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Below is a review for the PS3 edition of Spider-Man: Edge of Time, provided to Marvel Animation Age by Activision Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Entertainment.

SPIDER-MAN: EDGE OF TIME PS3 REVIEW

To get right to it, no - this game is not as good as last year's really enjoyable Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. That being said, Spider-Man: Edge of Time is definitely an interesting trip worth taking, though one that could have been better.

As the story goes, Alchemax scientist Walker Sloan - in the year 2099 - seeks to gain power and fortune by traveling back in time to the present day and use his knowledge of future technology to create Alchemax much earlier in the time-stream. This causes the future of 2099 to warp to a dystopia where Alchemax rules the world with an iron fist. Miguel O'Hara - Spider-Man 2099 - is aware of the plan and finds out that Sloan's actions are not only responsible for the changes in the timeline but will also cause the death of Peter Parker - The Amazing Spider-Man - at the hands of a brainwashed Anti-Venom. Now, both Spider-Men must work together across time to save the future and Peter Parker's life.

That is the basic gist of the game. Save for the identity of the final boss, there's no real surprises to be found in Spider-Man: Edge of Time. It's your basic brawler with a few added elements to keep it from getting too stale before you reach the conclusion. Thankfully, the creative team at Beenox and Activision have found a way to keep the player intrigued enough in the game to want to finish out the roughly 8 - 10 mission. While not a sequel to last year's Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, this does feel like an extension of it, though that mostly has to do with the similar engine and designs used in the game.

The main draw to the game is, naturally, the two main Spider-Men - the classic 'Amazing' version and the fan-favorite '2099' version. While they play basically the same, save for a couple moves unique to each Spidey, their interaction is what really helps the game from getting stale. Insults and one-liners are thrown pretty consistently throughout the game, each Spidey taking a jab at the other, and they usually hit the mark. You can definitely see the influence of comic writer Peter David's work, who wrote the script for this game, in the dialogue. The odd chuckle does alleviate the some of the tedium that can sink in during the near endless fights. And you will fight a lot of the same cronies over and over...just like Shattered Dimensions, though that game had a bit more variety when it comes to the bad guys you had to duke it out with. If you played Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, then you know what to expect when it comes to combat moves and styles. And yes, those free-falling segments are back. And yes, they're still frustrating.

I will say that this game has probably one of the most inventive opening fight scenes as Amazing Spider-Man fights a losing battle with Anti-Venom in this great opening sequence. It's doomed from the get-go, but it's still such a great way to kick off the game. Kudos to Beenox for opening the game in such an inventive way.

Spider-Man: Edge of Time does feature some new combat moves, including a cool fast action/evasive technique for Amazing Spider-Man, but nothing that's really a game-changer. New moves and such can be unlocked as you progress through the game, but the variety isn't anything that'll keep combat fresh.

To go back to the dialogue for a moment, hats off to Josh Keaton and Christopher Daniel Barnes for simply excelling in their respective roles as Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099. Keaton brings a great playful, wise-cracking attitude to Amazing Spider-Man that makes for some genuinely hilarious laugh-out-load moments. Barnes is excellent as Spider-Man 2099, bringing both an air of experience and comedic-styling to the futuristic hero.

What also doesn't help is, well, you're basically fighting your way up through a single building, so the lack of a scenery change can also be a bit of a letdown. You won't see any famous Spidey locales, and by no means is this a game-changer, but I can see why some gamers might be dulled by this. Still, the building you're battling your way through does have some interesting spots and the changes made between the two timelines can result in some neat little changes.

I hate to keep comparing this game to Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, but I can't help it, especially when it comes to the choice of villains. While last year's effort had a wealth of bad guys, here we have less than a handful. Black Cat, Anti-Venom and Walker Sloan are the main bad guys that you'll face during the game and, as you can likely predict, there aren't too many boss battles in this game. Like Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, this game is divided into Acts and the end of each act features a boss battle. The boss battles seem a bit of a letdown, especially after having to pound the same thugs over and over. The final boss fight I will admit was really, really interesting, but the others were weak in comparison.

Still, what the game lacks for in variety (in thugs and combat), it really does make up for in story, acting, and even character animation. The cut scenes and cinematics are pretty gorgeous I have to say. I would love to see an entire animated film done in these styles. I can see why Beenox is spearheading Spidey video game projects for the next while...they do an excellent job bringing the characters to life.

I gotta admit, I do miss the web-slinging we got in games like Spider-Man 2 and Ultimate Spider-Man. While I like the risks Beenox is taking with the Spider-Man property, I do hope we see a return to some old-fashioned, open-world web-slinging soon.

Spider-Man: Edge of Time is worth a spin, at the very least a rental. While it might lack some variety in terms of combat and villains, it more than makes up for it in presentation and story. Toss in a very excellent voice cast and you have an excellent, excellent looking game. It is fun, don't get me wrong, but the limitations of the game can allow some monotony to slip in from time to time. Die-hard fans should really enjoy this game, since it's a very respectful take on the beloved character, though casual players may want to just consider a rental. Beenox and Activision continue to create enjoyable Spider-Man games, but they are going to need to step up if they want fans to keep coming back.