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Video Game / Superhero City

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Superhero City is an online role-playing game developed by the Klicknation Corporation and released on June 16, 2009; it is available for playing through Facebook, and is noted as the company's flagship game. Details on the game's original conception can be found here.

You take on the role of a superhero, initially tutored by the retired-but-still-powerful Shadow Knight, but eventually you make your mark on the world through completion of missions, battling super-villains, and forming teams with (or creating rivalries with) fellow superheroes. By completing missions in various cities across the world, you gain Experience Points to become stronger, Skill Points to improve your character's stats, and Merit Points to purchase costume equipment or more powerful abilities to defeat the tougher heroes or villains you come across in game-play.

Completing missions and gaining victory in fights allows you to earn money, which you can then use to buy equipment and/or skills as necessary. Also, you can choose particular fields of employment for your character to earn money each hour, though it costs in-game cash to go to the higher-paying jobs—but the more expensive the employment training for the particular field, the higher the hourly payout from the job.

As with other online games such as Mafia Wars and FarmVille, Superhero City encourages player networking in order to boost your hero's stats, most especially attack and defense strength and agility; essentially, the more playing allies you have, the stronger you become. You can also exchange gifts with your fellow team players, ranging from replenishing items to special mission-specific items.

You start out playing missions in Manhattan, but as you gain experience you can move on to other cities, including Athens, Tokyo, New Delhi, Toronto, the lost city of Atlantis, and eventually the mysterious Wretched Hive known as Supervillain City. Along the way, you meet various allies, develop a wide cross-section of foes, and uncover a hidden plot in an underlying Story Arc. Another city is later added to the mission roster, named "Sins' City," in which you must fight against an invasion of the city orchestrated by a group of villains known as the Lords of Sin. Most recently, a new city tier called "SHC Labs" is introduced, set in the aftermath of Sins' City and introducing you to a heroic group known as the Foundry.

Superhero City is free to play, though all players have the option of using real-world money to purchase Merit Points for new abilities or special avatar costume items. Otherwise, you gain one Merit Point for each level-up (though more can be gained in-game by fulfilling special requirements).

Bears no relation to this Superhero City. Nor should it be confused with City of Heroes.

Now has its own character page, currently under development.

This game provides examples of:

  • Anti Poop-Socking: When you run out of energy or fight points, you have to wait a certain amount of time while they build back up. This applies more so if you run out of replenishing items to refill said energy or fight points.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Dr. Fulkerth is this to Shadow Knight.
    • Harsh Winter to Scott Pilgrim (both of whom only appear during the Thanksgiving missions).
    • Set to Sunstone, probably.
  • Atlantis: This is one of the stages where you have to come and do battle with the Hyperboreans.
  • Atrocious Alias: The superhero known as The Thumb, who you team up with in the DC missions.
  • Badass Boast: Several examples abound. In the Nexus stage, for example, Karradine (one of the opponents in the Nexus Fight Night tournament) introduces himself thus:
    So, young hero, you wish to challenge Karradine, the ultimate martial artist. My knowledge spans several galaxies and tonight, you will feel the pain from 12 worlds.
  • Blame Game: Between Shadow Knight and Catalyst in a recent story arc detailing how their feud started. Shadow Knight blames Catalyst for his having to divert from the scene of a riot to stop her stealing equipment from his corporation, leading to several deaths he could have prevented had he been there. On the returning end, Catalyst is invoking What the Hell, Hero?.
  • Boss Battle: Every city has one.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: The more real-world money you are willing to spend, the more Merit Points you can acquire for limited-edition costume pieces or abilities.
  • The Cape: This is the role that you, and all superheroes in-game, portray.
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • Many Merit Abilities feature parodies, homages, and general shout-outs to other famous superheroes, villains, video game characters, their iconic equipment, and abilities. If there's a character from Marvel, DC, Darkhorse Comics, or any popular movie or video game series, there's going to be an Ersatz of them on an ability card sooner or later.
    • Even the game's story itself features a few of them. Notably, the "Traveler", who helps save the universe with the ability to manipulate time and space at his command, and an anthropologist named Henry Jones.
  • Chekhov's Gun: After collecting all of the talismans that have been dropped by the Four Horsemen in the Sins' City missions, you acquire the Sanctified Solar, a cross-shaped object that your avatar can wear as a utility-belt item to increase your life by 4%, increase your character's base agility and base defense (by 100% and 300% respectively), and reduce the damage you take in combat by 4 points. It later proves to be a much more significant item in-story: it's what you need to remove a piece of one of the Horseman of War's talismans that got lodged in Copper's chest and prompted his Face–Heel Turn.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: At least three examples, as listed below:
    • Hardwire, the very first super-villain you fight during the Justified Tutorial when you're just starting out, was previously only there to get his ass kicked by you in order to establish your superhero credentials at the end of Shadow Knight's initial training. When the Tokyo missions got revamped, Hardwire returned as the main villain in that city's new side-quest, having built an army of robots to take you on.
    • When you first start playing the game, Dr. Fulkerth would be introduced to you as Shadow Knight's enemy, but otherwise he's willing to sell you stat-boosters from his store; other than that, he didn't interact directly with your player character. When the Supervillain City tier was introduced, he was revealed to be that city's Big Bad, and was responsible for kidnapping Starry Knight and inciting her Face–Heel Turn.
    • Starry Knight, as well; when you're first introduced to her, her dad Shadow Knight tasks you with saving her from her bungled superhero efforts in the Manhattan tier. She later gets transformed into Dark Matter.
  • Chest Insignia: Combined with Costume Porn and Virtual Paper Doll, this is an option for your character avatar. Among the insignias your avatar can wear are a triangular skull-themed item which serves as a nod to The Phantom, differently-colored spider-outlines in a nod to Spider-Man, and science-themed insignias. Also see Wearing a Flag on Your Head below.
  • City of Adventure: To date, there are seventeen: Manhattan, Athens, Las Vegas, Tokyo, New Delhi, Cairo, Midgard, Atlantis, Nexus (a mission tier set in space), Washington D.C., Toronto, Supervillain City, Inferno (a set of prequel missions before Supervillain City), Sins' City (where monsters led by the Lords of Sin have overrun Superhero City), SHC Labs (with missions based around the eponymous labs and chronologically set sometime after Sins' City), and two Boss Rush tiers named Elite Bosses and Elite Bosses 2. As of this writing (June 21, 2013), there's also a limited-edition city tier named Shangri-La.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Played straight and subverted at the same time with the player character. Equipment which you buy in the game's store will significantly increase or decrease your stats, hence affecting the outcome of your fights, but the costume equipment you see on your hero's avatar (which you purchase in a separate store from the stats-equipment) have no effect on game-play.
  • Cosmetic Award: Similar to Mafia Wars, Superhero City has an Achievement system in which you get awarded for fulfilling certain criteria that aren't necessarily fulfilled through in-story gameplay. For example, the very first achieve you get is the "Amateur Crimefighter" award, which is won by completing 10 missions. Others include "Untouchable Champion," which you get by winning 5000 player-vs.-player battles, and "Hero of Legend," which you get after playing for two years. There are also some awards that you only get from participating in the game's battle arena competitions or if you subscribe (even briefly) to Klicknation's other, newer games (e.g. the "Galactic Gunslinger Badge" for subscribing to the Six Gun Galaxy game).
  • Costume Porn: Hand-in-hand with Virtual Paper Doll. The game's avatar-designing system provides you a wide variety of items (including gender-specific accessories) to choose from, for an original or Captain Ersatz look; so if you want to make your character look like, say, Superman, Zorro, The Phantom, Doctor Doom, Lion-O, Dracula, Xena or Vash the Stampede, or if you just want to be dressed up in regular jeans and T-shirts, you can get accessories to cater to that. The only downside is, many of the accessories (including skin tones and energy fields in some cases) cost Merit Points, often as much as 45 for a single skin tone, and some items are only available for a limited time at certain times of year.
  • Crapsack World: Supervillain City is a place where, as the name indicates, super-powered villains are banished upon being arrested. As a result, the entire zone is lawless, and in fact the missions you have to do there range from spraying graffiti to spreading false rumors amongst rival gangs—all of which is considered normal.
  • Crossover: With Starship Command: Battle for Earth, also developed by Klicknation.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: You don't die if you lose a battle in Superhero City, but you do run the risk of losing in-game cash that you haven't placed in the bank if you lose a fight.
  • The Determinator: The game's creator, Mark Otero, was this in real life. Read his story here.
  • Domino Mask: Worn by quite a few characters in-story; Starry Knight is a heroic variant, while on the villains' side there's Trixie and the Hitman, one of the Suit's henchmen in Las Vegas. Of course, domino masks of varying designs can be worn by your character avatar as well.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: in January 2014 Electronic Arts who has acquired the game with its buyout of Klicknation announced that the game would close in late March, the reaction of players ran the gamut of traditional end of the world scenarios:-saying goodbye to friends and team mates, holding out for a hero to come and save the day, despair, having a party (using up hoared in game cash, merit points and buffs, picketing the city hall with go away signs and save our city petitions.
  • Evil All Along: The White Samurai in the revamped Tokyo missions is the White Oni in disguise.
  • Evil Plan: The game presents a very odd one during the Christmas missions. Krampus kidnaps Santa and distributes cursed lumps of coal throughout Manhattan, forcing you to rescue Father Christmas and recover the coal lumps in order to defeat the villain...but then the whole thing turns out to have been a ploy by Krampus and his wife to add some spice to their marriage, which you've helped them to accomplish even by beating them.
  • Experience Points: Earned though mission completion, or battling other players.
  • Expy: All over the place, not just among the characters, but also among the ability cards and costume designs you can access, as detailed elsewhere on this page. Among the characters alone, just for a few examples:
  • Face–Heel Turn: Copper => Ferrous => Alloy. Also, Starry Knight's transformation into Dark Matter.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Hyperborean and Zigonian races, as well as several Atlanteans, look down on humans with considerable hatred.
  • Fish People: The Atlanteans.
  • A God Am I: Set, the boss of the Cairo missions. To be fair, he is a deity from ancient Egyptian mythology.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: You can gain various achievements by completing the different stages on all the available difficulty tiers, participating in special-event player competitions, or defeating certain villains.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: You have the option of naming your hero character whatever you want to call him/her when you start playing the game. You also have the option to change your character's name at any time, although it costs one Merit Point per name-change.
  • Holiday Mode: Certain Ability cards, avatar items, and equipment are only available for limited times during different holidays in the year (Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, for example). The game's browser pages will be appropriately decorated for each holiday during those periods, as well.
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: They show up as villains for you to fight in the Sins' City missions. Conquest has the power to compel people to rule over everything; War makes people go into a battle-furious rage; Famine causes people to become ravenously hungry to the point of becoming Extreme Omnivores and cannibals; Death (the only female of the bunch) drains the life-force from those around her.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: You can carry around any number of items and skills you like.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: You get special bonuses for having played the game over a certain period of time (playing for six months nets you 50 Merit Points, 100 Merit Points for one year's gameplay, etc.). Even if you don't log in to play for an entire year, you'll still get those bonuses to your account; the only drawback is that in that time you'll miss out on collecting certain Ability cards, player equipment, or avatar costume pieces that are only available for a limited time, and you are put at risk of being robbed of whatever money you get from your jobs that doesn't get put in the bank.
  • It's Up to You: Apparently, each city's missions rely on you completing them in order for there to be any hope for a gang to be defeated, the world not being destroyed, or aliens not making a hostile takeover; and this, too, despite the presence of other superheroes within the story.
  • Level Grinding: Mandatory if you want to get stronger or gain more Merit Points. To this end, you can participate in Raids (where Raid-exclusive villains are summoned using the correct items) to level up as much as possible, provided you have enough replenishing items to keep you going.
  • Level-Up Fill-Up: Your Energy points and Fight points get refilled to the max on each level-up.
  • Most Common Superpower: Trixie and Shieka are just two examples.
  • Mundane Utility: The Flame Tongue ability that you gain from the Supervillain City boss is described as being used as this when not in combat.
  • Noodle Incident: During the Foundry missions, after you defeat the fiendish Leviathan, Alexandra Thorne of BADGE claims not to have seen moves like yours since Shadow Knight defeated a Dr. Apollo back in '82. This particular incident isn't elaborated on, however.
  • Oh, Crap!: Your hero character's reaction when, during the SHC Labs missions, you break into the Foundry's headquarters, only to get a recording from Ferrous...followed by a message that the base is wired to explode...with five seconds on the timer.
    Hero: Oh, no. (beats a Super-Speed retreat)
  • Point Build System: You get Skill Points each time you level up (five per level-up) or complete missions (the amount varies with these), and you can use these to improve your battle-life points, Energy points, attack, defense, or agility.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Your hero character's fight against Alloy results in this.
    Alloy: My turn.
  • Randomly Drops: Special powers are randomly given to you as rewards each time you complete missions. Also, during the SHC Labs missions featuring the Foundry, you will randomly get BADGE tablets, which in-universe are stated to be rewards from Alexandra Thorne for your success on the missions in question; opening the tablets will give you random pieces of BADGE equipment which you can then don for varying stat boosts.
  • Remember the New Guy?: With regard to the villains; when you (as the player) first meet some of them, the dialogue indicates that you (i.e. your character) have met them at least once before. (One subversion is during the Las Vegas stage, where the Suit introduces himself to you as a member of The Syndicate.)
  • The Resenter: Copper was this toward the rest of the Foundry because he was their weakest member and was jealous of their greater strength. This was amplified when a piece of the Horseman of War's talisman got embedded in his chest, transforming him into Ferrous and later Alloy.
  • Rogues Gallery: There are a wide cross-section of villains in the various locations of Superhero City, both those that you fight and those you only meet in-story but don't actually do combat with.
  • Rookie Red Ranger: Your player character is this when you first start playing the game.
  • Save This Person, Save the World: Starry Knight, during the Sins' City missions.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Their embodiments show up as villains for you to fight.
  • Shock and Awe: Voltaru is an electrically-charged extra-terrestrial.
  • Shout-Out: Many of the equipment pieces, costume pieces, and ability cards you can collect serve as this to various fictional and real-life characters or phenomenon.
    • In the case of the ability cards, many that are offered have in their illustrations characters who are Captain Ersatzes of established comic book characters. For example, one Ability card that was offered during Halloween is named "Geist Ryder" and it has in its illustration a character with a flaming skull head riding a Cool Bike with fiery wheels. More recently, as of this writing (November 2011), there have been Ability cards named "Time Shift," "Master of Death," and "Healer of Everything," among other offerings, that are an homage to Doctor Who.
    • In the case of the equipment and avatar-costume pieces, many that are on sale are tributes to various series, usually from comic books but also from notable TV shows. It also ties together with Costume Porn and Virtual Paper Doll.
    • There are quite a few examples among the game's characters as well. For example, minor not-quite-villain Boxer Zyson in the Nexus stage is a Humanoid Alien Expy of Mike Tyson.
  • Sidekick: Starry Knight is this for her father Shadow Knight, and Kasey eventually becomes this to you during the events of Supervillain City. On the villainous side, Dr. Fulkerth has The Dragon, Trixie.
  • Slasher Smile: Dr. Kemet sports a disturbing, face-distorting one at one point. Alloy wears one while he's curb-stomping your hero character as well.
  • Stock Superhero Day Jobs: Your hero character is able to work in a set day (or night) job as a way of earning income; when you earn enough cash, you can upgrade to a higher-paying job. The jobs available to you include janitor, reporter, disc jockey, forensic scientist, private detective, novelist, and archaeologist.
  • Summoning Artifact: Needed to summon the seven available raids, and (with the exception of the Chrome Onyx Cube, which can be won by defeating Vercona in a Las Vegas mission), the items are randomly dropped when you defeat the city bosses. Specifically, to summon each of the following villains and their armies, you need:
    • Voodoo King Lou: Necronomicon and Bone Ash.
    • Pack Leader Silvermane: Lycaon's Blood and Wolf Venom.
    • Lord Lucius Bloodvayne: Fresh Blood and Vampire's Coffin.
    • Astronickus, Bringer of Judgment: Hyperspace Coordinates and Extraterrestrial Power Source.
    • Ninja Lord Fuma Hanzo: Mysterious Ninja Gong and Mystical Mountain Incense.
    • Haxxor's Moon Raid: Haxxor's Visor and Access Key.
    • Dark Matter: Cosmic Map and Cosmic Detector.
    • Amazon Queen Shieka: Sword of Penance and Chrome Onyx Cube.
    • Zigonian Queen, Kemma Azonix: Pheromone Boost and Pheromone Jack.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Copper and Starry each have one, Ferrous and Dark Matter respectively.
  • Temporary Online Content: Certain Ability cards and avatar-costume items are only ever offered once, and if you fail to get them before the deadline date, you can't get them again (one prominent example would be the Final Fantasy costume pieces that were available for a limited time in 2010). This also applies to certain Merit Point equipment bought in the game's store, except those have a limited amount in stock and you have to get yours before other players swipe them up.
  • The Syndicate: Run by the Kingpin in Manhattan, and his enforcer The Suit in Las Vegas. In the older Tokyo missions, that city had the Yakuza, run by King Oni.
  • Timed Mission: The raids must be completed within a specific time period, counted in hours. The faster you can complete a raid, the more rewards (and more effective equipment, as well) you will get.
  • To Hell and Back: The Sins' City mission tier has you doing this.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • The villains in the Elite Bosses stages could qualify.
    • Of course, you as the player can achieve this though Level Grinding. Catalyst also offers you the opportunity to do this with several ability cards exclusive to her Tug-of-War event (in-story, it's treated as you upgrading certain skill sets through use of technology Catalyst has stolen).
  • Virtual Paper Doll: One of the features available in the game is your ability to customize your hero avatar's appearance. You can make your avatar male or female, with two additional body-type choices for each gender (buff and muscular or lean and trim); you can change the avatar's skin tone, hair style and color, and whether they have tattoos or other special marks; and you can customize avatar-costume pieces (many of which you have to purchase with Merit Points) to either give your avatar a unique appearance or make him/her a Captain Ersatz of an already-established superhero (or villain).
  • Viva Las Vegas!: The Las Vegas mission tier, natch.
  • We Are Everywhere: The Suit says this about The Syndicate when you defeat him in Las Vegas.
  • Weapon-Based Characterization: Accompanying Virtual Paper Doll and Costume Porn, you can choose to equip your character avatar with certain types of weapons acquired in the avatar-costume store, which is the only way you differentiate your character with other players. In some cases the weapons count as your character's cape, meaning they get worn on your back; for the most part, however, costume pieces specifically identified as "weapons" get held in one hand or both, but if the weapon is held in only one hand, you can't choose which hand to hold said weapon in. Among the weapons you can equip on your avatar are swords, machetes, hammers, staves, guns, scythes, whips, hooks, knives, chainsaws, shields...or you can simply let your character go with just their fists.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Fourth of July specials provide you with avatar-costume equipment, including Uncle Sam's trademark hat, appropriate for the day's celebration. Also, included in said avatar costuming are several flag tattoos which your hero can wear on his/her chest.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The flip side of the Blame Game between Shadow Knight and Catalyst. Catalyst says that it's Shadow Knight's corporation that (without his knowledge) equipped the street gangs on that fateful night with their weapons, and if he'd only listened to her, the innocent deaths could have been prevented.
  • Wolverine Claws: You can get twin claws on each hand for your character avatar as visible weapons.
  • Worthy Opponent: Boxer Zyson, Karradine the martial artist, and Rourk the wrestler, all contestants in the Nexus Fight Night tournament, come to see you as this after you defeat them.
  • Yakuza: In the former Tokyo mission set, which has since been replaced with new missions and villains.
  • Zerg Rush: Played both ways when it comes to the raids you summon. In-story, the boss of each raid has a number of minions in his/her army to challenge you...but for you to win, you need the help of a certain number of other players (how many depends on which raid you're in) joining in on the melee.