Superman

aka: Superman - The New Superman Adventures, Superman - The New Superman Aventures, Superman 64
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Description official descriptions

Lex Luthor pulls off another stunt, this time he and Braniac have developed a virtual reality version of Metropolis to trick the people of the fair city. And Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen are the first to be tricked.

It's all to pull in Superman, the world's strongest hero, in order to take him down. But as the man himself, your job is to destroy any and all hopes of the bad guys chances.

Using all of his many powers (including heat vision, flight and x-ray vision), you must fight your way through air, sea, underground and indoor levels of bad guys, bosses and puzzle elements in order to reach Lois and destroy Lex's mission.

4 player multiplayer modes are also included as you take control of the many characters for some beat 'em up action.

The United States release contained an exclusive collector's edition Superman comic book inside the package.

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Credits (Nintendo 64 version)

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 32% (based on 24 ratings)

Players

Average score: 0.8 out of 5 (based on 70 ratings with 5 reviews)

Need I say more? Superman 64 SUCKS!

The Good
Um, it's got Superman. And that's the problem. He deserved better than THIS!

The Bad
Where do I begin? The controls are clunky, awful and not all-that responsive to begin with; the dreaded ring sections, the monotonous music, the awful light-pale-green fog in the distance and the time-limit: FOR FUCKING RINGS YOU CAN'T FUCKING AVOID IF YOU FUCKING TRIED!

The Bottom Line
You like Superman? Respect him and deny yourself this game because it's a waste of your time and would make you question life in all the wrong ways.

Nintendo 64 · by John H. (52) · 2019

Games like this deserve to burn!

The Good
Oh my God: these are the first three words I think of when hear the term,"Superman 64". There isn't one single thing that I good in this entire game. To even consider this abomination "entertainment" would be an insult to gaming logic. The only thing that's halfway decent is the menu screen.

The Bad
Lets start with the plot. Lex Luthor has kidnapped three of Superman's friends and trapped them in a virtual world (the plot couldn't have been anymore stupid and simple like this)!

When you begin playing, you realise that you only a few metres away from the Lexcorp building. So you may think that Superman has only to go into the building and beat up Lex, right? Well as a matter of fact, NO! You have to fly through this great big legion of rings, and if you miss at least 2-4 of them; YOU LOSE! And you know what? There's a TIME LIMIT! So, while you are trying to be cautious enough to fly through (note: the controls SUCK) the rings, you also have to keep an eye on the time ticking at the top of the screen! And sometimes, Superman gets stuck very easily, even when he isn't touching anything!

In order to crack this part, you have to do every single thing perfectly. You could be right near the end and just miss a ring and start all over again!

So after you get past the rings, a block of instructions how up for practically a split second; only giving you enough time to read the first few words. In this part, you have to lift two cars and make sure they don't hit civilians. And after you do that, guess what? MORE FREAKING RINGS!!

I never got past this point because of two things:

  1. The music loops on and on until it practically destroys your eardrums.

  2. I'd rather kick the man of Steel in the groin rather this playing this garbage.

    The Bottom Line
    There, you have it. My full description on Superman 64, it took ages to get over the fact that Superman actually had a game based off of him that was this bad!

This is the kind of game you would send to someone you hate as a vengeance present. I mean, thank God they don't make game like this anymore.

And do you know what was missing the most? The official Superman music! That's right, its nowhere to be found in this filth. I've had it with game reviewing for the moment, the next one is going to be a review of a GOOD game.

Nintendo 64 · by Arejarn (7267) · 2008

Lex Wins

The Good
When I was making a purchase at a game store, the clerk told me that if I spend $15 more, I’d get a free t-shirt. After a short while of looking, I brought to her an N64 game that fit the price requirements. She looked at it, then back at me with concern in her eyes. “Why?” she asked quietly. The game I had brought was Superman, and her reaction was no doubt due to the game’s notoriety. It’s not a rare sight on lists of the very worst games of all time, and it has been sarcastically reviewed and broadcast by many tortured internet personalities. I was so certain that I wasn’t going to play more than a few moments of the forbidden game before putting it away that when it asked if I wanted to clear space on my memory card so I could save, I declined. It was after I quickly surmounted two levels of it that I realized that completing the game was actually viable, so I started over with sufficient save space and prepared for the long haul.

The game’s plot involves Superman trying to save his friends from a virtual version of Metropolis. It’s a pretty standard framework when you want to throw common sense out the window and set up rules and situations that aren’t possible in the real world, but somehow the storyline still manages to make no sense. You’re pitted against mainstays of the animated series: Parasite, Metallo, Darkseid, Lex Luthor, and Mala (who I recall seeing, but don’t remember who she is). The thing is, if this is a virtual world, why is Superman saving people from bombs and tornadoes? Who cares if Lex Luthor is building weapons if none of this is real? I’m just going to guess that the whole “virtual world” angle was tacked on at the last minute.

Despite what you’ve probably heard, Superman 64 is surprisingly playable. I say “surprisingly” because I was led to believe that it was broken beyond all reason, so my expectations were as low as expectations can reasonably be. Gameplay is split between two distinct varieties: traversal or “ride” missions that have you flying through rings and saving people, and action missions that involve punching and mild, sometimes obtuse, puzzle solving.

The image seared into minds most gamers will be the rings that Superman is forced to fly through, which aren’t nearly as difficult as commonly reported. I was able to get through all of them without much trouble. Where I failed most in the ride missions were the crimes that punctuate travelling through fog-ridden Metropolis. After every set of rings, you’re dropped into a situation with very little instruction and must figure things out from there. Some are simply “punch all the bad guys,” while others force you to pick up a car and hurl it off a bridge or protect citizens from tornadoes. Once you get used to the game’s demands, the tasks aren’t too daunting. If you fail to prevent the crimes three times, you’re started from the beginning of the task itself, rather than the rings that precede it, which is a rather nice concession the game makes. Considering that some of the ring challenges put 5 to 9 minutes on the clock, having to do them over again once is bad enough without being constantly pushed back there.

The action stages more closely resemble an actual super-hero game, but the combat is so laughably horrid that most of the action is just flying into the lesser enemies and occasionally slapping one when there isn’t enough room to fly. Superman’s punches are just so slow, the hit detection is so inaccurate, and the animation is so awkward that it’s almost better to not even bother. I spent most levels ignoring enemies, flying straight by them in a mad search to find whatever the objective was at that time. It’s thankfully rare that you truly need to fight, such as during boss battles or the slowest escort mission in existence.

The Bad
Don’t let the few positive things I have to say about Superman make you think that it’s a passable game. It didn’t get its reputation for nothing. It’s a glitchy, poorly designed mess of a game that should never have been released in the first place. The fact that I was able to get from beginning to end is literally the only positive thing I can think to say about it.

A lot of Superman’s problems would be solved if the game would just talk to the player more. You’re often plopped down in a situation with a vague explanation and forced to figure out what to do under a strict time limit. Even when a decent explanation is present, it’s easy to accidentally hit a button and skip it entirely. Other times, you won’t be able to interact with a switch in the environment until you’ve triggered an arbitrary piece of dialogue elsewhere. Even if everything was clearly explained, the developers still enjoy hiding things in obscure places. Keycards often appear in areas that have already been searched, and triggers will sometimes open in dusty corners that are often obscured by the game’s atrocious draw fog. Some keys don’t even notify you that you’ve picked them up or what effect they had, and sometimes event triggers are placed way back at the beginning of the level, forcing you to backtrack, sometimes repeatedly. It wasn’t rare for me to find myself flying in circles, trying to figure out where I had to go to proceed.

After each failure, things get easier since most enemies can be ignored while you go back through the paces. If it weren’t for the fact that it’s sometimes a requirement to clear out an area, the cast of villains wouldn’t stand much of a chance. The main grunt of Luthor’s army is the shadows; characters in hats and macs bathed entirely in fashionable, slimming black. Their main tactic for taking you down is to stand perfectly still, shooting a handful of bullets in your direction before obsessively reloading. They also have a tendency to shoot each other, which I’m not sure was intentional, but it is pretty funny. Bosses would provide some variation if it wasn’t for the fact that they have the same propensity for slapping that Superman does. Fights with them tend to degenerate into vicious hand waving until one combatant falls based solely on who was favoured by the game’s temperamental hit detection. That is until heat vision comes into play, allowing Superman to stun-lock bosses until they give up and fall over.

Yet it wasn’t the enemies, or the sometimes strict time limits, or the game’s obtuse guidance that was most responsible for forcing me to play levels over; it was the game’s poor clipping barriers that frequently allowed me to fall into the level geometry. I lost count of how many times it happened, but I can confidently say that there was only one occasion that I was able to free myself from the abyss, and it was only because I fell into the floor below. Once I got stuck thigh deep in the bottom floor, and I was unable to jump or fly to get free. It would have been almost humourous if it didn’t happen right at the end of the level.

What really aggravated me was that the game forces you to play through on the hardest difficulty if you want to finish it. There’s nothing quite like working your way through a game, only to have the last couple levels and, indeed, the ending itself gated off unless you start all over on a harder difficulty. If “normal” difficulty isn’t the normal difficulty setting, why even call it normal? What’s worse is that the harder difficulty isn’t even all that difficult, it’s just annoying. Enemies have more health, so the shadows take two hits to take down, necessitating more circling around their slow bullets just to slap them again. Slap fights with bosses become even more a matter of luck until you can just stun-lock them into oblivion with heat vision. But flying through rings, the most time consuming portion of the game, is either the exact same or so similar that I didn’t notice the difference. I just didn’t want to play through the game twice, okay!?

Yet I did it anyway, even after it froze on a dialogue prompt right at the end and forced me to play through the last level again. All that for one of the most abrupt and surreal endings I’ve ever seen in a video game. Spoiler alert: it’s bizarre.

The Bottom Line
I suppose the big question is whether or not Superman 64 is as bad as its reputation suggests, and to be honest, there are worse games out there. In fact, there are worse games on the N64. It’s the Atari E.T. syndrome; it’s high profile crap, but certainly not the crappiest. I’m certainly not implying that the game is actually any good, make no mistake, it’s TERRIBLE. It’s buggy, the combat is terrible, the environments are ugly, the whole thing feels unfinished, but at least it’s playable, if only barely, and there are games out there that can’t even claim that. At times, I even found myself enjoying it a little, but that’s likely due to the sense of danger in playing a game so universally hated. I just have no vitriol for it. It’s not an entirely soulless game, nor is it a disappointing entry in some long running series that a big named publisher sent out to die, it’s just another crummy licensed game.

Nintendo 64 · by Adzuken (836) · 2015

[ View all 5 player reviews ]

Discussion

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Call me crazy. (Because I know you will) GAMEBOY COLOR! (1989) Jun 30th, 2008

Trivia

Graphics

The game's developers could not render any background and as an excuse wrote it off as a "kryptonite fog".

PlayStation version

A PlayStation version was in the works, but was cancelled.

Awards

  • Nintendo Power
    • Issue #196 - #1 Worst Nintendo Game
  • Total! (Germany)
    • Issue 01/2000 – Biggest N64 Flop in 1999

Information also contributed by Big John WV and Matt Neueboom

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 9239

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Kartanym.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Pseudo_Intellectual, Andrew Shepard, LepricahnsGold, DreinIX, Patrick Bregger, Koterminus.

Game added May 20th, 2003. Last modified February 22nd, 2023.