Thank goodness for radioactive spiders. The third Spider-Man game to grace Xbox, Ultimate Spider-Man is a departure from previous efforts, themselves actually fairly good considering they were film tie-ins. Now, though, with some super-deformed superhero action, plus that gorgeous use of cell-shading (Activision is calling it '3D Comic Inking'), Spidey is back.
Based on the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, Activision's third web-slinging escapade sees Peter Parker up against his ultimate nemesis, ol' Marmite man himself, the one and only Venom. Joining Venom for the ride are, we've been told, "The biggest collection of Spider-Man characters to ever appear in a game." Expect all the villains, all the co-stars, and some wrinkly action from Aunt May too.
Interestingly though, throughout the course of the game you'll play not only the role of Spidey, but that of Venom too. Two distinct storylines will take place in the huge sprawl of Spidey's GTA-style city, one where you have to fight evil, and one where you have to spread it - like, erm, Marmite. The two stories unfold simultaneously, with actions taken by Spider-Man in one portion then directly affecting Venom's chapter. All the time though, Spidey's alter-ego will be causing havoc on the street. Whereas Spidey will web-sling crooks and stick them to lampposts ready for collection by the law, Venom will happily spend the game crushing cop-cars on their way to a crime scene. It should make for an interesting dynamic that's for sure - a little like playing chess with yourself, we imagine.
Although Ultimate Spider-Man uses the engine from the last game, we're assured Spidey's abilities will have grown in stature. Combat is promising to be more fluid, with the wall-crawler being able to run up walls, along roofs, or bounce off walls like a rubber ball. "It'll feature improved combat and fluid acrobatics," our Activision source told us. "It's going to be unlike any Spider-Man game yet seen". You're telling us - look at the size of his head!