A History of Stupid Superman Games

Matt Barton's picture

Superman's Buns of SteelSuperman's Buns of SteelIn honor of the newly released movie, 1up has a very colorful feature up called Gamer's Kryptonite: Superman's 10 Worst Games. The article starts with Superman for the Atari 2600 and covers titles from many computers, consoles, and arcade machines. It's really curious how easy it is to take a big budget and really make a cringe-worthy game based on a mega-popular franchise. I mean, how hard can it be to get a Superman game right? I distinctly remember playing Superman: Man of Steel on my Amiga and thinking how lousy it was. Then again, Superman's powers don't necessarily lend themselves very well to a videogame--he's simply too powerful. It's hard to translate his powers into compelling gameplay. About the only challenge left would be strategic ones--assuming Superman can only be in one place at the same time (an assertion challenged in the movies). Should you save a bus from going over a bridge or Lois Lane from an earthquake?

Although I've always been a fan of comic heroes like Batman, Spiderman, Daredevil and the Hulk, I just never got into Superman. Again, it seemed like a case of super-power overkill. A really good hero has to have a tragic flaw, and Superman ain't got one (and no, the b.s. about "Your goodness is your fatal flaw!" is just too silly). I think this is why a character like Wolverine is more interesting than Superman. Wolverine isn't all-powerful (though in the last movie, he almost seems to be), and he doesn't have crystalline virtues. Somehow he seems more realistic to me than the boy from Krypton.

Anyway, what's your favorite (or least favorite) Superman-based videogame?


Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Joined: 12/31/1969
Matt Barton wrote:

I enjoyed a Superman game for the Amiga, though I don't remember the details (just that it was so hard I couldn't get far into it).

I loved the first Superman movie and the second one. Who hasn't daydreamed about how awesome it would be to take some babe you're in love with flying through the skies of Metropolis.

IIRC, the third movie had degenerated into a spoof. As a kid, I really liked the Supergirl movie, too, though I'm not sure how I'd feel about it now.

I didn't mind the Superman arcade game too much. I don't remember if the Amiga game was the same.

I have a Superman strategy game of all things for the Atari 8-bit, that I've been meaning to try: http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-400-800-xl-xe-superman-the-game_679... . Apparently based on the reviews, I should leave it in the box, though... ;-)

Like I said, very tangled web with the original Superman trilogy. I agree about Superman III being nothing but a horrible goof, but it's interesting because as a kid, armed simply with a Vic-20, it inspired me to "hack" on my computer, which was a clumsy childish attempt to "Dial NASA" and the like. So as a hacker romanticizing film - at least to a child - it was right up there with WarGames for me...

Joined: 01/21/2009
Im not a big fan of many of

Im not a big fan of many of the Hero games.. truth be told i think the "hero without a hearo licence" games are better. Prototype, Infamous... but i have to say if i had ot pick a hero game... HULK!!!!!! the ability to jump massive distacne, and smash the crap out of evertyhing was a blast.. but Im 5 at heart I think :)

I actually had the SUperman Arcade game in my house for a bit. I have bought and sold several. got it for $100, its not a very sought after game. Sadly its a quarter eater, even on the lower settings you cant "live" for every long... even as Superman. the standard enemies sucked.. simple, zero challange, but the boos mobs where a bit evil... I learned teh whole trick was the super punch (power up) pretty simple to beat any of them with that if you used some basic timing, except the telport guys, they would port (disapper) if you yses it so they ahd to be beat down the slow way. the real porblem was supermans health... a rock, punch anything took one of the 5 bars (or was it 3) you had. Think ther where only 4 levels and you fouhgt a spacship in the end.. it didnt have alot of replay value, but you could have a blue and red superman play at asme time.. which added a litle to it.

Speaking of, Just Cuase 2 was on sale on STEAM fo $7 its incredibly fun.. much like playing your favorite action star.. you can eat tons of lead, have almost dead eye aiming and get to roam a 20 some square mile island and destory stuff your hearts content.. I love it.. silly blast um up fun...

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