The Metroidvania formula is alive and well in WoS, and its a nice fit for Spider-Man. During gameplay, I found myself crawling through corridors, finding my way through a series of rooms, and taking down baddies that got in my way. Sound familiar? One area was blocked by a mini-boss that took some time to beat. I used my newly acquired uppercut punch, a moved I earned through experience and battling, to finish this guy off. Believe it or not, there's even heart containers and save rooms. I'm glad to say that this sidescrolling d-pad-and-buttons action-adventure formula works.
It's not all totally familiar, though. There's plenty of Spider-Man in the mix to make WoS original. You'll get to sling webs and climb up walls, just as you'd expect. In WoS, the player has the ability to switch between red and black suits. The red suit makes for an agile Spidey, while the black one makes for a stronger one. These suits can be changed on the fly, and even in mid-combo, making for a simple but fun combat system. With some practice, I was able to pop an opponent in the air with the red suit on, jump up, and with a tap of the "L" button, continue hitting him in mid-air with the black suit on. And as you unlock more moves and powers, your ability to beat baddies down in epic fashion increases.
I'm glad to say that the basic control Web of Shadows DS avoids the touchscreen. In fact, it's only used in a revival touchscreen mini-game. After Spidey takes one too many hits, you'll see him laid out on the bottom screen, with red power orbs floating around him. Your goal is to use the stylus to swipe these orbs toward him before time runs out. If successful, Spider-Man will live to continue the fight.
We were told that both Nightcrawler and Green Goblin will play roles in the DS version of Web of Shadows. It may turn out that you'll make alliances with them.
After spending time with this title, we have to salute developer Griptonite for the polish on Web of Shadows DS. From what we saw, it played fantastically. We'll salute again for the choice of sidescrolling platforming action over a watered-down version of the console games. We can't wait to get our hands on the final game.
We'll say now that if you enjoy this Metroidvania style of game, you'll likely be pleased with Spider-Man: Web of Shadows on the DS. Check it out later this fall.
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