Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Superman (Genesis/Mega Drive)

This sounds about as close to the Superman movie theme as you can get without being sued.

Clark Kent vs the phone booth. Round 1...

And Superman emerges to fly into action!

Strange disappearance of what? The rest of the text in the article? Damn it Superman, you had to choose the most annoying place to punch a hole through that newspaper.

Well the picture is of an empty street, so I'm going to guess that it's the strange disappearance of pretty much everyone else. The most important story in the Daily Planet's history, yet ironically the worst selling issue.

Well the music definitely doesn't fit the character, but that's okay because it's probably the best part of the game so far. Though Superman himself looks pretty well drawn.

Up, up and away! Hmm, this isn't working. Superman isn't flying, he's just jumping with his fist in the air like Mario.

He can run though, if I double tap a direction. Hey, there's Metropolis's famous Sunsoft building in the background!

Crap... okay no more running. It doesn't give me any time to react when a robot suddenly decides to move into my path.

Fortunately he goes down with one punch. The only hard part about fighting these guys is trying not to walk into them while getting into position to hit them. Laser eyes would have been nice right about now.

I can't even walk around these rooftops without getting surprised by the enemies flying at me. My first reaction was to turn and punch them, when really I should have gotten the fuck out of the way.

These three fly in from the right, do a circle around the center of the screen, then fly off to the left. I should be perfectly fine next time if I can just stand in the right place when I see them coming.

Son of a bitch... I was punching him! He ran into me between punches. He didn't even stick around to hit me some more, just continued running off screen. That means he wasn't even here to attack me, I was just an obstacle to be pushed aside.

Even though the enemies can run past this forcefield thing just fine, I'll have to destroy it before continuing past. This game really isn't doing a good job of making me feel like the unstoppable Man of Steel so far.

Ow... the bastards just dropped a ufo on my head. This guy flies around the screen making it really difficult for me to get out of the way and fight back. And unlike everyone else, this guy takes a few hits to kill.

I do have a super punch that can take it out in one hit. But I just tried that and missed, so I'll have to resort to regular punching until that's had time to recharge.

I'm gonna take out my frustrations on this crap robot. I could have taken it down with a normal punch, but it's getting super punched just because I want to super punch something.

Okay, so Superman's powerset in this game is:
  1. Can jump over twice his own height.
  2. Able to take several bullets or punches before dying.
  3. Occasionally able to punch really hard.
Earth is screwed.
    Foolish robot drones. By standing perfectly still I have outwitted them, and they can only circle me harmlessly before flying away again. Which is good because I barely have any health left now.

    I definitely didn't have enough health left to get into another fight with a ufo.

    Damn, there's no lives in this, just a couple of continues. I'm starting to doubt I'm even going to make it halfway through the first level.

    Right, from now on I'm going to edge forward slowly, to make sure I have a chance to react to things like this flying at me.

    I got all this way and then killed myself by accidentally running into a forcefield. I was trying to tap the d-pad to move myself gradually closer, but double tapping makes him run.

    One continue left.

    I got killed by one of these guys? Damn, that's just embarrassing. I can't get even get as far as I did on my first continue.


    GAME OVER.


    I doubt this game's going to get any better, but I can't just give up halfway through the first level. I'm know I'm not great at games, but I'm not that bad.



    ONE RESTART AND TWO CONTINUES LATER.


    I've seen silver S shields around that refill my punch meter, but this is the first red one I've found. That means I've actually done it! I'm finally past where I died the first time!

    The red shield gives me a health refill, so now I have a fighting chance to make some progress.

    Sorry guys, but I'm on to all your tricks now. You're gonna have to do better than that to surprise me.

    Okay yeah, that'll do it.

    No idea who this guy is. I guess he noticed something was happening on Earth and came by to watch. Now he's thinking 'wait, is that it?' I'm afraid so mate, nothing left to see here.


    Next game.

    6 comments:

    1. For many years now, the real reason everyone thinks that all the Superman video-games suck is because none of them "capture the spirit of the character".

      Now, I'm not a programmer, but to tell you the truth, a game that actually captures the spirit of Superman would be really boring as hell.

      Here's what a real Superman game would be like:

      You fly around beating up everyone and not taking any damage, then Lex Luthor shows up with a load of Green Kryptonite, and you automatically lose. The End.

      Does that sound like a fun game? No, it doesn't.

      I understand that people think a game where you get to be the real Superman would be fun, but it's not possible. A video-game needs to have difficulty and you need to be able to lose.

      If you really want to feel like Superman, then get a Game Genie, Action Replay, or Game Shark, put in an invincibility code, and presto, you're the invincible real Superman, and all the fun and challenge is gone.

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      Replies
      1. The guy's been in over 2000 comics, 2000 radio shows, 400 live action episodes, 350 cartoons, 6 live action movies... I think somewhere in all of that there has to be at least one good idea that would work well as a video game.

        I mean Superman is challenged all the time and he frequently gets his ass beat. The real trouble with the character is that most action games are about cutting loose and he's usually about holding back because he lives in a world of cardboard. Sure he punches people through buildings from time to time, but he could just as easily tear entire skyscrapers down and players would be disappointed if they weren't allowed to use his full power set at his true power level. People have suggested making Superman himself invulnerable but giving the city of Metropolis itself a health bar, but that doesn't sound much like a fun game either.

        It's easy enough to get around the invulnerability thing without resorting to kryptonite though: the guy can step in front of bullets, but supervillains, sorcerers, and alien overlords often give him more trouble. Just say he was knocked out too long to be able to stop some disaster. Game over, try again. Maybe even throw in some Prince of Persia-style time rewind mechanic courtesy of a magician or 5th dimensional imp with a hat, they're always fuckin' with him.

        As far as I'm concerned a Superman game has to let you do two things:
        1. Immediately fly straight up into the sky and hover high above the entire city, listening out for crimes to (effortlessly) stop or cats to rescue. Just because.
        2. Get into fist fights with creatures twice your size and perhaps even punch one or two of them into the sun.

        THAT'S the spirit of Superman. Freedom to fly, people to help, property damage to cause. Also laser eyes. Make that fun and people will forgive a lot.

        The Arkham games, Saints Row 4 etc. are already halfway there, a good Superman game is not an unattainable dream.

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      2. Hey guys, what about Superman Returns and Shadow of Apokolips? you can walk roam around the city, fly, save folks in danger, and all that super stuff. Im not saying that those games are good, but they have more of this almighty Superman

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      3. In Superman Returns they had an interesting idea to get over the "Superman is invinsible" dilemma. The lifebar did not count the ammount of health Superman had, but the ammount that the actual city had. So the more damage was done to the city, the closer you were to a game over.

        Usually that has been the question that most of the "serious" Superman stories usually try to tell. Yes, you are invinsible, but your firends, family and everybody else around you aren't.

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      4. Personally I've always felt that all these Superman games have been approaching the character totally wrong genre-wise. He's earths mightiest being, able to obliterate entire buildings, shooting lasers from his eyes, and only vulnerable through magic, Kryptonite or other superpowered beings - so why pitch him against regular thugs and robots in a regular brawler?

        My suggestion? Action-Heavy real-time strategy!

        Like for example: Somebody has been blowing up the train tracks, to create a diversion for some thugs to rob the bank. As Superman you must a) save the train, b) prevent the robbery, and c) not allow any innocent bystanders to come to harm. You could also start the game with the superman-classic introduction "A Plane/Space shuttle is heavily damaged, Superman has to carry it to safety in time". Then build up the complexities of the scenarios bit by bit, introducing superpowered beings after a while, culminating in a multiple supervillain-blowout over several locations.

        That way, you could really create Superman really "feel super", while still imposing a challenge on the character. Not just "fail by dying", but "fail by not being a hero".

        Any game creators willing to pick up that pitch are welcome ;)

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      5. Good move, el despertando

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