This is the first Superman
video game, released by Atari
in 1978/1979 for the 2600
You start out as Clark Kent, in a phone booth. Head east one screen, and Lex Luthor
and his five henchmen will blow up a bridge
and flee. Head back to the phone booth and change into Superman. You have two missions: Reassemble the bridge, and capture Lex and his men
. Metropolis is represented as a 21-screen overworld, with a subway
, a jail, the Daily Planet
, and the phone booth. You fly around looking for Lex, his men, and three pieces of the bridge. If you spot a villain, pick him up and carry him to jail. If you spot a bridge piece, pick it up and carry it back to the river. Once you have put all six villains in jail, and reassembled the bridge, change back into Clark Kent, and head to the Daily Planet
to file your story.
There are "Kryptonite satellites" wandering around the city. If one touches you, you lose the ability to fly and carry villains and bridge pieces. Depending on the right difficulty switch, either Lois Lane
will appear to heal you, or you will have to walk around the city until you find her. Touch her to regain your powers. There is also a helicopter flying around, picking up Lois and bridge pieces and scattering them around.
There is no way to die. Your objective is to complete your missions in the least amount of time.
Atari 2600 Superman provides examples of:
- Backtracking: You'll do a lot of this as you wander around looking, and carrying stuff.
- Broken Bridge: Literally. But at least the Fetch Quest is logical: the bridge pieces.
- Dungeon Bypass: Some (early) versions of the game had a bug allowing you to skip collecting bridge pieces. The game starts as soon as you touch the joystick. Use your X-ray vision (hold down the button), for a few seconds and you could fly off without becoming Clark Kent and watching the bridge blow. Since the only score was your time to complete, you could cut vital seconds off your time (just about a minute was possible).
- Flip Screen Scrolling
- The Golden Age of Video Games
- Gotta Catch Them All: Six villains and three bridge pieces.
- Hub Level: The subway.
- Instant 180 Degree Turn
- Intimate Healing: A suggested explanation for how Lois Lane instantly restores Superman's powers after he loses them by touching a Kryptonite meteor.
- It's Up to You: It's understandable that you would be tasked with capturing Lex, as he's flying around. But his men are wandering the streets, machine guns in hand, and there are no police to stop them. There are also no city engineers on hand to carry the bridge pieces back, though (it's implied) they rebuild it once you've carried them all back.
- Palette Swap: Lex's men.
- Plot Coupon:
- Lex and his men.
- The bridge. When it's rebuilt, you cross it to get to the Daily Planet.
- Side View: With an odd twist. If you fly up, instead of going into the sky, you go to another part of the city. Likewise when you fly down.
- Spiritual Successor: To Adventure.
- Token Minority: One of Lex's henchmen has a brown square for a head instead of pink. This nameless villain may be the first African-American video game character.
- Video Game Geography
- Video Game Setpiece: Lex and his men blowing up the bridge.