The Amazing Spider-Man

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The Amazing Spider-Man Review

The Amazing Spider-Man Review

Aim high, swing low.

In the olden days, superheroes posed a problem for games developers. Hugely popular with The Kids and indulging the very same power fantasies that games tap into, those superhuman abilities were both an alluring proposition and an impossible challenge. Spider-Man had it worst of all. In digital worlds where left, right and jump represented the limits of interaction, a character who could swing from the ceiling and crawl on any surface was beyond the rudimentary physics available at the time.

So after slogging and slugging his way through a series of scrolling 16-bit beat-'em-ups, his true potential untapped, it took Tony Hawk developer Neversoft and the throbbing power of the PlayStation to bring the wall-crawler to life. The 2000 Spidey game may not have been truly open-world - and it may have found our hero swinging from webs attached to nothing above a city sheathed in perpetual fog - but it gave us our first taste of what a real Spider-Man game could be like. As consoles got more powerful, so Spidey could finally take to the concrete canyons of New York, just like he did in the comics.

The trouble is, once you hit on the perfect way to realise a superhero in a game, it becomes hard to deviate from that formula. Since Spider-Man had set up shop at Activision, never a publisher to shy away from a spot of milking, the simple thrill of swinging from Harlem to Battery Park soon became a chore. Review scores drooped and even the man responsible for signing off on the damn things was unimpressed. "Our Spider-Man games have sucked for the last five years," belched Bobby Kotick in 2010, presumably fresh from a seminar on staff motivation.

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The Amazing Spider-Man Preview: Peter Parkour

The Amazing Spider-Man Preview: Peter Parkour

After years of waiting, Spidey's finally going open-world again.

You know that thing everybody always moans about when Beenox turns in a perfectly serviceable but rather linear Spider-Man game? That thing about everybody actually wanting a return to the open-world web-swinging of Spider-Man 2? Yeah, well Beenox fixed that thing everybody always moans about.

For The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker's got all of New York City to play around in once more: he can swing down 5th Avenue, jump most of Central Park in a single bound and splat himself against the wall of the Empire State Building whenever he wants - or at least the wall of a building that looks a lot like the Empire State Building, since the design for the original is under copyright (or whatever the equivalent of copyright is for skyscrapers).

Beenox, in other words, has done what everyone was asking them to do. After the unexpected pleasures of Shattered Dimensions and the mild disappointments of Edge of Time - a) it was a rush job and b) Val Kilmer - a proper movie license has given the developer the chance to give Spidey a huge chunk of real estate to patrol. So how's the game shaping up?

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The Amazing Spider-Man announced for 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man announced for 2012

Beenox developing movie tie-in.

Activision has announced The Amazing Spider-Man for a Summer 2012 launch.

Developed by Beenox, the same studio behind recent Spidey games Shattered Dimensions and this year's Edge of Time, it will tie-in with the forthcoming movie of the same name.

However, it won't directly follow the film's plot, instead picking up immediately after its conclusion.

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