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Venom's video game revenge wasted in ‘Web of Shadows’

Many people seemed to be disappointed by the lack of super-villain Venom in "Spider-Man 3."

Venom is one of the most intriguing members of Spider-Man's rogue's gallery, and the most recent installment of the movie franchise seemed to brush him aside. While human alter-ego Eddie Brock — played by Topher Grace — had some significant screen time, Venom’s screen time was limited.

Venom has always received significant play in video games. His story is one of the most intriguing in the Spider-Man Universe, and he is one of the most popular villains in Marvel Comics.

"Spider-Man: Web of Shadows" takes the alien symbiote that created Venom as a backdrop for a story about Venom using the symbiote to infect New York City. The original story involves many of Marvel's famous heroes and villains such as Wolverine, Black Cat, Luke Cage and Black Widow.

The story is where "Web of Shadows" succeeds. Games set in the Marvel Universe usually do a good job telling engaging, original stories. The intent was again good in this game.

The symbiote not only factors into the story as a device to unleash Venom's carnage on the city. It also plays into Spider-Man's fate. Spider-Man has the ability to switch between his red suit and his symbiote-influenced black suit. The black suit allows Spider-Man a chance to tap into his darker side. The choices made wearing either suit — the suit can be changed back and forth with a tap of the left joystick — impact the end of the game significantly.

But the problems with "Web of Shadows" have nothing to do with the story.

The developers added a neat aerial combat system that allows Spider-Man to maximize the use of his webs.

The camera setup, however, makes swinging around difficult. It twists and turns independently and sometimes makes battling enemies difficult. The gains made with the combat system are erased by a poor camera.

While the combat system has been re-engineered for the better, putting it to use can be tedious. Battles throughout the game can be repetitive. There are only so many ways to take out a group of street thugs. The boss battles are pretty good, but the numerous average criminals and enemies you have makes the game move slowly.

No matter how engaging the story is, the game must be backed up by solid gameplay. "Web of Shadows" never accomplishes this. Perhaps Marvel should have just taken it for the comics, because it seems too good of a story to waste.