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 Nintendo 64
Superman
 Review
 Our Score 3/10
 Your Score 4/10
Review
This Titus title was a long time coming. Originally designed for the Sega Saturn then previewed on the N64 way back in 1997 at E3, Superman- the game- is finally here. The waiting was more fun. But before I dump all over it, the PR guy at Titus asked me to point out that Superman has been the 3rd or 4th best selling N64 game since it came out in May. He also mentioned that consumer feedback has been fair to good, according to the convenient customer comment cards accompanying the crappy cart.

And, in that smooth tongue way of great PR guys: Superman was never intended for avid gamers , rather, the kids and avid fans of the Man-of-Steel of comic book and cartoon fame, or anything Superman for that matter. The S-philes.

Fair enough. It still sucks.

You can see how it manages appeal for at least some gamers. After all, you get to BE Superman. How can you knock that?

Strangely, the nonsensical story line has ol' Supe endlessly flying through hoops at the bequest of his arch enemy, Lex Luthor. Why? What's the point? That's never revealed but it sure gets tedious. Worse, this hoop-shooting is a very demanding task with only one error allowed (perhaps) and a very tight time constriction. The hoops manifest every other level, too, so it's monotonous and difficult all at the same time; a frighteningly steep learning curve for such a base game. To make matters worse, control is sluggish and clumsy, occasionally unresponsive, sometimes not. Inconsistent and yucky, simply stated; like flying a bookshelf.

Alternate levels involve various tasks such as: Punch-out the bad guys (not real "people," just these ethereal "shadow" characters), get the police car across the road (that's a challenge?), find a key and unlock a door, solve a puzzle (or smash buttons randomly until the puzzle solves itself) or beat up thuper-villains like Braniac, Darkseid, Bizarro, Metallo. These are usually quick little jaunts before the hoop-de-dupe poop starts all over again. Frankly, each level doesn't end soon enough and neither does the next one.

Basically stated, Titus has the Man of Steel all wrong. I mean, why put a life gauge or a power gauge on an indefatigable, invincible character? Who ever heard of Superman running out of super-breath? What does the most powerful man on the planet need with a power-up? Why does Superman have to fly an aeroplane (in multi-player)? And who on earth would expect Supe to do Luthor's bidding, literally jumping through hoops, repeatedly, rhymelessly, reasonlessly? The Superman I've come to know and love would maybe play that game once, buy some time, then promptly hunt Luthor down, outsmart him and then throw his punk-ass in jail (from where he could eventually escape and try some new fiendish scheme on for size at a later date). Not Super, Stupor.

I can't fault the graphics for while they are extremely sparse and simple, at least they don't try to hide anything behind cheesy flash and fluff… but the choppy frame rate means the graphics make for great pictures only. Geez, that was almost a nice comment…

But recall the marketable upside the Titus PR guy wanted me to point out. To reiterate: You get to BE Superman and fly around. Yes, that's true, but alternating between frustration and pointlessness seriously detracts for the only redeeming quality found here.

Too bad. Sorry Titus.

Oh! Here's an upside: The Superman video game T-shirt! Just scored a point right there…

You really want to like this game, but you won't. Unless, of course, you're an avid Superman fan willing to settle for simple branding rather than an avid gamer wanting to play a super game, in which case, go nuts. And don't forget to fill out the comment card.


BACK TO THE REVIEW SUMMARY

  Reviewer:
 
Shaun Conlin
Click to View
 Game Developer
  Titus
 Publisher
  Titus
 Key Genre Words
  Adventure
  Action
  Review Date - 1999-06-30


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Superman (Nintendo 64)

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