Why Do All Superman Games Suck?

By Jason Green

My favorite gaming news site, IGN, just posted the review for Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heros. The tagline called it “The Greatest Superman Game Of All Time.”

Superman is only a side character in the game and to say it’s the best Superman game ever, even though he’s not even the star, doesn’t bode well for games that carry his name.

Let’s go back in time to the good ol’ year of 1999.

That’s the year the infamous Superman 64 for Nintendo 64 debuted only to be torn apart by critics and gamers.

That game had numerous delays and development problems leading up to its launch and when it finally came out, it was a broken mess. I could tell you how bad that game was but I’m sure you already know.

For those who don’t: It was riddled with game breaking bugs, horrible graphics, wooden gameplay, and extreme repetition.

It was rated one of the worst games of all time.

I actually still have my copy, it makes a good bookend.

The first Superman game for PS2 was called Superman: Shadows of Apokolips (yes that is how they spelled Apocalypse), which I also still have, and actually, that game wasn’t terrible.

It was a huge step up from Superman 64, with it’s cool cutscenes and mostly fun gameplay. But again the game was plagued with repetition and some extremely difficult parts that turned most gamers off and it ultimately tanked in sales.

In 2006 when Superman Returns hit theaters, there was obviously a video game tie in with the same name.

The months leading up to that game were filled with previews saying how outstanding the game was going to be and how it was break the curse of horrible Superman games.

Well I can safely say that they were all dead wrong and Superman Returns was another atrocity.

The game had extremely difficult gameplay and annoyingly long levels. So when you’d die you’d start back from the very beginning and rip your hair out.

That was just one thing in the long list of things wrong with that game.

To make it easier, I’ll sum it up with four words. It’s a movie game.

Ever since than there hasn’t been a Superman game aside from that one on the IPhone and a few games here and there where he’s just one out of a list of characters.

So why are Superman games so bad? Why can’t developers just sit down and make a good one? Batman games had a long history of crappy video games but that eventually turned around with Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.

I think part of the problem is that save from Kryptonite, Superman is a god and nothing can kill him. So in a Superman game he’d need to fight a lot of people with Kryptonite or just not die at all, making for an extremely simple game.

I guess developers have a hard time trying to make a game featuring someone with only one weakness.

Awhile back I remember reading rumors that Rocksteady, the company behind both Batman: Arkham games, was going to develop a new Superman game. Nothing was heard after that but if that does come to fruition, I think our worries would be over.

As for now, though, Superman may be a god who is allergic to green rocks, but Lex Luthor found out another weakness of his, video games.



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