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Review: 'Spider-Man 3' Games Mostly Disappoint

"Spider-Man 3" has been spun off as a video game for seemingly every system in existence. We looked at the masked web slinger's latest adventures for Nintendo's Wii and DS, Sony's PlayStation 3, Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 and Windows PCs.

There are essentially three variations of the game: one for the powerful Xbox 360, PS3 and PC; one for the quirky controls of the Wii; and another for the touch-screen DS.

(We didn't receive the PlayStation 2 or Game Boy Advance versions for review. Oddly, a version for Sony's PlayStation Portable won't come out until much later in the year).

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If you really wanted to see "Spider-Man 3" in all its visual glory, you've probably already watched it in a theater. So if you do buy this game, with prices ranging from $29.99 to $69.99, brace yourself.

The rendition for the next-gen consoles and the PC is very different from that cinematic thrill ride. From the moment the games loaded, I was particularly disappointed with the graphics, which are about as bad as I've seen on so-called "next-gen" consoles.

The Manhattan skyline that you get to freely roam is certainly large and impressive, but lacks much detail.

The characters were often scary to see up close, though, looking like some half-melted denizens from a wax museum instead of lifelike digital renderings of super heroes, villains and citizens in dire need.

The visuals on the Wii version were even worse, a blurry experience on my high-definition TV that made me want to get my eyes examined.

I was more impressed by the presentation for the DS game, which at least works within the confines of the system's limited power and still delivers a good action experience.

In a game design element reminiscent of the "Grand Theft Auto" series, these new Spider-Man games give players a lot of freedom to explore their surroundings and take on missions whenever they want.

It allowed me to do what was by far the best part of the game: shoot webs from one building to another and swing around the urban jungle like only Spidey can do.

Things rapidly go downhill from there (though donning the evil black suit and enjoying its bonus powers were fun too).

The facile fighting controls were quickly tiresome on all but the DS version, which makes good use of the system's touch screen to perform special moves and attacks.

The Wii version was too much of a workout for me, as I had to constantly flick the Wii remote and attached nunchuck controller to jump, attack and move around.

The comic-book gurus at Marvel have clearly succeed at turning their unique creations into box-office juggernauts. Too bad the same level of passion seems mostly absent in the video-game versions.

Two stars out of four for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC versions; one and a half stars for the Wii version; three stars for the DS version.

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