Game review – Superman (Nintendo 64)

I posted this two years ago on my other blog. What better time than to post it here since I just decided to close that blog?

Holy Crap! Those are the first words that come to my mouth after playing this…thing. Superman for the N64 is an abomination to the gaming world in every sense if the word. The rest of this will be more of an angry rant than a review, but that’s exactly what this waste of physical matter deserves.

For those of you who are fans of the Angry Videogame Nerd you’ve probably seen his video review already. For those who aren’t familiar, its actual title is “Superman”. People just call it Superman 64 because the Nintendo 64 has a reputation of putting “64” at the end of game titles, just like the Super Nintendo had the reputation of putting Super at the start of its titles. The game doesn’t use the John William’s theme, as the developers Titus would rather use some generic, unmemorable background music.

(What was with the 90’s and physically trapping people in virtual worlds anyway?)

The game’s story is that Lex Luthor has brought Superman’s friends into some virtual world. How? Why? Also, if he made this virtual world, why not make it so that Superman loses his abilities when he enters it, because nothing else in this world is consistent with the laws of physics. This game mostly comprises of flying through rings. Yup, for some reason Superman has to fly through rings to get where he needs to go.  If he misses too many rings, he fails and has to try again. What is Luthor’s obsession with giving Superman nonsense obstacles? Nothing in this first level makes any sense.

(These graphics are worse than Big Rigs, and that’s saying something.)

The game’s controls make flying through these rings nearly impossible. You’ll try at least 15 times before you even get close to finishing the first ring segment. You’ll get stuck on buildings despite being ten feet away from them, you’ll turn too hard or too light when you try to avoid the former, and you’ll probably end up punching the TV or snapping your controller in half from the inevitable rage you’ll experience. Once you pass the rings, you’ll have instructions flash in your face for about 1 second before they disappear. That’s a brilliant idea – have the instructions on screen just long enough for us to notice that there’s text there.

What you’re supposed to do is pick up two cars before they hit people.  If you fail at this, you’ll have to return to the rings again. If you succeed, you go onto the next section which is, amazingly enough, flying through rings. Some reward there.

Then you have to lift a police car and fly it through a goal as Lex’s minions fire rockets at you. Of course, it looks nothing like a police car; in fact nothing looks like what it’s supposed to, except maybe the superman logo. Three times in a row Superman threw the cop car when I didn’t want it to because of the crap controls. Eventually I advanced to the next rings section. This is the point where the Nerd gave up, and where I delve into the territory he didn’t cover.

First of all, there are multiple difficulty modes. For the fun of it, I tried Superman (hard), and I couldn’t tell the difference between that and Normal. Then I tried Easy and guess what, it removes the rings. Now all you do is fly to your destination. You still have a time limit, but removing the rings renders the time limit completely pointless.

This allows you to explore the city for a bit, though there’s absolutely no reason to care. The buildings are far apart, and there are really only four of five different buildings that are randomly placed all over. There are also elevated walkways between different buildings but they seem to serve no purpose. Also, the walkways have no railings despite being 50 feet above the ground because safety standards are for cowards.

(I know this is a virtual world, but why is the sky purple?)

Another option allows you to choose the screen size…wait what? OK, the game’s default setting is “letterbox” mode (black lines on the top and bottom of the screen to simulate wide-screen). You change the option once and it goes into full-screen mode. Why not just start with full-screen mode? I mean, the black lines only cover up the top and bottom of the screen, so the full-screen mode actually shows more. Why even have this option on an N64 game? Of course it gets worse; when you change the option again, the game take up only 80% of your TV screen. What…the…frick! There’s also a 60%, 40% and 20% mode.

Try playing a game that involves flying at high speeds through rings when it only takes up 20% of a 13″ TV screen, I dare you. How could anyone have thought that was a good idea? To an extent I can understand the wide-screen/full-screen option, but the default wide-screen shows nothing new making the option completely pointless.

(This is the beta version of the game. While Superman still looks like a brick, at least the walls have actual detail.)

Let’s get back to the game. After you save the cop from the dudes with rocket launchers you have to beat up four guys. They’re completely black and look like they took 30 seconds to skin. Afterward, you get to the tornado section, and wow was this annoying. You have to touch some symbol to gain ice breath and then use it on three tornadoes. OK first of all, why should Superman have to pick up an icon to use one if his powers? Secondly, how does ice breath stop a tornado?  Thirdly, why are there three tornadoes? Finally, if the tornadoes are in the middle of the city, why haven’t they destroyed any buildings yet, and why are there three civilians just standing there waiting to get sucked up? Also, you have a special meter that measures how much “ice breath” superman has, and once you run out, you can no longer use it. To make matters worse, you have to be very close to these tornadoes to blow them out. You can’t use “ice breath” when you’re moving, and the only way to stop is to wait for Superman to slow to a stop. This section is frustrating in every way imaginable.

After you finally beat the tornadoes, you fly to an underwater icon and the mission finally ends. The next mission takes place in some dam where a fruitcake I’ve never heard of is setting bombs to flood the virtual city…why? Also we finally have a change of music…for the worse. If you get this far, you will have to mute your TV to save your sanity. Anyway, this mission takes place in a tight hallway and a series of rooms, which makes Superman’s flying pretty much useless.

You have to find a key and use it to unlock doors. It took me several minutes to figure out how. You have to go back to the first computer room and press the fly button while standing next to it. Why is the use button the same as the flight button? I really hate this game. I played through a bit further, lowered some water, rescued a bunch of nameless hostages, and then a countdown timer started. Oh frick, another countdown – this game should have been called “Superman – Rampage of the Countdown Timers”. I pick up some speed power-up, which made me run much faster – and through a wall.

(This game was obviously tested and bug fixed to perfection.)

Needless to say, that’s where I quit.

Many people consider Superman for the Nintendo 64 the worst game ever made, and for good reason. The joystick controls are atrocious, the graphics are incredibly bland and the music ranges from utterly forgettable to unbearable. The premise is insanely stupid and there is no logic behind anything that goes on in this game. Why do you fly through rings? If Superman‘s pretty much invincible then how do regular explosions hurt him in this game? If it’s a result of Lex Luthor affecting Superman’s powers in this virtual world, why not just disable Superman’s powers outright? I have no idea what the worst part of this game is, but the best part is that it will never hurt me again.

Two word review: Blasphemous diarrhea

About healed1337

I am a relatively new comic book fan writing this blog for other new comic book fans and/or people who are interested in comics but don't know where to start. I've always been interested in writing, to the point where I have a college Creative Writing Certificate and I'm currently a year 2 Journalism student. I also have another blog where I mostly make fun of bad movies - www.healed1337.blogspot.com As for how I got into comics, I've always had a passing interest in superheroes: most notably Batman, Spider-man and the X-Men. Until February of 2011 (I think,) my only experience with any of these franchises came from the movies and video games. Shortly after I bought Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 however, I decided to check out X-23, Wolverine's female clone. I ended up reading her Innocence Lost origin story and enjoyed it. From there, I started reading various X-Men comics and it quickly exploded into my newest hobby. My other interests/hobbies include video games, movies, music, playing sports, my dogs and weird news.
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