Spider-Man: Edge of Time preview: Timeline teamwork

The hook of Spider-Man: Edge of Time, the next Spidey game from Shattered Dimensions developer Beenox, is that two heroes must work together to change the future. As Peter Parker dashes through a corridor, a pop-up picture at the bottom of the screen shows a troubling situation developing in the world of Miguel O'Hara (also known as Spider-Man 2099).

Spider-Man 2099 is being man-handled by an enormous robot, which prompts Parker to trash the robotics lab of Alchemax, the city-sized mega corporation in which the entirety of the game takes place. Classic Spider-Man hopes that some aggressive vandalism, early in the timeline, will undo the 2099 predicament.%Gallery-120355%

Parker finds a gigantic prototype 'bot in the lab and rips it apart, piece by piece. As he completes his task, the future changes -- the large automaton is replaced by four smaller, more versatile robotic enemies. O'Hara isn't out of the woods yet, but thankfully the trees are a bit smaller.

As a byproduct of some unexplained incident, O'Hara finds himself psychically linked to Parker -- the two can communicate with each other across time, seemingly through telepathy. Despite my best attempts to get an answer, Beenox wasn't ready to talk about how all of this is possible in the confines of the game. Uh, not that a game about Spider-Men needs to be grounded in believable science or anything.

If you played Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, you shouldn't have a hard time visualizing the brawling here in Edge of Time. Parker's move set seems largely unchanged -- he has his web shot, some medium-range web-based attacks and a series of heavy kicks and punches. O'Hara's move set, much like Parker's, also seems derived from Shattered Dimensions. He's more of a feral, close-quarter type of fighter, with his claws and powerful strikes making for more punishing combos.

Edge of Time is running on the same proprietary engine Beenox used in Shattered Dimensions, but a neat advancement manifests in the 2099 environments, which can change and warp before your eyes. After running around a corner in one segment, a big wall shifted into a room full of deadly lasers and traps (aren't you supposed to be helping with this stuff, Parker?). And a moment later, I experienced the return of the intense free-fall sections from the last game, with O'Hara plummeting down an elevator shaft and narrowly missing laser beams and other obstacles.

Spider-Man: Edge of Time, due out this fall, didn't diverge much from Beenox's last game, so I'm hoping its story will shine. The main title screen, where O'Hara walks silently down a dark hallway, holding the body of Peter Parker and portending a grim outcome should the two fail to aid each other, really resonated with me. Spider-Man is a great character, with flaws of his own and a great well of content to draw from. The death of Peter Parker should be treated with enough gravitas to help the experience rise above some rote and familiar combat.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.