Original Release: May 29, 1999
Developer: Titus Interactive SA
Publisher: Titus Interactive SA
Platform: Nintendo 64
Until a few years ago, I had no idea this game existed. And while the sane individual would probably prefer it stay that way, I’m glad that I learned about it.
For those (blissfully) unfamiliar with the game, Superman 64 is widely considered one of the worst games ever made. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it the absolute worst game of all time, but it’s definitely up there. However, it does have a saving grace: it’s weirdly entertaining.
The game is an absolute mess. In fact, I’d go so far as to call it a dumpster fire. The story is incredibly weak and lacks any real justification for Superman doing anything other than saving his friends, the virtual Metropolis you’re forced to fly around is completely barren and mostly covered under a thick green fog (or pink fog if you’re emulating it), and there’s almost no direction for where you’re supposed to do in the action stages. If it weren’t for a certain Let’s Play I’ve watched many times now, I wouldn’t have the faintest idea of what to do.
And yet, the game has a certain earnestness to it that proves endearing, like most of the movies riffed on by the Mystery Science Theater crew. It’s terrible, but at the same time it’s also charming and perversely entertaining.
Let’s take one of the seven action stages as an example (the game is split into seven ride stages and seven action stages, alternating between the two): At one point, Superman finds himself in Lexcorp’s warehouse. The way that you’re supposed to beat the stage is to rescue Lois Lane, follow her until she gets recaptured, confront Metallo, rescue Lois again, and then fight Metallo again. It’s a long stage if done properly. However, there’s an oversight with some of the level geometry in the first room holding Lois: You can just go through the wall above one end of a conveyor belt, fly around out of bounds, and make your way into the first fight with Metallo, ending the stage as soon as he’s defeated. It takes maybe a minute at most.
So while the game is broken and, at times, unfairly difficult, it’s also kind of fun to find ways to break it. Somehow I managed to clip out of bounds by standing in a corner and trying to turn around. I wish I were joking. But with all of that in mind, I have to say that if you can find it for cheap, it might be worth checking out. It’s bad, but it’s bad in a way that pulls you in and stays in your head. Like The Room. What I’m saying is that Superman is Tommy Wiseau. Or at least he should be played by Tommy Wiseau. I would watch that.
With that said, I feel like I shouldn’t recommend this game, but I’m going to anyway. It’s awful. It’s absolutely awful, but it’s also some of the most fun I’ve had with a game in a while. I just finished it up earlier tonight and somehow broke the camera badly enough that it started zooming in and out nonstop, and this particular bug carried over into the demo that plays when the game sits long enough and into a new game. I couldn’t stop laughing and it was amazing.
Do you wanna know how much I payed for this? $13. Plus tax.
And this is some of the best entertainment I’ve gotten for $13 in a long while.