Go web, go!
Spider-Man beat-‘em-ups have been around for multiple generations, but with consoles as the usual lead platform, handheld iterations aren’t much to look forward to. Battle for New York, however, is exclusive to the Nintendo DS. Telling an alternate version of the Green Goblin’s Ultimate origin, the game doesn’t offer much in the way of new gameplay, as it plays almost identically to Ultimate Spider-Man DS, released back in 2005.
The first thing you’ll notice about the game is its surprisingly well-crafted presentation. Crisp 3D, cel-shaded graphics really pop, and the backgrounds have a surprising degree of detail. Furthermore, cut-scenes are made up of comic book-style panels, and offer full voice acting. The actors at hand aren’t particularly great, and the story, which is essentially the Green Goblin exacting revenge on old business partners and Spidey’s quest to keep him in check, is a bit generic, but the audio and visual treatment is still surprising for a handheld title.
Gameplay-wise, you won’t find much here that you haven’t seen before. Much like previous games, you’ll traverse through level-based side scrolling missions, and like its predecessor, you'll have the opportunity to play as two different characters: the Webhead himself, Spider-Man, and the new addition, Green Goblin, whose hulking form and brawling tendencies are oddly reminiscent of Ultimate Spider-Man DS’s Venom.
For the former, you’ll mostly deal with sneaking around to avoid skirmishes (although you can roll through fists-a-swinging if that’s your thing) and saving pedestrians from certain doom. Combat is mapped to the face buttons, while puzzles and the aforementioned rescue segments are handled via the touch screen and stylus. For example, to crack a code, you’ll have to tap circles just as they light up. If someone’s trapped underneath a car, simply rotate the pressure point 90 degrees.
Playing as the Goblin is a different experience; since he doesn’t have to keep up the hero spiel, it’s all about knocking out guards and lackeys. The occasional boss provides some comparable strength, but almost everyone else will immediately submit to your increased power and abilities (all fire-based) in this mode. In the case of both characters, you’ll be able to add points to their various attributes, but it honestly doesn’t make much of a difference, as the game is painfully easy.
At the end of the day, Battle for New York isn’t worth the cash if you’ve already played one of the other DS games, and since it looks like they’ll be using the same engine in the future, you might as well hold out if you haven’t experienced any of the previous titles. Sorry, Spidey.