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Video Game / Superman 64

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In short time your fate will be sealed, Superman.
Then there's no time to waste!

Superman (or The New Superman Aventures [sic]note ), unofficially referred to as Superman 64, is an infamous video game based on Superman: The Animated Series and released by Titus Software on May 31, 1999 on the Nintendo 64.

Lex Luthor creates a virtual version of Metropolis and then succeeds in trapping Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Professor Emil Hamilton within it. Superman is forced to enter Luthor's virtual world and SOLVE HIS MAZE. Other villains in the game include Parasite and Brainiac.

The player assumes the role of Superman and is challenged to complete puzzle obstacles throughout the game; usually levels contain similar challenges. In many levels, Superman flies through a series of rings within a time limit (unless the player chooses to play the game on an easy difficulty; the rings then disappear but the timer remains the same). The "virtual Metropolis" is filled with what the developers called "Kryptonite fog" (which was actually the game's inability to render anything more than 10 feet away without being choppier than it already is), supposedly there to slow him down. Other levels feature Superman moving through buildings fighting various enemies and going out of his way to protect the virtual world's inhabitants. Oh, and every ring-based level is a Timed Mission and at least one puzzle in every single level is timed too.

If you want to save your friends, read my tropes!

  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • Most characters are much weaker than usual in this game, but Darkseid gets perhaps the most humiliating downgrade of them all. Normally, Darkseid is one of the most powerful villains in the DC multiverse, a Physical God, Galactic Conqueror, and Hero Killer who is more than a match for the entire Justice League combined. Here? He's working for (not "with", for) Lex Luthor, gets beaten by Superman with astonishing ease, and ends up being locked in a prison meant for ordinary humans.
    • Brainiac isn't as terrifyingly powerful as Darkseid in regular DC media, but he's still a super-genius android fully capable of destroying planets on his own and a major threat to the Justice League, and his treatment in this game is even more disgraceful than Darkseid — Darkseid at least actually fights Superman, while Brainiac just stands there.
    • Thanks to bad game design, Superman himself has also been hit with this. It is astonishingly easy for enemies to hurt him, and he has so little control over his flight that passing through rings is a gigantic chore.
  • All There in the Manual: After a fashion. By default, your only hint of a storyline is the single intro screen you see when you start up the game. However, there's a menu option in the pause screen that gives you an extra paragraph of text, and the game came bundled with a comic book titled Superman Adventures: Dimension of the Dark Shadows that explained the game's backstory in much more detail.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The ring levels allow you to miss a few of the rings (equal to the number of rings that are gold). Also, if you fail a challenge after a ring level, you normally have to play the ring level again, but if you've already cleared the ring level 3 times, you can keep retrying the challenge indefinitely.
  • A Winner Is You: After hours of ring stages and other nonsense, you're treated to a shot of Clark Kent and his friends standing outside the portal (in a manner suspiciously similar to the intro scene) and the text says "Well done, you managed to get your friends out of this nightmare..." Then the camera pans over to Lex Luthor laughing as the game adds, "But in the real world, Lex is still there."
  • Big Bad: Lex Luthor, who somehow manages to make Darkseid a subordinate.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Reprogrammation happens to be the French word for Reprogram. Given that the scenario, the fact that Titus is a French company, it's possible that they overlooked it.
    • Also, Aventures is the French word for Adventures. Again, possibly overlooked because Titus is a French company. The problem here is that it's used in an English title.
  • Charm Person: The "reprogrammation" (which is French for "reprogramming") ability. This takes a problematic turn, since you're ultimately required to kill every enemy to advance, including the one you just converted.
    "We're on the same side now!"
  • Checkpoint Starvation: The maze levels have no checkpoints whatsoever; die at any point in a maze level and you must start over.
  • Cowardly Boss:
    • Brainiac in stage 4, Metallo in Stage 6.
    • Superman villains Jax-Ur and Bizarro appear in the game's tie-in comic Superman Adventures: Dimension of the Dark Shadows and are implied to be involved in Lex Luthor's plan. Neither villain appears in the actual game, though a photo has surfaced of Bizarro in level 8, presumably originating from the game's development.
  • Damsel in Distress: Lois Lane is trapped in the virtual reality Metropolis Luthor has created.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The game's full title is Superman: The New Superman Aventures [sic].
  • Distressed Dude: Luthor traps Jimmy Olsen and Professor Hamilton in the virtual Metropolis.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: The game cuts off several levels early on the Easy and Medium difficulties. Brainiac's Starship level is only available if you beat the game on the hardest difficulty. Using a Good Bad Bug involving the "Last Game" menu option, however, it is possible to switch to a harder difficulty and continue from where you left off. invoked
  • Escort Mission: Level 6 involves finding Lois Lane and escorting her back to the start of the stage. To prevent Superman from just defeating all of the enemies and then escorting Lois back, a Dark Shadow will immediately spawn right next to her if Superman gets too far away.
  • Eviler than Thou: The tie-in comic Superman Adventures: Dimension of the Dark Shadows has Brainiac defeating and subjugating Darkseid, then not really giving a reason for why he doesn't dispose of Luthor with the same ease instead of working with him.
  • Fake Difficulty: By the truckloads! Between bad controls and short draw distance, this game is hard for all the wrong reasons. Special mention goes to level 6, where you must escort Lois from the end of the stage to the start. If you get too far away from Lois (i.e., she exits the game's hideously short draw distance) a new enemy spawns next to her and you have 15 seconds to go back to her.
  • Fission Mailed: It's possible to make it so that Lex Wins, and then proceed into the next part of the stage. One example shown here has Superman intentionally fail by hitting a woman with a box, but she still walks to the finish if you wait a few minutes.
  • Floorboard Failure:
    • Happens unintentionally sometimes, when Superman suddenly drops through the floor onto the base of the level. And when it does, you have to start the level over, since there's no way to get back up to the "floor"
    • It's also extremely easy to fly through walls outside the borders of the level and have the same problem- though it sometimes is possible to fly back through a wall.
  • Flying Brick: Superman, and he sure controls like one too.
  • From Bad to Worse:
    • The game is notorious for its unbelievable abuse of Pass Through the Rings, but that only covers the odd number levels, or "Ride Stages." What follows afterwards is a set of ridiculously cramped buildings with simply painful fighting mechanics and moon-logic poorly-explained objectives.
    • Think the ring stages are bad now? Wait until you get to the ten minute long one. The "most of the ten minutes are necessary" long one.
    • Then there are ring stages where you fly around and literally loop back to where you started from. No, you can't just fly into the last ring either, you have to do it the old fashioned way.
    • Starting in the second ride stage, the rings actually start moving. And they eventually move in rapid but small circles, making it even harder to fly through them.
    • Playing through the entire game, only for the game to cut off and force you to start over from the first level on a harder difficulty if you want to see the ending.
    • The game is riddled with bugs, but the final level contains a puzzle that is so badly glitched that your character will frequently just drop dead for no reason.
  • Funny Background Event: Done unintentionally. Cutscenes use the game's engine. As Superman flies out a window into the city and the screen fades to black, you can see him crash into the textured wall that depicts the skyline.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • In level 6, you must escort Lois to the start of the stage, where she will be ambushed by Metallo. Leave Lois to fight Metallo and—as usual—a Dark Shadow will spawn next to Lois. Normally the level ends when you kill Metallo. If you kill Metallo and a Dark Shadow is still around, the game glitches and the level doesn't end, forcing the player to restart.
    • The final level has a time-machine puzzle where Superman must travel through portals to adjust a number to the value 2000. This puzzle is heavily glitched and the player character will drop dead at complete random. This glitch does not render completion impossible, but it does severely complicate completing the level.
    • Flying around Mala too much in her boss fight will either result in her falling through the floor or, possibly, the game despawning her, leaving the second level impossible to complete.
    • In Stage 8, Superman can seemingly trip on Darkseid, and then Darkseid is sent flying upward through the level, clipping through the ceiling and despawning like Mala does.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: The game's levels are notoriously difficult to complete due to problematic controls and rampant glitches. On the other hand, the bosses (even cosmic-level threats like Brainiac and Darkseid) are usually complete pushovers who don't require any strategy beyond "punch them a few times".
  • Insistent Terminology: The game refers to all of the ring stages as mazes, even though none of them have any branches, and all you have to do is fly through them in a fixed order.
  • Irony: The final boss of the game, Brainiac, in the comics a brilliant evil AI... has no AI programmed in.
  • Kaizo Trap:
    • Under certain circumstances, you can still be killed in the "Superman Wins" end-of-level screen.
    • You can die in the cutscenes. If you're in a room with Kryptonite, your health will keep draining until Lex wins.
  • Karma Houdini: When the game is beaten, the ending all but states that the real Lex Luthor will not face punishment for what he did.
  • Kryptonite Is Everywhere: The game has "Kryptonite fog" in every level, diminishing Superman's powers.
  • Made of Explodium: Pretty much everything in the game. Including innocent boxes!
  • Misbegotten Multiplayer Mode: Yes, the game has one, which many never knew because the option doesn't appear unless you have more than one controller connected. It consists of two modes: a battle mode and a race mode. In the race mode, players have to, yet again, Pass Through the Rings that are left by one of the players. It's more efficient to just shoot each other down rather than actually race one another.
  • Non-Dubbed Grunts: What little voice acting in the game seems to be done using archived audio from the series, rather than the actors coming on to play their characters.
  • No Title: The North American box art for this game displayed no title.
  • Pass Through the Rings: The "Ride Stage" odd number levels of the game.
  • Poke the Poodle: All of the Pass Through the Rings stages count as unintentional examples, as Luthor has Superman trapped in a virtual reality machine and could theoretically program all manner of Cold-Blooded Torture and the like, but instead just "tortures" him by forcing him to fly through rings, stopping periodically to have him complete some task like protecting the innocent and beating up a group of mooks.
  • Secondary Adaptation: A 1999 video game based on Superman: The Animated Series, which itself is based on the DC Comics character, Superman.
  • Sequence Breaking: Thanks to the glitches in the game, some stages are possible to beat very quickly by skipping most of the levels.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: You defeated Lex in the virtual world... but the real Lex is still out there.
  • Skippable Boss: It is possible to clear the LexCorp stage by ignoring Brainiac and going straight to reading all the notes on Luthor's desk.
  • Skybox: In a Funny Background Event during a cutscene, Superman crashes into the textured wall that depicts the skyline after flying out of a window.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Mala is the only female boss in the game.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: Played With. Despite the game being simply called Superman (or The New Superman Aventures [sic]), it quickly became known as Superman 64 to distinguish it from other Superman games.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: When in LexCorp, you can find a health icon just before you fight Brainiac. This can be completely meaningless, as you can skip Brainiac entirely by ignoring him.
  • Textless Album Cover: The North American front cover art simply displays Clark Kent ripping open his shirt to reveal his Superman suit underneath, with the title nowhere to be seen. The European box art added the title.
  • Timed Mission:
    • The ride stages are notorious, as are the mini-games between ring tunnels. The first mini-mission has a tight timelimit, which is barely enough time to react. There is also a timed mission where no timer is displayed, where you have to use super breath on three tornadoes.
    • Every single Maze level has a timed section as well; usually a timed puzzle on top of that.
  • Useless Item: In stage 6 it is possible to find an X-Ray vision power-up (the game only allows you to use Superman's powers after finding power-ups), which appears to do absolutely nothing.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Exploiting a certain glitch allows you to punch Mala. Endlessly.
  • Violation of Common Sense:
    • One level requires Superman to prevent two cars from crashing into each other. One way that counts as success is to simply destroy both cars (they can't crash into each other if they can't move).
    • There's a level where you have to protect Lois from enemies as she marches out of the building. What you're supposed to do is freeze her with your super breath and encase her in ice that's a foot thick so the enemies shooting her don't hurt her. Scouting ahead and killing the enemies before she gets to them? No; the game screws you if you do that!
  • Voodoo Shark:
    • The tie-in comic book Superman Adventures: Dimension of the Dark Shadows explains that the reason Lex Luthor somehow has Darkseid under his control is because Brainiac, who helped Lex create the virtual world, managed to overpower and capture Darkseid thanks to his "technological superiority." The comic does not, however, explain why Brainiac doesn't just beat Superman himself if he is perfectly capable of taking on someone who's stronger than Superman.
    • The green fog in the game is "Kryptonite fog" meant to weaken Superman. Why it isn't killing Superman is not clear.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Even if you beat Lex, he's still in the real world. LEX WINS.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: The final boss of the game, Brainiac, has no AI. He will fire a beam at you if you attack him with heat vision, but otherwise he just stands still and allows you to kill him. Hell, you can beat the boss fight by simply walking past him.

"Ha ha ha."


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Superman The New Superman Aventures, The New Superman Aventures


AVGN boss battle

AVGN says the upcoming boss fight will be epic despite how bad the game is. He is immediately proven wrong.

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4.73 (11 votes)

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