By Andrew Liszewski
Whenever the topic of ‘worst video game you’ve ever played’ comes up, the answer for me is always easy. While I’ve definitely played some real disappointments over the years, nothing has come close to the truly awful, awful Superman for the N64. (Or Superman64 as it came to be known.) The game was developed by Titus and actually came out a year late thanks to a terrible showing at E3 in 1998. But for some reason most of the problems the game exhibited at E3 seemed to still be in the final retail version. Now the N64 was far from a 3D powerhouse, but Superman64 suffered from a particularly limited draw distance, and instead of trying to fix the problem, the developer originally explained it away as a “Kryptonite fog” that Lex Luthor and Brainiac deployed to confound the man of steel. Of course no one bought their explanation, so for the final version of the game the developer cleverly changed the storyline so that Superman64 was actually stuck inside a virtual reality version of Metropolis created by Luthor. Yeah, that’s easier to swallow.
But horrendous graphics were just the tip of the iceberg when it came to Superman64‘s problems. The controls were atrocious and there were endless bugs that made the game almost impossible to play. However, that could actually be considered a plus, since the game itself was just not fun. Playing as Superman it was your responsibility to rescue Lois and Jimmy which usually involved navigating a clever maze setup by Luthor. And by ‘clever maze’ I mean a set of floating rings you simply had to fly through in a set time limit, which the awful controls and bugs usually made impossible. Like most people I opted to rent the game from Blockbuster instead of buying it, and ironically I can remember Superman64 appearing at the top of their rental charts for a while, since people were flocking to rent it just to see how bad it really was.
But on the flip side, next week I’ll be taking a look at what I still consider to be the greatest game I’ve ever played, and oddly enough, it was also an N64 exclusive…