Superman vs. luchadoresÖ from another world!
The Superman arcade game is the title that originally made me seek out an arcade emulator, which eventually led to all kinds of MAME goodness. I can honestly say that Iíve never been the same since. The sad part of this little story is that I should have never downloaded this particular game, because my memories were much kinder than they should have been.
Superman starts out on a pretty high note, however. Itís much like a classic 2D side scroller. Superman moves from left to right beating the hell out of everyone he sees. At the time, it was pretty awesome that you can fly or walk on the ground as the man in blue, but why anyone would even want to walk is beyond me. Youíll spend 99% of the time hovering or flying anyway. Supermanís two attack moves consist of a punch and a kick. Itís kind of weird seeing Superman kick, because heís a lot like me: he lets his fists do all the talking. Even more strange is Supermanís ability to charge his fist up for a powerful energy ball blast. Youíd think Superman would have enough powers without having to add an Anime type fireball thing.
Perhaps the kryptonite of Superman is gameís super (pun intended) simplistic level design. After you beat the first boss, Supes basically hovers upward punching and kicking as he goes. This is followed by a flying level where you get to use Supermanís heat vision. After this, you face the end level boss. This is all awesome up until the point you realize that every single level is the goddamn same thing. I swear this is the longest arcade game Iíve ever had to play, because itís so boring. The locations are about as equally dull as the design. Superman fights in locales from Metropolis to a space ship for seemingly no reason what so ever.
Speaking of the enemies, they basically are all the ďshow up to punch and be punchedĒ type, but there are some other notables like Spider-Guy-Who-Traps-You-In-Webs and Guy-That-Loves-To-Hug-You-To-Death that show up for the party. Most of these bad guys look like masked wrestlers, I mean, almost every single bad guy looks like a masked wrestler. Perhaps the unnamed alien seen in the games opening screens is using cheap Mexican labor to take over the world? Who knows. A couple of the enemies are rather odd like the weird elephant headed boss you fight a few times and the bunny costumed females that only show up near the end of the game. In fact, several new enemy types show up near the end of the game that arenít seen previously. It feels as if Superman was done in a hurry and the programming team only had time to make the first level and the last level the most interesting.
There are only a couple of things that are thrown in an attempt to add a little depth to the game, like a few power-up type of items that can be found, but there arenít enough of them or a wide enough variety to make much of a difference.
This game supports two players and the most notable thing about that is that the second playerís Superman is red and grey. For some reason I thought that the alternate Superman was totally awesome when I was a kid. Yeah, I was a pretty dumb kid.
The graphics still hold up fairly well and Superman still looks like Superman. Itís a hell of a lot better looking than previous incarnations, like the incredibly stupid NES version. The only graphical issue I have with Superman is pretty funny. When Supes turns one way the 'S' on his chest looks fine, but when he turns the other way itís backwards. The bad guys are okay looking as well, representing what I assume is the best in Mexican masked wrestlers.
The best thing about the game isnít the graphics though, itís the musical score thatís lifted from the Superman series of films. The sound effects are fairly well done and both the music and sound are perhaps the most memorable things about this arcade game.
Itís too bad there are so few enemy types and so much repetition of the same damn thing. It feels like this could have been a really awesome game. Itís ironic that this is the best Superman themed game Iíve ever played. Hell, itís not hard when the competition consists of games like Superman 64, one of the most reviled games of all time. Youíd think someone could figure out how to make a game featuring one of comicsí greatest heroes without screwing it up.
Still better than Superman IV.