Audio : Spider-Sense Spider-Man: Super Villain Showdown

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Book of the Month Club

This review was first published on: Nov 2012.

Background...

This is another "push buttons to make sounds to accompany the story" book from the guys at Publications International, Ltd. They have previously given us Amazing Spider-Man: Follow That Spider (Play-a-Sound) and The Amazing Spider-Man: House Call (Story Reader).

In Detail...

Spider-Sense Spider-Man: Super Villain Showdown
Jan 2010 : SM Title
Find ISBN 9781412799119
Summary: Storybook with detachable audio-sounds "wrist-watch".
Publisher:  Publications International Ltd.
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Review

The book is 8" x 10" with die-cut shaping on most pages. Inside are 12 pages (including the inside front cover and title page). The pages are very thick cardboard, so the whole book is about 5/16" thick.

Most "Play-a-Sound" books have the sound buttons permanently built into the book itself. This one has a slightly different gimmick in that the audio componentry is built into a plastic "wrist-watch" which is about 3" x 2" and which comes with a 1.5" thick webbing wristband that attaches with velcro.

The wrist-band features five different audio sounds. There are four phrases: "Have no fear, Spidey's here!", "Woohoo!", "My spider-sense is tingling!" and "Gotcha", plus a generic "Thwippp!" webbing sound.

As always, the story features brightly-colored illustrations, with a fairly light-weight story that indicates with icons the appropriate points for pressing buttons. This time around, the story begins with Spider-Man swinging away from his local act of "Heroism", which was the capture of a gang of international jewel thieves. Heh, foreigners, huh. Just can't trust 'em.

But his Spider-Sense quickly tingles to notify him of Doctor Octopus, who is "waiting on a rooftop". Three pages of Ock, and then our web-slinging pal encounters the Green Goblin. A few more pages of fighting both villains, and then Spidey pulls out the traditional 1-on-2 defensive stunt, namely to place himself between his two foes and then leap out of the way at the critical moment leaving the bad guys to incapacitate each other.

In General...

I'm in two minds about these Play-a-Sound products. On one hand I have a soft-spot for quirky books that employ an interesting gadget or two. On the other, the story-telling is generally execrable.

This story decides to play it safe by offering an utterly bland script without a trace of substance. Actually, it almost works. The tale contains nothing of consequence, and hence offers nothing to offend.

Overall Rating...

Good gimmicks, non-existent story-line. But I'm a good mood, and I'm prepared to give a little bonus credit for the decent value-for-money represented by the US$12 asking price. Let's nudge the rating up to a mostly-competent three webs.