Superman Returns: The Videogame Review

Superman Returns is one of those tragic games that are packed with the potential for greatness but in the end fail to live up to that potential. In Superman Returns you have a game that recreates the entire city of Metropolis and puts you in the role of its most famous citizen. You have the freedom to go anywhere from a walk down one of the streets to a high speed flight through its concrete canyons. The game does an awesome job of conveying the speed and power of Superman. When flying at full speed youíll see the edges of the screen blur and streaks of red and blue come trailing off of Superman. Youíll hear the sounds of the wind rushing past you and the sonic boom as you break the sound barrier. You can zoom down for a landing and see the pavement crack beneath your feet, and then take off for a high speed run down the traffic filled streets. Clip a building while turning a corner and youíll see the concrete crack from the force. You can pick up cars and streetlights, and send villains flying from the force of your punches. Awesome. So what went wrong?

There are plenty of robot battles in your future.
Well some people will be put off by the gameís mess of a storyline that strings together random encounters with an occasional reference to the Superman Returns movie thrown in. It doesnít make much sense to anyone who has or hasnít seen the movie. I personally would be fine without an overriding storyline here just to have the chance to protect all of Metropolis from evil, but what serves as a story here is enough of a mess to distract you from watching over the city. This leads us directly to another of the gameís major problems: outside of the story encounters that not a whole lot to do in the game. Making matters worse, the story encounters are spread pretty thin while managing to still feel repetitive. Youíll find yourself spending a lot of time just flying around until you hit the spot that will trigger the next battle in the storyline, just to find that itís pretty much the same battle that you just fought. Where are all the bank robberies? The random street crimes? The jailbreaks? Youíll occasionally be called upon to put out a fire with your super breath and you can spend time searching for the gameís hidden kittens, but thereís just not much going on in Metropolis. Does Metropolis still need Superman? Apparently not.

If youíre going to create a living city environment and making to pretty much devoid of activity, then your story missions had better be pretty darn good. Unfortunately thatís not the case here. The missions primarily consist of numerous fights against minions followed by a showdown with the boss. More imaginative missions such as protecting Metropolis from a storm of meteors or a swarm of tornadoes are very few and far between. The boss fights should be memorable showdowns with Supermanís arch-enemies, but theyíre simply repetitive and overly long. Youíll discover this right from the beginning of the game when you find yourself on War World (not sure why, but remember what I told you about the story) in a series of gladiator fights. This involves chasing around an arena looking for your foe, followed by much punching and throwing of objects. Defeat one enemy and another steps up until you face Mongrul himself. Lose at any point during the sequence (and itís not always clear why the game declares you a loser when it does) and you have to start all over again from the beginning. Painful.