Spider-Man: Web of Shadows

Games

December 23, 2008|By MCCLATCHY-TRIBUNE

Available on Microsoft Xbox 360. Also for Sony PlayStation 3, PS2, PSP, Nintendo Wii, DS, PC. $59.99 ($29.99-$59.99 for others) Rated teen. ** 1/2

A definite improvement over the Spider-Man 3 video game, Web of Shadows still lacks a certain level of polish.

The camera is sometimes a greater challenge than the foes; Spider-Man's voice actor is annoying; and the plot, involving Venom's symbiote spreading across the city, is set up clumsily. Yet the game has its moments.

With access to both his standard and his symbiote suit, Spider-Man doesn't lack for entertaining combat options - especially as he unlocks new ones with experience points won through completing missions.

A reasonably open mission system that allows Spider-Man to pursue several goals at once keeps the game moving along.

Also released: : Age of Booty Microsoft Xbox 360 (Xbox Live Arcade download), also for PS3 (PlayStation Store download) ; $10 (800 Microsoft Points) Age rating: Everyone ***

A simple and fun real-time strategy game, Age of Booty puts each player in charge of a single pirate ship that can pillage villages, take over towns and battle buccaneers.

The game is set up for online and offline matches; either way, each side's goal is to capture a certain number of the towns on the map by breaking down their defenses and staying in their vicinity for a few moments. Captured towns and crates can be used to upgrade ships and towns, and curses can make life hard for either side.

If a player's ship sinks, it quickly reappears at the team's home base, but with only one vessel at a time per player (computer assistants take over teammates in solo games) juggling attack and defense can prove tricky - and fun.

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