Developer: Titus Games
Distributor: Titus Games
N64 Controller Pak or compatible memory card REQUIRED
1 to 4 players simultaneous
N64 Rumble Pak supported
Titus Games brings the legendary Man of Steel to the N64 in a a 3D action packed adventure. The plot for this offering centers on Superman's arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor's plans to humble Superman once and for all.
The means of his nefarious plan is to kidnap Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen in a virtual mock-up of fabled Metropolis. During this multi-level game, Superman encounters familiar foes, Metallo, The Parasite, Darkseid, Brainiac, Bizarro, a horde of shadowy henchmen and ol' Lex himself.
The game involves a two-fold set-up of 4 small (timed) missions followed by a larger one that involves puzzle solving and the defeat of a level boss. Superman can be played on Easy, Normal and Superman settings. The latter two are necessary in order to complete the final two missions. Nonetheless, you can get a good education on the intricacies of the game if you give it a run on the easy level first.
Superman is a pretty intensive game on the graphics end and the designers used copious amounts of fogging in the mini-missions to speed the framerate. It also has the side benefit or penalty (depending on your point of view) of making the smaller missions tougher. Superman flies at a fair clip and getting him turned around can leave you wondering how you could move so far away from your objective. This is most apparent when battling flying mine-laying robots. If you fail to take note of where you are you can quickly get lost in the fog. You'll soon learn to take note of a particular building in any given mission to keep yourself oriented. Keep your index finger glued to the R button that'll keep Supes from getting too far afield of his objective.
The Superman world is patterned off of the style made popular by Superman the Animated Series. He has that stylized block jaw and the supporting characters likewise owe their sylized renderings to that particular Superman incarnation. This works great for me and certainly makes the game a treat for the eyes. There are occasions when the framerate noticeably bogs down but they are infrequent and certainly do not represent the main visual course. The collision model is suspect, however, and you are never quite sure of how close or far off from the target/victim you are.
In most cases, you'll be required to fly or punch your opponent into submission and it's in the latter case that things can get a bit frustrating. Nonetheless, with practice you'll get the hang of it and find yourself overpowering the opposition.
The virtual Metropolis is varied as are the missions Superman undertakes on his quest to subdue Luthor and rescue his friends. Superman comes complete with his super strength and flying ability. However, for game play issues, his heat vision, freezing breath, x-ray vision and super speed are only provided via power ups. The power ups are important as some missions can only be completed with the application of a successful power-up.
Overall, Superman is a cartoon-like treat for the eyes and the joystick is up up and away.
Not bad at all though the first time you grab a health power-up you'll probably jump a bit. The sound is that of a ricocheting bullet! The background noises are all well done. In most cases, you'll hear the pounding of machinery indoors and the howl of the wind as superman maneuvers through the air outdoors. Vocal offerings are minimal so Superman says his famous..."This looks like a job for Superman" but not much else. Luthor's dialogue is essentially restricted to a mocking laugh or the occasional taunt or two. Overall, the sound is capable but not awe-inspiring or particularly exciting. Put the joystick in neutral.
The missions are all enjoyable. Each mission varies in complexity even within the mini-missions. These involve flying to a large Superman logo and then getting instructions on the mission at hand. On Normal and Superman settings you'll literally have to fly through hoops to get to the logo....and you're timed.
While this is a challenging feature, I found it less than satisfying as a game element. I'm really not one to stop and smell the roses so this aspect was viewed as a hindrance to actually getting on with the task at hand. Nonetheless, the mission designs are great and pretty much cover any frustration in actually getting there.
The large missions are the meat of the game. For the most-part they work quite well. Your most common obstacles are the ubiquitous shadowy henchmen. You'll encounter them often. I found the best way of disposing of them was by getting a good head of speed up and flying into them. While less than inspiring, they help keep the game's pace up and make navigating virtual Metropolis a hazardous undertaking...even for Superman.
The puzzles are pretty straight forward and for older players pretty obvious. The younger set will find them more challenging and test their abilities more. There's certainly a sense of satisfaction and in some cases genuine relief when completing a successful mission. There's plenty of Kryptonite on hand to get both yours and Superman's heart a pumping. Overall, I enjoyed the larger scenarios more and wish that the designers had focused more on this aspect the game.
The Controller Interface
I used the standard N64 controller for the game as most of you will. Normally, controller issues are neither here nor there but in Superman I found the standard N64 controller less than optimal. The dexterity required for "accurate" maneuvering of Superman really showed up the weakness in the N64 controller. It simply isn't flexible enough to control Superman the way I'd have liked. I feel the game would be much more controllable with a PlayStation type controller. The game pad and direction buttons would likely have Superman moving
in a more controlled state. I could be mistaken here, but I may be able to put my theory to the test as Superman is rumored to be on the way to the PlayStation. In this department, I'm forced to point the joystick down.
Interesting and varied missions are hampered by a difficult controller issue and hoop flying timed tasks frustrated my arrival to an otherwise rewarding goal. Superman is an uneven mix but the gameplay once you arrive there is for the most-part genuinely fun and rewarding.
Superman rates 3 joysticks out of 5.
Superman was reviewed by dagameboyz own... Prophet