|The “Spider-Man 3” event was pronounced loudly with the logo projected on a near by building, while inside a tarantula wranger played with spiders.|
For hard core console gamers who like their super heroes, the Spider-Man video games from Activision, based on the popular film franchise, have been a source of hours of fun. The first “Spider-Man” game was a big success, but it was “Spider-Man 2” game that really set the bar high, with greater web swinging action and a larger Manhattan base than ever seen before in a Spider-Man game.
As witnessed last week at a special event held in San Francisco, CA, the “Spider-Man 3” game is set to continue that successful tradition. Set to coincide with the launch of the film this May, the “Spider-Man 3” game is a huge step beyond what’s come before, just as “Spider-Man 2” was a huge step over the first game. Of course, some of this is a natural extension of the fact that “Spider-Man 3” is the first Spider-Man game available for the next generation of consoles, but a large part of it is due to the efforts of its developer, Treyarch, who went the extra mile to create a full immersive Spidey experience.
The event was held at the sexy Bambuddha Lounge, one of those clubs/bars with an acute attention to detail and design. Prior to the demonstration the press assembled around the large circular bar in the back of the club, and on the far wall a tarantula wrangler, well, he wrangled himself some tarantulas. Still and video cameras were a regular sight around the tarantula habitat as the wrangler would occasionally coax a tarantula out into the open to the excitement of those watching.
After an hour of drinks and networking, Chris Archer, the executive producer of the “Spider-Man 3” video game for Treyarch, gave a 20 minute demonstration of the game.
Archer began by noting this is a huge game for a huge movie, with a massively coordinated world wide launch in May of 2007. The game has a host of new features, including the most expansive Manhattan ever created for a Spider-Man game with more than 20 miles of subways and sewer systems, an all new combat system including mï¿½lï¿½e attacks, aerial attacks, web combos and charge attacks and has an extensive “cineractive” section of the game, which allows players to recreate moments from the films and actually play them.
As the demonstration began, the familiar voice of Tobey Maguire assured us this was based on the movie. The demo began by looking at the city map, which is much expanded upon from previous Spider-Man games. “The city map gives unprecedented control for players to select any mission in any order they choose, which is totally different from previous Spider-Man games,” said Archer. The map highlighted a variety red territories, which were areas of the city taken over by gangs. Archer noted gangs featured in the film will be seen in the game, along with three non-movie gangs you’ll have to fight.
Next up was a short demo of the “Order of the Dragon Tail” mission, which began with Spider-Man meeting with Mr. Chan, a statue collector. Spider-Man asks him how he knew the Order would try to steal some valuable statues and just as Mr. Chan is about to tell Spider-Man how he knew, suddenly the duo were caught up in an explosion from missile launched by a group of Ninjas. Mr. Chan scurries off for some cover, as Spider-Man takes on the clan.
This was the first time we saw Spidey’s Spider-Sense activated, done in a completely new way. The screen goes from color to black and white with highlights of enemies, interactive objects and hints within his spider-sense range, up to 1000 feet away.
Spider-Man handled those Ninjas easily, battling them on the ground and in the air by webbing an opponent, bringing them in closer and bringing in the final hit to subdue his opponent. As you’d expect, the game includes a whole host of web subdues and web rodeos, but as Archer pointed out, there are a whole host of new web attacks and combos not seen in a Spider-Man game before. With that demo finished, we moved on into another part of the game, taken directly from the upcoming movie.
“After Harry’s father’s death, he’s created the new Goblin,” explained Archer. “This is a really unique experience in that Harry attacks Peter in the open, so you actually get to play as Peter Parker in a sort of weird experience for the player and the fan.”
What came next was a battle on top of the new flyer, with the new Goblin battling Peter Parker. As fans of the movies already know, Harry convinced Peter killed his father.
“Harry, please, I didn’t kill your Dad,” Parker pleads with Harry. But Harry will hear none of it, “Shut up, I don’t want to hear your lies!”
“You’re my best friend Harry, I don’t want to fight you,” pleaded Parker once again, at which point Harry responds, “Yeah? Then hurry up and die!”
The cineractives were some of the most impressive moments of “Spider-Man 3.” As noted earlier, these cineractives allow players to participate in scenes inspired by the film’s cinematography. That familiar scene from the film’s trailer which finds Spider-Man pushing the Sandman’s face into a moving subway train was just one of those scenes demonstrated. There’s a very high production cinematic quality to these cineractives and they’ll be included with every mission and boss fight.
We next moved on to a battle with the Scorpion. “Scorpion’s one of the classic Spider-Man villains and, in this case, Spider-Man’s attempting to get the Scorpion out of bondage.” This elicited more than a few chuckles from the crowd, at which point Archer asked, “We all like bondage, don’t we?”
After freeing the Scorpion, he was none to happy with his helper and, as you might expect, another fight ensued. The fight moved from interior to exterior scenes seamlessly, which Archer said is one of the unique features of the “Spider-Man 3” game. Once the fight got outside, Spider-Man was tasked with chasing the Scorpion around the city in a race, but before moving on to the next battle, Archer stopped the demo and said, “Let’s show you some black suit.”
As has already been revealed in the film’s advance trailers, Spider-Man wears a black suit for much of the film, a plot point taken directly from the comics. The suit made its first appearance in the classic “Secret Wars” limited series and readers learned later on that the suit was more than just some new threads, but in fact an alien symbiote with additional powers and agenda all its own. Those great new powers come with a great new set of responsibilities for game players. “The Black Suit will have a whole new set of moves, mï¿½lï¿½e attacks, web attacks, missions and more,” revealed Archer. “The really cool thing about this is the rage system ? when you actually get Spidey into rage, it opens up a whole new set of moves where you can take guys out with one hit, knock guys down the street and take whole sets of enemies out with one attack. You’ll see a lot of dead bodies lying around.”
Players can get into rage in one of three ways ? through combos, by taking hits from attacks and players can actually throttle the R1 button to force yourself into rage. As the demonstration continued, we got a sense of just how powerful and different playing the black suited Spidey is. Faster, more powerful and those new moves bring a whole new dimension of game play to a Spider-Man game.
This final demonstration began with a cinematic showing the symbiote take over Peter. At the height of his rage, Peter thinks he sees the man who killed his uncle and the mission begins with devastating and punishing attacks. Clearly the black suit brings a whole new level of game play to Spider-Man games.
“Punishing moves, epic cinematic moments totally under the player’s control, amazing feel and verticality ? this is just one of many incredible boss battles in ‘Spider-Man 3,'” said Archer. “And, of course, we can’t show you how that ends as it would reveal a huge spoiler!”
With “Spider-Man 3” featuring new combat, enhanced swinging, complete freedom with mission selection and the ability to control not only the red suit, but the raw power and rage of the black suit, “Spider-Man 3” is sure to be another huge success for Activision’s Spider-Man video game franchise. Look for more on this game in the coming months here on CBR.