Superman (Beyond) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

Commodore User

By First Star
Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #28


When you think of Superman, what do you think of?

Bet you think of the Man of Steel, flying over Metropolis with that dead pretty American actress tucked under his arm.

Most people do, I suppose. If they don't think of that, they picture him catching that chopper before it hits the ground killing all inside in Superman I, or of the plane caught in an electric storm that he rescues in Superman II.

Daring rescue bids are what the film-makers have taught us to expect from Superman. The original DC comics had all sorts of different ideas. Ideas about good and bad. Ideas about super villains as well as super heroes.

The comic ideas were good. So good in fact that they will outlive the films if the latest rumours from Hollywood can be believed that no more Superman movies are planned.

Nothing odd about this. Most Superman fans will tell you that they prefer the comics to the films.

The game makers have emphasised Superman's latest comic foe, Darkseid, but also include a large element of film-style rescue bids.

The difficult question for games based on films, books, comics, or whatever, is how well they reproduce the original excitement.

And, as far as Superman is concerned, I don't think much of that original excitement comes through.

Sure, there are rescue bids, but these involve a decidedly tedious business of landing on tiny humanoids with your moth-like Man of Steel, pressing the fire button twice, and carting them off to safety.

Then there are the main elements taken from the comics. In particular, Superman's heat vision. Instead of the sweeping arcs of red flowing from Superman's eyes, you just get these puny straight lines that worm their way around mazes, Pacman-fashion, in attempt to stab Darkseid. I found this part of the game boring. I kept thinking, oh no, not again - each time one of the maze screens appeared.

The combat screens are much better. Superman is slightly larger in these screens and you can actually see his cape fluttering in the wind as he flies. In one of the combat screens you get to use the super breath to blow back a barrage of fireballs toward Darkseid's 8-barrelled cannon.

Another of the combat screens is a chase game where you are pursued along an underground cave by Darkseid who is attempting to shoot you up with his deadly Omega Ray. Your only defence is to trigger the weapons on the walls of the cave. This scene annoying me intensely. I hated to see the Man of Steel running away from a fight. I wanted him to turn around and sock Darkseid in the jaw... but the software wouldn't let him.

There is one graphically impressive screen where Superman is flying through a tunnel - dodging Darkseid's remote lasers. I was just getting into this screen when stop. It finished - and I was back to more silly red and green lines. This staccatto effect spoils and slim chance that Superman might have had of being an enjoyable game to play.

You can play either Superman or Darkseid, but it doesn't really make much difference. The game is the same whoever you are.

Disappointment has to be the only verdict on Superman. According to the game blurb it is the first of the "Super Power Collection". We can only hope the sequels will be better. It has also been billed as Beyond's premier title of 1985, which is a bigger shame because the game itself half as good as Quake Minus 1, Nexus, Shadowfire and Enigma Force.

Eugene Lacey

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