Allowing you to play as four different versions of Spider-Man, Shattered Dimensions is a lot of fun.
The base story is that Spider-Man and villain Mysterio get into a scuffle while the villain is trying to steal the “Tablet of Order and Chaos.” In the ensuing fight, the tablet is shattered, with pieces falling through rips in reality, causing peril to multiple dimensions. Thus, the Spider-Man of each reality is tasked by Madame Web (don’t worry, I had to look her up, too) with retrieving the pieces and restoring order from the chaos.
The graphics vary wildly in style, from the pen-and-ink stylings of “Amazing” (voiced by Neil Patrick Harris, who also did the voice of Spidey in 2003′s animated series) to the cel-shaded, vividly-colored look of “Ultimate” (voiced by Josh Keaton, who voiced the webslinger in 2008′s Spectacular Spider-Man series). The sleek sci-fi flash and techno-realism of “2099″ (voiced by Dan Gilvezan, of my fondly remembered Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends from the early ’80s) is nicely juxtaposed by the gritty 1930s style of “Noir” (Christopher Barnes, who voiced the wallcrawer in the long-running mid-’90s animated series).
The gameplay styles vary also, based upon which version of Spider-Man you are playing. Amazing plays to the agility and grace of the super-hero, while Noir is all about stealth and ambushing the bad guys from the shadows. 2099 is about speed and quick thinking, while Ultimate bring power and strength to the field. Surprisingly, each version is fun to play. While I do have a particular fondness for the gameplay of Noir (I like the sneak-up-and-take-you-out-before-anyone-knows-I’m-there style of gameplay), I have to admit that playing the agile and athletic Amazing was the closest I’d ever gotten to my childhood fantasies of being the webslinger.
The voice-acting is top-notch, with Neil Patrick Harris spouting some hilarious lines in a perfect wise-cracking delivery. At one point, I was chasing a villain who had stolen the tablet fragment I was after into an abandoned mine. Spider-Man suddenly asked if he could pretend to be a teenager and go chasing someone else dressed up as a ghost … someone who would blame “those meddling kids!” I started laughing out loud at the Scooby-Doo reference, and even harder when Harris delivered the next line about how “My money’s on it being creepy old Mr. Jenkins”.
Each of the Spider-Man versions has great dialogue, and it’s obvious the actors enjoyed the roles. The villains are equally well-voiced, with many voice actors from the various animated series reprising their roles in the game. And, the game is narrated by Stan Lee, too. While I don’t normally care for Lee’s hyperbolic stylings, it works well here.
The challenge system works well to encourage replays of the same areas, to unlock more character and combat upgrades. You can unlock everything from new combat moves and abilities to increasing your health or an alternate costume.
This game is definitely worth the time and money, if you’re interested in a super-hero style game. The game may be a bit short, but a lot of fun.