With great power there must also come two great Spider-Men, web-slinging themselves across the planes of reality to undo a rewritten history in Spider-Man: Edge of Time. Edge of Time is a video game developed by Beenox in which players assume the roles of Spider-Man 2099 and the Amazing Spider-Man, shifting from one to the other with the story’s progression. The plot involves the fiendishly clever schemes of Walker Sloan, an Alchemax scientist from Spider-Man 2099’s universe. Sloan invents a transdimensional gateway and travels back to the 1970s, the Amazing Spider-Man’s era, creating Alchemax years before it should exist.
Preparing for Amazing Spider-Man’s inevitable interference, he mind-controls Anti-Venom into acting as his lethal enforcer. The wall-crawler and his classic foe go toe-to-toe in a dramatic battle which results in Spidey’s (Peter Parker’s) death. Seeing this trapped within Sloan’s vortex, Spider-Man 2099 (Miguel O’Hara) struggles free back to his reality where this tragedy hasn’t yet occurred. O’Hara fetches some of Parker’s DNA to establish a chronal link between them, allowing the two to converse beyond the barriers of time. Despite O’Hara’s warning, Parker refuses to flee from Anti-Venom when innocent lives could be at risk. Thus, the first half of the game is a race against time to prevent Spidey’s inevitable demise.
Beginning this adventure introduces players to three forms of character movement other than running. Web-zipping from previous Spider-Man games is incorporated. It’s neat to watch each web disintegrate while zipping from ledge to ledge. Multiple strands of silk twirl across the screen before vanishing into obscurity. Similar to Shattered Dimensions, its predecessor, Edge of Time also features free-fall mode for Spider-Man 2099. It can be enjoyable and frustrating depending on how skilled gamers are with dodging obstacles. Finally, there’s up- close wall-crawling. It enables players to feel like they’re Spidey climbing through an air duct. The camera zigs and zags with every corner the hero clings to. Sometimes the path is clear. On other occasions, players must dodge lasers before proceeding into the next area.
After experiencing the locomotion, players begin to explore the combat next. Each Spider-Man’s fighting style is different. The Amazing Spider-Man creates web gloves for close-range fighting while Spider-Man 2099 uses his talons to slice through opposition. The gloves get bigger and the talons more lethal as players level up the quick-attack skill of each Spidey. Parker can create a web-hammer for long-range skirmishes. O’Hara can swiftly propel himself toward an enemy for a combination of fatal kicks and punches. Both Spider-Men can fire web shots and have a stamina meter, an energy pool for special abilities. The Amazing Spider-Man uses it to enter “hyper-sense mode,” which greatly improves the speed of his punches and web constructs. Spider-Man 2099 can generate an “accelerated decoy” to deceive his enemies, distracting them while he attacks from another angle.
In addtion to the diverse combat system, the first half of Edge of Time presents players with an extra layer of gameplay, cause and effect sequences. Reminiscent of Back to the Future, the actions of the present shape the outcome in the future. Throughout the game, each Spider-Man ends up in a jam that the other must bail him out of. On his way to save Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2099 is gripped by a giant robot that will crush him to death if unaided. It’s Parker’s job to destroy the prototype’s arms, legs and head in the present to free O’Hara in the future. Destroying the prototype reduces the killer robot into smaller, less threatening foes. These cause and effect scenarios are often used for character transitions, shifting players from one Spidey to the other.
Spider-Man 2099 eventually finds his way to Spidey, who’s near the brink of death thanks to Anti-Venom. O’Hara spins a web through the gateway, pulling Parker in before the fatal blow is dealt. The Webhead is placed in a rejuvenation chamber while his future counterpart takes a swing at Anti-Venom. Spider-Man 2099 removes the mind-control chips, freeing the creature from Sloan’s control. Anti-Venom confronts Sloan and chaos ensues as the two fuse along with a nearby Dr. Octopus into a monster called Atrocity. The second half of the game is to restore order to the space-time continuum. With an unstable gateway, however, each Spider-Man must work on the other’s turf this time around. This leads to some witty banter between the two web-slingers. At one point, Spider-Man 2099 needs Spider-Man to gather schematics from the archives room so he can fix the gateway. O”Hara asks him how it’s going. His inquiry is answered with sarcasm. “I’m making a souffle,” replies Parker. “How do you think it’s going?” Later on, the future Spidey asks his predecessor to collect DNA samples from Atrocity. He fetches two, but O’Hara demands a third. The wall-crawler’s not pleased. “If we ever meet face to face, I’m going to beat the crap out of you,” he mumbles.
Spider-Man 2099 gets his punchlines, too. Near the end of the game, Spider-Man must obtain a keycard from an Alchemax guard before advancing. The guard uses a teleporter and is followed by the web-slinger. Parker explains his drastic measures to O’Hara, who reprimands him for his carelessness. “Well get it and stop screwing around,” O’Hara exclaims. “Head to the gateway room and try not to teleport yourself to Mars while you’re at it,” he instructs.
Both Spider-Men also have amusing dialogue for their enemies. The Amazing Spider-Man will complain about breaking a nail or belittle the stupidity of his foes. “See what being a flunkie gets you?” he asks. Spider-Man 2099 exudes confidence, telling his opponents they’re not even slowing him down. He’ll often use the word “shock” as an expletive, just as he did in the comic series written by Peter David, who also wrote the story for Edge of Time. When swarms of enemies are in his way, O’Hara yells, “Get the shock out of my way!”
The two meet at the gateway room and leap into the portal, returning to their own dimensions. They undo the alternate reality Sloan created by web-punching Atrocity into the gateway which leads to a closing cinematic showing the Spider-Men do whatever a spider can. Edge of Time offers players a compelling story, innovative styles of gameplay and humorous dialogue brought to life by extremely talented actors. Christopher Daniel Barnes voices Spider-Man 2099. Barnes portrayed Spidey in the 90s Spider-Man animated series. Josh Keaton is Spider-Man in Edge of Time. Keaton also depicted Webhead in the Spectacular Spider-Man animated series. Val Kilmer is the mastermind behind Walker Sloan. An excellent cast alone is a reason to buy this game. So spin a web and snatch a copy.