs, including a 2018 animated film titled Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which was later used as the starting point for the Spider-Verse animated franchise. Despite the film borrowing no inspiration from Shattered Dimensions itself, all four playable Spider-Men from the game appear in Into the Spider-Verse, in varying capacities.
The plot sets up a game that is heavily inspired by past 'Metroidvania' titles, complete with a slick presentation.
Tutorial Prompt: "Sometimes, the fight will get up-close and personal! Stay alert and dodge incoming attacks! [Pull the Wii Remote and Nunchuk back to d]odge."
Tutorial Prompt: "Now, it's time to fight back! Have at him! [Shake the Nunchuk or the Wii Remote for a l]eft/[r]ight jab. [Hold the C Button and shake the Nunchuk or hold the A Button and shake the Wii Remote for a l]eft/[r]ight hook. [Hold the Z Button and shake the Nunchuk or hold the B Button and shake the Wii Remote for a l]eft/[r]ight overhand punch."