The Man of Steel’s Not-So-Secret Shame: Revisiting the Craptacular Superman 64

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chris-littlechild - June 6, 2013

Nerdly professors of Gameology like to claim that 1998 was the best year in gaming history. In terms of top-bollock high caliber releases, you can't argue with a line up that included the lofty likes of Resident Evil 2, Metal Gear Solid, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Pokémon Red and Blue. If that weren't enough -which it so plainly was- evidence of frozen water was discovered on the moon.

In summation, for fans of video games and/or ice in space, 1998 was the golden age (unfortunate hairstyles and craptacular music aside). Alas, though, perhaps in order to restore equilibrium between the yin and yang of the universe (or some hippie B.S like that), a true horror lay in wait for us the next year: the notorious Superman 64.

This abomination is more accurately known as Superman: The New Adventures, as well as by some other, crueler names we're not allowed to use because dear ol' ma forbade us to use naughty words (having your mouth washed out with soap is a ghastly business when the wash-er weighs 750 pounds). It's a half-assed (devoid of) action game from Titus Software, purporting to be based on Superman: The Animated Series.

It looks dramatic. It isn't.

The premise is that the ever-bastardly Lex Luthor has the Super Dude at his mercy in a virtual Metropolis he created. This results in a series of quests and tests being thrust upon our hero, which make up the game's fourteen levels: seven ‘mazes' and seven ‘rides.' The former are relatively harmless punchy, platformy, puzzly affairs, with the aim of rescuing one of Luthor's hostages. It still sucks (rather vigorously), but less egregiously than the other half of the Satan's ass-egg that is Superman 64: those damn ‘ride' levels.

We've demonstrated this phenomenon for you before, but here's a quick recap:

Things Superman should do in video games: Punch foes into the Sun, freeze them with his breath, leap buildings in a single bound, generally behave in a manner that befits the grapfruit-testicled man-colossus he is.

Things Superman shouldnotdo in video games: Fly through rings like a capering circus animal/huge, ridiculous wanker.

"Are we talking GOOD friends? Frankly, my own goddamn first-born son isn't worth this kind of torture."

Now, we wouldn't be presumptuous enough to say that Superman is the ‘best' superhero. The internet inter-nerds can smell comments of that sort from a couple of continents away, and they're prone to tantrums and outraged bedwetting at the very mention of such topics. Do we want legions of skinny pale folk besieging our homes at night? We don't. As all manner of low-budget zombie movies can attest, that shit never ends well.

"Brains!By which I mean,‘But his powers are rendered null by merely being in close proximity to ore from his doomed home planet of Krypton!'"

But let's not derail our mighty train of thought now. ‘Best' aside, his powers are certainly formidable; perfect fodder for a ridiculous-yet-enjoyable-yet-fanservice-y action extravaganza. The limp-scroted Superman 64, then, is rendered all the more insulting. Bugs, glitches and general suckage has ensured its legacy among the worst games ever, with such colorful review remarks as gamespot's, ‘This is easily the worst game I've ever played... it serves no purpose other than to firmly establish the bottom of the barrel.'

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