Tag Archives: Superman

Killing Off A Superhero, Why Bother?

Before I even get into this one – there will be major SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War (and others) so If you’ve not seen it yet then stop reading now. Go watch the flick and then come back and read my rant…you have been warned.

Infinty War.jpg

Killing off a much loved character is always a gamble and when it comes to superheros, that gamble is tenfold. Avengers: Infinity War kills off a lot of characters…a lot. But before I get to that, I want to take a look at a certain other superhero death to put the point across as to why that superhero deaths are a lack of surprise.

Batman v Superman logo

Yes, I’m going to got into the deep, dark and depressing depths of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Such a fucking awful flick in which they kill off Superman at the end…except they really don’t. This whole thing was just such a cop out and pretty much anyone who saw it came out angry even if they enjoyed the film. The main reason for this is first, there is no way they would kill off Superman after only his second appearance and you feel as if the movie studio think you are stupid. Seriously, just forgetting the little but obvious hint at the end of the film that he wasn’t really dead – did anyone seriously believe they would kill off Superman after only two films? The shock does not work when its painfully obvious there is no shock there. Secondly and most importantly, they had not earned the right to kill off Superman. In order for a character’s death to mean something and resonate with the viewer you have to allow the audience to get to know the character first and with Superman that didn’t work because it was only the second film in the franchise.

You want to know how you kill off a popular superhero in a movie and have it mean something, have the people behind the death earn the right to kill a character off?

Logan Poster

Why it worked with Wolverine and not Superman is simply because the audience got to know and love the character over several years and movies. Seventeen years and nine movies of Hugh Jackman playing the same character gave us the viewer a chance to enjoy him and it really did hit hard when he was killed off in Logan. They earned the right to kill him off unlike Superman. I came out of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice laughing at how bad it was, not just the overall film but just the hackneyed and unsurprising way they killed Superman off that left a terrible taste in my mouth. I came out of Logan with a huge lump in my throat, feeling emotionally drained and yet strangely satisfied. It felt right.

This whole thing brings me to Avengers: Infinity War. As I said, lots of characters die in this one and most of them suffer from what I’m now calling “The Superman Syndrome”. Before the film’s release, a lot of people thought that either Captain America or Iron Man would be the ones to bite the bullet and yet they were some of the few to survive. I admit, its an interesting twist on the part of the film to not do what the fans were expecting. But by doing this, the film also suffers from The Superman Syndrome. If they won’t kill off the two main long running characters, it pretty much only leaves them with the newer ones, the ones we haven’t yet had chance to form the same bond with.

Infinity War Spider-Man

Pretty much the big death in the movie that people are talking about is Spider-Man…yes Spider-Man dies. Except just as with Superman from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice…we all know he wont be dead for long. We know this for two very good reasons. First, he died via Thanos’ clicky finger dissolving super-death move and every character who died that way will be back in the second part of the film (yes Avengers: Infinity War is a two parter). We already saw Thanos turn back time thanks to the Infinity Stones/Gauntlet during the whole Vision scene, plus Captain Marvel will be in the second part and she can and most probably will time travel (with the help of Ant-Man), then there is the whole Soul Stone thing – these little factors all add up to the fallen being brought back, we may not know exactly how yet…but we all know they are coming back.

EDIT: The Russo brothers have recently confirmed that Gamora is still alive trapped in the Soul stone. So her ‘permanent death’ is a moot point too.

Secondly there are more Spider-Man films planned. In fact a lot of the characters who die in that dissolving thingy-bob have future films planned in the MCU. Kind of ruins the whole shock factor when we know what they have planned eh? Just as with Superman’s ‘death’ in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – a movie that sets up the Justice League flick which everyone knew Superman would be part of, you can’t kill off Spider-Man and except people to believe it really is the end for the character. They also killed off Black Panther shortly after his solo flick that was a huge success and critically acclaimed, of course he’s not really dead. You’re fooling no one Marvel and the shock/surprise just does not work.

I’m not taking anything away from the Spider-Man death scene itself as the acting was great. Both Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr were fantastic in it. Just before I move on, Loki dies, Heimdall dies, Vision dies, Spider-Man dies…all played by British actors. Does Marvel have something against British actors? Back to the point, yeah the acting was brilliant but we know Spider-Man will be back and that takes a huge chunk away from the emotion of the scene. Compare this to the killing off of Wolverine in Logan – We knew it was the last film, we knew that Hugh Jackman wanted to retire the character and even though we all knew he would die at the end…it still hit us hard, we were still gobsmacked as James Howlett breathed his last and anyone who had watched the character grow though the films for almost twenty years felt something as he died. You just can not get that by killing off a massively popular character after only a handful of appearances.

They even kill off Nick Fury in the after credit scene, one of the originals and a death that really could’ve meant something…except he dies via Thanos’ clicky finger dissolving super-death move so we know he’ll be back. Just as DC didn’t earn to right to kill off Superman, Marvel also didn’t earn the right to kill off pretty much anyone who dies in Avengers: Infinity War.

Thanos

Of course there is another side to this coin, an argument that can be put forth that destroys every point I have just made. Yeah we the viewer may know Spider-Man and the rest will be back, we know that ultimately the Avengers and Co. will win and Thanos will fail in the second part of the picture…but the characters in the film don’t. Maybe this is where we are meant to draw our emotional connection from, not our own viewpoints and expectations as with Wolverine’s death in Logan but instead those of the characters in the flick. Spider-Man’s death didn’t work for me looking at it knowing that he will be back, knowing that the good guys will eventually win. But as I said, the acting was sublime and really lifted the scene as a whole. It was Peter Parker just being the teenage school boy he really is crying that he didn’t want to go, it was Tony Stark’s look of disbelief and abject failure as his protégé died in his arms that sold it.

Yeah, in the grand scheme, Spider-Man’s death is really nothing. But at the time, those few seconds, that acting and everything else? That was a Logan moment and one that will stay with me forever.

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

bvs6

So I just watched Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice a couple of hours ago, may as well offer my views.
But before I get to that, I just want to address the bad reviews the film is getting right now.

After the premiere earlier this week, the film was receiving huge praise…if you believe the press that Warner Bros ‘selectively’ put out. I mean, am I the only person that found it strange that Warner Bros put a review embargo on the film so no reviews allowed until they say so…but they also then let all the positive comments (and ONLY positive comments) about the film out hours after its first showing, so much so it even became a trending topic on social media?
Make of that what you will.

After the dust settled and a little digging around, one could easily find what a lot of people really thought of the film without the selective comments allowed by Warner Bros. With only as 30% positivity rating on Rotten Tomatoes (as of writing) and notable reviewers saying such things as:

Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune:A near-total drag, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice plays like a loose, unofficial quarter-billion-dollar remake of The Odd Couple.

Stephanie Zacharek TIME Magazine:As superhero spectacles go, Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a grand one, with a mondo-operatic climax and a final shot infused with quivering, exhilarating molecules of grace. It’s also not much fun.

Adam Graham Detroit News:The heavyweight title bout between Batman and Superman is a smash to the senses, the same way being tossed around in a rollover car accident would jolt one’s system.

Helen OHara GQ Magazine:It just wears you down and wears you out, making you wonder if there was ever such a thing as a hero anyway. Let them pummel each other if they must; just leave us out of it.

Robbie Collin Daily Telegraph:No major blockbuster in years has been this incoherently structured, this seemingly uninterested in telling a story with clarity and purpose.

Now there has been a lot of DC fans claiming the bad reviews found on Rotten Tomatoes are from overtly bias Marvel fans in an attempt to ridicule the film. I just want to point something out, Rotten Tomatoes is owned by Warner Bros…the same company behind this film.
Yeah I’m sure there is some mass worldwide conspiracy to try and belittle a film by Marvel fans and not just a simple fact that the bad reviews are because the film isn’t very good.

In fact, to be honest. Its kind of hard to find any of this high praise the film was getting that Warner Bros was claiming a few days ago. Not there there are no positive reviews out there, there are. It just seems they are rather thin on the ground and by people that enjoy style over substance.
I am finding many more 2/5 and 4/10 review scores than any 4/5 and 8/10 scores for example.

Trio

Still, I am not here to talk about what others think about the film. I am here to get my opinion of the film across. So lets get started. There will be major spoilers…you have been warned.

I was not the biggest fan of Man of Steel, in fact I found it to be rather asinine overall and full of horrible writing with horrendous and boring action sequences. But saying that, I held a lot of hope for this sequel that they would learn from previous mistakes.

I recall the negative feedback that was around when it was announced that Ben Affleck is playing Bruce Wayne/Batman. So I’ll start there.

Batman

I personally found Affleck to be a great piece of casting. He nails the Bruce Wayne persona just as well as Batman and my favourite since Michael Keaton.
Bruce/Batman in this film is aged and not in really in his prime as he used to be. This element is taken from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns comic book mini series. In fact, quite a lot of this film is heavily inspired by Miller’s story.
Batman in this is FAR more brutal than we have ever seen him previously. He breaks bones, smashes faces into the floor, stabs people with knives and even outright kills.
For me, the best thing about this film was Affleck and this new take on a much loved and established character.
This Batman is harder edged and raw…and I loved it.

Sadly, Affleck is the only thing about this film that is memorable.
Seriously, I watched the film a couple of hours ago and hardly rememberer any of it because its so drawn out and dull. The film is around 2 hours 30 minutes and it feels so, so much longer. I honestly think there is only about 40 minutes worth of story here and they dragged it out needlessly.
So many inane, pointless and forgettable scenes.

There is so much you can cut from this film and it would have made zero difference to the plot.
Lois Lane is completely irrelevant here. She is in the film so Superman can save her…and that’s about it. Wonder Woman is also largely pointless and really only shows up 10 minutes from the end because the script says so. Yeah sure, Diana Prince appears a few times throughout the film…for no real reason at all. She is thrown in because the need to set the framework for the Justice League and not because its a good idea or makes plot sense.

Even the big fight, you know the main title of the film is pretty much a let down. Batman and Superman scrap for a bit…then make up and become friends because their mothers both have the same first name….seriously, I’m not joking here. They stop fighting each other because their mothers shared the same first name.
There are a few good action scenes though, but the main title fight is not one of them.

Oh something I just remembered that needs addressing.
Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. He is fucking awful, the role is played as if Lex is a 14 year old child that has had too much sugar. I think he was supposed to be a bit of comic relief but the trouble is that he is not funny. Badly written and badly acted.

bvs7

I really don’t have much to say here as the film didn’t provide anything to really talk about.
Its a film that exists.
Its a strange film really as it has so much going on, even too much going on at times. But at the same time its an almost empty plot. There are too many characters trying to be introduced as they want to rush into a Justice League film and this results in bland, uninteresting characterization.

I think if they had kept this concentrated as it just being Batman and Superman, it could have been decent. But its just a mess of a film with no real direction or clear goal.
Its trying to be a sequel to Man of Steel and also trying to be a set up to a Justice League film, and also trying to be Batman v Superman and it does none of these three ideas well at all. Its a mess.

I will say that I think some of the critics and other reviewers (including those up there ^^^) have been overtly harsh with their views, but I still can’t find myself disagreeing with them either.
Its not a good film at all, but its not terrible either. Its “better” than Man of Steel…but not by very much and only because of this new, harder Batman.

If this is the best they can do, I really don’t hold out much hope for the Justice League film(s) at all.
I can’t recommend going to to the cinema see this flick at all, just wait for home release instead.

Just bring on the Affleck starring Batman film.

Batman2

Just remembered, Superman dies…except he doesn’t…spoiler?

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Man Of Steel, Part III

Still no really great Superman starring game as we approach the space year of 1999. Maybe things will only get better from this point on…or maybe we will get what is known as one of the worst games ever made.

superman n64 cover

Superman: The New Adventures: Developed and published by Titus Software an unleashed onto the market in 1999 for the Nintendo 64. The game is more commonly known as Superman 64 as many N64 games of the time slapped the 64 at the end of them.
Based on the popular Superman: The Animated Series and even featured sound bites and samples taken directly from the show using the original cast.

So, on to the plot. Lex Luthor has trapped several of Clark/Superman’s friends, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Professor Emil Hamilton in a virtual version of Metropolis. Lex puts Superman through various tasks within this virtual Metropolis. As Superman makes his way through Lex’s realm, he comes face to face with several other villains including Parasite, Darkseid, Brainiac, Mala and Metallo. Superman battles his way through the virtual Metropolis eventually freeing his friends while Lex manages to escape at the end.

superman n64 screen

This game is infamous for just how terrible it really is. The controls were horrendous,the game play was tedious with you having to fly trough rings for the most part. Occasionally you got to punch criminals and throw cars and the time constraints you were put under to complete the tasks made things even worse. Superman 64 has become one of the most hated games ever made.

Eric Caen, the game’s producer once stated that “We wanted to create the first super hero based video game where players really behave as a super hero.” in an interview with IGN back in 1998. What they managed to create was a game where you are forced to fly trough rings…not something super heroes are really known for.

The game was universally panned by critics at the time and holds a score of only 23% at GameRankings. IGN eventually rated the game 3.4 out of 10 while GameSpot gave the game a score of 1.3 out of 10.
Yet even with such backlash and terrible but deserved scores, the game was a top seller in North America during June 1999 and even became the third best selling game for the N64 of 1999. Shit sells I guess?

Well, lets leave that mess behind and look at what the 2000’s can offer in terms of a Superman game.

Superman Xbox

Superman: The Man of Steel: Released exclusively for the Xbox in 2002, developed by Circus Freak and published by Atari. The game was inspired by the Superman: Y2K comic book series.

A futuristic version of Brainiac, Brainiac 13 has unleashed a technological virus on Metropolis that causes the city to unnaturally grow into a futuristic “City of Tomorrow”. Brainiac 13 plans to harvest Metropolis for its now super advanced technology which causes massive disruption and chaos which Superman must put an end to.
There are various locales in the game including Metropolis, Earth’s orbit, an asteroid field in space, and even the infamous Phantom Zone.
The villain roll call, aside from Brainiac 13 include; Lex Luthor, Mongul, Metallo, Bizarro and Cyborg Superman.

Superman Xbox image

The game featured a wide array of Superman’s powers like flight, strength, heat vision, super speed, x-ray vision and even his freeze breath. All of which could be used for the various tasks and problems Superman would have to solve.
While a slight improvement over Superman 64…all be it a very slight improvement. The game met with bellow average reviews. Many reviewers would highlight the overtly repetitive gameplay and sluggish controls.

For the next and final game in this retrospective, we have a game based directly on the newest Superman film of the time.

Superman 360 cover

Superman Returns: Released for Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS and PSP. Developed and published by Electronic Arts and based on the film of the same name.
While based on the movie, the game also uses creative licence to add more villains and plot points from Superman’s comic book history.

The game begins with a huge meteor shower that threatens to devastate Metropolis. Superman uses his powers to end the meteor shower. Afterwards, astronomers discovered the remains of the dead planet Krypton. Superman leaves Earth to investigative the ruins of his home planet. Mongul intercepts Superman and forces him to partake in gladiatorial combat on Warworld.
Superman fights his way though the challenge until he comes face to face with Mongul himself and after the fight, Superman heads back to Earth and back to Metropolis. This soi where the film and game meld together in their plots as “Superman Returns”.

Superman 360 screen

With the game being based on the movie, they were able to secure the rights to use the likeness and voices of the actors including; Brandon Routh (Superman/Clark Kent), Kevin Spacey (Lex Luthor), Kate Bosworth (Lois Lane), Parker Posey (Kitty Kowalski) and Sam Huntington (Jimmy Olsen).

Just as with pretty much every Superman game so far, this one was also not met with high praise and met with average to poor reviews and scores. As the game was ridiculed for its dull gameplay, terrible controls and redundant story. I mean the final boss in the game is a tornado…not Lex Luthor, a tornado.

flying

Well that just about wraps up my look back at Superman in games over the years, and it really does speak volumes when the best Superman game made so far is the original 1979 Atari one.

There were a few other Superman games I didn’t cover like; Superman (1992) for the Mega Drive, Superman: The Man of Steel (1993) for the Master System, Superman (1997) for the Gameboy, Superman: Shadow of Apokolips (2002) for the Playstation 2 and Superman: Countdown to Apokolips (2003) for the Gameboy Advance. But as I said earlier, I only wanted to cover the games I remember and played. I don’t know of any of those games are any good or not.

Still, Superman sure has not had such a great career in games really. There have been a few appearances from him in other better games like the LEGO Batman series and Injustice: Gods Among Us.
But for Superman centric games, I can’t think of a game that has been anything but average at best. I honestly do think that the Atari 1979 game is the best of the ones I have played and that was what, 37 years ago?

Why can nobody make a good Superman game?

There have been rumours that Rocksteady, the studio behind the Batman: Arkham series may be working on a Superman game…but nothing confirmed and it could all be bullshit. There were a few Superman/Metropolis Easter Eggs in the last Arkham game, Arkham Knight; there are LexCorp advertisements littered around Gotham City and even an answering machine message from Luthor himself left for Bruce Wayne. There was even a tourism poster for Metropolis that you could find in the game.

Rocksteady and Superman, could it break the “Superman curse” or is Superman destined to be in bad games for ever?

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Man Of Steel, Part II

Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, its just part II of my retrospective look at Superman in games.
The Man Of Steel next appears in his very own arcade game.

Superman arcade

Superman: Developed and published by Taito Corporation and released into arcades in 1988. A classic arcade style scrolling beat em’ up with a bit of shooting thrown in for good measure.

With you playing as Superman having to battle his way through five differing levels which include Metropolis, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Washington D.C. and finally the main boss’ spaceship.
There is no real plot to speak of, just Superman punching, kicking and shooting his way through the various levels until he comes face to face with Emperor Zaas.
Superman can use his flying ability to get around the stages all while beating the crap out of the many, many henchmen sent by Emperor Zaas. You can also use a projectile attack called “sonic blast” by holding and releasing the attack button. There are various objects you can throw and even break open to find bonus crystals. These crystals offer various power ups depending on their colour; blue restore any lost health, yellow allow the use of the sonic blast without having to charge and red crystals destroy all enemies on screen during the shooting stages.

The first four stages are split into three sections with horizontal scrolling then vertical scrolling and finally a side scrolling shooter section with a boss fight at the end. The final stage is a little different as it adds an extra scrolling shooting section at the start and another boss fight at the end.

The game featured a 2 player co-op option so two Supermen can fight side by side…yes two Supermen. The first player controls the original Superman in his classic blue and red outfit while the second player controls an alternate Superman in a red and grey outfit (see screen below). It is never revealed who this other Superman is or how he even exists.
Also of note, some unused sprites in the game’s code show a female character not seen in the final game who is dressed in a similar costume and even colours to Superman. Many think she was possibly going to be the original second controllable player and was intended to be Supergirl, which would have made more sense than two Supermen.

Superman arcade screen

Superman arcade was simple enough stuff and standard arcade fare. Designed to eat your spare change as fast as it could. The game was okay at best and while it didn’t really offer anything amazing in terms of game play, it didn’t really do much wrong either. Just a very substandard game. It did feature pretty good renditions of the main Superman theme and even the; Can You Read My Mind tune from the original Superman film.

After his pretty average jaunt in the arcades, Superman returns to the home market next.

Superman MoS cover

Superman: The Man of Steel: This one was relased in 1989 on the Acorn Electron, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari ST, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, MSX, PC and ZX Spectrum. Developed and published by software company Tynesoft.

This one offered several different game play styles including 3D flying, overhead vertical scrolling and classic side scrolling sections.
Playing as Superman you have to battle Lex Luthor as well as Darkseid through a total of eight different sections, though some of the sections are similar to others in all but some graphical changes.
With you partaking in some pseudo-3D flying and shooting, side scrolling fighting and even a bit of overhead shooting too. The main objective of the game is to destroy a geo-disruptor you find at the end of the eighth and final level.

Superman MoS screen

This game received some above average reviews when it was released…depending on which version you had. The 8-bit versions met with pretty poor reviews overall as the game was a bit too advanced for the then ageing technology of the day. However, the 16-bit versions for the Amiga and Atari ST had much better reception as the advanced hardware could handle the game as was originally intended.
It was a pretty decent game with some variety to the game play with the Amiga version being the best of the lot.

Superman still has not really had a game worthy of the word “super”. Maybe the 16-bit consoles could do better on a “super” console?

Superman death cover

The Death and Return of Superman: Developed by Blizzard Entertainment and Sunsoft, published by Sunsoft in 1994 for the Super Nintendo. A port for the Sega Mega Drive was relased in 1995.
Based on the 1992 comic book story; The Death of Superman.

The game was the classic and standard beat em’ up style game play you have seen countless times before. Enemies appear on screen and you beat the crap out of them and move onto the next area where more enemies appear and you beat the crap out of them, rinse and repeat for the entire game.
Of note, Superman is not the only playable character in the game as Superboy, Steel, Cyborg and The Eradicator are all playable through the game too. All of the characters play pretty much the same way and have the same abilities with standard punches and kicks, grapple attacks, throws and even the ability to fly. You can’t choose which of the characters to play as, the game just follows a set story and each of the characters become playable as the story follows its set script.

The game’s plot follows on from the previously mentioned comic book; The Death of Superman as a kind of pseudo sequel to that story featuring Doomsday.

Superman death screen

This one was another bare basic beat em’ up of which there were dozens of around this time that offering nothing really of any merit. The dynamic of the different playable characters was bare bones as each of the characters were pretty much all the same anyway besides the cosmetics. The fighting itself was rather dull and didn’t really utilize any of Superman’s powers and the levels all felt the same aside from a handful of shooting sections.
The Death and Return of Superman received pretty mediocre reviews at the time and for good reason.

Well that just about wraps up part II, but in part III will Superman finally get a great game to star in? Well no as the next one is often regarded as one of the worst games ever made…

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Man Of Steel, Part I

8 bit

With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice relased in a few days and the fact I did a multi part retrospective look back at Batman in gaming last year. Starting with the very first official Batman game right up to the release of Batman: Arkham Knight.
I think now would be a good time to give Superman the same treatment and take a look at The Last Son Of Krypton in gaming over the years.

Now, I said in my Batman retrospective that The Dark Knight has been pretty well represented in gaming. Yeah he has been in some terrible games, but he has also had some good and even amazing games too.
Has Superman been as well represented as his DC brother in games?

Same rules as the Batman retrospective. I’ll not cover every Superman game and only the ones I have played and remember. Plus I am sticking to games where Superman is the star and main character and not ones where he is featured in a cameo or secondary character.

Lets start at the very beginning with the first ever Superman game and the first one I ever played.

Superman Atari cover

Superman: Released in 1979 for the Atari 2600. This was the very first ever official Superman game relased. The game has you playing as Clark Kent/Superman trying to repair a bridge destroyed by Lex Luthor…we had very simple plots for games back then.

Playing as Clark, you would have to find a telephone box to change into Superman. Then you could use Superman’s flying power to explore the small and very simple play area. While trying to round up Lex Luthor and his henchmen and having to take them to jail. Kryptonite could be found is some areas and you would have to avoid it, it you did come in contact with any Kryptonite then Superman would lose flying powers and you would have to find Lois Lane who you could kiss and get your powers back.

The aim of the game was to find all pieces of the destroyed bridge, capture Lex and his minions and return to the Daily Planet in the fastest time possible. In fact, the game could be “completed” in just over 1 minute…

And people complain games are too short today?

Interesting tit bit. This game was one of the first (if not the first) games to feature a pause option. Something we take for granted nowadays but unheard of back then. However the pause option had a bug as you could pause the game and the game could be completed without having to fix the bridge or capture Lex and his men.
Using this bug, you could finish the game in literal seconds.
It also featured a strange two player co-op where one person would control Superman with one controller and able to move Superman left and right, while the second player would move him up and down with another controller.

Superman Atari screen

Superman was a very well received game back then and praised for its unique gameplay and (at the time) great graphics.
I have many fond memories of me and my brothers playing this one a lot back then. It was one of the first games to feature and actual goal and and end as most games back then were just about getting a high score.

Next up, Kal-El makes an appearance on one of the most popular computers of the 80s.

Supman C46 cover

Superman: The Game: Developed by First Star Software in 1985 for the Commodore 64 and later ported to the Acorn Electron, Amstrad CPC, Atari 400/800/XL/XE, BBC Micro, Commodore 16/Plus/4 and ZX Spectrum.
This game was designed for 2 players at the same time or 1 player and 1 computer controlled. One player would control Superman and the other (or computer) would play as Darkseid.

The game was set over six sections, three in Metropolis and three set underground. The aim of the game was to collect diamonds and rescue/kidnap citizens all while fighting off either Superman or Darkseid, depending on who you were playing as. There were barriers on each of the levels that could be adjusted to change the direction the citizens would walk in as well as effect the direction Superman’s heat vision or Darkseid’s omega ray. When hit, Superman/Darkseid would lose energy. Lose all your energy and it was game over.
Superman could pick up and carry the citizens while Darkseid could teleport them. One you saved/kidnapped the citizens and collected the diamond, you could move onto the next section. Between each section there were what were called “combat zones”. These areas were kind of mini games. If the player who chose to leave the previous section wins one of these combat zones, the game moves on to their chosen section. If they lose, play returns to the previous section.

The game is completed when there are no more citizens left to save/kidnap or when Superman/Darkseid have no more energy left and the winner is whoever saved/kidnapped the most citizens.

Supman C46 screen

Superman: The Game was an interesting concept as you could play as a villain against another human player in a competitive game mode. The game play itself however was a little dull and repetitive overall and really didn’t offer too much to keep you playing. The six different sections were not that different and the same task of rescuing/kidnapping people became tiresome. The combat zone mini games offered a lot more variety however from simply exchanging hits until one loses, to Superman having to use his super breath to blow projectiles back at Darkseid. Then there was a side scrolling one where Superman would have to activate various traps to harm Darkseid while being shot at and one where Darkseid would try to bomb Metropolis while Superman had to defend it.

Now, Superman makes his début on the NES/Famicom.

Superman NES

Superman: Released of the Famicom in 1987 and then on the NES in 1988. Developed by Kotobuki Systems. This one was loosely…very loosely based on the first two Superman movies.
Using a side scrolling platform concept and even a few puzzle elements thrown in too. Interesting to note that the US/European version featured all new music where as the Japanese version used a synthesized rendition of the classic John Williams Superman theme tune.

Playing as Clark Kent/Superman you are tasked with saving Metropolis from Lex Luthor as well as Zod and his gang. Superman was armed with various powers including; x-ray vision, flight, super spin, heat vision and super breath.
You start out as Clark Kent and have to build your super power before you can change into Superman via a phone booth. If you took too much damage from enemies as Superman, you would turn back into Clark Kent.
The main game play revolved around you taking out various henchmen and helping people that would need it which you could see via the map screen.
The game was split into different chapters with each chapter ending with a boss fight against Lex Luthor and even the exiled criminals from Krypton; Ursa, Non and General Zod himself.

Superman NES screen

This one met with very mixed reviews and nothing really praising the game at all. It was rather bland to be honest with a lot of back tracking and exploring pointless areas just to have people say mundane and inane things to you. There is even a part where Superman has to get a ticket to ride the subway…why would Superman even need to use the subway when he can fly and even more so, who would charge Superman to use the subway to begin with?
Superman for the NES was not very good at all and just bogged down with loads of filler to pad out a rather dull game, especially the bit where you get to talk to someone about the stock exchange…in a Superman game.

Well that just about does it for part I and Superman’s early appearances in gaming has been pretty poor so far, but there is more from The Kryptonian coming in part II and maybe we will see Superman in a worthy game…but I wouldn’t count on it.

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Batman V Superman

The 26th of this month sees one of the biggest movie releases of this year. The teaming up of two giant comic book legends. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be the first live action big screen outing of these two titans of the comic book world sharing the same screen.

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But I have no interest in talking about that film, I want to talk about the other Batman v Superman film.
What other Batman v Superman film I hear you ask, well…

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First, a little back story I think.
Back in 2002 it has been said that a script for a Batman v Superman movie was written with every intent on it being filmed for a 2004 release. The script was simply called; Asylum.
Written by Andrew Kevin Walker who also wrote the screenplays for Seven, 8MM, Sleepy Hollow as well as others. He is well known for his dark scripts. With revisions and updates written by Akiva Goldsman known for Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, I Am Legend as well as other screenplays and scripts.

So where is this rumoured script then eh? Well its right here.

It is a rough script, but you can see the direction they intended to take these two characters. It was going to be a much darker tone then the previous Batman films and they even had director Wolfgang Petersen all set to direct the film too.
Christian Bale was rumoured to play Batman (as if that would ever happen) with Jude Law for Superman.
Wolfgang Petersen even gave an interview on his vision for the film too.

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So what was the plot of the story then?

Well, The Joker is assumed dead after falling from the cathedral from Tim Burton’s Batman (1989). We learn that both Bruce and Clark are having a bit of a mid life crisis after everything they have been through up to this point.
Bruce has retired as Batman for five years now while Lois Lane is divorcing Clark as his life as Superman is getting in the way of their relationship. Clark enters a depressive state and even thinks he is wasting his time on this planet protecting these petty humans.

Bruce gets married to a Elizabeth Miller, an intelligent and beautiful woman, Clark even ends up being Bruce’s best man. During the honeymoon, Elizabeth is killed by The Joker who has been brought back from the dead by Lex Luthor…with science!
It also transpires that some crazy terrorist Superman stopped an angry mob from killing a while back was in fact The Joker. So Bruce blames Clark for saving The Joker’s life which allowed The Joker to kill his new wife. Batman wants The Joker dead, but Superman will not allow that to happen. This is where the start of the friction between the two titans begins.

They begin to fight even though they both realise the fighting is pointless and that they are being manipulated by Lex Luthor. Batman even comes very close to killing Superman via some kryptonite.
Batman eventually confronts The Joker and learns that his dead wife was really a creation of The Joker all along. The Joker even gave Elizabeth a ring which she in turn gave to Bruce with a Joker face engraved on the inside. This was The Joker making fun of “the world’s greatest detective” by placing a clue right under his nose.

Batman and Superman (who has recovered form his near kryptonite death) team up and to take down The Joker and Lex Luthor.

That is a quick run down of the plot, the script itself goes into more detail if you wanted to give it a read.

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Why did this film never happen though?
Well there are plenty of rumours and speculation from script problems to director disagreements. However, the most common reason I have found simply boils down to money. Apparently, Warner Bros. (WB) thought they could make more money if they relased two separate films, one Batman film and one Superman film instead which were aslo being written around the same time.
WB’s Studio President at the time, Alan Horn wanted to get J.J. Abrams’ Superman: Flyby as well as Darren Aronofsky’s Batman: Year One made into films instead…both of which never happened either. It is believed that WB felt they could make more money from the two separate films as well as all the merchandise they would bring over a single film with the two characters.

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Its a bit of a shame that greed lead to the death of Asylum. Even more so that we were robbed of a Batman origin story from Darren Aronofsky or a new Superman film from J.J. Abrams too.
The script for Asylum is rough and definitely needed some work, but there are also some really interesting ideas in there too.
But to think we almost got a Batman v Superman film in 2004…

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